As a database programmer analyst at the 109-bed facility in Rockport, Maine, he was already juggling other massive projects, like switching Pen Bay’s electronic medical records systems and managing the hospital’s clinical database. This sometimes meant postponing more involved intranet projects, such as add a new features or redesign pages.
Pen Bay’s intranet system also did not reflect the modern, consistent look the hospital wanted, nor did it allow department heads to smoothly manage policy and procedure workflow. Finding policies required searching for a hard copy version, which delayed the ability to keep them updated and share them with other staff and auditing agencies.
“As an organization that pursues JACHO-accreditation, Pen Bay is no stranger to onsite audits,” explained Brooks Betts, Pen Bay’s chief information officer. “Getting your hands on the most recent copy of a policy or procedure needs to be a smooth, efficient process. Also we are required to regularly review and revise our policies to keep them current.’”
As Betts came into the position in August 2010, the Pen Bay was preparing to join MaineHealth system, a network with seven other member hospitals and four affiliates. Stan Fox told Betts about Hospital Portal.Net, an information technology company that specializes in web-based platforms for hospital communications and management. When the company’s director of client services, Chris Heinl, conducted a demonstration, Betts and Fox saw that HospitalPortal.net’
“One guy was asked to do everything, even change a picture on the homepage. Getting this off Stan’s plate was huge, so he could focus on clinical database work,” Betts said. “Now, employees can update pictures and information when they are ready, not wait for us.” The system’s usability was huge as well. During Heinl’s two-day http://HospitalPortal.net trainings, Pen Bay’s initial users were amazed at how easily they could update their own content and create features like a blog, graphical reports, automated forms or an interactive calendar.
“People of all skill levels were saying ‘wow, I can do web design,’” Betts said. Pen Bay went live on the HospitalPortal.net intranet in November 2011.
After Heinl’s initial trainings, even Betts’ administrative assistant, Michelle Dee, felt comfortable enough to take over training other hospital employees after the on-site trainings, though she had no prior training in web development. The system had more than 15,000 log-ins in the first six months — an indication that it’s attracting steady traffic from the hospital’s 1,500 employees. This success is expected to increase as more people are trained on the system.
“People took the training and ran with it,” said Stan Fox. “I’m hardly involved anymore. People are getting a lot more stuff on the intranet than before, for virtually the same effort. We’ve been pleasantly surprised that the http://HospitalPortal.net intranet delivered beyond what it promised to deliver.”