Patient Family Advisors Help to Create TBRHSC’s New and Improved Website
by Marcello Bernardo
After many months of consultation, development and user testing, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) proudly unveiled their fully refreshed and updated website.
The new TBRHSC website was designed and built internally, using staff expertise from the Communications and Engagement team and the Information Technology department. It replaces an outdated and decade-old hospital website which was no longer useful to patients, families or staff.
While the unveiling of a new website is quite common these days, it’s the constant involvement of patient feedback which makes the development of this website unique.
“From its inception, the goal was to create a new website that focused on the needs of patients and families while supporting the strategic directions of TBRHSC” says Chisholm Pothier, VP, Communications & Engagement, Government and Aboriginal Affairs at TBRHSC. “In order to achieve this, we engaged many Patient Family Advisors to produce patient-centred content.”
The design team worked closely with staff and managers from each of the hospital’s programs and services to develop relevant and accurate information. A Patient Family Advisor was present during the meetings with these staff members and managers, to ensure that the information that was being discussed and developed would be useful to patients.
“I wanted to be a part of this development process because I believe that a hospital’s website can be an important touch point for patients”, says Ingrid Warren, a Patient Family Advisor (PFA) at TBRHSC. “The new website will undoubtedly become a very useful tool for patients and families in Northwestern Ontario. There is a wealth of important information that is very easy to find on the website.”
PFAs like Ingrid provided the designers with some innovative ideas. For example, instead of using the traditional ‘corporate’ landing page that many organizations use, it was PFA feedback that resulted in a landing page geared specifically to patients and families.
PFAs, along with the volunteers at the main help desk also suggested using more detailed facility maps to help visitors find their way, and having easily accessible icons on the main page.
Current web design trends and the former website’s usage statistics prompted the design team to re-engineer the site to be mobile friendly.
TBRHSC’s new website is built using the responsive design and coding style, which will provide users with the flexibility to access the site on multiple platforms (smart phones, tablets, laptops and personal computers). New features include a strong linkage to TBRHSC’s social media channels, an enhanced search function, easily accessible and high-demand information (facility maps, parking, accessibility, contacts), and a clean, easy to read design.
Communications, Indigenous Affairs, and Engagement
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre