OHSU website on computer monitor

Digital Enablement with OHSU Digital enablement positions health center for the future

Strategy, systems and support enable better patient experiences

Oregon Health & Science University holds a world-renowned reputation for leadership in healthcare, academic, and research programs. With 4 schools, 27 medical clinics and hospitals, 35 research centers, and 30 outreach programs, OHSU needed a new digital approach to unify the splintered brand and to enable its own teams to create and manage content.

As OHSU’s digital agency of record for more than a decade, Connective DX has supported the institution’s vast digital ecosystem, which includes more than 300 websites and 30,000 pages of content across more than 200 departments and 1,000 content owners.

We’ve helped OHSU on dozens of digital initiatives, including the recent responsive website redesign that improved the user experience for mobile site visitors. It’s just the latest outcome of the work we’ve done with OHSU to develop an overarching strategy that allowed them to take an outside-in approach to digital experiences. This included aligning business objectives and users’ expectations, assessing staffing and governance models, and mapping a long-term technology and content management plan.

This strategy and system has enabled OHSU to better unify its brand presence online, empower departments and content owners to publish and manage content more efficiently, and engage their users in a more meaningful way.

Uncovering pain points and aligning digital to the business

Needing to create a holistic, long-term digital approach for the university, our initial engagement focused on a comprehensive review of its technical architecture, staffing models, brand consistency, and user experience. This included an audit of current systems, interviews with key stakeholders, and surveying the web community on what it most needed to succeed. 

The challenge was broader than just technology

Although a few of the web systems needed shoring up, we concluded that, like most organizations, the solution to OHSU’s challenges extended beyond technology. OHSU’s inherent decentralized organizational model had allowed the web to grow with little governance, policy or oversight. In addition, the lack of vision, direction, or a unified brand had allowed the websites to reflect the organizational chart more than end users’ needs.

OHSU needed a plan to address not only technical architecture, but also content management, brand standards, customer insight, application development, business process, operational governance, and staffing.


OHSU website on mobile phone

A vision for a new digital future comes to life

We developed a comprehensive plan and set of recommendations that mapped short-term initiatives to fix the immediate pain points, as well as a long-term roadmap that established central authority for developing, managing and supporting the web for the entire institution. This included a three-tiered technical architecture for content management and application development. Also key to the recommendations was investing in a larger internal digital team, which would reduce agency dependency and better empower the decentralized organization.

Together, we successfully completed a full re-architecture and design of OHSU’s digital channel. At the core is a content management system that centralizes support for more than 1,000 non-technical content owners with a small, efficient development team. More than 200 departments migrated their individual sites into a unified architecture with a consistent look-and-feel that focuses on users’ needs. The combination of the enterprise platform and comprehensive online brand standards reinforces the strength of OHSU as a leader in healthcare, education and research.

A meaningful impact on the business and the world

Through our ongoing, long-term relationship, we continue to support OHSU’s consumer and industry communications, marketing, and philanthropy efforts for a number of departments, schools, and business units. And these digital initiatives are making a real and meaningful impact in the world.

  • Increasing consumer engagement for many OHSU schools and departments, including Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Knight Cancer Institute, and OHSU Brain Institute, with digital marketing optimization programs for outreach and awareness campaigns.
  • Increasing global brand awareness and expanding the influence and network for OHSU’s pioneering medical research. Organizational and digital consulting helps align 13 departments of the OHSU Brain Institute to educate consumers about OHSU-published research and research teams and initiatives.
OHSU website on computer monitor

The hard work and investment in that process continues to pay off. At the end of January 2015, the OHSU team pushed nearly 30,000 pages across more than 300 sites live with the new, responsive design at once on launch day—a feat that would be impossibly difficult for most organizations of similar scale and complexity.

OHSU now has the internal teams to maintain a scalable web presence built on best practices, allowing them to manage growth and change, and easily onboard new team members. With staff training, governance consulting, and digital trends briefings on healthcare and higher education, we’ve helped OHSU to remain ready for the evolution of the business and stay abreast of meaningful trends.

Enabled by our ongoing consulting and digital strategy framework tools, OHSU is now in the process of aligning around an updated digital strategy, including an evolution of their Google Analytics implementation. This will be the foundation for plotting the next five years for all of OHSU’s web and digital initiatives.

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