TBG & Penn Medicine
Since TBG engaged with Penn Medicine in 2012, our vital collaboration has produced some of the richest and most effective digital projects in healthcare—include the launch of Pennmedicine.org, a broad-scale healthcare system site which represents best practices for both healthcare marketing and the kind of experience that befits one of the world’s greatest academic medical centers. Pennmedicine.org, executed in the Sitecore CMS, was built upon a foundation laid by our launch of Penncancer.org, our digital strategy and roadmap for Penn, and other great work we had previously executed for healthcare systems like University of Maryland Medical Center, Johns Hopkins, Wake Forest, UPMC, and others.
Pennmedicine.org is the heart of a thriving user-centric digital ecosystem that we have built in collaboration with Penn (an ecosystem which also includes the separate Abramson Cancer Center, landing pages, email marketing, and a variety of integrations, including a sophisticated healthcare provider database that combines multiple data sets through complex business rules).
The fully Responsive, full content-managed, full personalization-enabled mothership website represents a major strategic shift for Penn away from a fragmented world of scattered hospital sites, to a more unified, system-wide response for users; a process requiring major re-engineering and solutions on both a structural and content level—not to mention change management. Every aspect has approached with multi-device usability and a broad set of use-cases in mind, and in many ways it represents a contemporary high water mark of contemporary usability for a large healthcare system. Special attention was given to issues like the hand-off between user searches and system-wide healthcare solution, population health, and geographic considerations.
In addition to supporting a range of updated, flexible content and marketing strategies, and generally re-organizing the experience to make it work well for users, the Pennmedicine.org site is also an example of extremely high sustainability and back-end usability. Taking full advantage of Sitecore’s ability to develop complex internal site automation, the site allows a relatively small team of content editors to publish—and interconnect—a large amount of content in a highly structured way. This content is then also available to the larger multi-channel universe of social, email, and hybrid applications through a series of APIs. It is also entirely “personalizable” with the appropriate structures behind the scenes to support complex targeted experiences and testing. Sitecore is, after all, one of the strongest platforms for thoroughgoing personalization, multi-channel publishing, and automation.
There are exceptions to Penn Medicine’s unified approach. Like many large healthcare organizations, Penn Medicine grows partially through acquisition/merger with other hospitals. Within its unifying “system centric” structure, the site also supports a number of flexible frameworks for a limited number of “outlier” hospitals which have more of their own identity, because of their geographic specificity and history. Penn Medicine benefits from these frameworks with reduced overhead to develop and spin up these high standard sites as they occur, and the ability to share content and use centralized services like the advanced provider search. Along with a strong vocabulary of smaller multi-channel templates, the systems use of Sitecore allows for the optimum combination of both flexibility and consistency among a wide variety of evolving needs.
There are a number of technical backbones to Pennmedicine.org that enable a great deal of the site’s flexibility and sophisticated business rules. One of these is the site’s provider database, a complex application that brings together data from a wide variety of sources to create a single canonical source of truth about Penn Medicine’s people. Another is an integration with Coveo, providing personalization-enabled, integrated enterprise search. A third is integration with the eVariant CRM, one of the leading healthcare marketing databases. In combination with these strong platforms, the site provides solutions at a much higher level of capability than the majority of health systems sites—even those on Sitecore.
Nothing in Pennmedicine.org is inflexibly hard-wired, it is all flexibly engineered to allow for change and flexible evolution, to encourage a feedback loop between user response, institutional response, and changing experience. The Pennmedicine.org ecosystem has an ever-growing, ever-evolving trajectory, so by the time you’ve read this case study, it will have likely transformed further, added new capabilities and moved further into leading edge, user-centric, data-driven practices.
"Penn Medicine is lucky to have TBG as a strategic partner. Taking into account the complexities of our infrastructure and the sheer size of our organization and existing content, TBG worked with my team to develop a thoughtful plan that will evolve Penn's online presence, and do it quickly. We are positioning ourselves well to be more nimble, efficient, innovative and engaging."
Director, Interactive Marketing, Penn Medicine