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American Psychiatric Association

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The Challenge

Founded in 1844, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the world's largest, represents more than 36,000 psychiatric professionals from the United States and around the world. Member physicians collaborate to educate the public and ensure humane care and effective treatment for persons with mental disorders.

With an abundance of information and resources, the psychiatry.org website is one of the most valuable assets APA offers its members and the general public. However, their existing infrastructure had made maintaining the site and its content, along with providing a world-class user experience, extremely difficult. The site needed to meet the needs of a diverse audience ranging from the general public and the media to psychiatric professionals in various career stages, as well as providing solid ground for APA’s diverse roles in advocacy, education, publishing, professional collaboration, training, and events.

In developing their requirements for a new solution, the APA wanted to “break away” from the pack of other association and medical sites and sought expertise to create a site that would represent the APA’s thought leadership and serve as a global resource for education and collaboration in the psychiatric profession.

“The Association leadership wanted to break away from the mold,” says Bill Bruce, APA CIO. “APA started looking at what Fortune 500 businesses were doing and which solutions were working for their web platforms.” The APA needed a partner experienced in supporting both large associations and enterprise-level businesses. After an extensive evaluation process, the APA selected Bridgeline Digital and the iAPPS web engagement management platform.

The Solution

APA has a large number of content managers responsible for various sections of their website, all with differing levels of digital expertise. Besides providing a centrally located – but globally accessible – location to manage the association’s educational and interactive web experience, the solution would have to operate in lock-step with their established association management software – Personify – as well as with YAF discussion board solutions.

Bridgeline’s expertise with associations, paired with iAPPS’ ease of use and deep integration capabilities, served as the foundation for the overall project. The APA now leverages iAPPS Content Manager to build and maintain its core website content, combined with iAPPS Analyzer to continuously measure site performance, allowing it to perfect the user experience.

Along with the redesign and the restructuring of site architecture and search functions, Bridgeline worked with APA to provide the rebuilt website with an extensive inventory of index terms, giving the APA the ability to create and manage various categories of calendars to communicate meetings and educational events to its global membership.

Operating under a managed, perpetual licensing option, Bridgeline provides ongoing maintenance and support within a dedicated hosting environment.

The Results

With their improved online presence, the new APA site has quickly become an anchor for the entire association, positioning them to build member loyalty and improve member relationships and retention. Deep integration of the iAPPS Suite and association management and discussion board software make collaboration across the association more effective.

The various audiences the APA site serves now find it simple to find information on the revamped website. APA members have easy access to resources for education, medical practice and professional development, as well as APA news, events, publications and secure discussion boards.

The results were significant – and quick. In seven months before launch of the new site – which included a homepage URL change from psych.org to psychiatry.org – the old site only showed monthly growth in visits of just under 5% and under 3% growth in unique visits. After launch, however the average number of visits grew by 52%, while unique visits grew by 61%. Currently, the new site is on track to maintain a consistent 40% increase in visits.

The association plans to complement the new site with additional functionality from the addition of the iAPPS Marketier and iAPPS Commerce platforms, which promise to add even more activity going forward.