Why SHSMD Needs Drupal

What does Beyonce know about Content Management Systems (CMS) that SHSMD doesn’t?

The Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) held their annual conference in our hometown of sunny San Diego. This was an eye-opening event for Achieve. SHSMD ‘14 was our first experience with a network of healthcare marketing professionals. We have certainly worked with a number of them, but having this many in one bunch was great. It gave us a chance to share the flexibility and capabilities of the powerful Open Source platform, Drupal (our tool of choice when developing cutting edge web applications). Drupal is an extensible, flexible, and scalable Content Management Systems (CMS) that is trusted by some of the top enterprises in the world – yet it was a foreign concept to the SHSMD folks.

backtothefutureFrom our conversations with the healthcare marketers they were all in the midst of a website re-design and development – or they were thinking about it in the near future. When everyone mentioned that they were upgrading to SharePoint or ColdFusion it felt like we had climbed into the Delorean and Doc Brown brought us back to 2008. The industry seems dead set on using SharePoint (an internal document management system) or ColdFusion (an extremely old programming language that should be avoided when building a CMS) as their web platform of choice. We have heard this before from our commercial clients – 6 years ago! We know the healthcare industry is slow to adopt new technology and innovative ways of thinking, but this is bad.

Dr. Topol said in his keynote that the industry was going to be changed, not be internal forces, but by outside organizations. With that said, we are on a mission to educate the industry on the powers of the Drupal CMS and what the benefits can mean to a hospital’s marketing department.

What is Drupal?

Open Source - Drupal CMS

Drupal is a free, open-source web development platform for online content and user communities. Drupal powers some of the busiest sites on the web, and can be adapted to virtually any visual design. Drupal runs over a million sites including;, Johnson and Johnson, Stanford University, and Florida Hospital, to name but a few. Drupal’s default installation is a database-backed web platform with file maintenance tools and a high level of security. Many developers take advantage of Drupal’s extensible architecture to go far beyond the “core” package.

With 25,000 active developers and over 1 Million members the Drupal community is one of the most robust open source communities in the world. The community is constantly updating and upgrading the platform, which offers economies of scale to organizations that are using Drupal. This constant innovation takes shape in the form of new modules that are created to meet new needs regardless of industry, and those modules can be tested and deployed in weeks rather than months or years. This rapid innovation is not possible with proprietary software.

These rapid iterations allow for new feature rollouts as the market dictates rather than when the technology vendor dictates. For example, New Chronic Care Management (CCM) payments have been included in the proposed 2015 Medicare fee schedule, which allows for reimbursements on e-visits for chronic patients. A hospital leveraging a Drupal platform can rely on the speed of the community to develop a solution with enough time to test, deploy and implement in time to handle e-visits for CCM reimbursements.

The healthcare marketing industry has been playing catch up to the shifting tides of patient consumerization and healthcare retailization, because they have adopted inflexible and cumbersome proprietary Content Management Systems. We want to help the industry be proactive rather than reactive by leveraging Drupal and its flexible and agile powers. With Drupal you will always be ready to adapt to market changes. This will give hospitals and other healthcare marketers the ability to be truly proactive while delivering intuitive and cutting-edge technology solutions to their patients.


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