13,000 general practitioners in one community

Customer stories | HAweb

  • intranet
HAweb start page

Every day, the National General Practitioners Association (Landelijke Huisartsen Vereniging, LHV) and the Dutch College of General Practitioners (Nederlands Huisartsen Genootschap, NHG) commit themselves as advocates and knowledge institutes for the 13,000 general practitioners in the Netherlands. To support this significant task, they operate HAweb, an online community aimed at facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing within primary care and connecting the profession.


  • Location: Netherlands

  • Members: 13,000

  • Industry: Healthcare

  • HAweb

The old situation

13.000 huisartsen en externen hebben de behoefte om beter samen te werken, om zaken efficiënter aan te pakken en om beter kennis uit te wisselen. Het oude zelfgebouwde platform dat dit moet faciliteren voldoet niet meer.

The solution

A secure, user-friendly, and above all, ready-to-use social intranet that connects all employees, is quick to set up, and facilitates not just collaboration but also knowledge sharing. Fellow Digitals' intranet (formerly called Viadesk) meets all these criteria.

The result

  • Ready-to-use proven platform

  • Everyone is visible to each other

  • Workgroups do everything on the platform

  • Safe collaboration, even with external partners

  • Creates connections among general practitioners 

General practitioners at the center

General practitioners in the Netherlands largely have the same way of working, but often find themselves in different situations; different regions, different agreements with insurers, different practice structures, and so on. Due to the heavy workload, general practitioners have limited time to communicate with colleagues. In 2017, HAweb, a revamped online community, was introduced to eliminate this issue. HAweb focuses on two main functionalities:

Ready-to-use solution

“As the LHV and NHG, we developed HAweb ourselves in 2011 (Drupal 6, editor’s note), as an online network for all the general practitioners affiliated with our associations,” says Diederick Meinen of the HAweb project team. Back then, there were hardly any standard packages for such platforms. But the technical possibilities and the needs of our members change rapidly. Actually, too fast for us to keep up on our own.” Consequently, Diederick and the HAweb team searched for a ready-made alternative to the old platform.

The search for a modern community

“We started looking for an external party to purchase the technology from, so we wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore,” Diederick continues. “We knew Viadesk by Fellow Digitals as a social intranet, but we didn’t know the platform was also excellent as an online community. We visited various providers, and hip startups with slick platforms. They look good but are based on just two user cases. When you dig deeper, you quickly see the limitations. With Viadesk, you can go in any direction, as a community for discussions, but also for sharing documents. Moreover, Fellow Digitals relieves us of our worries about technology and offers a proven, safe, and reliable system. Thus, we have not only technically, but also functionally renewed HAweb.”

Adoption, how do you do that?

From the beginning, a large group of young general practitioners has been involved in the project. They were the ones who pointed out that they were missing a sort of social intranet/forum. Diederick Meinen says, “When HAweb went online, we put a lot of effort into in-person meetings. We possibly arranged about 70 workshops across the nation to support individuals. The main obstacle is that many are not familiar with the tool. We tackled this by demonstrating practical examples of the benefits during meetings. In essence: the relevance of HAweb. Our advice: start small, then expand. The most recent statistics show that this approach proves to be effective.”

We use the Fellow intranet's statistics module daily. This way, we can see which activities are taking place in the groups, which groups are popular, how often posts are viewed.

Diederick Meinen, digital media advisor

Less eMail, much more interaction

Community manager Guido Verboom is thrilled with the initial outcomes. “We’ve used the new platform for a year now (2018, editor’s note). Since Viadesk handles all the technical difficulties, we can concentrate on creating content and engaging general practitioners. The first observation is that there’s significantly less email traffic. And that makes communication truly more efficient. Compared to the old platform, we see an increase in the number of responses by a remarkable 28.7%. This is not only because the number of users has increased to 3,158, but the interaction and collaboration have also notably improved. It’s delightful to see.”

So, there’s a significant increase in users and responses on the platform. Another indication is the number of posted items, texts or images in the various groups. More than 3,000 users share 58,098 items, a nearly 59% rise!

Screenshot from HAweb platform
Statistics in HAweb platform

Do statistics motivate?

“Yes, definitely,” exclaims Diederick Meinen:

We use Viadesk’s statistics tool every day. It shows us what is happening in the groups, which groups are popular, and how often posts are viewed. I recently received a critical comment from a general practitioner that articles were not being read. However, the proof was in the pudding: his blog had been read 100 times. In a group of 150 members, that’s a number to get very excited about!

The future

Diederick Meinen says, “We will continue to expand HAweb. Ensuring that our goal, to better connect general practitioners, is more effectively realized. The great thing about working with Viadesk is that we can really focus solely on community management and content. They ensure with a roadmap that the platform is constantly evolving and always up to date”.

Annika Willers

Manager Internal Communication

Annika Willers

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