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Building a new digital experience platform for BMI Healthcare.

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About BMI Healthcare.

Established in 1970, BMI Healthcare is the leading provider of private health treatment in the UK with over 50 hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide. BMI was acquired by Circle Health Group in 2019, expanding the brand’s reach and treatment offering. The BMI digital platform provides information on 51 hospitals and over 500 treatments across more than 60 specialities.  

Meeting the changing needs of private healthcare customers.

The acquisition of BMI by Circle Health placed a renewed focus on building a cutting-edge digital experience that would meet the fast-changing needs of its customers.

The existing site was built on Sitecore 7, an aging digital platform that would soon no longer be supported and was not optimised to handle online bookings. With site speed a key consideration, the primary goal was to make it easier for users to take key actions on the site: locating a hospital, finding the right consultant and treatment, and moving seamlessly through the booking process.

To deliver this improved experience and build capacity for future development, Circle Health would first need to either upgrade or migrate the site to an alternative content management system.

Reading Room was challenged to identify the right CMS platform and then build a new website that prioritised user experience and data security, while unlocking the capability to meet Circle Health’s ambition: providing a market-leading digital experience.

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A more advanced digital experience platform.

We worked closely with the Circle Health team to understand their goals and requirements. Taking into consideration Circle Health’s aspirations, we considered several platforms before recommending the latest version of Sitecore – v10, released in late 2020. This version provides improved stability and powerful capabilities for automation and personalisation.

The project began in September 2020, with an MVP go-live date of April 2021. Although it was a tight timescale, using an Agile approach and close collaboration with Circle Health’s design team allowed us to meet this challenge. Circle Health’s team provided designs, and the Reading Room team unpacked the logic and functionality from the designs, building sprints around those elements.

The move to Sitecore v10 creates a strong foundation for the boundless ambition Circle Health Group has for the BMI site – for the short, medium, and longer-term feature development and exploration of the Experience Platform.

With the sheer amount of technical integration involved on this project, close collaboration and an adaptive approach were absolutely critical to delivering the website on time. I'm immensely proud of the team for the way they pulled together to meet this challenge.

David Lillington Managing Director, Reading Room

Improved bookings and a streamlined customer experience.

Delivering the initial build of the website in April 2021 represents only the first tranche of work in what will be a massive and rewarding project to transform the entire BMI digital experience.

Along with the security benefits from upgrading, the new site architecture has allowed for increased site speed. Coupled with improved, multifaceted search functionality, this has enabled people to access information on treatments and appointments much more efficiently.

The upgraded site has also opened the door for the use of AI and automation. For now, that could mean the use of chat bots, but it opens a roadmap for expanded digital services and experience elements that are granularly tailored to BMI Healthcare users. We have factored these future ambitions into the hosting infrastructure, modular template design, and software architecture to give the BMI digital platform room to grow in scope and scale.

Within 4 weeks of MVP launch, the improvements in site speed, navigation and site structure achieved:

  • A 10.5% increase in the number of enquiries converting to appointments
  • An 11% increase in online bookings

There has also been an increase in traffic, with organic users having increased by 46% with a total user increase of 44% in the period between April and May 2021, working towards the Circle Health Group goal of becoming the go-to brand for private medical treatment.

We plan to continue working alongside Circle Health to discover the best use for the features available to the BMI site on Sitecore 10.

Reading Room is one of the best digital consultancies I’ve worked within the past 20 years. The team’s commitment to a project is unwavering, they provide a constant stream of fresh ideas, and their jargon-free approach is refreshing.

Alex Singleton Director of Communications and Marketing, Circle Health Group

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