Learn how healthcare sites can thrive with modern development tools

Jason Yarrington, Partner & Web Solutions Architect Reading estimate: 3 minutes

America’s healthcare system resists quick changes. The Covid pandemic, with its pressure on bed capacity, staff preparedness and access to reliable information, aggravated the problems. But moving faster is possible thanks to advances in technology.

I am not talking about virtual nurses. Post-pandemic, hospitals and medical centers are looking for a better way to provide excellent online experiences to their patients. Getting information to them on time is half the battle. The other half is building and cementing the reputation of clinical excellence. 

Development and marketing teams in hospital settings need to iterate rapidly, release new functionality and create new sites at high velocity. But often they are understaffed or lack the experience of taking their project to the next level. That’s where agencies can help. 

Overcoming HIPAA constraints

In hospitals and medical research centers, it is common for marketing to own websites. However, IT governs WebOps platforms from a security and compliance standpoint. HIPAA, the federal privacy act regulating the use and disclosure of protected health information, is every IT team’s concern in a medical setting. 

Each online form that a patient fills out should be HIPAA-compliant. However, we advise clients not to store critical information like that in the content management system (CMS) because most CMSes have not been designed for this purpose. 

Many healthcare systems direct sensitive data to third-party HIPAA-compliant software, such as EpicCerner or others, which enables every patient to have a medical record in a secure, unified space. 

So your WebOps provider doesn’t have to be HIPAA-compliant. 

Overcoming distributed workflow concerns

In a hospital, a doctor needs to be in attendance, not a developer. Enterprise-grade WebOps platforms provide tools and workflows that help save time and money for the healthcare provider and their agency, creating a high level of transparency and efficiency on what teams are working on each day. 

Take Pantheon’s Multidev environments. The agency can work in its sandbox and do its own QA without affecting the branches that the provider’s staff developers work on. Managing multiple teams becomes efficient and makes the hospital’s budget go further on high-stakes innovation.

Also, when choosing a WebOps platform, pay attention to how easy it would be to spin up a new development site. Will you have to sign a new contract for every new domain (which means you’d have to go through IT) or will you be able to self-serve and pay as you go? 

We found it beneficial that Pantheon allows us to spin up a site in minutes and only pay for it once it goes live.

Overcoming downtime concerns

Uptime is especially important in hospital settings. Replace the concept of an abandoned cart with an abandoned patient and you’ll understand why it’s essential.

If a hospital website goes down, it becomes a major incident because providers cannot retrieve the information they need to serve patients fast. That’s when your provider’s caching solutions become important. Being able to serve up critical information pages on the edge regardless of the platform’s status will become vital in case of an outage. 

How to choose the right partner for healthcare websites

Healthcare is an industry fraught with red tape. So many patients feel frustrated by the setup of healthcare, and rightly so. However, their pain points offer opportunities for healthcare-focused agencies willing to dedicate more energy to connecting with consumers and developing real solutions using WebOps principles. 

When choosing an agency to redesign a healthcare website or for a major CMS upgrade, ask about:

  • Experience collaborating with IT, marketing and hospital operations.
  • Examples of enterprise websites built for dozens of editors.
  • Experience and understanding of HIPAA, HITECH, and IRB regulations.
  • Third-party integrations that are used in your environment. 


From sophisticated web integrations to interactive installations, Fast Forward specializes in creating intuitive and impactful experiences. We take pride in being true partners, taking risks and adapting to every project.

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