How To Embrace The Power Of Data

How To Embrace The Power Of Data

Have you ever thought about how much data exists in the world?

Have you ever thought about how much data is created on an average day?

The statistics are staggering, especially when you consider how far we’ve come in such a short period of time. For example, according to Forbes:

  • By 2020, over 6.1 billion smartphone users will exist throughout the world
  • By 2020, there will be over 50 billion smart devices developed to collect, analyze and share data
  • In 2015, over 1 trillion photos were taken, and billions of them were shared online
  • In 2017, over 80 percent of all photos will be taken with smart technology
  • Every single minute of the day, over 500 new websites are developed
  • We perform more than 40,000 search queries a second on Google alone
  • The total volume of data that the industry captures and stores doubles every 1.2 years

What do we do with that much data? How can we possibly use it to our advantage?

Big Data is a concept that seems to be popping up everywhere in the business world, no matter what industry you’re in. Big data can be defined as extremely large data sets that are analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

The power of big data lies in its ability to drive decisions.

In many industries, such as medical and technology, new research and content are added and updated all the time. Every year on PubMed, for example, more than 25 million references and 1 million biologically focused articles are published and uploaded to the database. As a researcher, in the traditional sense, it could take weeks, even months to find all the relevant data needed to make an informed decision. And by the time you find what you need, more content is added to the pool.

Fortunately, technology has come so far that there is no reason to have manual approaches. Embracing today’s research solutions can provide answers quickly and accurately. Rather than feeling daunted by the barrage of possibilities that exist and are at your disposal, we help you utilize the power of the modern ways to mine, analyze, and manage the vast amounts of resources you have at available to you, right now.

Secure Texting Can Be A Weak Link

Secure Texting Can Be A Weak Link

Imagine getting a text that says “your daughter has been in a serious accident.” Of course, you go into panic mode. Adrenaline rushes in, and the only thing your brain can process is how to gain more information.

At times like this, we’re at our most vulnerable point. We click. We answer calls. We say yes.

And we set ourselves up for security risks.

Studies show that when we receive a text message, we pay attention.

Currently, texting is the most widely-used app on a smartphone, with 97 percent of Americans using it at least once per day. And when we get a text message, they have a 98 percent open rate, and on average we’ll read it within 5 seconds of receiving it.

Not a lot of decision making time to determine if it’s real or if it’s fake.

That can be a big problem, especially as we move texting into more professional contexts. The health and wellness industry is ripe for patient-centered care options using technology, especially with secure texting and secure messaging. Not only is it increasingly being used for provider-to-provider communication, but providers are using it to stay in touch with patients as well.

Sending a text to your spouse to pick up a few items at the grocery store for dinner isn’t the same as revealing private health related content. Release the wrong data at the wrong time, and you can quickly have a disaster on your hands. Not only can it impact your relationship with your clients, but it can also destroy your reputation as well. .

Security in the texting realm isn’t just for the security officer or the IT department; it’s for every single person in the chain: medical professionals, office staff, and patients. You have to create a system that is not an overly burdensome process for the end users, yet difficult enough to prevent easy penetration by hackers and other less-than-forthright users.

The weakest link in and security program is the user. So it’s important that people consistently are reminded and trained on what to look for in all communication –  including emails and texts – and what to avoid.

Phishing attacks, for example, are often used to gain access to inside systems using employees credentials. And over the years, these fake messages have become increasingly more believable. When you train end-users on what to look for, they learn how to recognize questionable messages that come through. They have a procedure in place to test real from fake, to question before releasing anything that may potentially harm the overall system.

And while that can be more difficult when reaching out to patients, if you build security into the process throughout your organization, you’ll have procedures in place to alert your patients quickly when things go awry.

How To Solve Disagreements Without Conflict

How To Solve Disagreements Without Conflict

Poorly managed conflict and disagreements can kill effectiveness and efficiencies within a workplace. Then fester, build up and completely overwhelm an office to the point where it stops you in your tracks.

Conflict is inevitable. But if you take a “head in the sand” approach, you’ll likely face even bigger problems down the road.

If part of your job is to oversee a group of people, conflict will arise from time to time. Having tactics available to help bring resolution back quickly will allow you to work through those time periods and get back to doing what your workplace does best.

Get To The Issue

There are really only two issues that cause all conflict within an office: communication and expectations.

Communication issues start when there is a misunderstanding about what was said. Or in some cases, what was left unsaid. Expectation issues always stem from a misinterpretation of the end goal or result. When conflict begins, it’s a matter of bringing all parties to the table and discovering the root problem.

  • What was said that caused hurt feelings?
  • What goal wasn’t met?
  • Were all aspects of the project clearly identified upfront?

Dig down to where the disagreement began and you can usually find where the confusion began. Then it’s a matter of moving forward and not getting lost in playing the blame game.

Where Personality Comes Into Play

Introvert. Extrovert. Thinkers. Feelers. Millenial. Baby boomer. Chances are you’ve taken a personality test or two, and have been labeled many things based on your results. All of that comes into play when a disagreement occurs.

It starts with self-knowledge about what motivates and frustrates us. It also takes learning the same about others you deal with every day.

The key isn’t thinking about what the person has done. Instead, it’s about taking in how a person’s personality is factored into the way they handle the situation.

