A New Website for Our Church

When our church decided to join the modern age of technology, we knew that we were going to need some help. Most of us had been online for years, but that didn’t mean we knew how to create a website for the church. With how busy people are nowadays, it just isn’t possible for everyone to make it to church every single week, which is why we wanted to find a company that does web design in Thailand. We wanted to have a website where people could go to listen to missed sermons, but to also do so much more than that too.

We depend on the charity in people’s hearts to keep our church going, so we also wanted to have a place on the website where people could tithe or give a love offering. As we continued to think of things that we wanted to put on the site, we knew that we were going to need a professional company to put everything together for us. I love to go online and just snoop around, so I volunteered to research the different website creation companies and find the best one for our needs. Continue reading

A Higher Quality of Workmanship

Lately I’ve been working as a app developer in Singapore. I felt that I needed the experience outside the United States due to beginning to feel like I was working in something like a social ‘boys’ club. In computer science, and even on the basic tech support level, there are fewer women working with men. Those few who do work with men are often treated poorly. They’re not given the credit that they deserve for the work that they do; I’ve yet to meet a single female employee in the States who is incapable of doing the job as well, if not better, than most men.

Here in Singapore it’s both similar and different. The entire work force in Singapore is of a higher quality than what you’ll find in the United States. Continue reading

Warning – Remove the Blindfold Before Starting an Information Technology Career

It might surprise you to learn that Information Technology does not describe any particular technology field. It is a broad description that encompasses hundreds of different fields dealing with the digital storage, communication and processing of information.

Although these fields fall under the same banner of ‘Information Technology’ they do not necessarily have transferable skill sets. And this observation becomes significant when deciding on an Information Technology career path. Whilst entry level careers branch out into dozens of alternate paths, vertical movement between certain paths is unlikely without starting again.

Take the fields of Web Developer and Telecommunications specialist as an example. One field fall within the ‘software developer’ category and the other falls within the ‘network’ category but both fields fall comfortably within the all encompassing Information Technology career banner. Even the most experienced Web Developer would struggle to transition into a Telecommunication Specialist role because the knowledge and skills held by a Web Developer are, for the most part, not applicable to Telecommunications.

This is why entry level Information Technology career choices can be so important. Career options branch into many different directions as experience levels increase, but they are always limited by the scope of knowledge within each field. This means that if an IT student or IT graduate has a career goal in mind they should be mindful of the different paths that may lead to the objective.

Although the Information Technology industry as a whole has a prosperous future, IT students or IT graduates who wish to take advantage of emerging technologies should position their careers appropriately. Emerging technologies are a great way to fast forward a developing career because any skills shortages means less experienced candidates are given opportunities that they may have not otherwise received.

The IT industry is rife with examples of emerging technologies and skills shortages. For the record, we feel that IPV6, Unix (due to the Unix millennium bug in 2038), HTML5 and Security are emerging fields (or fields with significant potential for growth in the case of Unix and Security) to watch for in the medium to long-term future.

Small Business Owners Need Not Be Scared of Information Technology

This year Ford introduces inflatable seat belts for the rear seat occupants, Toyota Prius will sport the solar powered ventilation system, Chrysler will launch the adjustable air suspension and Mercedes-Benz will unveil its hybrid. You are not intimidated by all this high technology, are you? You say, “Bring it on. I love the technology for the safety, fuel economy and convenience that it brings.”

Do You Find IT Intimidating Technology?

Then why is it that many small businesses are scared of information technology. No, I don’t have survey results to support that. But there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest this is the case. In fact, it is so bad, IT seems to stand for Intimidating Technology for some of you. Yes, I agree that some of the IT technical jargon can be intimidating. But so will the automotive jargon. Sometimes the pace of change in IT itself can add to the intimidation factor. But then the pace of change in automotive markets is no less either.

Let us take the example of building your company web site. Some of you may be technically savvy and handle the whole thing soup-to-nuts. This is understandable – so do car enthusiasts. This is a very small percentage of the people who are either IT business owners or happen to be technically savvy.

But for the vast majority of you, when you buy a car, you intend to drive it. You focus on its features and the accessories you need and you are prepared for an occasional tire change or engine oil top-up. You don’t worry about how to fix the transmission or swap the engine. This is a healthy attitude to technology, any technology.

