Cutting Through The Jargon Of The IT World

Cutting Through The Jargon Of The IT World

The influence of the Internet on the world of business continues to change on a daily basis. In fact, it sometimes changes so fast, it’s difficult to keep up with the pace.

New concepts are always being developed. Acronyms and buzzwords are now a normal part of most conversations.

Yet with it all brings an abundance of confusing, misunderstood, or sometimes just not understood ideas. And that can be frustrating if you’re not speaking the same language as those around you. If you ask for one thing and receive another, all because of misinterpretation of what a buzzword really means, that’s a breakdown in moving a business forward.

APIs are one of many examples. API – application programming interface – are tools for building software and applications. They provide the interface between software and other applications that allow third-party programs to access the data and use it in a way that maintains its own internal integrity, and remains highly functional together.

A good example would be using the Google Maps API. In fact, you may use it already on your own site. It allows businesses to layer data (maps, reviews, ratings) on top of Google’s location-based information, and combine it with your own data for ease of use for your visitors and customers.

Cloud computing can also be misunderstood. Cloud computing is a general term used for the delivery of hosted services. It essentially has enabled companies to consume Internet and computer resources as a utility, paying for the ability to use the service rather than having to purchase the entire program or part. It gives businesses the ability to pay per use, buying resources only when you need them most.

Cloud services should be on-demand, accessible anytime and from anywhere. They are resources that can be used to serve many customers, often with rapid scaling of capabilities depending on the services you purchase.

Within the cloud computing world, you’ll find delivery comes through as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Software as a Service (SaaS) – think of it as on-demand software. It’s a software licensing and delivery model in which software is delivered on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) – it provides a platform that allows customers to develop, run and manage applications without having to build or maintain the infrastructure associated with developing and launching an app.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – is a third party provider that hosts hardware, software, servers, storage and other infrastructure components on behalf of its users. They host users’ applications and handle tasks including system maintenance, backup, and resiliency planning.

As computer systems become faster, more powerful and more intelligent, you’ll find more artificial intelligence systems (AI) capable of answering questions you provide it. AI systems today are cognitive by nature because they use existing knowledge to develop new knowledge.

You may have become intrigued with AI technology after Watson won the quiz show Jeopardy! several years ago. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what AI can do. You’ll find AI assisting you in everyday applications, just ask Siri. AI is transforming health care as we know it. AI can even laugh at your jokes and be a friend.

And this is just the beginning. How are you incorporating technology into your business?

Online Presence Strengthens Physician-Patient Relationships

Online Presence Strengthens Physician-Patient Relationships

Before we do anything, we head online and search.

Want a restaurant nearby? Pull out your phone and search.

Dishwasher broken? Google comparisons before you buy.

Looking for a new doctor? Head online and search the reviews.

Today’s consumers are Internet-savvy; using online tools to find what they need is second nature. And it’s not just online review sites. It’s social media tools as well. People Tweet, use Facebook and Instagram like second languages. They share because it’s our world.

It’s not realistic to sit back and accept things the way they are; savvy businesses know they have to manage their online reputation to protect their market share. Pew survey data shows that 87 percent of US adults have Internet access, 68 percent own a smartphone. And one in five has performed an online search before making a decision for healthcare services.

This behavior is forcing all businesses to reassess their marketing strategy. When refining your online approach, it’s important to concentrate efforts in four areas.

Identifying and using current rating and review sites

There are many different types of review sites online today. You can’t ignore the big players in the industry, like Angie’s List or Yelp, or health related sites like RateMDs or HealthGrades. Yet it’s also important to realize that this industry grows and changes every day. Directory and review sites pop up all the time. Be aware of the new sites and tools, adding new listings whenever you find them. Because you don’t know where patients will search and browse, a horizontal approach is necessary to be in many places at once.

Using social media and engagement

Online resources have allowed closer interaction to take place between patients and providers. It generates feedback, performance, reviews, and resources. Taking a proactive approach means starting the conversation online before initial contact with content and data. Staying one step ahead of the digital curve encourages patients to share their experiences, rather than to react to it once it’s in place. If you don’t have profiles on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, now is the time.

Accepting feedback and reaching resolution

Negative reviews are an unfortunate but unavoidable occurrence for most providers. You can’t please everyone all the time. And as much as you’d like to handle the situation off the grid, it’s simply not possible anymore. Watching for online feedback gives you the chance to respond immediately. By taking control early, others can see what’s being done to correct the issue. We’re human. In the online world, online resolutions work.

Benchmarking

How are you doing compared to your competition? How well are you doing over last year? Not knowing is no longer a smart business practice. To ensure success, it’s more important than ever to understand how all levels of business – individual physicians to large facilities – compare and measure up to their competition. Feedback builds trust. Opinions impact growth. If you don’t take control, it will quickly control you.

How are you using your online presence to strengthen your relationships?

Should Your Mobile Strategy Include Wearable Technology

Should Your Mobile Strategy Include Wearable Technology

Right now, the majority of American adults own smart technology, making it a multi-billion dollar industry.

While it took several years to implement smart technology into our lives, the wearable market is expected to increase at an even livelier pace.

While a mobile device is portable and can accompany you wherever you go, it isn’t something you have to carry all the time. Wearables stay with you wherever you go. They can be planted in your eyes as contact lenses, worn on your arm as a watch, even inserted internally in your organs and used as health monitors. Their sole purpose is to collect data, send, and perform executions based on the desired end results.

Wearables differ from smart technology in several significant ways.

Size – the most obvious is the display screen. Smart technology is meant to be used, read and looked at regularly, where wearables may be designed without a screen at all.

