SickKids Hospital SharePoint Portal with Custom Extranet

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"I Envision... a portal that will allow us to communicate with our stakeholders, and that will grow into an online community.”

The Client

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada's most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children's health in the country. As innovators in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care, research and teaching. In January, 2007 the Prime Minister announced a Wait Time Guarantee pilot project for children in need of surgery. The project included development of the first pan-Canadian information system to measure the burden of wait times for children who need surgery and a recourse plan for children whose surgical wait times fall beyond clinical access guidelines.

“Many children do not receive the care they need in a timely manner,” Prime Minister Harper said. “Too often, they hear the words that haunt the entire Canadian healthcare system: ‘Sorry, you’ll just have to wait.' As a parent, I know there’s nothing more heart-wrenching than seeing a child suffer,” said the Prime Minister. “Because they’re Canada’s future, our children deserve the best medical care possible delivered as promptly as possible.”

The initial focus of the project was on six key surgical areas: cardiac, cancer, neurology, sight, spinal deformity, and dental treatment requiring anesthesia. Within one year, one of these areas would be chosen to test the guarantee and recourse plan. This project was conducted in partnership with Canada’s 16 pediatric academic health science centres under the leadership of the Pediatric Surgical Chiefs of Canada and The Hospital for Sick Children.

Home Page - The National Paediatric Surgical Wait Time Project

The Solution

Under a stringent timeline, Envision IT deployed Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 as a portal for the project. This provided the ability for the staff at all 16 member hospitals to collaborate together and exchange documents and information. After thoroughly researching the Hospital’s goals and the project’s scope, as well as end-user requirements, hardware requirements and the requisite security architecture to ensure safe data transmission, Envision IT crafted and implemented an Office SharePoint Server 2007-based Extranet Solution. Envision IT realized that the Hospital needed a system that would be easy to administer, user friendly for team members, all while sustaining relatively low IT maintenance costs. Within weeks the Wait Time Guarantee project had addressed this critical technology challenge.

The Envision IT Extranet User Manager is an add-on to Microsoft SharePoint 2007. Integrated directly into SharePoint, it allows the easy creation of user accounts and security groups to provide access to SharePoint. Management of groups can be delegated to power users outside of IT, and individual users have the ability to self-register if desired, and update their own profile information. Password management is also provided, including password change functionality from within SharePoint, as well as lost password retrieval through secure email tokens. ISA 2006 integration is also provided for using HTML forms-based authentication.

SharePoint does not allow anyone who does not have Admin rights to manage users out-of-the-box. Thanks to the administration features that Envision IT developed, the project’s administrators (not the IT group) can add and remove users to and from the system easily, and it is simple to set the information-access privileges for strong data protection. This means administrative tasks are dealt with quickly, and there are no management bottlenecks hindering the project. There are no IT-department hurdles either, because many of the administration tasks were designed for the non-technical administrators to manage. Additionally the Envision IT Extranet User Manager included a self-serve password-retrieval module that would let users manage their authentication credentials without calling on the Hospital’s IT staff for help.

The Results

The success of the Wait Time Guarantee pilot project has hinged largely on the platform that Envision IT deployed. Immediately visible results include:

  • Effective collaboration and sharing of ideas among users
  • Secure site access for users and groups
  • Self-serve retrieval of lost usernames and password resets
  • Easy setup and management of Extranet users
  • Secure, private document libraries for each research hospital
  • A website that can grow with the demands of the project

“A rich document management system would be of value for the doctors and nurses here the same way it has been of value for the clinicians involved in the project,” said Daniela Crivianu-Gaita, CIO, Hospital for Sick Children. “We’ve heard nothing but good things from the users of that system. They feel more productive, and the technology really helps them contribute to solving the wait-time challenge.”

The platform has proven so useful for document management, information dissemination, data collection and scrutiny that Health Canada requested the portal project be extended another 21 months and more users be added.

Award-Winning Solution

Microsoft IMPACT Awards CDN Channel Elite Awards SickKids affiliates

Envision IT was selected as a finalist in the Information Worker Category of the 2007 Microsoft Partner Program IMPACT Awards for it’s SharePoint Extranet Solution developed for the Hospital for Sick Children. Envision IT was also selected as a Bronze Winner at the 2008 CDN Channel Elite Awards, best Mid-Market Solution Category.

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