Brookings Health System: From Discovery to Launch

In the midst of a major expansion and renovation project to their main campus, Brookings Health System also took on a major renovation for their image: a brand new website built on Drupal.

What we did
  • Content Strategy and Information Architecture
  • Design and Front-End Integration
  • User and Editor Permissions
  • Fully Mobile and Accessible Development
  • Custom Drupal Development
View Brookings Health System's Site

Creating a Site that Reflects Quality of Care 

Because regional hospitals are large and often stretched across multiple buildings, creating a unified and easy-to-navigate patient experience is important. And with their recent Expansion & Renovation Project, Brookings Health System was able to plan for the future while still keeping wayfinding unified and consistent.

But, not every patient first reaches you from the main campus, which is why Brookings Health System expanded their focus from the physical to the technical, with a full redesign of their main website.

A New Introduction On the Web

Just as the initial moments of discovery at a hospital can feel overwhelming, so too can the first few seconds on a new website, which means the new Brookings Health System site needed to be designed and organized with the same level of attention to wayfinding as the physical location.

a sketch to a wireframe to final design, signifying the design process

From initial sketches to final design.

Blend helped Brookings Health System by diving into a day-long discovery and strategy session, where site archetypes were developed, functionality was weighed, and the first sketches of a home page were saved on a Smart board.

From here, Blend reached out to the people who would be most likely to use the site: patients. Interviewing real patients provided the kind of insight we couldn’t find on our own. It also lead our design process down a clear and actionable path: help people calmly find their way through the site, just as we would help them find their way on the hospital campus.

Connecting the Pieces

While we often think of hospitals as large buildings or campuses filled with technology, the art of health care is tied up in people. The bulk of an effective podiatry practice isn’t in the facility itself, but in the providers who serve patients, and the success of a medical facility often lies with the experience and know-how of a small group of providers.

We wanted to make that connection clear on the new site — that each facility and available medical service is backed by real people with real names and real expertise. We wanted to make it easy to connect doctors and providers to both their services and their locations.

Supporting Partner, Drupal Association

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This was done in two ways. First, Brookings Health System and Blend worked together to clean up the existing service taxonomy, creating a uniform set of services and facilities for providers to connect to. Then, within Drupal, we created a system that allowed providers to reference facilities and services — and vice versa.

By creating single points of connection for all content pieces — each facility, each provider, each service — we were able to create a web of expertise that requires minimal editorial upkeep. What’s more, that taxonomy and content model expands to the news and events feeds. One point of entry with hundreds of connections, all just behind the scenes. Just like the health care expertise you expect.

Accessibility and Transcripts

Brookings Health System has always been focused on the benefits of accessible facilities — after all, a health system is designed to help people of all abilities. But it’s not just buildings that need to be outfitted with accessible entrances and technology — websites also must provide alternate access for those who cannot see or hear the content using traditional means.

One example where this accessibility came into play is the “video” content type, which allows editors to actually attach a video transcript as readable content on the video page itself. This leads to a fully searchable video page that includes a full-width embed of the video, as well as a full transcript.

The result is more than just a video made accessible for those who can’t hear — it’s also better for those who simply prefer to read instead of watch a video, and it’s a boon to the amount of content that’s available for search engines to crawl. Once again, creating a more inclusive site leads to great things beyond the obvious.

screenshot of the brookings health system homepage

Easing the Workload

The site isn’t just for patients, either. The new Brookings Health System site includes special accommodations for those working with newborns so they can easily grab information for new babies and get them submitted and published on the site as soon as possible, with little capacity required from the everyday content team.

This is done through a custom content entry form, independent of the main Drupal editing interface, and allows delivery staff to submit and publish newborn information quickly, which means parents get to brag about their new bundles of joy even faster than before.

When it comes down to it, Brookings Health System was a perfect fit for Drupal — interconnected content pieces, categorized and referenced, with design focused on bright, clean content components. And given the level of easy communication, mutual respect, and willingness to brainstorm solutions together, we like to think Blend was a perfect fit for Brookings Health System as well.