I find that some small business owners are so scared of technology that they either don’t have a web site at all or entrust the entire thing to the techies. You are the person most familiar with your business. You know the nuances of your market and the right ways to communicate with your clients and prospects. You need to be familiar with the different tools available and their pros and cons and you need do the evaluation, just like you will test drive the car you intend to buy. Let the techie install, configure and secure the web site for you. Then you step in and create the content. Modern tools allow any non-technical person to create content and publish it to the web site. Let the techie then help with maintenance, support and upgrade.

Convert It To Indispensable Technology!

When hybrid technology made its appearance in cars a few years ago, it gave a big boost to fuel efficiency. In a similar manner, information technology is enabling you to reach markets inaccessible earlier, make you as effective on the road as you are in the office and automate your operations seamlessly from end-to-end. Approach IT just like buying a car. Instead of Intimidating Technology, it will become Indispensable Technology.

Information Technology Within the World Wide Web

Information technology has always been here, assisting mankind in some way or the other. It is only with the development of technologies that this has been able to change form and shape, along with methods of delivery. The basic idea remains the same – be able to share and reap benefits from the knowledge acquired.

The seers have done this in the past, then came, the tablets and later the books revolutionized the scenario. With advent of ink and paper, minds and creativity achieved new and unclaimed heights. Artists, writers and host of other professionals monopolized on literature, which only belonged to the elite at one time.

Societies around the world have grown, at different paces, but almost in the same fashion and direction throughout the globe. In the beginnings knowledge was only the property of the selected few, and never commonly shared as we do now. Science has been a great promoter of equality, throughout time, and effectively serving us without any bias.

Printing Technology – the First Revolution

Knowledge and literature were hereby commonly made available for the common man, at a chosen price. Printing technology simplified technology for mass circulations and distribution was made manageable albeit a slow pace. Man was thrilled to find his ideas and thoughts in print and benefiting scores of people who could read and write.

Ideas and thoughts were now gaining solid ground, and this prompted the human minds to open up, and to go on, and on. Man has grown bolder and clearer by the day, and almost stands at the pinnacle from where he is most effectively able to share and communicate whatever he has got. With help from the existing and developing technologies, he is able to clearly express himself, as best as his idea or thought.

Media and Communications

We only got better as we grew. Mass media and telecommunications have only enhanced our capacities for mass distribution methods. From the concepts of the electrical world, we outgrew into the electronic environment. Electronics not only enhanced our capacities for distribution, but have also immensely helped us give clearer pictures to our ideas and improved paths.

Communications during the fag end of the last century specialized and perfected the art, effectively delivering content to the remotest corner of this earth. All barriers and challenges were overcome by the enthusiasm generated by the electronic media and industry as such. Communications peaked during this period into a mature and user friendly environment.

The Magic of the World Wide Web

This magic has been able to weave the web, correlating it with the information technology, so effectively that putting it on the internet is like speaking to the entire world. You never can know and realize how far and how soon you are able to get heard by the people who are using the internet.

Information technology has been able to effectively create a concrete platform in the shape of the World Wide Web, and which is proving to become the biggest database ever known to man. It is like a huge human mind acquiring potency, and being able to relate to the entire mankind.

We can come useful here as a human, and put in our bit so as to fulfill, and try to repay this world, for all that this world has been able to give us. Thank God for giving us a chance.

Breaking Into the Information Technology With A Bachelor Of Science Degree

Breaking into the Information Technology field can be overwhelming and disconcerting. These days everybody knows something about computers, so get ahead of the competition. Make sure you have the knowledge in hand to get where you want to go by pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from Kaplan University.

This program will teach you the critical thinking, analytical mindedness, creativity and communication skills that you need to succeed in Information Technology. Begin or further your career in Information Technology by learning how to design e-business products, or solve problems with hardware and software. Focus your degree further by putting an emphasis on Databases, Network Administration, Programming, Web Development, or Multimedia and Animation and see how far you can go in the IT world.

