Choosing the Best CMS for a Healthcare Organization or Hospital

December 05, 2016 by Glen Doss, VP. Strategy & Business Development

Web Content Management Systems (CMS) for Healthcare

So, you’ve been tasked with choosing the best CMS for your healthcare organization. Where do you start? We’re here to help! 

Selecting a Web CMS for Healthcare

Presto! We just saved you months (maybe years) of frustration and internal debate, countless vendor white lies, some grey hairs, and helped you avoid some of the poor choices we’ve seen other organizations living unhappily with for years.

While the suggested decision model is an oversimplified view of the evaluation and decision process for selecting a CMS/WCMS, the few decision points in this model can be just as valuable as the combined evaluation criteria used by many healthcare organizations, which often take the shape of those overly complex matrixes with dozens of competing scoring factors.

Organizations can suffer from “paralysis by analysis” when using complex scoring matrixes, and ultimately end up down the rabbit hole with no clear direction. Or they struggle to effectively rank and prioritize the evaluation criteria. In one instance we encountered an organization weighting “the ability to add alt tags to images” (a given) equally with “content personalization capabilities” (a critical complex component for today’s CMS platforms). Seriously. 

The practice of using Checkbox RFPs and reliance on convoluted, misguided CMS evaluations and scoring processes is running rampant right now. Instead of being absorbed with checking boxes we recommend you choose a few products to evaluate – see a demo, review the customer base, talk to some of the existing customers, consider the partner network, determine the true cost, and pick the best CMS fit for you, based on your needs, not an arbitrary 75 item scoring matrix that often has little correlation to your actual needs.

Another important decision factor may be the comfort level you have with a particular digital agency or consulting shop (like Centretek). Agencies like us almost always have one or more preferred CMS products – and there’s some inherent bias in any CMS conversation. We do a good job of selling the benefits of Drupal (there are many); others do the same with Sitecore. Both are strong platforms. Unfortunately, many agencies favor and promote weaker options. 

Other Considerations When Choosing the Best Healthcare CMS

  1. Proprietary healthcare-specific & single vendor solutions

    There are a handful of vendors within healthcare that have had good success selling their CMS to hospitals. While they may offer some efficiency, the risks and limitations are significant; lagging technologies and feature sets, and of course – over dependence on a single company.

    The same can generally be said for proprietary non healthcare-specific WCM products supported by a single company or agency (i.e., products without an extensive partner network). The single-vendor, industry-specific CMS approach is more prominent in healthcare than almost any other industry.

    We simply don’t believe in this model or approach. The larger, top-ranked hospitals and healthcare systems (generally with well-informed digital teams) seem to agree, and steer clear of these types of products.

  2. Healthcare Footprint

    All of the WCMS listed in this diagram have their strengths and weaknesses, and each has a strong portfolio of healthcare organizations using their product (Sitecore and Drupal have the most impressive healthcare customer lists). Having a Healthcare customer base is part of the criteria in choosing the WCM products included in this decision tree.

  3. Industry Research

    Most of these WCMS options appear on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant – an annual industry research report that ranks the top WCM products. While Kentico and DNN are not included, this factor alone should not discourage you from evaluating these products; they ultimately may meet your business goals. Alternatively, there are some WCM products included in the Magic Quadrant that we would steer clear of – and as such are not included in these recommended products.

    Gartner top WCMS

    Sitecore, Adobe and Drupal/Acquia are grouped as the three leaders.

    <UPDATED TO INCLUDE FORRESTER'S LATEST RESEARCH>
    Forrester Research publishes a similar report - The Forrester Wave. Adobe and Acquia/Drupal are positioned as leaders.

    Web Content Management selection for health care

  4. Integrated Platforms

    Another key decision factor is whether your organization wants an integrated WCM + Digital Experience Platform/Cloud product offering. Adobe, Sitecore, Sitefinity, and Drupal/Acquia, all provide this integrated approach.

 

Sample Healthcare Websites Using These WCM Products

Drupal * 

  • Northwestern Medicine
  • Duke Medicine
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Full list of hospitals using Drupal

Sitecore

  • Mayo Clinic
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Penn Medicine
  • UC Irvine Health
  • University of Maryland Medical System

Sitefinity *

  • Tenet Health
  • Beaumont Health
  • Baptist Health System
  • OU Medicine

WordPress *

  • Cleveland Clinic HealthHub
  • Johns Hopkins Blogs
  • Brattleboro Memorial Hospital
  • UConn Health
  • Keck Medicine of USC

Adobe Experience Manager

  • Stanford Health Care
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center

Epi (Episerver)

  • NorthShore University Health System
  • Trillium Health Resources
  • American Hospital Association

Kentico

  • Mass General Cancer Center
  • Garden City Hospital
  • Springhill Medical Center
  • Good Shepherd Health System

DNN

  • BJC Health Care
  • Novant Health
  • Thompson Health,
  • University of Louisville Hospital

 * Our preferred WCM platforms

In the market for a new CMS? Need help rethinking your digital footprint, and measuring and improving ROI? We’d love to help. 

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