Improving the Patient Experience with Online Healthcare Support Networking

Sharp Healthcare and University of Iowa Children’s Hospital are among hundreds of facilities partnering with patient-centered websites to improve patient experience.

Online PR News – 14-February-2011 – – A growing number of hospitals are improving the patient experience by partnering with, a site that allows their patients to establish a web page about their health journey to share with friends and family. Though the site is far from new, it’s recently made gains, with more than 625 facilities in the U.S. and Canada now offer their patients free access.

“It’s the ability to connect users going through the same experiences that makes Care Pages different from popular sites like Caring Bridge,” says Jamie Verkamp, partner at (e)Merge, a medical growth consulting firm specializing in providing innovative, patient-centric marketing initiatives. “Chat forums and search tools make it simple to find people who are dealing with the same health issues if they choose to be public.”

Tami Pollari, director of patient and family-centered services at University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, helped implement Care Pages for their patients back in 2004. “When children are sick, there’s a lot of community support. We knew with the electronic age moving forward, we wanted to provide a tool for our families to connect with their supporters. We chose Care Pages because they are a trusted brand. The site also allows families to provide feedback on our staff and services through the compliment feature. Unlike other healthcare support networking, they were the first to provide to hospitals data about the experience people had and what types of patients were using the site. It tells us a lot about the support needs of our patient population.”

At University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, a floor host helps promote the service by introducing it to new inpatients, who also have access to free hospital-wide wifi and a laptop checkout system through the family resource center. “We weren’t sure if the social media explosion would take away from Care Pages, but most parents still use it, connecting their child’s care page to their Facebook,” says Pollari.

Kelly Faley, director of web strategies at Sharp Healthcare, says their patients have been enthusiastic and excited about the site too. “As part of The Sharp Experience, we continually strive to improve the patient experience and patient-centered care at all of our hospitals and facilities. CarePages is just another service to enable us to broaden The Sharp Experience and our Sharp culture of caring.”