In the Database emphasis, you will learn how to design databases that will fit each individual customer’s need, including backup and recovery. In the Network Administration emphasis, you will learn how to configure and install network applications. The Programming emphasis will teach you how to create application solutions to fit business needs. In the Web Development emphasis you will learn to create websites, and how to use graphics, text, images and imagination to achieve the goal of the project. The Multimedia and Animation emphasis will teach you how to use cutting-edge technology to create impressive websites that use interactive media to target specific audiences.

Time is always a luxury. Use it to your advantage and earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology from Kaplan online, without quitting your day job! Kaplan takes into account your previous college credits, work experience or military training. Using Kaplan’s Prior Learning Assessment Center, you can assemble a portfolio of your experience to have assessed. This portfolio will illustrate how your work and life experience or military training has met certain course requirements, and once assessed can count as credit towards your degree!

Online quizzes, discussion boards, web field trips and seminars are the tools used by students in this exciting degree program. Learning together, students form the classroom bond within the online world. Courses are taught by instructors with real-world experience, and once students complete their degree, career counseling is available. No student is in this alone! Find out more today, find out how far you can go with a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology degree, from Kaplan University!

Certification In A Technology Field Can Lead To A Hot Web Design Or IT Career

As the cost of a college education continues to rise, some students forgo four-year degrees to pursue quicker and cheaper certifications, such as IT or Web design certifications. Information technology has been a very popular and lucrative career field since the 1990s – and after the field recovered from the dot-com crash and subsequent economic downturn, these careers are now hot again.

Web design certification is one great way to break into the information technology field. Schools such as the Computer Career Center in Las Cruces, NM and El Paso, TX, provide a comprehensive Web design education that prepares students for certification in this field. The CCC Web design education also offers students an opportunity to learn graphic design skills, including photo manipulation and desktop publishing skills. Web design certification – or a graphic design education – enables students to seek entry-level jobs in desktop publishing, Web design and editing, or graphic design pre-press.

For an entry-level computer network or repair career, there are a number of technology certifications to be had. Some schools offer a network administrator course of study, which prepares students to seek several of the top IT certifications in the technology field today. One of the most popular information technology certifications on the market is the CompTIA A+ certification. The network administration education CCC provides at its Las Cruces and El Paso schools enables students to seek this certification, as well as the Microsoft MCSE, the CCNA, and other certifications.

Many IT professionals report that professional network certifications made the difference between career-ladder ascension and career stagnation. And, certifications are not just for individuals with no previous education or work experience. They can be valuable assets for mid-career adults who want to change fields, or who want to add network certifications to their education credentials.

Students with a network certification are equipped to enter one of several technology fields. Some begin in computer repair, where they use their knowledge of computer hardware and systems to repair and upgrade computer hardware. Other students with a network certification take entry-level tech support jobs. They may either receive tech support calls to resolve computer issues over the phone, or they may be employed at a company on-site as a technical consultant.

Technology fields offer great opportunities for growth. Students who begin in entry-level Web design positions may progress to the level of Web master or lead Web designer at a technology company. Similarly, students in entry-level computer repair and tech-support jobs can eventually get careers in consulting, or work in IT at the managerial level. Some students even switch to sales. For example, a person with a Web certification might also be able sell Web advertisements, while a person with an IT certification can more easily switch to selling computer systems and software. An education in the desired technology field, as well as field experience showing progressive responsibility are two great assets in an information technology or Web design career.

Many educational institutions trumpet the advantages of getting a masters degree in a technology field, especially for bachelors-degree holders who want to change careers. However, masters degrees can be expensive, and the increase in pay might not be as significant as the money spent on the degree. Certifications in Web design, network administration, and other tech areas are cheaper and faster than completing a masters degree. Education providers like Computer Career Center help mid-career professionals grow or change their careers with ease.

Students interested in educational or professional advancement can benefit – in some cases, finding great success – by investing in a Web design or IT certification.

Effects of Information Technology on Life

With the existing new technologies and innovations emerging every other day, the information technology is an increasingly interesting platform not just for developers, but also for all sorts of non-technical common people.

With the need for making things easier in the daily life and with the technological advancements, more and more daily activities are shifting online. Having said this, the web can be a very useful tool as well as an intimidating proposition at the same time.

Computer based technology and information systems are actually quite large and vast spread in their utility, have broader spectrum and details. For instance when anyone uses the web for browsing, sending or receiving e-mails, playing online games or even sharing multimedia files with others, all the data has to pass through a set of complicated networks and soft-wares. There are many processes involved that are responsible for management of such systems.

