Evara Health is the fourth largest healthcare non-profit in Pinellas County, Florida, on a mission to provide quality healthcare for all, including underserved communities. This was the legacy of Dr. Johnnie Ruth Clarke, a civil rights activist and one of the first African American women to get a Ph.D., who founded the institution 40 years ago with a mission to 'serve the underserved.'
Today, Evara cares for over 60,000 patients and has 14 locations and 2 mobile health units. Service lines include community outreach services, primary care, family planning, dental, chiropractic, behavioral health, pediatrics, podiatry, nutrition, pharmacy, food pharmacy, women's health, and telehealth.
Information Flow and Communication Paralysis
Imagine having 500+ employees across 14 locations, serving 60,000+ patients, and relying only on email and spreadsheets. Sounds challenging? Ask Evara Health, and they will tell you first-hand how that scenario 'worked.'
Evara Health shared all the typical struggles of complex healthcare organizations:
- Communication roadblocks between departments
- Lack of messaging automation and information shared via email
- Document access tied to specific people listed in spreadsheets
- CEO's messages sent by the administrator
"When I joined the team, one of my first questions was if we have an Intranet. I found out we have a SharePoint set up, but soon after, I realized nobody used it. The basic version was a storage space for a few documents,"
Employees were frustrated. Worse, communication issues affected patient guidance.
For example, the chiropractic department exists at only two locations. With no central information depository, the staff in other facilities sometimes struggled to direct patients.
Reasons for Change
Limited communication, outdated spreadsheets, and missed messages created organizational barriers. Evara Health needed to change the status quo for two main reasons.
- Because this non-profit provides medical care for 60,000 patients, many of whom are underserved patients of Pinellas County who frequently don't have other healthcare alternatives. They count on Evara's support.
- Evara was growing and hiring new staff members. Organizational growth added new communication subjects and needs for more effective information-sharing and collaborating capabiilities.
"We wanted a simple-to-use intranet solution that will also enable us to update and share information without the extra technical support," Blerim Kaciu explained.
Together Towards Ambition
Evara Health turned to its long-time IT partner, Forthright Technology Partners, for help.
The decision was a no-brainer since Forthright knew their organization well, possessed a deep knowledge of the healthcare vertical, and had a track record of setting up modern, central hubs in large companies. The Forthright ShareIT Services is known to offer cutting-edge SharePoint optimization.
But, for Evara's needs, Forthright had a more ambitious vision in mind.
They planned the one-stop-shop platform for accessing files, applications, and crucial information in a beautifully designed, no-code environment, offering many options in a self-serving capacity.
Forthright knew they needed a partner proficient in building easy-to-use and code-free intranet experiences. Having worked together on other projects, Forthright reached out to BindTuning – an expert in developing outstanding intranets that users love.
"The technical abilities that BindTuning provides through their experience-rich intranets were the key. Also, our alignment and understanding between all three teams created a successful collaboration from the get-go,"
After initial meetings, the project started, and three months later, Evara modernized its internal communications with a maintenance-free Intranet solution. They call it EvaraNet.
The first step was setting up a robust SharePoint site. The new Intranet empowered employees with:
- A central hub for all applications, data, company directories, and department files.
- The go-to spot for information, company updates, managing forms, and training resources.
- An easy-to-use tool that needs no ongoing technical support.
Then, partners took the solution to the next level with the complete product suite from BindTuning:
Automate365: A component critical for department sites' standardization, providing a baseline site structure and consistency as new departments are added.
- Ensured all departments' governance and compliance
- Simplified employee onboarding, supporting Evara's growth plans
- Enabled faster, incremental Intranet development, where BindTuning's templates for standardized workspace structures serve as starting points that Forthright further customizes across sites for specific departments
Branding & Design: BindTuning helped Evara with its employer branding by creating a brand story for Evara's Intranet. It allows the workforce to differentiate sites visible to everyone and those designated for specific groups with specific colors and easy navigation.
