Perkins County Health Services Success Story
Nestled in the southwest corner of Nebraska near the Colorado border, Perkins County Health Services (PCHS) is a county-owned health network consisting of 1 hospital, 2 family practice clinics, a specialty clinic, a nursing home and assisted living facility, and a daycare facility. 15 physicians and mid-levels service PCHS along with several visiting specialty clinic providers. PCHS has approximately 250 employees servicing a 100-mile radius due to their patient care reputation.
“In fiscal year 2018 we started seeing several issues with our SharePoint intranet. We experienced several security issues and outdated software. We knew we needed to look at SharePoint Server so we decided to look at other intranet vendors,” said PCHS VP Information Technology, Jennifer Baumgartner.
By July 2019, PCHS signed an agreement with OnSemble. In February 2020, the servers were up and running so they started the build. Then COVID-19 hit. As a healthcare provider, PCHS was right in the middle of the pandemic. They had staff members in quarantine and several remote workers and departments in lockdown. COVID-19 may have slowed down the implementation, but it didn’t stop them from going live in 6 months.
“Our goal was to have a well-organized, employee-focused and up-to-date look and feel for our facility. We set off our project by having a focus group come up with a name our intranet: The Hot Spot. So, The Hot Spot was born,” said Baumgartner.
The team had fun developing the various pages they originally had with SharePoint and adding many more. They created a picture carousel showing facility announcements, introducing new employees to the growing team and even brought back the Weather widget which was lost with SharePoint.
Old SharePoint homepage (above) and new OnSemble homepage (below)
The implementation team were inspired by best practices and examples shared by OnSemble customers in the OnSemble User Community, Spark. Several OnSemble clients shared great ideas that were added to the PCHS intranet. One such idea was the employee hub: the previous employee hub was uninviting to both new and current staff. The new employee hub showcases the members of PCHS HR and payroll team. It now displays employee benefit information in a visually pleasing way.
As a HIPAA-covered entity, one of PCHS requirements is to offer anonymous complaint reporting. They used the Voice Your Concerns module to enable internal complaints. PCHS HIPAA committee members are now notified when one is submitted by any staff member.
“Our previous Policies and Procedures page was dull and boring. It looked like a network drive and completely unsearchable. We added pictures throughout The Hot Spot that portrayed our rural community and organized our documents in a more pleasing, organized way,” said Baumgartner.
The SWAG Store was another great idea inspired by a best practice award winner (Bestie) from a previous OnSemble User Conference. Since PCHS is a rural facility, the staff wear several different hats. One dietician currently collects all the orders for our PCHS-logo clothing, submits them to the clothing vendor, collects payment and distributes the orders. With the Help Desk module, staff can submit their orders and the dietician can now export a report that she can send to the vendor to submit the order. She can track payments and view order history including cancelled orders.
PCHS also uses the iView Island to display the clothing vendor’s web page next to the Help Desk order submission form for easier reference when placing an order. In the PCHS Swag store, they also have a PCHS-sponsored disease awareness swag store in which a radiology technician manages these orders. The Help Desk module has helped her and the dietician be more efficient in overseeing these orders on top of their already busy work schedules.
Another HELP DESK item created was a way to collect and display operating room, scope room and anesthesia procedure logs. The team created a place for data entry and a place to view the logs in full via submitted Help Desk requests. These logs are required for licensure and must be produced during any audits. Medical Records also can view the logs so they can track pathology reports and assist with peer reviews. The surgery technicians click on one of the data entry buttons and enter the information that needs to be collected.
“Our nursing home has seen the hardest effects of COVID-19. We decided we needed to proceed with going live with The Hot Spot even when they were not able to focus on this change. We created buttons that linked to their old SharePoint pages so as to not upset their current workflow with a major change during this pandemic,” stated Baumgartner.
Several of the department pages have frequently accessed URL buttons. These buttons are a great way to keep current and new employees up to date.
One item PCHS Network Security Administrator Dee Dee Dunlap needed was a tool to track security vulnerabilities. The HELP DESK module gave her a perfect tool to make this happen.
Overall, PCHS is quite pleased with the OnSemble intranet implementation of The Hot Spot. They had a successful rollout during a very chaotic year. And despite the chaos, the team actually had fun with the implementation because OnSemble is so easy to use. They were nominated for a Bestie Award in the fall of 2020 by Courtney Felt, OnSemble implementation manager and presented a webinar on their implementation. They are happy to share what they’ve done in healthcare with other customers via the OnSemble Spark community.
“We are quite pleased with our OnSemble Intranet. We had a successful rollout during a very chaotic year. It has helped us improve employee efficiency and communication on everything from policies and procedures and audit logs to our SWAG store,” stated Baumgartner.
“OnSemble has helped us streamline, standardize and centralize everything,” said Dunlap. PCHS can now include the percentage of staff with no computer access to view general content on The Hot Spot using “all staff” permissions via a shared computer also serving as the time clock kiosk.
And the PCHS Swag Store has seen a large increase in orders for specialty shirts – from 50 to over 200 for some styles!
The implementation team is now helping the other departments add pages. They are also adding a large video library for the nursing home group to use for training purposes.
“I love that we can build visually pleasing pages without the need for a designer. OnSemble is so easy to use. It is easy to build new sections, to see granular security, and to maintain the content overall. It’s more versatile than we imagined.” – Dunlap.
When asked what words of wisdom they’d like to share with new customers, Baumgartner offered:
- Go to the Spark Community right away and get involved. Benefit from the out of the box thinking and best practices other customers share. Remember you don’t have to recreate the wheel.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask how others have solved for “X”. The OnSemble Spark Community is very active, helpful and willing to share ideas and examples.
- Don’t worry about your theme early on; you can get distracted. Focus on building your pages; the theme will evolve.