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Case Study: Steward Health Care

What Would the Patient Want?

Case Study: Steward Health Care

Steward Health Care is a community-based organization with 10 hospital campuses, 24 affiliated urgent care providers, 17,000 employees and over 4M patient encounters a year.

And they had a problem: Steward.com, and all of its affiliated websites were not meeting the needs of patients. These sites were on aging infrastructure, designed in a pre-smartphone era and contained over 19,000 pages of content.

The Challenge

When Brian Carty, chief marketing officer at Steward Health Care, turned his attention to a new digital experience, he had lofty aspirations. He wanted Steward to have the best customer experience in healthcare. He looked to leading consumer brands like Amazon, Netflix and USAA when seeking inspiration for a new Steward.org. He wanted to welcome consumers (patients) into the site and offer them a streamlined experience that allowed them to meet their needs quickly and easily. But first he needed to understand what those needs were.

The team at Steward enlisted the help of digital agency Hatch 130 to figure out the ‘what’. Through a combination of site analytics, patient interviews and stakeholder meetings, their fears were confirmed: not only was the user experience poor, but the vast majority of content (89%) was almost never looked at. The old websites had become a ‘kitchen sink’ for physician content, special interest groups and hospital administrators. Any change to the site involved a costly 3rd party, and delivering a personalized experience was out of the question. It was time to start over.

Using the data gathered during the research phase, Steward and Hatch were able to put focus and guardrails around their new approach to digital consisting of four key goals:


  • Keep patients in-network for all services they need 

  • Use the new site as a resource for patients as well as doctors, nurses and other providers to find what their patients need and make in-network referrals 


  • Connect with people who live in communities where hospitals/ physicians are located.
  • Position Steward as accessible and knowledgeable.


  • The model is based on providing a whole range of health care services in an integrated way 

  • This process is innovative in the space, ahead of the curve 

  • Explain a complicated process simply: infographics and motion graphics 


  • Initiate and continue conversation and dialogue
  • Personalized content
  • Mobile-first approach

The Solution

First, Steward needed a new infrastructure that would allow them to update and manage content easily on their own, while also allowing them to realize their long-term goal of delivering a personalized experience to every visitor. With the help of Hatch 130, Steward chose Acquia as the technology partner to provide that underlying infrastructure.

At the onset of the project, Hatch examined Steward’s old site performance and analytics and then used this hard data insight into their audience’s online behavior to explain to internal stakeholders what mattered most to their patients. Data drove the entire project—all decisions were made based on hard metrics
and research. After surveying 2,000 patients and staff, Steward and Hatch created a platform that spoke to what the consumers actually wanted.

Content Streamlining
The team first eliminated all unnecessary content pages to streamline the experience and enhance the value of the remaining content and restructured it to be patient-centric. At each piece of content, they asked themselves what the patient was looking for.

Video Content
Video content was also a major incorporation into the new site. With the increase of mobile users, video content displayed in short, simple motion graphics would effectively deliver messaging in an easy to understand way.

Mobile Friendly
The websites were also redesigned to be mobile friendly. At the time of the initial analysis, 30% of Steward’s traffic was coming from mobile devices, and today, mobile is increasingly becoming the primary access many people have
to the internet.

Unique Features
New tools were put in place to uniquely engage patients. The custom response “dial pad” tool on the home page asks user what it is they
are looking for - and gives it to them quickly. Hatch also implemented tools available within Drupal and Acquia’s ecosystem to learn more about users behavior on the site, and serve up personalized content based on their interactions and history on the site.

The Results

Steward is now leading a new front—pioneering a “patient-user experience” to meet the highest of commercial standards, and the analytics data backs that up.

Steward is thrilled at the results of their redesign, but they’re just getting started. They have recently implemented Acquia Lift -- Acquia’s personalization tool -- and are well on their way to providing patients with the right content at the right time on any device.

The Future

Going forward, Steward is committed to applying research and data for all future digital decisions and projects. Using the content hub capabilities offered by Acquia, Steward has also adopted an approach to content governance to ensure their sites remain patient-focused and not over-cluttered with irrelevant or out-of-date information. With the new launch, now the digital team is focused on improving the transactional features on the sites with projects underway to improve functions such as:.

  • Booking an appointment should mirror a patient’s experience with online commerce.
  • Marketing automation will be introduced to nurture online visitors
  • Customer service will be made more accessible using digital mediums
  • Experiences will be personalized even more so every consumer is presented with information based on what they want and need, when they need it.

Company Information

Steward Health Care
17,000 employees
Acquia Customer Since 2015
Success Enabled With
  • Acquia Cloud
  • Acquia Lift
  • Drupal