The Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) is the largest and leading professional association for therapists in the UK and Ireland. With thousands of members offering a broad range of specialist services - from sports and remedial therapies, to complementary healthcare and holistic beauty treatments – the FHT is the association of choice for professional therapists.
FHT recognized that it wanted to prioritize enhanced services for members and that they needed to improve radically the way its directory of members worked. There were two main reasons for this:
- to be able to get more information directly from its members so that existing processes (which were largely manual) could be streamlined. The FHT was keen to enable its members to update their profile details themselves online without having to do so via the FHT office.
- to be able to meet specific standards required to achieve accreditation from the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.
The Turning Point
FHT felt that these improvements were not achievable using only its existing systems so i-Publishing Consultants was asked to help produce a specification for a new, integrated online application that would do so. The requirements for this were defined by interviewing members of staff and by documenting federation members' experiences and aspirations. This included improving the member search facilities, so that the member directory would have a greatly enhanced public-facing use as a reliable, valued facility. Once the agreed specification was completed, i-Publishing Consultants was invited to submit a costing for the completion of the work and was contracted to deliver the solution.
The Success Story
Members of the public can now search easily via the FHT website for a holistic therapist using a variety of criteria, with the results presented quickly, with linked mapping, in a reliable and meaningful way.
In order to hold and present up-to-date practitioner information the FHT systems now include a new database, accessed via a secure interface, to which all the members have direct access, that is regularly and automatically synchronised with its back end system. This enables members to manage the information themselves, via a controlled and reliable interface, rather than going through the FHT office, resulting in a significant reduction of overhead costs for the organisation at the same time as giving members more control over their own data.
During a second phase of the project, in response to the evolving standards set up by the accrediting body, some changes were also subsequently made to the way in which information was presented. In short, the initial online directory project evolved 'organically' into the development of an integrated and fully responsive website with a new, manageable CMS, replacing the aging corporate website. This was done without the need for the FHT to dismantle its existing back end system.
The introduction of this new facility provided a natural incentive for members to update their information and thousands have done just that. A steady stream of updates continues to flow on a daily basis into the system.
A note from the Federation of Holistic Therapists
‘The Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) wanted to create an online member directory and therapist register both as a value adding benefit for members but also to meet a key requirement as part of an important accreditation process. i-Publishing Consultants understood from the outset what we required and delivered a very reliable, easy to use and cost-effective solution. Their strategic insights, technical expertise, attention to detail and proactive support have all been invaluable as they guided us through a potentially tricky and technically complex process.
Our members now have a new FHT service that they really appreciate, where they can update their details at will online and gain increased exposure for their businesses. Via our 'Find a Therapist' website the public can now find professional FHT registered therapists throughout the UK easily and reliably. i- Publishing has been a pleasure to work with, both thoroughly professional and also exceptionally supportive.
John French, Chief Executive