Solving a Business Problem with Sitecore

One of our clients had a pattern of acquiring smaller health care networks and bringing them under their already large umbrella. As their list of locations treating various medical conditions increased, so did the need for a cleaner way to manage and display relevant locations for their 1,300+ service offering content pages.   

The Existing Solution

The existing solution was a tab panel component that content authors configured manually by categorizing locations under geographic regions for each of the areas of care offered on the site. 

This presented several problems. With the number of locations and areas of care hosted on the site, there was a large potential for human error, and it became a maintenance nightmare to manage this data. Another issue was the region categories were not relevant to the patients; they were considered “inside baseball” and were only relevant to the internal marketing team at the client. Further fueling our urgency to act was that we were visually running out of room. A recent acquisition was going live in the upcoming months and adding a new region wasn’t going to be aesthetically possible.

Screenshot of location cards within a tabbed interface generated by Sitecore.

An Existing Feature to the Rescue!

The 1,300+ service offering pages ranged from top-level categories such as Oncology and Women’s Health, down to more granular medical-condition content like skin cancer, and ectopic pregnancy.  This content is simply text inside Sitecore pages with no real back-end mechanism to tie this content to a more concrete definition. We solved this by creating tags such as cancer-care, womens-health, skin-cancer, etc., that could be applied to different content throughout the site and used to define relationships between content. The tagging system was already in place, and the areas of care and locations were already appropriately tagged so the areas of care could be listed on location detail pages.

The New Solution

With tagging in place, we set out to create a component that would automatically populate with relevant locations offering treatment for the specified service on a given content page. This removed the manual maintenance and allowed for an endless number of locations to be displayed on the service offering page. The content author would simply need to drop this new component on a service offering page and ensure that the content was tagged appropriately.  The component would list all locations tagged the same as the current page along with an interactive map utilizing MapBox. It would also allow the user to contextually change their location to sort the results based on where the user was searching from. 

Screenshot of a location search with map interface generated by Sitecore.

The Implementation

Our team is no stranger to creating Sitecore components. Our client’s site is heavily component-based, so the implementation of this solution wasn’t difficult. However, as we always try to take great care of our content authors, we knew the challenge of how to spread this component across 1,300+ pages was not something we wanted to subject them to. Our solution was to create a two-part Sitecore PowerShell script. Part one searched all the content in the site that contained the former region-based tab component and injected the new dynamic component beneath it. The second part then performed the same search as part one and removed the old component. In a matter of minutes, the new component had been rolled out to the entire site with no manual intervention by the content authoring team.

Final Thoughts

Our team has had a lot of success in looking at the bigger picture of the site and engineering for future flexibility. This component project was the result of careful planning and execution all while keeping authoring disruption to a minimum. Content authors are often left to just deal with solutions imposed on them by the technology, and this is something we always aim to avoid. They were with us throughout the design and development of this project because they offer valuable input that otherwise might not be recognized. This project is just one of the many successes we had collaborating with multiple stakeholders to solve a business need on an aggressive timeline.

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Paul Brienza
Paul Brienza
Chief Growth Officer
(414) 270-7175
paul.brienza@laughlin.com

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