2013 Health Care Report Graphic

Websites as Critical Information Distribution Models

March 1, 2013

Staff HispanicBusiness.com

Obamacare is not only changing the rules for hundreds of millions of Americans and the companies they turn to for health-care coverage, it is changing the way patients and providers interact. Paramount to these changes are websites that offer the general public and health-care professionals information and resources about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Needed Edge

A well-conceived website can give an organization the edge it seeks in today’s ultra-competitive business environment. Although the for-profit and nonprofit organizations in this feature were selected by HispanTelligence based on their total expenditures or revenues, their websites play crucial roles in how they reach Hispanic communities.

All of the organizations featured in the 2013 Top 10 Health Care Organizations are reaching out to the middle class to educate the public and provide useful information about their services. Seven of the organizations have a social media presence on places
like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Others use newsletters or videos to communicate with
clients and employees.

Acacia Acacia Network's website is a valuable tool for its more than 1,500 employees.

“It is crucial for a health-care organization to have a fully functioning website,” said Sarai Narvaez, director of contracts, grants and special projects at Acacia Network in New York. “Our website is part of our strategic goal to promote our brand, retail to key stakeholders and actively engage the community through social media.”

Acacia is a health and social services nonprofit with $96 million in expenditures and a client base that is about two-thirds Hispanic. The first phase of its website, launched a year ago, cost $50,000 and took six months to complete, according to Ms. Narvaez. The next phase entails upgrading the patient-portal page to allow clients to make appointments and manage their prescriptions. Acacia’s website will also provide an information platform for doctors to write on such topics as seasonal illnesses.

Most of Acacia’s existing website visitors are its more than 1,500 employees, who frequent the site to interact with co-workers, post questions, obtain HR forms and view the internal events calendar.

Access to Information

The Web offers similar intranet capabilities at InGenesis Inc. A health-care professional recruitment and management company, InGenesis specializes in human resource solutions for government agencies and large institutions such as the Mayo Clinic. Through its secure website, employees can access operating information, work schedules and personnel-related documents.

InGenesis InGenesis Inc. will be rolling out a new website in the coming months due to growth.

InGenesis, which has $57.3 million in revenue, uses its website to reach the estimated 1,600 physicians, nurses, medical technicians and other health-care professionals it employs.

“We have a separate portal for our clients,” said InGenesis CEO Veronica Edwards, who noted that the company’s website is undergoing a redesign to simplify its message and provide high-level resources.

“With growth (come) new products and services that we are able to extend to our clients and employees,” Ms. Edwards said of the planned redesign.

A Healthy Link to Social Media

As the ACA evolves, it will demand more attention from health-care providers attempting to answer questions and provide mandated services. For organizations like AltaMed Health Services Corp. in Los Angeles, the Web provides an opportunity to generate brand awareness and interact with social media platforms.

With more than $188 million in reported expenditures, AltaMed is ranked second among the Top 10 Health Care Organizations, according to HispanTelligence. About 80 percent of the nonprofit’s budget goes directly to patient care, with administration taking up less than a 0.5 percent of the organizational budget, according to Lauren Astor, corporate communications director.

Ms. Astor conveyed that building a buzz through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram is vital.

“It’s been an interesting foray for us because . . . we weren’t sure how many people were going to be online and accessing (our social media),” Ms. Astor said. “But we see it growing, for sure.”

AltaMed AltaMed uses social media to communicate with clients.

She noted that 6 percent of AltaMed’s website visitors arrive via smartphone. An estimated 82 percent of its clients are Hispanic, and the website is in English and Spanish.

At InGenesis, the company’s LinkedIn page has become a critical social media tool, said Eric Whittington, director of communications for the San Antonio-based firm.

“We post general company information and some of the positions we are working to fill,” Mr. Whittington said. “In addition, some of our recruiters have their own LinkedIn profiles and use them to connect with groups that relate to our recruitment objectives.”

Tech Support

Some health-care organizations outsource to tech companies to optimize their websites. AltaMed, which subcontracted its website development, offers clients the ability to enter a ZIP code to find the nearest clinic. The nonprofit organization anticipates additional website upgrades as the public demands more information about the ACA, said Ms. Astore.

“People will be going online to purchase their health insurance, and our patients will be getting online, so making our presence known and being visible is crucial,” she said. “We have seen studies that (show) a lot of patients who will be eligible for health care may not actually realize they are eligible, and may not enroll.”

For organizations like AltaMed, the Internet is becoming a necessity for keeping clients informed. Websites and various social media platforms that link patients and providers are now indispensable as health-care information depositories and tools for accessing medical data and scheduling appointments.

Organizations like those featured in the 2013 HispanicBusiness Health Care Report recognize the crucial function websites play as platforms for disseminating information to clients.

At the end of the day, the Affordable Care Act is all about accessibility. As Ms. Astore said: “Our mission is that people access quality care.”

Research by HispanTelligence.

Top 10 Health-Care Organizations: A Snapshot

Source: HispanicBusiness.com (c) 2013. All rights reserved.

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