University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have pioneered every aspect of minimally invasive neurosurgery – including the surgical tools and techniques. These breakthroughs offer hope to patients with complex brain, skull base and spine disorders. Working miracles in such tight spaces requires a master touch – as does balancing the emotional/rational nuances when communicating to patients and families in a heightened state of need and urgency.
When it comes to communicating something as complex as the principles of endoscopic endonasal surgery of the skull base, or minimally invasive spine surgery, or intraventricular endoscopy, the temptation always exists to err on one side of the centerline between the rational and emotional. The more conservative approach favors the precise language of medicine and science. The more emotional approach may choose to trumpet patient success stories. In short, the tension between the clinical and the personal is resolved rather than maintained.
Rather than back away from the challenge of finding and keeping to the centerline between the rational and emotional, Elliance looked for ways to leverage the inherent tension by keeping the polarities in balance. Obviously, anyone drawn to a website related to minimally invasive neurosurgery would bring a need for clinical accuracy and depth of information, as well as heartfelt reassurance and candor. Working surgical miracles in tight spaces offers hope to patients with complex brain, skull base and spine disorders. This requires a master's touch – as does balancing the emotional/rational nuances when communicating to patients and families in a heightened state of urgency.
At the level of brand, a balance was needed between the master UPMC/institutional brand identity and authority, and a compelling personality-driven emphasis on the surgical team. At the level of graphic design, the balance involved visually dominant animation sequences, and complementary photography, and choice of color and type. At the level of content, it was between the medical/technical data and emotional patient profiles.
Within the first month after launch, site traffic, inquiries and physician referrals increased significantly. Strong information architecture and design, persistent calls to action, and select use of branding elements and messaging combine for a memorable user experience. UPMC officials have described the site as “setting a new standard” for one of the nation's premier academic medical centers. UPMC is ranked among the top hospitals in the U.S. for Neurosurgical and Neurological Care by U.S. News & World Report, and UPMC's Department of Neurological Surgery is ranked among the highest in the country in NIH funding, a benchmark of the department's research. Elliance deployed a search engine marketing campaign to ensure Google positions reflected this stature.