National Physiatry Academy Improves Customer Experience and Workflows with Sitefinity

Download Case Study (PDF File)
SS_National Physiatry Academy
Web Experience


With more than 10,000 members accessing the website, AAPM&R’s website needed to be up to date and easy to use. However, managing the content was a tedious process that involved multiple stakeholders, even for simple tasks.


With Sitefinity, AAPM&R launched the new site in just eight months. Not only was the site easier for members to navigate, it also simplified the content management process behind the scenes.


Traffic statistics tell the story—member traffic spiked 12%, page views are up 25% and many members are visiting more frequently. Plus, AAPM&R was able to save significant money in terms of licensing fees.

Full Story


Visitors to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) website come from diverse constituencies with diverse needs. Thousands visit the site each month to gain a basic understanding of physiatry because their physician has recommended a specialist in this field.

But as the primary medical society for the nation’s physiatrists, the site’s primary constituency is its 10,000 members who look to AAPM&R to advocate to strengthen the specialty, help them meet mandates and advance clinical skills for future opportunities, and guide physiatrists in the changing healthcare environment.

“Whether it’s the one-off visitor who quickly needs an explanation of physiatry or a member needing in-depth research, our content needs to be easy to find and up to date,” said Megan Brunner, AAPM&R digital marketing manager. “Since we have small IT and marketing departments, it’s a priority that stakeholders around the organization have the capability to maintain and update their content.”

Managing content presented a formidable challenge with the organization’s SharePoint system.

“The stakeholder had to submit a request, someone from marketing or IT had to make the edits then send the content back for approval,” Brunner said. “We were spending an inordinate amount of time making website edits when we could have been performing tasks to better serve members and further the association’s mission.”

In 2014, Microsoft changed its definition of a nonprofit organization. Under the new guidelines, AAPM&R was no longer classified as a nonprofit, and its licensing fees skyrocketed. That proved to be the last straw for SharePoint.

“Between maintenance and usability issues and now cost, we clearly needed a new CMS,” said John Schroeder, AAPM&R director of technology.


The Academy’s RFP for a new content management system included a number of must-haves:

  • Accommodate single sign-on for members
  • Allow for easy content management by stakeholders throughout the organization
  • Provide content hierarchy and taxonomy
  • Deliver a responsive experience, clean, clear UI and easy navigation
“After a lot of due diligence and research the choices came down to Sitefinity and Drupal,” Schroeder said. “What edged out Sitefinity for me was the stability of the product and its ability to accommodate single sign-on, which was a huge headache with our SharePoint system.”

The decision made, AAPM&R teamed up with Progress® Sitefinity™ Platinum Partner Vanguard Technology, the only Sitefinity partner that exclusively serves the association industry. The project to launch the site was done in eight months with kick-off in May, beta site in October and the production site going live in January

“We were making a completely fresh start,” Schroeder said. “From October until the end of the year, we worked with stakeholders to retire content, migrate content that was still relevant and create a great deal of new content.”


With its SharePoint system, only four stakeholders in the organization were able to make content changes. Within just a few months of the Sitefinity implementation, more than 20 stakeholders were able to manage and update their content.

“The impact on our workflow is tremendous,” Brunner said. “The stakeholder simply makes the change, marketing approves the change and it goes live. What took days can now be done in literally an hour.”

One of the key requirements of the RFP was single sign-on capabilities. With its previous system, members had to repeatedly log in and out to access the member portal as well as gain access to gated content in the learning management system.

“The ability of Sitefinity to handle single sign-on meets one of our biggest priorities,” Schroeder said. “It represents a vast improvement to the user experience—the issue of needing to log in multiple times was one of the largest complaints of our members.”

From a dynamic content standpoint, the site is now, according to Brunner, a “go to” resource for members.

“Sitefinity, with its content hierarchy and taxonomy, allows us to structure the site in an ‘everything is news’ format with multiple, current news feeds, resulting in an increase in user engagement,” she said.

Traffic statistics tell the story:

  • Core member traffic is up 31% per session and 19% per user
  • Page views are up 25%
  • 52% of the academy’s members logged in over the past six months, a significant increase
Now, with streamlined workflows and updated content the norm, AAPM&R is looking forward to further enhancing the member experience with personalized content.

“We are just beginning to work with the Academy on different personalization possibilities,” said Chris Bonney, vice president of client experience, Vanguard Technology. “And Sitefinity offers a number of personalization options based on log-in status and user experience.”

In the meantime, Sitefinity is helping IT and marketing focus their efforts on continuously improving service levels to members.

“The role of technology is to make things easier so we can better focus on the needs of the organization and its members,” Schroeder said. “From the perspective of IT, marketing and everyone else I speak to, Sitefinity is clearly helping us to focus our efforts on meeting the mission of the organization.”

Learn more
about the products


Keep exploring
stories like this one

Read Next Story