Categories: Patient Voice Mail, Working Together for Better Health Care
In late 2020, Interior Health began the task of re-building its public website – which receives over six million page views per year – from the ground up.
The goal was a site with a modern look and the ability to leverage the latest technology to make it easy to use. But more importantly, it had to be a person-centred website, where all elements – from the images to the content and organization – were all focused on what the public expected to see.
To achieve this goal, the project team reached out to the Patient Voices Network to create meaningful opportunities for patient partners to be involved in the work.
By mid-January 2021, 10 patient partners from across the Interior Health region had been chosen to become the project’s Public Advisory Group. This group represented much of the diversity of experience, demographics and perspectives that are seen in this vast region, covering 215 square kilometres. An additional two members of the public were also chosen to sit on the project’s steering committee. This would further ensure the decision-making process would remain accountable to the patient and public perspective.
In the early phases of the website project, patient partners participated in workshops, surveys and individual phone calls to provide input on what they wanted to see in a new health care website.
Stakeholder engagement lead Megan Kavanagh had nothing but positive things to say about the quality and range of input provided by these volunteers.
“Bill Shuttleworth, a PVN patient partner, felt strongly that it should be easy for people to book lab tests online – that feature was added to the front page of the website,” said Megan. “Olivia Levesque, another PVN patient partner, helped us tap into the expectations of young people for a modern website that leverages current technology and information searching patterns.”
As the website began to take shape, patient partners provided feedback on individual sections. They reviewed them and provided feedback on how closely these pieces reflected the person-centred focus and where changes could be considered.
“Jared Basil, a patient partner, reminded us that when it comes to creating a website that is welcoming to Indigenous people, words matter and imagery does too,” said Megan. “His guidance shaped the photo selection and content of the pages throughout the site.”
Shortly before the website was released to the public, patient partners took part in usability testing where they completed surveys and participated in 1:1 demonstrations and interviews to test out the actual website and provide final feedback.
Thanks to the energy and involvement of these patient and public members, the new Interior Health website was introduced to the public on November 16, 2021. Since that time, page views to the new website have almost doubled. And the website bounce rate – visitors who only view one page and then leave the site – has dropped by 28%, indicating that significantly more users are finding the information they are looking for.
“Public involvement made for a stronger process, project and outcome,” said Aisha Sinclair, Director of Brand and Marketing at Interior Health and website project lead. “Our public members helped to validate assumptions and key decisions in digital design, content and understanding of Interior Health services and access to them, as well as the overall user experience.”
Learn more about the Interior Health website and read interviews with public participants
“With so much information to organize and convey, it’s easy to get lost in the details,” says Megan. “Our public partners were a constant reminder to us of specific people we needed to consider. They made us accountable in a very tangible way.”
Author: Megan Kavanagh, Stakeholder Engagement Lead, Interior Health & Carol Stathers, Engagement Lead, BC Patient Safety & Quality Council