Rebuild, restructured and redesigned public health website Thuisarts

The case
Together with The Dutch Federation of General Practitioners (NHG), One Shoe completely rebuild, restructured and redesigned the health platform to update the User Experience, design and technical features to 2017 standards. The new Thuisarts has a better site structure, user workflow, is more user-friendly and thanks to Drupal 8 it is now even easier to manage the massive amount of content.
Project description
Starting from the vision that well-informed patients make a better assessment on the need to visit a doctor, Thuisarts provides evidence-based, reliable and understandable medical information to the public.

Our purpose for the rebuild was to make Thuisarts even more accessible and more user-friendly for both the visitors and the editors using insights from 5 years Google Analytics data. As SEO and user-friendly content management were of the utmost importance, One Shoe and NHG chose to renew the CMS of the website with the use of Drupal 8.

Restructuring the website navigation for better usability
The aim for the rebuild was to provide the visitor a shorter navigation path and help them find the information they're most after. Topics like 'stomach ache' and situations like 'I have stomach ache' are the core of Thuisarts. Based on 5 years’ analytics data, we saw that the vast majority of visitors visit the site via Google (80%), followed by visitors who directly approach the URL (17%). Most visitors end up directly on content pages. This has a big impact on the page views and a new setup of the navigation. We now let the visitor make a choice for a situation as quickly as possible.

Redesigning the website for better user experience
This also has impact on the redesign of the website: from the principle of accessibility and simplicity, the design is very clean. We paid lots of attention to screen readability: a lot of white space, a modern look and different font-weights create hierarchy of information. The focus is on the content. The less distraction, the better. The real content follows the situation page.

Why Drupal: We chose Drupal because it is perfectly suited to present and manage a large amount of content in a user-friendly way. In the past 5 years, Drupal provided both excellent search engine indexing, and Drupal provides an user-friendly workflow for medical writers and GP’s to continuously create, review, edit and publish medical content on Thuisarts.

We are the digital partner of Thuisarts and NHG since 2012. We are very proud of that, because never before a website has had such a big impact on Dutch healthcare. The site has resulted in fewer phone calls and visits to the practice, and it reduced GP visits by 12%, that's 8 million less visits in the Netherlands according to a study published in British Medical Journal. In this way, we ensure that GPs can spend their time more efficiently. That is to give meaning to your work!
Thuisarts is the most popular health website in the Netherlands (Website of the Year Award 2016) and -with more than 4 million unique page views per month- also one of the most visited Dutch healthcare websites thanks to its very good technical and SEO performance. Launching the new website without losing a significant portion of traffic was going to be a difficult task. Especially as 80% of total visits comes from search engines. That’s why content migration of Thuisarts was one of the main technical challenges. Content on the website is based on medical guidelines developed by NHG, and includes medical information and patient education such as illustrations, short videos, patient decision aids and ehealth self-management tools. There was a migrate module available, but it was not 100% compatable so we developed a lot of custom. In addition, we have also written many patches for the migrate module and returned to the community.

We also developed web services to connect external parties with Thuisarts. One of those web services is to feed the mobile app. Another web service can be used to provide waiting room screens with Thuisarts information, for example.

Another big challenge was bringing the rather complex administration workflow from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8. Although Drupal 8 has its own workflow in core, during the construction of Thuisarts it was still 'experimental', it contained a number of bugs and its operation did not meet the wishes of the customer. We did not use the standard workflow but developed a lot of it custom.
Community contributions