How Drupal can Ease the IT Pain in Healthcare

By Mayank Trivedi » 8 min read

The healthcare industry is changing rapidly. Recent innovations have sparked a wave of technological advancements with wearable devices, real-time patient health tracking applications, and more. The rise of health tracking applications has led to users embracing digital tools that offer immersive views of health-related data.

As a result, the perspective towards healthcare has changed rapidly. The healthcare industry today relies on technological solutions to give people access to accurate and timely healthcare.

Using a scalable and robust CMS like Drupal can allow healthcare professionals to offer more services in less time. Drupal has seen remarkable growth in the healthcare market in recent years. There are several hospitals and healthcare websites built on Drupal.

Types of healthcare applications

Let’s explore a few Drupal healthcare applications that are beneficial for both patients and healthcare experts:

  • Electronic health records: An EHR application mainly focuses on the storage and documentation of the detailed medical information of patients. This information typically includes medical history, laboratory details, etc. This is beneficial information and can be shared with different medical experts for planning an accurate diagnosis to the patient while keeping a check on the medical history of the patient.
  • Websites for medical institutes/hospitals: These websites are useful for promoting hospital brand management. These types of sites contain all the information related to a hospital, which includes the doctors available, types of health services provided, and ER waiting times.
  • Patient portals: These applications have everything present with EHR websites. In addition to that information, patient portals allow users to have more control over their health treatment. Patients can schedule appointments with doctors, talk to their doctors, view prescriptions, and make their medical bill payments online.
  • Lifestyle apps: These applications are generally associated or paired up with wearable technologies like fitness bands. They are helpful for individuals to accomplish their workout tasks while keeping track of the progress of the workouts.
  • Hospital management systems: HMS websites are internal websites of a hospital. These websites contain all patient data right from admission into the hospital to their discharge from the hospital. These websites help hospitals in providing quality health care to patients.

Why is Drupal right for healthcare?

Drupal is an open-source content management system; this is one of the biggest advantages for Drupal over any other CMS. The source code can be used by anyone, and there is no restriction in Drupal. The newer version of Drupal has more improved features compared to previous versions.

Healthcare systems are making Drupal their primary choice, and many healthcare systems are migrating from older Drupal platforms to Drupal 8.

Drupal 8, apart from being open-source and having a comprehensive content management framework, there are even other features that make Drupal a primary choice for healthcare systems.

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1. Best security features

Traditionally, the healthcare systems were hesitant to use open source solutions due to security and privacy issues. Now, Drupal 8 provides more security to the website, and this is because of the vast Drupal community in which the developers dedicate their time to finding and resolving the issues.

Apart from this, Drupal 8 has the best coding practices that are subjected to the community code review process, and it has a dedicated team that works on serious security issues. All this combines to say that Drupal 8 provides the best in class security to the websites.

2. External integrations

One of the key features of healthcare systems is to create a fully integrated system that can improve the flow between multiple different IT systems. Drupal is the most flexible CMS when it comes to third-party integrations.

The scalability for Drupal architecture allows it to handle multiple integration points from different IT systems. For instance, from the healthcare systems point of view, Drupal can handle multiple integrations from EHRs, patient portals, e-prescription portals, billing portals, etc. This improves the experience for both medical experts and patients.

3. Multi-site management system

Healthcare systems can offer different services and brands that might require its content and functionality. For example, a hospital with various departments. Every department system has its content and functionality. There will be a lot of challenges in maintaining different websites on a centralized codebase.

A multi-site built on Drupal enabled to run all the healthcare systems from a single codebase. Drupal provides better consistency while facilitating easier content sharing between the websites, and each site can have its functionality. Content editors can create their microsites and publish content to multiple sites. This helps in providing relevant content to patients from different websites.

4. Improved web accessibility

Healthcare websites must be accessible to a wider range of audiences, which includes patients with physical disabilities. According to WHO, close to 15% of the world’s population has some form of physical disability. The healthcare organizations must be responsible for making their websites accessible to all kinds of patients.

Drupal’s flexible theming system makes it meet all the requirements mentioned in Section 508 of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. As smartphones are quite common these days, Drupal’s mobile-first design approach makes the websites accessible to a whole array of devices. There are a lot of responsive themes available for developers to ensure compatibility among various devices.

Apart from the above-mentioned features, Drupal offers multilingual features that can help in developing location-based, language-specific websites, built-in SEO tools for page searches, and HTML5 web page coding.

As mentioned before, all these features of Drupal come free of cost as it is an open-source content management system. Considering all the features, Drupal can provide the best cost-effective solutions for healthcare management systems.

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Success stories in the healthcare market

Let us look at some healthcare systems that have used Drupal for building their websites.

1. University of Missouri Healthcare

MU Healthcare is an academic health center comprised of five hospitals and nearly 60 primary and specialty-care clinics. It comprises of around 6,000 employees and serves 200,000 patients every year. In addition, there is a medical sciences institute that educates at least 1,000 students every year.

Unfortunately, the MU Healthcare website was not able to provide an expected experience to its users because of the outdated CMS. The visitors of the website have reduced, and the site couldn’t perform well with the new accessibility changes.

MU healthcare team has decided to upgrade its website with Drupal 8. The site has been built on Drupal 8 with Acquia Cloud. The flexible templates for the landing page, UX designs, and content strategies for this website have addressed MU healthcare’s problems.

The revamped website generated up to a 442% increase in ‘make an appointment’ page views, which in turn increased online appointment requests. There is a 4% increase in search traffic and a 13% decrease in the bounce rate.

2. Steward Healthcare

Steward Healthcare is a community-based organization with ten hospital campuses, 24 affiliated urgent care providers, 17,000 employees, and more than 4 million patient encounters a year.

Before adopting Drupal, their previous website lacked user experience, and 89% of its content was never visited. Steward’s teams surveyed close to 2,000 patients to learn that 30% of patients preferred to use mobile devices when connecting with health care providers, prioritized ability to make an appointment.

With Drupal, they have streamlined the content, incorporated more video content, and built a mobile-friendly website. This resulted in a 112 percent increase in the number of unique visitors across nine hospitals.

Conclusion

Over the last few years, the Drupal websites have increased in a good number. Drupal, a flexible and robust open-source CMS with a wide array of features, makes its perfect platform for healthcare organizations.

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WRITTEN BY:

Mayank Trivedi

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