Case Study

Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

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The integration of two independent organizations led patients and their families through a complex and confusing patient journey.


The organization wanted to improve the patient journey on its website, but making site updates was cumbersome, meaning patients sometimes experienced duplicate or outdated information.

Our Solution

Acquia Cloud Platform, Acquia Cloud Edge, Drupal CMS, Acquia Site Studio


Feedback on the new website from patients and staff has been positive, and SEO efforts have been enhanced.

The Client

Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center sees patients from all over the globe who need advanced medical care and specialized expertise for the treatment of pediatric cancer or blood disorders.

The Situation

Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center offers the combined expertise of two independent organizations that are clinically integrated — a world-class cancer center and an internationally renowned children’s hospital. But the integrated platform was difficult to navigate. Patients and their families struggled through a complex and confusing patient journey across the two partnering organizations. The organization wanted to improve the patient journey by providing more informative content, driving better outcomes, and relieving stress on patients and their families.

The Challenge

Education and accessibility are critical to the patient journey, especially for the cutting-edge treatments being developed at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s. So if a patient has difficulty finding the information they’re looking for or accessing outdated content, it’s confusing and can contribute to negative outcomes. 

To keep content fresh on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s site, authors had to contend with a cumbersome process. The previous site version, built on an outdated Ektron solution, limited what could be updated. Even basic layout changes required developer intervention. And the learning curve for authors utilizing the system was high, especially as content was edited separately from how it was displayed on the site. Educational content on treatments and conditions was often repeated across the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s site and the parent organization sites. 

The Solution

The goals for the project were to improve the overall patient experience by providing more informative content within the website (and ensuring that content was discoverable) and to support the broader interactions that patients have with their care team. The organization partnered with digital consultancy Perficient, which started the redesign project on Drupal CMS by interviewing key clinical leaders to understand their challenges. Through these interviews, Perficient updated the content strategy and overall site structure to better support patients and families through their care journey at the Center. The new site focuses on the innovative approaches to care available at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's and the support available for families as they go through treatment.

With an updated content strategy, the teams also wanted to validate that the site effectively addressed patients’ needs. A volunteer group of former patients and family members participated in user testing exercises with mockups of the new site to ensure that information was clear and accessible.

To enable patients to complete more tasks online, Perficient built integrations that let patients find accurate doctor information and request appointments through HIPAA-compliant form submissions. These integrations help to ensure information accuracy and empower patients and referring physicians to take the next action.

Instead of relying on rigid page templates where everything needs to look the same, the site is built using Drupal CMS and Acquia Site Studio. With Acquia Site Studio’s component library, authors can now create unique page layouts and simply place the content on the page in a way that makes it easiest for the patient to navigate.

Critical content areas were identified that are common across multiple pages, such as calls to action that help patients find relevant next steps on their journey. These content blocks were created once using the Component Content feature of Site Studio and placed on pages quickly, reducing the overall work of content migration from the original site. This content can now be centrally managed so that changes, such as the recent update celebrating being named U.S. News & World Report’s #1 pediatric cancer center in the nation for 2022-2023, can be updated in one place and cascaded to everywhere that content is used.

The Results

Feedback on the new website from patients and staff has been positive; they believe the new content and key digital actions are an improvement. Additionally, the new site has enhanced the organization’s SEO efforts, reducing the ways in which the center was directly competing with the parent entities on the same keywords.

The organization credits the usage of Acquia Site Studio components with helping to accelerate the project timeline. While the overall project included time for research, content migration, and combining brand standards, the component system was built quickly. Additionally, Acquia Site Studio’s low-code editors have further reduced maintenance costs and allowed for faster changes.

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