The prime concern of computer related technology is to provide effective and efficient environment, utility of information, softwares and even knowledge and solutions to the common man in a user-friendly manner.

Even the vast majority of people who are still unfamiliar with the technology of computers and the internet, surely find it handy in providing a great means of communication to the whole wide world.

Internet plays a role of a large knowledge base and a crucial place for the latest news, trends and information. Internet even is a big boon to the business or research persons.

Computer related technologies have a strong impact on the world. These have attracted many students and professionals to the field of information technology. There are thousands of web sites and web hosting opportunities available which are ever growing.

There was some problem in the information superhighway of computer technology in the early 90’s because it was not envisioned at that time that the general public would be turning to it in such large numbers. It was supposed to be a walkway reserved for bespectacled physicists and university professionals. With the introduction of the World Wide Web which we know today as ‘www’ was once considered as a medium for sharing text files has gone a major facelift in a period of a decade or so. With the web browsers designed to quickly find and organize information, the internet seeped deeper into popular culture and has become an integral part of daily life and even office work.

The unique fusion of the user interface, animations, video and radio streaming are the ever developing capabilities and advancements of the browsers that have the developers intrigued and working tirelessly.

There are many researches already claiming that the effect of the computer technology, more specifically the online footprint on an internet user’s life is at an average more than that is due to watching TV. What television is renowned for is its multimedia content. The internet with its rich applications and focused capacity of gaining more popular viewer ship is moving in the right direction.

IT Solutions Raleigh

How an Effective Information Technology Solution Provider Should Work

As the Internet keeps expanding, companies are not satisfied with mere web presence. Discerning companies today want their websites to reflect their corporate philosophy. An information technology solutions provider builds and maintains a company’s digital brand image by developing unique, customer centric web development solutions that augment their corporate image. They cater to all your business needs – from creating a simple static site to complex database driven interactive websites. What separates them from the rest is the strength of the creative team, which is a harmonic blend of innovation and experience. The end result is visually stunning websites that are functionally efficient.

In the ever-changing myriad world that is the Internet, it is no longer sufficient to have a website that looks merely good and is functional. The end objective of a website is to enhance brand awareness and increase the sales. As the web keeps on expanding, it is becoming increasingly evident that companies need to explore all the avenues that will make their website more accessible. Search engines play a vital part in promoting business by driving more customers to a site. Surfers today rely on search engines to find context sensitive information.

An effective working IT solutions provider has to take cognizance of this trend. He has a dedicated team of SEO professionals who use proven design methodologies that drive targeted traffic to your site, thereby opening more avenues of revenue generation. He has developed an array of software products that avails maximum advantage of the benefits the Net has to offer. This range of products empowers a company to be cost effective. The products are highly scalable, and can integrate with an existing legacy system.

Web based software applications makes project management trouble free and straightforward, simplifies the process of lead tracking and generation for call centers, develops a transparency within the team members which in turn speeds up the complete process, and are useful for webmasters who are responsible for handling many websites at a time. Essentially, this software applications automates many manual processes and also provides help from its constantly upgraded knowledge base.

Evaluation Phase
The evaluation phase gives a clear and concise understanding right up front of the capabilities, scope, requirements, costs and schedule for a system that meets current business objectives, while building a foundation that allows you flexibility and scalability for future needs. Recommended is an appropriate course of action to deliver the new or re-engineered system. This phase includes functional requirements, high-level system architecture diagram, and a project plan, as well as technical and related business risks that the existing system may pose to future operations.

Analysis Phase
Combined with applicable evaluation phase findings the analysis phase lays the foundation that turns your business vision into operational reality. The analysis phase produces detailed requirements and system architecture specifications to ensure smooth, predictable project execution. Key Analysis phase deliverables are:

– Requirement Specification – a detailed description of functional needs, as well as non-functional requirements, including performance, reliability and security requirements.
– High Level Object Model – highlighting key business objects and their relationships.
– High Level Project Plan – with preliminary schedule, tasks, resource requirements and organization chart.
– Technical and Software Architecture Specifications – including software partitioning, other products, protocols and deployment options.
– Architecture and GUI Prototypes – to insure that the end product is not only functionally efficient, but user friendly.

