MOUNT PLEASANT, IA – Henry County Health Center recently received international recognition for its use of technology to provide better care to patients. HCHC won the Intranet Innovation Award for innovative uses of its intranet portal.
“The portal is such a huge benefit to the organization and to our patients,” said Stacy Speidel, Henry County Health Center’s Systems Administrator. “I knew it was worthy of recognition.”
The Intranet Innovation Award is an international competition for the most successful uses of intranet portals by Step Two Designs, an intranet strategy firm in Australia. These global awards celebrate new ideas and innovative approaches to the enhancement and delivery of intranets. Gold Awards are given in five different categories, each focusing on a specific aspect of intranets. These awards are about improving all intranets, by increasing the pace of innovation across the whole of the intranet community.
HCHC won a gold level award in the Business and Frontline category. Other US winners in this year’s Awards were Mayo Clinic Department of Nursing, Virgin America, and Disney. This is the health center’s second award for its intranet. In 2011, HCHC won the national Gold level Web Health Award from the Health Information Resource Center.
Leaving the Paper Push Behind
Their first intranet platform, implemented in 2003, allowed HCHC to host documents electronically. In 2006, HCHC partnered with HospitalPortal.net, a company that builds self-service, intranet software systems specifically for healthcare organizations. The new intranet platform expanded HCHC’s intranet capabilities and allowed them to move from hosting documents to a complete electronic document and content management system.
“We could see that it was cost-effective and easy to use,” Speidel recalled. “It was flexible enough that it would grow as we were evolving.”
Since then, the HospitalPortal.net intranet has grown into the primary internal communications tool for HCHC’s 300 associates. For example, when Human Resources has an update or when the administrators want to share the hospital’s strategic plan, they can funnel announcements through the intranet. The intranet also hosts policies, forms, calendars, training videos, presentations from the CEO’s associate forums and the monthly associate newsletter.
Intranet Innovation on the Frontline
One of HCHC’s most innovative uses for the intranet has helped associates in the Environmental Services (EVS) Department cover all bases for cleaning patient rooms. HCHC partnered with HospitalPortal.net to design and develop the Census Board that automatically updates housekeeping status, articulates isolation details, and streamlines the midnight census verification process. EVS team members can log in on mobile tablets mounted on their cleaning carts and see all of the information that was previously collected by hand. Nurses can also electronically send requests to have a patient’s room cleaned. The health center’s 18 EVS associates can also access schedules, meeting minutes and training presentations online.
“The intranet empowers them to find information more quickly on their own,” explained Rebecca Van Deuren-Sample, Environmental Services Supervisor. Most importantly, it allows the EVS team to keep close tabs on following proper cleaning procedures for patient rooms, reducing the risk of hospital acquired infection. Van Deuren-Sample can also run reports of who cleaned which room and when.
The Intranet Innovation Award judges were excited about the Census Board and noted that they were impressed with the way the intranet has been used to directly help core hospital processes at very little cost. They also liked the use of tablets.
“Henry County Health Center is committed to delivering the highest quality healthcare by combining personalized care with the latest in medical and health information technology. We implement strategies that increase value to patients by enhancing quality of service while reducing waste and cost. Our intranet plays a vital role in helping us achieve this goal,” commented HCHC CEO Robb Gardner.
“Every HCHC associate has responsibility for achieving customer satisfaction, and we utilize healthcare information technology like our intranet and specifically the Census Board, to improve efficiencies and processes within the organization. The end result is to provide our communities with excellent healthcare that they expect and deserve. This award is a testament to how community health centers like HCHC can be innovative and utilize technology to optimize the healthcare and safety of patients.”