A Case Study: Henry Ford Health System

The Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) is one of the largest health care providers in Michigan, with over 17,000 employees and almost $2 billion in annual revenues. They approached Argus and its strategic partners, Q LTD (which provides graphic design and editorial services) and InterConnect of Ann Arbor (which provides programming and technical design consulting) to create an external corporate web site from scratch. Needless to say, we were delighted to take on the project. We also realized that we would need to avoid the usual problems of main page crowding, political jockeying, poor navigation, and inconsistent look and feel that were abundant in many other health care organizations’ sites. Although the HFHS internal Internet committee was very sensitive to these problems, we all faced a huge challenge of creating a useful, user-centered site for such a large corporation.

Org Chart as Default Architecture

We began with the assumption that we could not force the 90 or so HFHS hospitals, medical centers, departments, units, and programs to halt their own web development efforts and comply with the look and feel of the site we were about to create. In fact, it would be better to accept the reality that sites grow organically within an organization, and build a strong umbrella site around these local islands of corporate information. So, we began visualizing an architecture that looked like the one in Figure 10.1.

Figure 10-1. The Org Chart architecture. ...

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