Development Phase
Milestones are assigned for each grouping of business functions, and for implementation and testing. Generally, each milestone is completed within four to six weeks, depending on the number of business functions in the milestone and the complexity of the functionality described. The development work for each milestone includes:

– Design Documentation – with sequence diagrams and a greater level of detail provided to the Object Model.
– Source Code Written – to implement each business function in the system.
– Testing – beginning with unit testing, followed by incremental integration testing and regression testing.
– Functional System Demo – as each milestone completes, a demonstration of the functionality becomes available for review.

Testing Phase
This final phase of the development process actually starts during the analysis phase when the project team evaluates and selects the best testing tools for your company’s system test. A three-step testing process begins with:

– System Test and User Acceptance Planning – which details processes for conducting the system test, defines how and when performance and stress testing will be conducted, details reporting and tracking of software defects and outlines test team member roles.
– User Acceptance Test/Pilot – the last step in the testing phase includes final testing of the software and release to a subset of the user community. The pilot process develops a core group of users to debug the system in its actual production environment and to help accelerate training when made available to a broader user community.

Information Technology Services

According to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), the apex body for software services in India, the India IT-BPO industry is estimated to aggregate revenues of US$ 73.1 billion in FY 2010 wherein the IT software and services industry is expected to account for US$ 63.7 billion. Moreover, the Indian information technology (IT) market is expected to grow at around 15.5 per cent in 2010.

Application Management, Custom Application Development, Product Development, Application Re-engineering, Application Migration, Restaurant CRM, Application Migration, Java Migration,.Net Migration, Oracle Migration, Database Migration, Web Presence Enhancement, Content Management System, Website Design and Development, E-commerce Solutions, Search Engine Marketing, Rich Internet Application, etc. are the key part of Information Technology Services.

Notwithstanding, Information Technology Services are critical for modern day economic growth and national domestic product. Information technology in association with hardware and software serves the very purpose of making things user-friendly. Moreover, every major global industry considers information technology a crucial part of its function and operation. In comparison to other sectors of the economy information technology has an increased productivity.

Web development services, data recovery, data transfer, application software, etc. are the part of Information Technology Services. Additionally, efforts are being made that during the technical delivery process there is no setback on valuable data and at the same time the basic features of established business model are retained. As data migration requires methodically approach from service providing firm which results in the most cost-effective way.

Information technology provides concrete support during various stages of application management i.e. from starting to the final delivery of products or services. Moreover, an analysis of the industry is done before the delivery of software and work performance is measured during each phase so that cent percent productivity and seamless working is ensured. Not to say before the final delivery and even after the delivery, the service providing firm takes full care.

Once some project is given to the IT Company, expectations are made that it offers application software efficient apart from relieving the client from the tedious process of application engineering. Moreover, expert teams of the service providing firm work towards the maximization of business value and minimization of maintenance cost. Notwithstanding, the IT Company ensures that the application can be updated, expanded and re-engineered, consolidated and customized in minimum delivery time.

Web enhancement is another information technology service which is being offered by various IT firms as small to big businesses require web presence for better output. The service providing firm adapts strategic marketing techniques for added value and generates business leads for the client firm. Search engine optimization is a service which requires an expert knowledge of search engines and for that an IT company is an ideal place.

IT companies in India offer effective Information Technology Services which also includes SEO to help website become more appealing and competitive. Web designing, search engine optimization by blog submission, directory submission, article submission, etc. add value to the current website and create a strong identity.

Infomation Technology Services
It Companies in India

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Meenu_Kapoor/787917

A Career in Healthcare Management – The 5 Information Technology Skillsets You Need to Succeed

Information Technology knowledge and skills are no longer optional for healthcare managers. Aspiring managers and managers currently working in the field should learn as much as possible about the following five areas. Your work life and the life of your practice will depend on it!

