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The new professional body’s website

By Mary Snell

In the 15th article on the new professional body for pharmacy, Mary Snell, pharmacist and online manager at the Royal Electronicjuice, reports on what members of the new body can expect to receive from the new website that is under development

 

The development of the new website for the professional leadership body’s online services is now well under way. The new site, designed with members in mind, will be the home for the services outlined on the new professional body engagement site at . So what will the new website offer members?

In response to the Transitional Committee’s prospectus in November 2008, we have been developing an online strategy for the new professional body. A series of workshops explored members’ expectations of a website provided by a supportive membership body.

Thanks to input from pharmacists across the profession, these workshops helped identify the content and functionality needed on the new site. We continue to work closely with members to create a website that meets the needs and wants of members.

The new site will be highly interactive, with content being generated by members and staff. Members will be able to use the virtual networks and local practice forums that are currently being set up and piloted. Certain areas of the site will be restricted to members.

This is how the new body will deliver special benefits and services to its members exclusively.

 

Lessons learnt

We are also responding to lessons we have learnt from the current Royal Electronicjuice website, . Although the site carries a vast amount of valuable material, it is not always easy to find what you are looking for. The new professional body site will be presented in an improved, more user-friendly, form.

There is, notably, an extensive amount of valuable material on the existing Society site. This information is being reviewed and some will be retained, and revised, if necessary. For example, the practice guidance will be revised and presented as a member benefit.

Panel 1 outlines new content for the new site and when it will be delivered.

Panel 1: Development of the new website

September 2009 (already live)

  • New structure and new (interim) design
  • Update on plans for continuing professional development support, mentoring service and information and advisory service
  • Pilots for virtual networks

October 2009

  • Pilots for local practice forums
  • Events registration and online payment

January 2010

  • Virtual networks and local practice forums: live sites roll out

By April 2010

  • Membership database integrated
  • Purchase of publications; content; events; membership
  • Access to e-learning materials and assessments
  • Mentoring service integrated with membership database

The development website is now being designed and implemented, and new web services are being phased in between September 2009 and April 2010.

The new site, at , was launched on 9 September 2009. All new services will be delivered on this site between now and the separation of the Society’s functions and, at the point of demerger, this will become the site for the new professional body.

As new services are developed, all sections on the new website will gradually become populated.

At the same time as new services are being built up on the development site, the new professional body engagement site at will carry less material.

At the point of demerger the Society’s site and the engagement site will no longer be needed. The plan is for the development site to take over the use of the domain name www.rpsgb.org.

One of the first interactive services on will be the pilots for virtual networks and local practice forums (see Panel 2).

Panel 2: Plan for virtual networks and local practice forums


The Transcom prospectus promised that the new professional body would look for new ways for pharmacists to come together, for example, by creating virtual communities through web-based technology, to exchange experience and knowledge easily, wherever they were.

The virtual networks project started in July 2009 and involves ongoing discussion with the membership. It aims to create virtual networks with benefits and features that would appeal to existing Society members, pharmacist special interest groups, the new local practice forums and external groups covering specialist areas of pharmacy practice, eg, clinical groups.

Virtual networks will be accessible to individual pharmacists and groups of pharmacists in any geographical location across Great Britain, and will allow all members to communicate and share ideas. The networks will also be a vehicle for publicising events, sending/receiving appropriate alert messages and disseminating best practice.

Following the Society’s liaising with the membership to explore user requirements, an early prototype will be rolled out to a range of pilot groups from September to December 2009. They will involve

  • the Industrial Pharmacists Group committee
  • Society Qualified Persons assessors
  • the Secure Environment Pharmacists Group
  • the Academic Pharmacy Group committee
  • national pharmacy boards
  • hospital chief pharmacist networks
  • a local practice forum

Feedback from the pilots will help define the user requirements before the formal roll-out of virtual networks in early 2010.

In addition, a virtual network user group, including stakeholders from the pilot groups, is being set up to provide ongoing back on future member requirements.

Other online member services include the provision of continuing professional development support material, the mentoring service, the information and advisory service and easier ways for members to register and pay for events.

The website is being developed alongside the new membership database, which will act as the memory behind the new website, enabling members to store their interests and preferences. By monitoring this information we will be able to ensure that the services delivered through the website continue to meet members’ needs.

And members will easily be able to access and update their own profile information on the website, as well as make with other members through a new online directory.

Get involved

If you would like to get involved in the development of the professional body, go to and click on “”.

Citation: Electronicjuice URI: 10980587

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