University of Virginia Health System
The UVa Health System website is the go-to spot for patients and families to find information about doctors, services, locations and health-related topics.
In the first quarter of 2010, University of Virginia Health System launched a new website for consumers and patients of the Medical Center. This online remodel includes many improvements and new features designed to put information at visitors' fingertips.
Content-Managed Promotional Area
The newly-designed homepage for UVA Health Systems features a promotional area allowing the marketing staff to easily advertise specific services via either a static image or a slideshow. Utilizing Six Feet Up's EasySlideshow, a Plone add-on product, each image and description can be linked to another area of the site or to an external URL. With EasySlideshow, marketeers can add and remove images and stories from the homepage with ease and speed.
Ubiquitous Search and Browse
The remodeled homepage also provides visitors with several fast and intuitive search and browsing mechanisms to find medical information and doctors:
- Search Conditions & Treatments: Jump to a condition or treatment based on first letter using an A-Z search
- Find a Doctor: Search by name, location or other keyword
- Browse Clinical Trials: Quick links area to find active Clinical Trials affiliated with the Medical Center
Local and Syndicated News
The "News & Publications" area highlights information from either the Medical Center site itself or external links. For example, the administrator can link to news articles or publications at the School of Medicine site and local pages -- all in the same list.
Content Integration with EBSCO
Plone supports importing RSS feeds of content out of the box. In addition, Six Feet Up has customized the UVA Health System site to integrate EBSCO medical content libraries using their web services.
Content is automatically pulled from EBSCO and managed by the site editors. Six Feet Up customized the EBSCO library content for the University of Virginia's Health System to allow for easy customization of just portions of a single document while still allowing for nightly updates to be obtained and applied to the rest of the content.
In addition, the EBSCO integration for the site supports pulling all of the related media, such as images and video for the items from their library. This allows the complete and seamless integration of the contents from an external library so they are served directly from the UVA Health System site.
Ad-hoc content promotion via Tagging
Plone supports tagging, which is useful to create lists of things with similar keywords (collections) or groupings for search terms. The UVA Health System site features a system whereby:
- Administrators can import text files containing keyword categories
- Users can request new keyword categories directly from the keyword assignment screen
The import methods allow for automatic association of keywords to doctors, locations, services, conditions and treatments. These relationships allow for high-level information to be accessible in a user-friendly way. Using "Cancer" as an example:
- A sub-directory in the "Services" section of the site contains the service "Cancer Center". Admin assigns keyword "Cancer" to this folder.
- Conditions such as "Breast Cancer" and "Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma" and treatments such as "Bone marrow transplant" each have the keyword "cancer" assigned to them. This tagging allows these conditions and treatments to automatically appear under the "Cancer Center" service area without manual intervention.
- Assigning the keyword "Cancer" to different UVA locations allows them to automatically appear under the "Related Clinics" portlet on the page for each condition and treatment
- Similarly, assigning the keyword to a doctor adds their name and a link to their profile in the "Related Doctors" portlet
When a site editor needs a new keyword added, they can simply request the keyword from the data entry screen. A site administrator is notified that a new keyword is ready for review. The keyword will not be utilized in the site until the administrator approves it.
"Quick Finders" as time savers
The site features reusable code blocks called "macros". These macros are implemented as "Quick Searches" and "A to Z Finders".
"Quick Search" can be found for:
- "Find a Doctor": All data on doctors is indexed and searchable, so users can easily find a doctor by typing in keywords such as name, specialty, location, etc. This feature is available on both the homepage and Doctors area of the site.
- "Locations & Directions": Keyword search on location (e.g., city or street), name, service, etc. to narrow down a list of locations on the map view.
- "Clinical Trials": Quickly find a clinical trial by searching by condition or disease, doctor's name, or IRB-HSR number.
The "A to Z Finders" enable narrowing lists down by a title's first letter for:
- "Conditions and Treatments": Via the homepage and Services area of the site
- "Clinical Locations": Browse locations by name
Advanced Search using Faceted Navigation
In addition to the "Quick Search" and "A to Z Finders", the new site also utilizes a faceted navigation system for browsing doctors. This allows site visitors to narrow down the list of doctors by one or more Specialty, Languages Spoken and/or Gender.
Integration with Google Maps
Finding locations is made easy thanks to integration work with Google maps. All clinics are listed on the left and their location shown with a pinpoint on the map on the right. Clicking on a clinic pops up more details about the clinic's location. Clicking on the clinic's title in the popup takes the user to the clinic's full detail page with information on hours, directions, parking, and more.
When used in conjunction with the "Quick Search", visitors can shorten the list of clinics to the left of the map by searching for a service provided, street name, location title and more.
Improved site search with synonyms, ranking and weighting
The basic Plone search has been extended for the UVA Health System web site by adding:
- Synonyms: Site administrators can easily add terms so keyword searches return similar items. For example:
- Searching for "myocardial infarction" will return documents with keywords like "heart attack"
- Searching for "H1N1" will return documents tagged with "flu"
- Ranking and Weighting: The number of times a keyword is used in the site is calculated. When compared to the number of documents in the site, the document term frequency is calculated. The larger the document term frequency, the higher the document is ranked within the search results.
Online greeting cards
The electronic "get well soon" greeting card feature allows visitors to choose an image from a categorized library of images (such as family, nature, etc.). They can then either select a pre-written greeting or write a custom message or the patient. Patient and Guest Services employees are notified that a card is awaiting delivery. The cards are converted to PDF and printed in high quality (400+ dpi) on solid paper stock and delivered to the patient in their room.
Six Feet Up put a failover system in place to prevent downtime in the case of server outage. Site data is replicated using RelStorage, a relational database backend for the ZODB. This allows the use of the replication services built in to MySQL to replicate the data across two servers. Search data is replicated using Solr's built-in replication services. The application servers utilize the ifstated tool to verify that master and slave services are running and that all services are replicating across both servers. If one server were to stop responding, the second server is able to take over using ifstated, then become the master.
Ease of use for every patient was a key goal for the University of Virginia Health System. It was important that searches return specific results and not require patients to work hard for their information. In addition, with a large number of offices and a large staff, maintaining current information needed to be simple. The new Plone website developed by Six Feet Up successfully accomplish those goals.