Beyond leading the way in rural healthcare, TAMC is also a shining star in the virtual community of the World Wide Web as its website recently earned its sixth honor and was the only hospital in the state to receive recognition in a national “Best in Class” list for healthcare websites.
“As a leading healthcare organization in the region, and as part of EMHS, we are always looking for innovative ways to communicate with, and engage our patients and community. We are doing innovative things on-line and in social media to help raise awareness of the breadth and depth of services we offer locally in Aroostook County,” said Joy Barresi Saucier, TAMC vice president of knowledge services.
“We are also using technology to make it easier for our patients to connect with us, such as new patient portals which provide an on-line tool for patients to view test results and access their protected health information in real time. This award, on the heels of recently being named among the top 25 ‘Most Wired’ Rural Hospitals in the nation, shows that our efforts are being recognized.”
Each year, Lighthouse Web Solutions, the company with whom TAMC as a member of the EMHS contracts for web design services, participates in a Healthcare Internet Conference where approximately 260 healthcare-related organizations nationwide receive recognition for their outstanding websites and digital communications. At a recent conference held in New Orleans, two of the event organizers, Greystone.net and Krames-StayWell, selected the TAMC website as one of the winners for their prestigious “Best in Class” awards in the category of SEO/SEM (Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing). This marks the sixth award TAMC has earned for its website, and it’s the hospital’s biggest award achievement to date.
In fact, TAMC was the only hospital in the state of Maine that won an award in any of the Best in Class categories – and its TAMC’s creative use of the internet as a communication tool in the community that earned them the recognition.
“TAMC does a really great job at consistently updating its social media outlets. That has a direct and positive impact on search engine results. So, while Lighthouse Web Solutions can take credit for developing and executing TAMC’s SEO strategy, TAMC’s fantastic use of social media does a tremendous job of impacting results in the search engines. It’s really an example of how we work together to deliver great results for TAMC,” explained Lighthouse Web Solutions Chief Operating Officer Garth Cormier.
“TAMC has been using social media heavily in recent years, utilizing Facebook and Twitter to engage with our patients and community at large. To date Facebook has been our platform of choice, and we have seen a steady climb in our “Likes” over the past five months from 1,800 to now 2,359. Combining our website with social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter has allowed us to further share the pertinent healthcare information found on our web site with our patients on a more personal level,” said TAMC Communication Assistant Natalie St. Pierre, who handles the organizations social media postings.
The role of websites in the world of healthcare is changing to meet the needs of a more internet savvy population. Lighthouse Web Solutions, who works with more than 40 healthcare institutions across the country, has held a front row seat to the changing landscape of healthcare websites.
“Historically, websites served more of a marketing function in the overall business plan and took a back seat to engagement. Now, we are seeing a dedicated focus on engaging the patient at every step of the healthcare continuum and truly empowering them as agents in their own health. Websites are a fantastic way for hospitals and health systems to create awareness, engage patients and families, and ultimately create partnerships that strive to improve health and ensure positive outcomes,” said Cormier.
To keep the TAMC site useful to visitors requires vigilance and attention to detail. The hospital must stay on top of any new healthcare legislation, especially given its rural location. Having a website that patients can turn to for information is crucial as the website becomes the hospital’s first line of communication to an extensive and widespread online audience.
“What I think sets TAMC and other EMHS member hospitals apart is their unique ability to proactively position their resources very quickly to ensure access to the right care, at the right time, and in the right place,” said Cormier.
TAMC works closely with their web designers at LWS to keep ahead of the changing landscape of healthcare in Maine.
“TAMC does a great job of proactively positioning themselves to meet those changes. I don’t think a week goes by that we’re not on the phone with them collaborating and discussing how we can advance their mission. We are able to share solutions we’ve developed, work together to create new solutions, and all within the lens of innovation,” said Cormier.
TAMC plans to continue forging their way into the future by taking advantage of advancing technology and using it as a tool to improve their services and communications.
“Based on some of the projects that we are currently working on, I can tell you that 2014 is going to be a very exciting time for TAMC and EMHS. Both organizations are truly ahead of the curve in delivering care in a rural setting. We at Lighthouse Web Solutions are pleased to be a part of it.”
The public can visit the TAMC website at www.tamc.org where they can find valuable information about everything from the services the healthcare institution provides to directions and career opportunities, and a variety of useful tools, such as online bill pay, free care assistance information, and an internal email system that allows you to email a patient at TAMC.