Skill 1: Email Etiquette and Management

Email can rule your work life if you don’t make good choices with your messages. Managers need to know how to use the Rules Tool (Outlook) to automatically move messages into folders, and how to turn emails into Tasks and Appointments. Work communication can succeed or fail if you don’t have the basics under your command. Knowing how to archive your email will not only save you time when looking for important information, but will save you from the frustration of searching through hundreds of emails. Here are the basics of email management:

Most organizational experts recommend looking at your email twice a day, and turning off the setting that notifies you immediately when you have new email. Email can be very addictive, and can suck your time away from projects and other work.

Just like paper, try to only touch an email once. Once you read the email, decide whether to delete it, answer/forward it and delete it, or do something else with it like dragging it to the task list or calendar. Don’t get caught in the ugly cycle of reading it once, and going on to the next email without doing anything about it. If you do that, you’ll end up with lots of emails that you have to read again…and maybe a third time.

Never, never put anything critical (of a criticizing nature) in an email. If you need to have that type of conversation with a colleague, pick up the phone. A critique to an employee is best done in person, with a follow-up email for the file.

Always check your outgoing email for tone. The best tone for business email is professional. This means a greeting, a message, a “thank you” and footer with your full name, title, and contact information. Some organizations are more formal, and some are less formal, but I would err on the side of being more professional. You can always set your email signature to include the greeting and thank you and your name, so all you have to do is complete the middle.

For emails that do need to be saved for reference, make subfolders under your Inbox to place reference email. Even better, copy the email to a Word document, and delete the email.

Have high priority (your boss or bosses) and low priority (listservs, subscriptions) email automatically come into their own folders. The low priority email can wait and the high priority email can be dealt with first.

Beware of group emails with jokes, homespun wisdom, clever tests and unbelievable pictures as they are a waste of your time. If you need a break from work, go for a walk, but get rid of the group emails. They take personal and server email space and can border on or be outright offensive, causing a problem if you don’t nip it in the bud. Remember that email is legally discoverable.

Be careful about answering emails off the top of your head, possibly when you’re angry, or rushed. If you need to delay answering an email because of your mood, drag the email over to the task list and set the to-do for tomorrow.

Skill 2: Understanding Medical Office Software

Acronyms come and go, but the basic software that supports medical practices remains the same. Practice Management Systems (PMS) typically include registration, scheduling, billing and reporting as one component. Today’s systems are built around the billing function, with scheduling and registration supporting the ability to generate electronic claims and post payments back to the transactions. Because billing is becoming more standardized, it is the reporting that can make or break a practice.

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are sometimes referred to in a broader sense as EHR (Electronic Health Records) and range from the simplest of systems which act as a repository for the electronic chart to the most sophisticated systems which may include digital imaging, e-prescribing, complex messaging, medication reconciliation, and test alerting, among others. EMR and PMS can be totally integrated, or can interface with each other, populating the other uni-directionally or bi-directionally. Those mangers with a deeper understanding of their own software systems will find it easier to implement pay for performance measures such as PQRI and e-prescribing, and will not have to rely on vendors to educate them.

PACS is Picture Archiving and Communication System and allows easy indexing and retrieval of images. PACS exists primarily in radiology and surgical specialty offices, but as more hospitals extend EMR and PACS privileges to physician offices, managers will need to understand something about the technology.

Other systems that will interface to your system are transcription, outsourced billing systems, data warehouses, claims clearinghouse, electronic posting systems, and web services interfaces. Get or make a graphic representation of your software and hardware system/network so you can talk knowledgeably about it and understand the effects of adding new servers, workstations or software modules.

Skill 3: Using Technology to Stay Current in Your Field

Magazines, newspapers and even television news is losing favor as people find the latest and most in-depth news on the Internet. For physician office managers, news and important information is available through websites, newsletters, newsfeeds, webinars, podcasts, listservs and blogs. How does a manager sift through all these options and stay current with the demand of running a day-to-day practice?

One of the most important ways to consolidate this information is to subscribe to a feedreader or email from websites you like and have the news come to you (called “push technology”), instead of you checking the website every few days or whenever you remember (aka “pull technology”). These are the programs that will eventually do away with most, if not all, of your magazine subscriptions. You know that guilty pile of professional magazines that you have in your office or at home that you have scanned but still plan to read in-depth? Gone!

Most websites offer email or RSS options to their users. An email option asks you to enter your email address and will email you when new information is available, typically offering the full content inside the email itself. This is ideal for anyone who has these emails automatically placed into an email subfolder to read later.

