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April 6, 2021

Launching a post-merger intranet: Learnings from Prisma Health


Summary: Executive buy-in, having the right ownership, and tracking the right metrics are all key to launching a successful new intranet.

When the merger of two large healthcare organizations (each with their own intranet) created Prisma Health, the company had a decision to make: stick with the off-the-shelf intranet one of the companies brought to the table or go with a custom-built solution. In the end, the decision was a no brainer. Their specific needs as a large healthcare system (approximately 32,000 employees) meant a custom solution was the best way forward. 

We sat down with Richard Baldwin, Manager of Digital Engagement Services at Prisma, for a retrospective on the project from inception to launch. His three takeaways? Get the right executive buy-in, take a communications-centered approach, and know how you're going to measure success.

It all starts at the top

Executive buy-in is crucial to a successful intranet launch. Getting early sign-off from all stakeholders at the beginning helps ensure a smooth process. Communications, information technology (IT) and information security leadership should all be at the table from the get-go. Security is particularly important for healthcare systems because sensitive information is often stored and shared internally. Additionally, silent stakeholders, such as nurses, physicians and campus leadership, need to be aware of how their content will be packaged, where it will live and how it will be disseminated. 

Take a communications-centered approach

Intranets are often seen as file servers relegated to the IT department as technical repositories of data and documents. The communications piece can get left behind. But for Prisma, better communication was the whole point. With more remote workers than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization needed a way to "inform, inspire and uplift" its employees, as well as create a renewed sense of community post-merger.

Understand the metrics for success

Prisma can now easily measure internal engagement through website hits, content clicks and article consumption. If employees are consuming content, they are engaged. It’s that simple. But there is another important way to measure the success of an intranet that isn’t exactly a metric. Post-launch, you shouldn’t have to invest a lot of money, time and resources into internal communications or employees getting what they need (files, templates, access to critical tools, etc.). Basically, if operations are running smoothly, the intranet is doing its job. 

Prisma’s new intranet has also eliminated a lot of rework for its communications team. Standardized templates and workflows keep communication consistent, and employees can further customize web content with minimal technical support using custom tools.

Screenshot of Prisma Health's new intranet, Connect.

Prisma's new intranet is simple for their staff and content editors to use.

Working with a full-service digital agency helps

For a large healthcare system like Prisma Health, launching a post-merger intranet was a significant investment, and the decision to go with a custom-built solution is paying off. The resulting intranet is more engaging and user-centered. The proof is in the metrics. Since launch, they have achieved:

  • 110% increase in average session duration
  • 129% increase in number of sessions per user

While there are advantages to out-of-the box solutions that can be implemented by your own IT department, they will likely not be purpose-built to your audience's needs. This is where having a custom-built solution, designed and implemented by a knowledgeable digital agency will make the difference in a tool your team uses every day. After all, your own team is an important audience for your brand.