With more than 40,000 pages upgraded, UF&Shands launches new, improved website
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center, heightened its presence on the Web today, launching a new patient-centric site that serves as a comprehensive source of information about medical conditions, clinical research studies, health care providers and other important health topics.
UFandShands.org officially replaces the Shands.org and the UF Health Science Center’s health.ufl.edu domains. In addition to topics of interest to patients, the new website focuses heavily on the research, teaching and community service missions of UF&Shands. As such, the move reflects the continued integration of UF&Shands as the University of Florida Academic Health Center.
“We are thrilled to launch UFandShands.org as our interactive web presence,” said Dr. David S. Guzick, senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF&Shands. “It is a place for patients to learn about the latest health care advances and how to access our faculty and facilities, for students to learn about curricula and opportunities in our six Health Science Center colleges, for investigators to learn about the research of our faculty, and for the population in general to learn about our community outreach. And it’s now done with a platform that is much more intuitive and interactive.”
The home page allows users to navigate the vast amount of information available on UF&Shands clinical and academic websites in Gainesville and Jacksonville, while providing a distinct online identity.
“Our goal was to present a friendly and informative site to our patients, visitors and students, ultimately creating a better tool for faculty and staff,” said Kari Cassel, UF&Shands chief information officer. “We want to present a great face to the public, where people can find the resources they need and clearly see we are one institution.”
Cassel, with Chief Communications Officer Melanie Ross and Senior Director of Strategic Communications Wanda English, led the web initiative with the input and effort of faculty members, patients, students, administrators and caregivers.
The process was fueled by visioning sessions and sharpened by meetings with faculty and clinical staff, and resulted in the creation of a highly skilled team led by Carlos Morales, assistant director of web services, to provide support and guidance to users.
The theory behind the website can be summarized in two words: making connections, Ross said. From viewing a single health topic page, users can easily link to information in a variety of categories.
For example, the site includes a “Find a Doctor” feature for patients to identify a health care provider by name, specialty, location, gender or even language spoken; a directory of locations for people who want to find care close to home; maps; a health encyclopedia fortified by the expertise of UF faculty; a database of ongoing research studies; a calendar that supports patient and academic events; and videos, news articles, patient testimonials and more.
“It’s easy to take this concept for granted, as it’s the underlying theory of the web, but it is often forgotten by large organizations, and many fail to connect basic components of their own websites. What’s left is a disjointed maze of information that no one can actually navigate,” Ross said.
“UFandShands.org strives to connect our users more easily to the relevant information they’re seeking. If someone is researching information about a disease or condition, why not illuminate their path so they can discover where they can receive care, how our care is unique from other organizations, who in our organization can provide that care for them and whether we’re conducting any related research studies?”
At this point, 40,000 web pages have been upgraded and more will follow. The site also includes Facebook, Twitter and other social media to encourage conversations and connectivity.
“This will keep our patients’ needs at the forefront of everything that we do,” Guzick said.
To view a video tutorial of the new site, link to https://ufandshands.org/discover-your-new-website-ufandshandsorg. In addition, patients seeking information about care at UF&Shands can call a new toll-free number, 1-855-4UF-SHANDS (1-855-483-7426).
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