RSS stand for Really Simple Syndication and is a way to push the content of many sites into a feedreader, which is an organizer of website feeds. There are many feedreaders available at no cost and adding a new website feed to your personal feedreader is as simple as clicking on the orange RSS icon on the website page and identifying the feedreader you use. The nice thing about using RSS is that you can group sites into categories you decide upon, it is easy to add new sites and drop sites that you find a waste of your time, and you do not clog up your email program with lots of emails.

Webinars and podcasts are another way to stay current. Many webinars are free and allow you to dip your toe into the pool of knowledge on a particular topic. Webinars with a fee attached are usually longer and more in-depth, and can replace the traditional go-to conference which has become a budget breaker for many practices.

eBooks are quickly becoming the way to get just the information you want when you want it. Most eBooks are reasonably priced (some are free) and can be stored or printed.

Skill 4: Online Patient Interactions and Web 2.0 Applications

Patient interactivity via practice websites is growing exponentially. Many practices are using web functionality to communicate with their patients via secure messaging. This allows bi-directional communication such as:

1. Request an appointment (patient) or appointment reminders (practice)
2. Send statements; patients pay online with a credit card (practice & patient)
3. Inform patients of test results (practice)
4. Create personal health records (patient)
5. Request a prescription refill (patient)
6. Virtual office visits (practice & patient)
7. Complete registration via fillable.pdf forms and download to practice management system (practice & patient)
8. Request medical records; send an electronic copy of same (practice & patient)
9. Complete a history of present illness prior to the on-site visit (patient)
10. Ask & answer questions for the doctor, nurse, or staff (patient & practice)

If you’re not looking into ways to communicate with your patients electronically, start now. Web 2.0 is now more typically referred to as social networking, social media or new media. What started out as a way for friends to communicate with each other is now an amazing, ever-expanding ability to connect/market to businesses, patients and referrers. Very few medical practices are using social media, but they should, because it is the way of the future, and in many cases, very affordable.

Skill 5: Knowledge Management and Retention

Most medical offices try hard to document processes such as “How To Make An Appointment For Dr. Jones,” but find it difficult to keep up with documenting changes to those written protocols. Documentation is crucial for operations in that it supports job performance and consistency, and is a basis for training new employees. The traditional documentation method for most practices is use of Word documents, which can create an immediate usability logjam. Due to cost, Microsoft Office is not installed on many workstations, and many office employees are not trained to use Word, so the onus for original creation of and changing of protocols falls to one person. Changes in healthcare are happening so quickly that it is not reasonable for one person to be able to update all documentation, unless they are dedicated to it on a full-time basis.

Better and more affordable solutions are becoming available. Speech recognition and office wikis are two possibilities for documenting office processes. Speech recognition (you may already be using it for your transcription) is a very affordable solution, but it does take time to train the program to recognize your voice. If you are not used to dictating, it may also be a learning curve, but it is one that will pay dividends down the road. Doctors can use it to help you by dictating their preferences, such as appointments, patient intake, room set-up, procedure set-up, patient phone protocol and after-hours call contact protocol.

Private wikis are another good bargain in the marketplace, as many are available at no cost, and may be installed and managed on the web. Wikis need at least one person to function as editor. Since you can have your entire staff work on documentation, the staff becomes very invested in the process of keeping the wiki fresh and up-to-date.

There are other free or low-cost project management web programs that can also be used to track changes and remind staff to document changes later. The one area that is most important for tracking changes and managing knowledge in the practice is in billing. Many practices are held hostage by their billers as their knowledge is so specific and proprietary that the manager feels s/he could not recoup it if they left. No practice should be vulnerable based on knowledge any single employee has, including the manager.

Mary Pat Whaley, FACMPE is an energetic healthcare executive with 25 years of experience managing primary care, specialty care, laboratory, imaging, and ambulatory surgery facilities. Her expertise is in building projects, revenue cycle management, and information technology selection, implementation and management. Additionally, she excels in communication, staff and management development and training, marketing innovation, and technology application, and has a special interest in social media in healthcare. Her website “Manage My Practice” ( http://www.managemypractice.com ) provides information, resources and technology solutions for medical practice managers and other healthcare executives. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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