Harvard Pilgrim Health Care serves more than 765,000 members, 22,000 medical providers, 2,000 employees and a community of independent brokers. With so many disparate constituents to accommodate, the Wellesley, Mass.-based provider decided in 2002 that it was time to deploy Internet applications that could offer a higher level of Web customization-not standardization.Developing Web portals proved to be the answer.

Prior to portals, Harvard Pilgrim had outsourced its Web site to a local Internet services provider and had no content management functionality, says Larry Rapisarda, chief technology officer, Harvard Pilgrim. "We saw the need to improve the usability of the reference site, and a need to provide a common front door to our transaction environments," he says.

Rapisarda says Harvard Pilgrim's objective was five-fold:

* Bring the reference site in-house.

* Provide a common access point to the Web transaction systems.

* Integrate the portal with HPHC's Enterprise Security System (ESS).

* Simplify system management by providing self-service capabilities for portal users.

* Create new portal-based services, including customized content and online transactions.

Engaging the services of Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle Corp., Harvard Pilgrim's portal is based on Oracle9i Application Server technology. When the conversion was completed, this solution replaced the outsourced content Web site for Harvard Pilgrim's providers, employers, brokers and members.

Oracle9i streamlines site administration; expands content management capabilities; and improves customer self-service capabilities. The portal supports customer service by providing Harvard Pilgrim's constituents with on-demand access to vital plan information and online administrative transactions. Harvard Pilgrim, with consulting support from Oracle, implemented the portal in 14 weeks.

"Members can look at all kinds of general and health information on the site, and we can control individual access according to user authority," Rapisarda notes.

To cater to its provider network, Harvard Pilgrim's portal now offers a wealth of resources. HPHC was able to leverage the personalization features of the portal to serve up content relevant to each provider.

"So if an oncologist logs on, for example, he or she can personalize his or her home page on our system to feature information on the latest cancer treatments," Rapisarda explains.

Hospitals can log on to the portal to access customized reports that present relevant patient-related data. Many of the reports, Rapisarda says, can be delivered through "portlets"-mini-portals within the Web site-drawing on data stored in HPHC's data warehouse.

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