Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network

Putting patients first

Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network (ESPCN) is a not-for-profit, comprehensive health organization, and the first of its kind in Alberta. They provide Edmontonians with health services of all kinds—from physicians to specialized therapists to social workers. The ESPCN itself has an extensive staff under its umbrella, and is also a part of the larger PCN system in Alberta.

Healthcare from anywhere

Healthcare organizations have never been more important. But accessing the care you need can be challenging, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed. That’s where ESPCN comes in. They are part of the larger Primary Care Network that focuses on holistic care—connecting Albertans with relevant healthcare professionals, resources, and workshops—that makes it easy to find the care you need. Kobot wanted to take the online component of this organization and make it straightforward and empowering for users.

  • The Challenge Isolating distinct audiences presents a unique challenge for healthcare organizations. When looking at who they’re communicating to, it includes any and all of us! When strategizing, we try to steer clear of using terms like “the general public,” but in instances like this it is actually applicable. So how do you make a website that works well for everyone?
  • The Solution During our discovery workshop, we decided to focus on the subsection of patient demographics who actually use websites for information (vs. calling or going in person). What kind of information would they be looking for? What kind of information do clinicians access on behalf of patients most often? From there, we also looked at the flip side of that—thinking about what they don’t need and how to clear unnecessary clutter from their path.
  • The Results We designed a welcoming yet professional website that gets visitors right into the flow of information. The most important public-facing functions are front and centre on the homepage, and prioritized in the main navigation so they’re available throughout the site. Everything is laid out flat—not buried under layers of sub-navigations and labyrinthine pages.

Prioritize patient information

ESPCN made it clear to us from the very start that patients were the first concern of the organization and should consequently be the first priority of the website. The very first link in the header navigation actually links away from the site to the Alberta Find a Doctor site, which we see as a sign of total commitment to the concept of putting the patient first.

Many health organizations have similar colour palettes, stock photography, and design that can feel almost clinical. When patients arrive on this site, they see photos actually provided by the client, and a warm, welcoming colour scheme. There are icons associated with all the major callouts, which give visual cues for more accessible navigation through the site.

ESPCN isn’t an actual doctor’s office, but instead is a place where Albertans can connect with other types of healthcare professionals, so we placed ESPCN’s offerings directly in front of users when they land on the homepage. We also included a search functionality that pulls keyword results from the entire site, directing patients to precisely what they need.

Toot their horn

One challenge that ESPCN faces is communicating their unique value proposition. Despite the prevalence of PCNs in Alberta, many people may not know their doctor, dietician, or exercise specialist is actually part of the network. And ESPCN, as one of the flagship PCNs, is an even more specific case. Which brought about the creation of the “Why ESPCN?” page.

This page is an opportunity for the organization to toot its own horn—to introduce themselves, share what they do, and show off why patients should come to them. A mixture of written content was integrated with infographic information and custom icons.

It answers questions for uninitiated website visitors, and is an efficient backgrounder for ESPCN to distribute to those in the community that they want to connect with—such as media or potential partner organizations.

A rising tide lifts all boats

While the first priority was always patients, the clinicians at ESPCN also use the website quite a bit. In fact, their experience on the website was suffering from the same organizational issues as members of the public were facing.

We simplified pathways to information and standardized the placement of certain elements to make everyone’s jobs easier. For example, Resources and Workshops are both filterable by category—allowing people to narrow to their specialty and isolate any items they may want to share with patients. Staff and Physician logins are available at the top and bottom of every page. These small changes streamline the experience for those already working hard, and for the patient during appointments.

When Kobot first connected with ESPCN, they knew they needed to bring their website up-to-date. Upon further investigation, it seemed they were also suffering from an awareness problem—both of what exactly ESPCN was and the breadth of services they can offer to patients. By updating the way that information is stored, sorted, and displayed, and integrating that with a design that lets patients feel like it’s actually for them, the new ESPCN delivers on its patient-first mandate.