The modern page

Enloe Medical Center launches new website, works to comply with patient privacy requirements

Anyone who has logged onto more than once over the past five years has seen a familiar site. That’s how long it’s been since Enloe Medical Center redesigned its Internet presence. Pages have gotten some new features and regular content updates, but overall look and functionality have remained essentially static.

Technologically, Enloe’s content management system dates back a dozen years—eons, in the Web world. As Nicole Johansson, Enloe’s marketing and communications manager, noted: “It was time for a change.”

Today (July 16), Enloe plans to go live with the new version of its site. The URL is the same, but everything else will be different.

There’s a new appearance, more consistent with the color palate of Enloe’s buildings and branding. There’s new navigation, making features more accessible. There’s new responsiveness, enabling smartphone users to better view and use pages. There’s enhanced information, with more prominent details about Enloe services and facilities as well as interactive health education tools for patients.

Tony Evans, Enloe’s chief information officer, described it as a “modern, fresh website that is optimized for anywhere, anytime access for the mobile world we live in” featuring “a well-thought-out and seamless design with easy-to-access, precise and clear information.”

That’s no small order.

“There’s a lot of information here—this is a very big, very robust website,” Johansson said. “We wanted to make sure it felt simple and easy to the user. Hopefully people feel we succeeded in that goal.”

Enloe started the process 18 months ago by examining the sites of other North State hospitals as well as those around the country, along with interviewing Web firms. The redesign team chose AVID Design outside Atlanta, which specializes in health care sites.

“We were feeling like our current website is functional, it works, but we’d outgrown the box,” Johansson said. “The technology was outdated; it was time to see what we could do to provide more engagement opportunities for the community to connect with Enloe.”

The actual building of the site began in December. The launch marks a junction on what Johansson calls “a long road.”

The new site also has a compliance component, helping Enloe meet terms of the Affordable Care Act known as “Meaningful Use” of electronic health records. The site does this, Evans says, via links to a patient portal, permitting access to information from their personal medical files, and the “modern framework” of information technology that the hospital can “build upon in future years as the Meaningful [Use] requirements continue to evolve.”

The portal is strictly for patients who have been admitted to the hospital, not those seen on an outpatient basis at another Enloe facility. They must register and provide multiple forms of identification before receiving a log-in, and only they can look up their own information.

“Through the course of receiving care at Enloe, certain medical information is … placed into the patient portal through shared processes,” Evans explained. “The patient portal is a component of the EHR itself and it does interface with the EHR for receiving interconnected information.”

Enloe has created functionality for patients and prospective patients to submit information, too. Several online forms—currently in test mode—are replacing the need to bring in paperwork or inquire about appointments.

For the Nettleton Mother & Baby Care Center, expectant mothers now can complete and submit the preregistration form through the site. Anyone using the “Find a Doctor” search can use an appointment request to contact the clinic or office.

Enloe is testing the appointment application with the Total Joint Replacement Program. The request goes to a secure database and gets transmitted to the clinic manager through his/her secure Enloe email. A clinic employee will then process the information and reach out to the patient.

Expansion is planned, Evans said: “If the trial goes well, and after there is a better understanding of volume inquiries, we would like to optimize the process, leveraging automation from the point of data entry, so the patient can get near-immediate feedback on appointment availability and confirmation of scheduling.”

Meanwhile, Internet security is an obvious concern for users—and for Enloe. Safeguards for private information have received media coverage, particularly in the wake of a data breach earlier this month at a federal personnel agency.

Keir Bradshaw, vice president of technology for AVID, said via email that the firm has worked with health care clients for over 15 years and “considers data security in all aspects of the website process.” At Enloe’s site, “private data is protected in transit and at rest,” and the site “will be hosted at a state-of-the-art data center” with measures he said exceed the basic requirements of HIPAA law governing patient privacy and the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.

A component that’s especially important to Johansson is education. The new site integrates Enloe’s Health eLibrary into every medical specialty page along with offering it as a standalone asset as it previously existed.

Calling it “your own miniature WebMD right on the Enloe website,” she says the eLibrary information is “powered through the same company that powers our inpatient information, so we know the doctors that practice here are standing behind the information that we are sharing with the patients.”

Added Johansson: “It seems counterintuitive for a hospital to educate people to stay out of the hospital, but that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to give you the tools and the knowledge to stay healthy. That’s exactly what this website does: It helps you stay well, be well, choose well.”