Functionality – wearables have specific purposes. A lot of their functionality involves tracking and communicating back to a mobile device.

Experience – wearables offer limited user experience. They are designed to interact with an app or mobile device, transmitting information to another format.

Platform – smart technology can transfer from device to device for improved user experiences. Wearables will only work if they are used as intended, and can only be displayed when integrated back with its original program.

Should you business strategy include mobile or wearables? In the very near future, the two will become integrated as one. By as early as 2017, wearable devices will drive as much as 50 percent of total app interactions.

The key to making it more successful is integrating real-time.

Up until now, wearables are good at telling people what they’re doing wrong. They’re good at being in the now. But where they lack is making suggestions for how to make it better.

For instance, wearables can easily track how many steps you’re taking every day. It can plot a users averages to give them an overall view of the action they are taking.

But what a wearable can’t do is make a suggestion to take the stairs instead of riding up in an elevator. It can’t tell a user he’d be better off adding another form of cardio to his workout routine. That’s where human intervention comes into play.

That’s also how the two can eventually come together. It’s all about being able to intervene real time. Making suggestions based on six months of data won’t change habits. But jumping in and making suggestions while the process is happening, created, that’s where the real potential lies.

There’s no doubt wearables are here to stay. It’s just a matter of determining how best to implement them into our lives.

How do you see wearable technology in your future?

How To Benefit From Applying Automation To Your Practice

How To Benefit From Applying Automation To Your Practice

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, we’ve been on a quest to make things as efficient as possible. If there’s a way to do something faster, better, cheaper or more efficiently, it’s worth implementing into the process.

The very first automobiles were painstakingly made by hand until Ford revolutionized the process with automation.

The banking system was forever changed when ATMs were introduced into our daily lives.

Even today, we can do anything we choose, have access to unlimited statistics and data and resources by pushing a button on a small device located in our pockets.

But as much as automation has become a part of our lives, some industries still lag behind. Right now, the nursing industry is expected to have a shortage of a quarter of a million people by 2025, due to an ever-aging population in need of more care. A shortage of as many as 90,000 doctors will also exist, especially in more specialized areas of surgery or treating chronic disease.

Why? Because healthcare continues to be managed on a one-on-one basis.

And while individualized attention will never go out of style, applying automation to the tasks that are repeated over and over again can and should be implemented to reduce both time and costs for both staff and patients.

Automation:

  • Increases overall savings on time, labor and cost. If something is repetitive, you can automate it. This is where apps and wearable technology can create the biggest change.
  • Improves quality and consistency. Human error and fatigue are significantly reduced when certain processes are automated. Automating things like patient records, order entry, and medical support can all help reduce complications and costs.
  • Provides better routines. Patient care can be triggered by many things. Two patients with similar medical problems may currently be treated in different ways, depending on the medical staff they see, the time of day they visit a facility, their reaction to information, the resources they are provided, and how well they understand advice. With human interaction, no two processes are the same. But with automation, every patient receives the same resources, the same information, the same guidelines and the same procedures once the system has been triggered. When patients follow a standard of care that is supported and monitored by automation, they are more likely to take the necessary actions.

Some may say that our new direction of healthcare will greatly impact the effect of human interaction and undermine staffing skills and knowledge. But automating tasks that require little cognitive value can free up time to spend on more important things. Like quality care, the human touch.

While the benefits of automation are still being developed, one thing is certain; it’s bringing change to a system that is in need of vast improvement.

How are you incorporating automation into your practice?

Are You Ready For Cognitive Computing In Your Practice?

An amazing thing is happening in the healthcare industry. It’s experiencing an explosion of information, which is bringing about opportunity in many ways.

By 2020, it is estimated that almost half of American adults will have some form of chronic disease. It is also estimated that up to half of all healthcare related encounters will take place virtually.

We’re on a very fast learning curve for both, developing and using technology in new ways. Both patients and the health care systems are in the process of generating millions of data entry points on every device imaginable. Yet technology dies almost as quickly as it is produced, meaning we’re in a constant uphill battle of regenerating and replacing.

Cognitive computing is the next evolution of technology that allows systems to learn and grow as they move forward. It generates insight and advice from existing data that up until this point has widely been ignored. It captures a full range of data from a person’s experiences, organizes it and uses it to maintain and improve health for optimal living.

That means bringing together the right technology, the right data, the right delivery systems, the right analysis, and the right programs to make sure the entire process is managed correctly.

Is your organization ready for cognitive computing?

Is your organization doing everything it can with the data it has?
Right now technology is being created and implemented at warp speed. The volume of clinical, personal and research data available continues to increase at a breathtaking pace. Yet there are many things you can be doing today to allow patients to take more control. Are you using apps and programs? Do you communicate through various means of technology? The more you understand now, the easier it is to integrate in the future.

Do you know the best places to allocate your resources to eliminate waste?
Knowing where you could do better is different than having the ability to accomplish it. Getting each patient just the right care requires a careful balance between prior knowledge base and the hundreds of interactive data points that determine the right path today and in the future. With this in place, it’s the perfect use for cognitive computing. And for learning things you may not know are possible – yet.

How adaptable are you at managing care?
There’s the approach that everything has its place, its checklist, its best way of doing things. Then there’s the approach that things change all the time. With millions of resources, hundreds of opinions, and many approaches to a single problem, the more open you are to accepting change, the more you’ll be ready for cognitive computing. Cognitive computing works best when learning what factors were used to reach decisions, and how they can be interpreted to help make smarter recommendations in the future.

Cognitive computing isn’t an all or nothing approach. The important aspect is in realizing there might be a better way.

Is your organization ready for cognitive computing?