We worked hand in hand with a well established, successful healthcare company to build a strategic Drupal 8 solution that puts audience needs first and makes 43 websites manageable for a small team.
Medical Facilities of America operates 42 centers throughout Virginia and North Carolina. These centers provide specialized nursing and rehabilitation for patients recovering from a variety of conditions such as orthopedic surgery, cardiac care, car accidents, and stroke.
Their flagship product — and a major point of pride — is their LifeWorks Rehab, which provides tailored recovery plans and 7-day-a-week therapy to help patients get back on their feet — and back home — more quickly.
The centers are truly the public face of MFA. Named for their specific locations, each of the centers has its own staff, facilities, and personality. But no matter which center, their common mission is truly caring for patients, providing a world-class standard of healthcare.
Medical Facilities of America supports its 42 individual centers through financial management, human resources, and marketing, as well as setting the course for continued growth and innovation.
In order to serve needs of the centers as well as the corporate structure, NewCity worked with MFA to build a Drupal 8 site that allowed for efficient centralized management while maintaining individual identity and a local focus for their centers.
Building a Better Communications Tool
Before the redesign, MFA had a collection of older Drupal websites for their centers and central corporate structure. The older sites served more as marketing brochures, but weren’t really serving their strategic goals. The site had challenges that were hurting both SEO and user experience.
The savvy marketing team at MFA envisioned a website that would be better for their audiences, more effective for marketing purposes, and easier to manage.
“The websites that we had before were not as user-friendly and interactive as we would like,” MFA’s Multimedia Manager Pam Perzan said. “We were able to rethink and restructure what we have to turn it into something that’s more user-friendly for our patients, their families, and our employees.”
Their primary goals included:
- Increasing patient traffic
- Making the site a tool for internal audiences
- Expressing the individuality of different centers while making it easy to maintain
- Separating career and patient experiences
With a team of two people managing the corporate MFA site as well as the 42 center sites, an important consideration was creating a structure that made things easy to maintain and that supported new content and resources in the future as the company grows and evolves.
“With a department of two, we needed it to be very user-friendly,” explained Erika Lovegreen, MFA’s former Director of Communications and Branding. “We needed to be able to navigate it in a way that we could keep it fresh and current and feel empowered to make changes.”
Solving An Identity Challenge
One of the challenges in planning the site architecture for MFA was figuring out the best way to create a centralized website structure for a decentralized business.
While the 42 centers are all part of MFA, each one has a unique name, and the centers are what resonates within their respective communities. Locally, that’s the place that has taken care of hundreds, even thousands, of their friends, family, and community members over the years.
The first step to determining how to structure the site was to conduct research to understand what MFA’s different audiences need and value.
To support MFA’s strategic goals for the site, the research focused on two key audiences: career seekers and prospective patients and their families. Not surprisingly, the results showed that what these audiences value is very different.
For career seekers, the research showed that they were very interested in being part of a larger company that offers resources and support.
On the patient side, we heard a different message. Corporations made them a little uneasy, and they liked a more local feeling.
So how do you convey that you are a corporation with all of the benefits that provides and, at the same time, create a strong web presence and identity for each local center?
On the previous sites, MFA was more hidden, just a link at the bottom of the page. But because of the structure we wanted to move towards, with one website instead of 43 individual websites, the MFA team had to make some big decisions about their branding.
The centers are the public face of MFA. They focus on providing excellent care and customer service.
“Our centers are the star of the show. They are the ones who are on the front lines taking care of people and helping people, getting people back to health, and truly, making miracles happen,” Erika commented.
Because patient care is paramount at the centers, NewCity researched the patient experience. Our team visited multiple centers and conducted numerous patient interviews, both in person and on the phone.
“We talked with them about how they found out about the center, what questions they had when they were looking for health and rehab, and tried to understand their experience,” said NewCity’s Director of User Experience Melissa Beaver.
She also did user testing with long-term-care and short-term-care patients.
“We also talked to caregivers — the family members of loved ones who were in care. The caregivers had researched the options, and many of them had been through experiences with multiple facilities,” Melissa said.
We also found that tours of the centers are very important. Even when people can find the information they need about a center on the website, they want to see it in person — which makes complete sense. So we emphasized making it easy to schedule a tour and ensured that MFA could track conversions for the number of tours scheduled.
Rather than all the centers being a straight copy of each other, it was important to identify the patterns of what makes a center different without having to reinvent an entire center homepage.
“It was really understanding what was common at the centers and understanding the unique elements, then creating patterns that a team of two people can effectively use to manage the sites,” said Melissa. “That was always front of mind for this particular project — even more so than any other project I’ve worked on.”
Another distinct feature of the site is the “Services” section that helps to identify the various conditions rehabilitation services are available for at the centers. The feature was added following keyword research, where we saw a lot of searching around in their markets looking for specific conditions. This turned out to be a win-win decision.
From the user experience perspective, visitors can easily find information about specific challenges that they or a loved one might be facing. From a data perspective, with landing pages for specific conditions, MFA is able to drill down on the what conditions are bringing people to the website.
The “Services” pages, such as stroke care or cardiac care, are shared across the centers; however, the page behavior adapts to how visitors enter.
For visitors who originated on a particular center’s page and click through to one of the specific conditions, that service page will still show the center where the visit originated. But, for those who may Google “Stroke Care” and land directly on that page, the focus changes to locating an MFA center that provides care for that condition.
“That’s been a game changer for us. Not only from a search perspective, because keywords are embedded in those landing pages, so we’re again targeting an audience that‘s right for us, but also, when we’re looking at the data, we’re able to understand the users to our page,” Pam explained. “We made a lot of assumptions in the past. Now we’re able to more confidently say what health condition someone may have when they come to our site. The research we did on the front end of the project really paid off for us because we were able to create something that really gave us data about our users.”