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Best practice of using structured content in healthcare

Even though you understand the benefits of structured content, there is no automatic course of action on how to best implement it in your digital experiences.

In the ever-evolving world of healthcare, information is the lifeblood that keeps the industry pumping. You might even say that structured content is the heartbeat that keeps everything running smoothly.

With that playful analogy in mind, let’s dive into the best practices for using structured content in healthcare, ensuring a healthy prognosis for your organization’s content strategy.

Establish clear content governance

A well-oiled machine needs rules and guidelines, and structured content is no exception. Establishing a content governance model is crucial in the healthcare sector, as it sets the foundation for a seamless and efficient content creation and management process.

Begin by defining clear roles and responsibilities within your organization. For example, content strategists can oversee the overall content plan, while writers, editors, and reviewers collaborate on creating, refining, and approving content. Establishing such roles ensures that everyone is working together in harmony, much like a finely tuned orchestra.

To further enhance your content governance model, it is essential to align your content strategy with your organization’s overall goals. This alignment ensures that every piece of content produced supports your mission and objectives.

Keep your content strategy flexible, so it can adapt to changes in the healthcare landscape, such as new regulations or emerging trends. For instance, a clinic may shift their content focus from general wellness tips to addressing mental health during times of crisis.

Remember, a content governance model is like a game plan that keeps everyone on the same winning team, driving your organization towards success.

Use standardized content models

In the intricate world of healthcare, adhering to standards is paramount. These benchmarks not only maintain a level of quality but also ensure that information can be effectively shared and understood across different systems and platforms.

Industry-specific content and taxonomy models, such as SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms), HL7 (Health Level Seven International) and FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), are prime examples of such standards.

By adopting these models, healthcare organizations can create content that is both interoperable and future-proof. For instance, using HL7 standards can facilitate seamless communication between a hospital’s electronic health record system and a laboratory’s information system, enabling efficient data exchange and better patient care.

Standardization, when properly implemented, acts as the secret sauce that keeps your content organized and accessible amidst the vast ocean of information. By offering a stable structure, your content becomes effortlessly comprehensible, modifiable, and adaptable for various purposes.

For instance, when a health insurance provider utilizes FHIR standards, they can efficiently retrieve and manage patient information from multiple sources, leading to a streamlined claims processing experience for both the insurance company and the policyholder.

In short, adopting industry-specific content models and embracing standardization can elevate your healthcare organization’s content strategy, ensuring it remains relevant, effective, and valuable in the long run.

Read also: Healthcare and the relevance of structured content »

Prioritize metadata and taxonomy

Metadata can be thought of as the DNA of your content, carrying vital information about each piece, such as its creation date, author, and subject matter. Just as DNA sequences are unique identifiers for living organisms, metadata serves as a distinctive fingerprint for your content, enabling users to find and access it with ease.

In the healthcare sector, using standardized metadata can greatly improve content organization and discoverability. For example, including metadata tags related to the target audience, such as “pediatrician” or “oncologist,” ensures that healthcare professionals can quickly locate content relevant to their specialty.

Taxonomy, on the other hand, is akin to a family tree that maps out the relationships between different content pieces, providing a logical and hierarchical structure. Implementing a healthcare-specific taxonomy—such as SNOMED CT, adds a level of professionalism and precision to your content organization.

SNOMED CT is a comprehensive clinical terminology system that enables consistent classification and representation of medical concepts, making it easier for healthcare professionals to find and understand the information they need.

By incorporating standardized metadata and taxonomy systems like SNOMED CT into your content strategy, you not only enhance its structure but also demonstrate a commitment to accuracy and professionalism that is highly valued in the healthcare industry.

Embrace modular content design

Often likened to Lego blocks in the realm of content creation, modular content is made up of compact, reusable components that can be combined and reconfigured in countless ways to craft various types of content. Embracing this modular methodology provides a multitude of advantages, with enhanced adaptability being a notable perk.

By creating content in modular blocks, you can easily rearrange, update, or replace individual components without disrupting the overall structure. For instance, a healthcare organization may have separate modules for symptoms, causes, and treatments of a specific condition, allowing them to update one section without affecting the others.

Another advantage of modular content is its scalability and maintainability. As your organization grows and evolves, modular design allows you to expand your content library with ease, simply by adding or reusing existing blocks. This approach can also significantly speed up the content creation process, as you can mix and match modules to generate new pieces without starting from scratch each time.

For example, a medical center could create a series of patient education materials by reusing modules on preventive measures and combining them with disease-specific information. In essence, adopting a modular content strategy not only saves time but also enhances your organization’s ability to deliver consistent, high-quality information to your audience.

See also: What features should a CMS have to cater to the healthcare sector?

Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing

Structured content is undoubtedly a team sport, where collaboration plays a vital role in achieving success. By promoting a culture of knowledge sharing, your organization can harness the collective expertise of your staff, resulting in a more comprehensive and accurate content output.

You should therefore promote transparent communication avenues and frequent idea-sharing gatherings, allowing team members to share their thoughts and engage in conversations about optimal practices.

Consider, for instance, a hospital’s content team working closely with doctors, nursing staff, and administrative personnel to guarantee that educational resources for patients remain precise, current, and cater to the top priorities of their intended recipients.

Investing in the right platforms and tools is equally important to facilitate effective teamwork. Opt for technology solutions that facilitate smooth cooperation, instantaneous modifications, and effective content administration, including content management systems (CMS) or cloud-driven file-sharing platforms.

These resources can support your team in collaborating effectively, irrespective of their physical location, while also granting access to the latest versions of your content.

By nurturing a teamwork-oriented atmosphere and providing your team with essential tools, your organization will be well-equipped to generate and preserve top-notch structured content that caters to the demands of your audience. After all, teamwork truly does make the dream work!

Male physician sitting with a patient in doctor's office.

Topics: 
best practice
structured content
healthcare
content management
content model