Penn Medicine

Defining & Developing a Digital Ecosystem

Built for Personalization

Built for Personalization

Everything on the Pennmedicine.org website has been designed and implemented to support a broad range of changing personalization strategies, as well as providing opportunities for multivariate testing. Topical content, contextual content, and other parts of layout can be easily re-purposed to serve up contextual, user-targeted content. The overall content and UX strategy is rich enough to support a wide range of personalization strategies. Sitecore tracks all aspects of user activity, providing a rich set of data points to react to. 

detail of Penn Medicine website with portlet
Patient Stories

Patient Stories

The Pennmedicine.org experience contains a large amount of specialized content and multimedia that both explains the Penn Medicine experience and expertise, and also makes it easier for patients to orient themselves to various kinds of challenges they may face. An important part of this is a rich library of patient stories that convey some of Penn Medicine’s successes, but also the experiences of its patients as they work through often life-threatening situations.

Check out the patient stories experience
detail of Penn Medicine website with patient stories
Finding Providers & Facilities

Finding Providers & Facilities

A massive provider ecosystem like Penn Medicine has a huge number of options for patients to be seen and receive treatment—and as a result, a key function of the digital strategy is to connect the right patient to the right location, practice or provider. The user experiences on Pennmedicine.org address these issues very directly, providing a variety of ways for users to find the right experience. The system also includes a variety of content managed map integrations. Once doctors, practices or locations are found, much of what follows is contextually related in appropriate ways to the location or provider that has been chosen, making overall usability high throughout the experience.

Check out the locations experience
Penn Medicine homepage on a tablet being held
Full-Featured Search

Full-Featured Search

Penn Medicine features type-ahead search using a cached library of taxonomy terms and synonyms helping guide users to the search terms and phrases that will produce the greatest number of relevant results. In addition to Coveo’s built in curation, we built a module in Sitecore that keys off of users search term or phrase to display relevant content in a visually appealing and prominent way (similar to the Google One box). The Penn Medicine site search also includes filter facets based on content types and key taxonomy groups allow users to drill down in their results. For example, a user can search for “diabetes” and see all “treatments and procedures” or all “blogs” associated with this term.

Check out the search experience
smartphone with Penn Medicine website search
Optimized Landing Pages

Optimized Landing Pages

Running in parallel to Pennmedicine.org, TBG developed a rich set of flexible landing page frameworks and other multichannel templates that allow for quick, integrated publishing within the same Sitecore universe. The speed of production improvements has allowed Penn Medicine to get campaigns to market 5X more quickly, and also to expose those campaigns to the same tracking and personalization as other Penn Medicine digital properties.

Check out examples of Penn Medicine landing pages
detail of Penn Medicine cancer survivor story

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."

Tanya Andreadis

Director, Interactive Marketing, Penn Medicine

  • award ribbon iconWorld Leader in Cancer Research, Patient Care, & Education
  • magnifying glass icon3,000+ Find-a-Doc Providers
  • check icon40,000+ Pages of Content
  • heart icon200+ Patient Stories
  • trophy iconNationally Ranked Hospital by U.S. News & World Report
Radical Ease of Use

Radical Ease of Use

The site is heavily organized around user-centric concerns. Patient care content is organized around service lines, rather than department structures. Patient stories, FAQs, treatment teams listings, forms and other pertinent content to the users decision making process display in context of each service line and its subprograms. Conditions and treatments content is designed to inform (Answering: What is this treatment / condition?), orient (Which service line(s) and doctor(s) can help me? What can I expect?), and convert (clear, relevant, prominent CTAs). Patient stories, FAQs, forms and instructions and other helpful information are presented in the context of their associated service lines. Many items are geographically contextual as well.

Enabling Physician Referrals

Enabling Physician Referrals

Pennmedicine.org is optimized to make physician referrals easy and likely. “For Healthcare Professionals” is a section in primary navigation—with “Refer My Patient” quick link, which means a referring physician or his or her staff can access the appointment referral form from any page of the site. In-context presentations of “Refer Your Patient” and “Find a Provider” calls to action are strategically placed at the top of the main body content on specified pages. This placement allows the calls to action to display prominently at all device screen sizes, respecting the physician’s time and reinforcing the referring physician’s choice of Penn Medicine to treat his or her patient. The patient referral form is integrated with the eVariant platform (CRM) and directly posts referral requests into the CRM. Forms also follow best practices for usability. 

Contextual Find-a-Provider Search & Scheduling

Contextual Find-a-Provider Search & Scheduling

“Find-a-Doctor” is a primary conversion funnel for the Pennmedicine.org site. The feature drives users from conditions, treatments, service line and other key pages into provider search. Where applicable, values (“specialty” for example) are auto-populated on the search form when users arrive from a particular page. Provider profile data is leveraged to automatically generate treatment team pages. Locations listings by service line (program / subprogram) will also be automated, leveraging this data as well in the near future. Users can request an appointment—and in some cases even directly schedule an appointment via DocASAP – directly from provider listings and provider profile pages.

Automation Aids Site Editors

Automation Aids Site Editors

The Sitecore implementation of Pennmedicine.org has a wide variety of automation and internal structures that dramatically aid the content publishing team. First TBG developed a single, consistent taxonomy with colloquial labels and synonyms to standardize how conditions, treatments, etc. are labeled on the Penn Medicine, Find-a-Doctor, Abramson Cancer Center, and independent community hospital sites. Penn uses this taxonomy for automated display of content in a wide variety of nuanced and varied use cases, allowing a single act of content entry to enliven the site in multiple, contextually appropriate places. This implementation goes far beyond the regular—with advanced portlet logic based on relevancy of multiple taxonomy groups to make sure content re-usage is not only instantaneous, but also smart.