Oct. 14, 2020

Tom Humbarger


3 min. read

In our latest Customer Case Study, see how HCA Healthcare UK uses Sitecore and SearchStax Managed Solr to create a platform to “innovate at scale” and deliver groundbreaking healthcare services now and in the future.

Editor’s Note: Managed Solr is now SearchStax Cloud. It is the same great product that lets developers set up and deploy Solr infrastructure in minutes.

HCA Needed a New Digital Front Door

HCA is the largest private healthcare provider in the world, and HCA Healthcare UK is the largest provider of privately funded healthcare in the United Kingdom. Since 1968, HCA has followed the philosophy of putting patients first and provides compassionate care to patients with services ranging from clinical research, primary care, outpatient and day-case treatment.

In order to “Innovate at Scale”, HCA embarked on a project to rebuild their web presence and content management system using Sitecore on the Azure cloud platform to give them a consistent and easy-to-navigate digital “front door”. 

With their previous web environment, HCA had 146 hospitals and facilities operating separate websites using multiple CMS technologies which led to high levels of maintenance and administrative overhead cost. The end result was a platform with many challenges that severely limited their ability to deploy new functionality.

Why Did HCA Select Sitecore and SearchStax Managed Solr?

HCA consolidated on the Sitecore platform for content management and needed a high availability and robust Solr search solution for their new environment. In addition, HCA wanted to build a strong  foundation that was future proofed and would support a planned suite of fundamentally enabling changes including virtual consultations, digital registration, telemedicine and patient-facing functional elements.

SearchStax was recommended to HCA by their digital agency Equator and the primary reason was that SearchStax could support the enhanced search requirements that went beyond the standard out-of-the-box Sitecore set-up.

Search results are easily filtered by Consultants, Treatments, Facilities and Others

One key requirement was the ability to issue multi-angled federated searches across multiple websites and microsites and more than 9,000 web pages with a variety of cross-tabulated results. In the near future, HCA plans to develop contextualized search that will return results based on what facility is being accessed.

“Solr is deeply integrated into our new Sitecore environment and SearchStax Managed Solr will make it easier to adopt changes in the future.”

Matthew Ward, Head of Partnerships

SearchStax exceeded HCA’s expectations and compressed their implementation timeline by moving from an initial discovery call to contract negotiations to project kick-off within a two week period.

SearchStax Shaves a Month Off HCA’s Development Timeline

HCA’s solution started with a fresh installation of Sitecore 9.3 using the Azure platform as a service replicated across two Azure data centers in different regions. Working with SearchStax and a short project timeline, SearchStax and HCA implemented the SearchStax Solr-as-a-Service solution in less than two weeks. 

“If we didn’t bring in SearchStax, we would have had to re-architect our entire search solution. SearchStax shaved at least a  month of development time by working with us to fit into our existing architecture.”

James Simcock, Head of Digital

Coming into the project at the last minute, SearchStax was able to quickly implement Solr — and HCA didn’t have to re-architect the planned search solution which saved at least a month of development time. 

In addition, HCA implemented a production Managed Solr instance with Platinum support and warm disaster recovery, and two smaller deployments for UAT and Development testing.

Example Facility Page on new HCA Healthcare UK Website

Solr is deeply integrated into the new Sitecore environment and the SearchStax Managed Solr will make it easier to adopt changes in the future. In addition to saving a significant amount of development time, the Sitecore and SearchStax Managed Solr implementation gives the team the confidence and assurance needed to move forward with their planned changes to delivering innovative healthcare services to meet future patient and customer needs.

By Tom Humbarger

Senior Product Marketing Manager

“…search should not only be for those organizations with massive search budgets.”

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