To say the Allegheny County Schools Health Insurance Consortium’s website was in need of an upgrade prior to its March 2020 relaunch would be an understatement.

“The website definitely had some problems,” says ACSHIC Board of Trustees Chairman David Wyatt. “There was out-of-date information and no links to plan providers. It wasn’t very resourceful for our members.”

Realizing an update was sorely needed, the consortium called on Community Media Group to revamp acshic.com. The result is something ACSHIC trustees and consortium members can take pride in, Wyatt says.

“It’s pretty much a one-stop shop,” he says of the new website. ”Our new site is much more user friendly and features a lot more relevant information. I’d say it’s like night and day.”

ACSHIC members are now receiving some of that relevant information via video, a new aspect of the website, says Community Media Group Digital Operations Director Zach Payer. A few of ACSHIC’s health benefits vendors, including Lytle EAP, Highmark and United Concordia Dental, have brief videos on the site explaining their services and benefits.

“The goal of the website is to increase education of the benefits available to these hard-working individuals,” Payer says. “We’ve tried to make information more readily accessible.”

Another new feature is the site’s compatibility with smartphones, iPads and tablets, which makes it easier for users to navigate and interact, Payer says.

The user-friendly aspect of the website is immediately evident on the home page, Wyatt says. Links and information pertaining to ACSHIC’s health care, vision and dental coverage, as well as resources from plan providers, are prominently displayed.

“The website is such a great benefit to our members,” says ACSHIC Business Manager Doug McCausland. “All the information you’d need are there, from employee benefits to HR documents to news on the Employee Assistance Program.”

McCausland notes the old site was seldom updated, but with the revamped site that is far from the case. A tab on the home page provides current information about the coronavirus pandemic, including the common symptoms and where people can find drive-thru testing locations, and a statement from Highmark explains how the Pittsburgh-based healthcare company has expanded its efforts during the global health crisis. United Concordia Dental provided information on how members can receive assistance with their dental needs during the outbreak.

A calendar of upcoming online events includes a recently-held webinar titled, “Grieving the Intangibles,” which offered assistance for people dealing with the death of a loved one or colleague. “Burnout & Coping With The New Normal” was another webinar — held in May — and offered suggestions to mitigate burnout and methods for coping during the pandemic, which has been a time of unprecedented change in many aspects of life for most Americans.

“We really encourage all ACSHIC members to log on to the site and see what’s new,” McCausland says. “There is a lot more available to them.”

Getting members to visit the site and offer feedback has been a bit challenging because the coronavirus pandemic prompted the closings of all ACSHIC-member educational entities, and staff have thus been working from their homes. Payer says Community Media Group is developing a survey that will be emailed to all ACSHIC members and will be available on the website. The survey will essentially ask members what they like about the website, what they would like to see more of and what they think could be improved, Payer says.

“Based on that feedback we will make adjustments,” Payer says. “The website as it appears today is not a finished product. We are constantly making updates, sometimes multiple times a day.”