The result was functional and visually appealing department sites that are intuitive, attractive, and updated in a few clicks.
"After the solution went live, everyone in the organization wanted to see what that looked like. The landing page counted 3,000+ visits on the first day. Compare that to the old SharePoint link that had a few visits," Blerim Kaciu added.
Web Parts Gallery: A range of BindTuning web parts combined with Microsoft 365 functionalities ensure easy configuration and management of news, people directories, documents, and more.
SharePoint + Automate365 = More Intranet, More Automation
Remember how we all used to go to the bank and wait in long lines to talk to the teller? That changed with online banking systems, providing a self-service capability for most of our financial requirements. It brought a revolution in banking.
In the same way, Evara Health revolutionized how people access information. Employees can now complete tasks without relying on specific people.
Everything is there, at their fingertips, accessible 24/7. Processes are automated and easily managed.
Thanks to Automate365 and other components, Evara's new Intranet solution comes with powerful capabilities, such as:
- The 'One-Stop-Shop' Platform: Department heads self-manage the tool, so there is no need for technical personnel to handle day-to-day operations.
- Smart Document Management: Information trapped inside department silos is reimagined with an efficient document share between sites.
- Locations Directory: Evara.net provides an easily editable directory to accommodate clinic changes.
- Improved Search: The Intranet's robust search capability made document retrieval efficient, eliminating the need to navigate through countless folders as previously required on the file server.
- CEO Corner: The new Intranet enhanced the CEO's communications and visibility within the organization.
- Employee Spotlight: The Intranet increases workplace satisfaction by highlighting employee achievements and promoting engagement.
- News Directory: The solution offers a searchable news directory with categorized news templates.
- Color-coded Calendar: The site groups cross-org events for quick reference.
- About Us Page: Employees have an overview of the company's mission, vision, and leadership information.
- Knowledge Hub: The site provides quick access to FAQs, tips and tricks, and other valuable resources.
- Image Gallery: There is also a filterable image gallery for department-specific content.
After seeing the demos, the first power users couldn't hide the excitement. Making the tool easy for everyday users was greatly appreciated.
Department leads were thrilled to learn they could upload content by themselves, find everything they needed quickly–and collaborate more successfully.
"Combining Automate365 and our Intranet library of powerful components with elements that Microsoft offers out-of-the-box, such as Power Automate and Delve, resulted in a powerful intranet experience with high functionality and world-class performance."
The first five departments are already modernized. The other 11 cannot wait for their sections to be reimagined at EvaraNet, which people cannot stop talking about–from offices and hallways to online meetings.
Not only did the intranet solution that Forthright and BindTuning jointly developed modernize Evara Health's internal communication. The new tool completely transformed its aged company culture.
Also, Evara's new Intranet helps the non-profit build a reputation as a modernized healthcare provider that empowers the workforce and communicates with patients more efficiently.
The solution's key outcomes involve:
- Redefined company culture
- Improved inter-departmental collaboration
- Better patient information
- Attracting new talents
"Seeing how the Evara Health intranet project brought the entire organization together is inspiring. In less than a year, this non-profit shifted from an ancient way of doing business to a new collaboration strategy, and they're getting noticed amongst other US healthcare centers," said Nizar Lavji.
The collaboration between Evara Health, Forthright, and BindTuning was transformative.
Together, they broke down barriers, shifted the organizational mindset, and improved patient care through enhanced communication and accessibility of information.
Besides, Evara Health's transformation from outdated practices to a leading-edge healthcare institution attracted attention within the industry and across the country.
With support from BindTuning and Forthright, Evara Health sets a new standard for healthcare communication and patient care in Pinellas County and beyond.
"Healthcare institutions like Evara have complex structures and requirements, so having a strong partner is critical for project success. We found that partner in Forthright. Not only do we complement each other's technical strengths; we share the same mindset and business ethos based on the 'stronger together' philosophy."
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