As humans, our first instinct is fight-or-flight. We either dig in for the fight or back away altogether. That can cause more than its fair share of tension, especially when you bring a lot of personality types into one situation.

No matter where you fall on the scales, if you learn to respect situations based on how others view it, it can help you take a step back and say “how would she view this?” One simple question can completely defuse a situation.

Rip The Bandaid Off

Conflict is never fun. But the faster you deal with it, the less time it festers, the smaller the chance it has of stopping production in your workplace. As soon as you discover a disagreement, jump in and work to find the solution as fast as possible.

While conflict will always exist, it’s the leadership team that acknowledges it and finds ways of working through it that will lead the way. Find what works best for your office, lead by example, and don’t let conflict hold you back.

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?

Friend or Foe? How Physicians Are Impacted Ratings

Friend or Foe? How Physicians Are Impacted Ratings

Restaurants know it. So do contractors. So do carpet cleaners.

Not long ago, sites like Angie’s List and Yelp popped up, and a whole new way of reaching out to customers was born. They quickly learned that ratings and review sites could bring in a valuable customer base. It could also be the death of a business.

And so they learned to play the game.

Yet what is now common practice in certain industries is also pushing the limits and feeding into other trades as well. Doctors, hospitals, medical practices, and other health-related businesses are suddenly finding themselves at the mercy of rating sites. And while individual sites like Yelp can rank health related practices, sites like RateMDs, HealthGrades and Vitals are also taking the lead.

Trying to find a new doctor can be difficult a difficult task. Do a search and you’ll quickly form a list that can include hundreds of names. How do you choose? Rating sites make the process a little easier. You can add the criteria that matter most to you, and with a click of a mouse, be rewarded with a shortlist that meets your standards. Then start reading. Ranks and reviews can quickly paint a picture of how well a physician meets your standards. They will tell you about the services they provide.

For a consumer, that’s great news. But what about a physician or medical practice? Because we all know satisfied customers often don’t share their commentary as much as the disgruntled. Review sites are often a place for patients to vent their frustrations. And the more they emit, the more it can damage your reputation. You can’t ignore it. It won’t go away.

What can a medical practice do?

Provide a way for patients to address their concerns and encourage them to use it. Patients turn to review sites when they feel they aren’t being listened to and have no other way to vent their frustrations. Never hide how you handle questions and complaints. Build it into your patient contacts, including on your website, in your email campaigns, and on your patient portals.

Develop a strong patient procedure policy. Yes, we all want the perfect patient; but we have to deal with all of them, the good and the bad. The more you plan for the best and worst case scenario, the more you can defuse situations before they blow up.

Choose the right technology. Patients are online all the time, operating between desktop and mobile applications. They know how to get what they want. Don’t fight technology, The easier you make it for them, the more they will use it. And connect with you no matter what the issue.

Take control over your online persona. Simply ignoring it doesn’t work anymore. You have to monitor what’s being said about you. And thanks to many apps and programs now available, you can easily oversee it regularly.

Technology isn’t something you can push aside and wish it away. It’s there, impacting your business no matter how much you use it. Have questions? We can help you find the right answers for you.

Why Leaders Should Always Mentor

Why Leaders Should Always Mentor

Every day we strive to learn a little bit more. It may be something simple, or a complex task.

But as we weave in and out of our daily practices, it all comes together in a unique way. We think differently. We understand how things fit together. We see the flow in an entirely distinctive way from others around us.

Chances are you’ve never sat down and contemplated all you know. It’s not something we consider. Until someone around us asks a question, and we pay attention to the answers we can provide. That’s the day you change. That’s the day your leadership skills move to the next level.

Self-Awareness Can Transform Your Leadership Skills

Most of us fall into leadership in the normal way. We work hard, get promoted. Eventually, we’re put in charge.

Then the training begins. To be an effective leader, you’ll start honing in on critical leadership skills. Becoming a people person. Lead instead of following. And become a lifelong learner. You change. You grow. More out of necessity than anything else.

But to become a great leader requires feedback. You can’t dish it out without knowing the impact it has. And the more you learn about how you impact those around you, the better you can be at helping them move forward too.

Communication is key. Provide guidance. Ask questions. Deliver direction through discussions and problems. This is a two-way street. Watching how a mentee uses your insights will only give you more value in what you know. Things you take for granted can suddenly become valuable teaching material. Because you think about things in a unique way.

Mentoring Separates Doers From The Leaders

A part of a leader’s job is to watch for hidden talent. To find the diamonds in the rough. The employees that can easily be taken to the next level, given more responsibility, and become a leader in their own right in the future. It’s always an ebb-and-flow environment, one that helps your organization continue to grow.

We’re in a crossover business society right now. In almost all organizations, departments are transcending upon each other, creating more sophisticated alliances between each.

In the IT world, for example, some of the most interesting projects they can take on no longer happen in the IT department. It’s in other areas, like marketing or finance. IT leaders are figuring out that creating self-serving internal policies and programs no longer work across the board. Instead, IT is taking ideas and suggestions for better service, better performance, and integrating solutions into every department company-wide.

Someone in marketing may have an MBA, be well versed in strategic business applications, and have an excellent understanding of systems design. But what they’re missing is the skills needed to move to the next level.

The mentor/mentee relationship can bring talent across the board, and make them richer, more diverse employees that can offer greater benefits overall. With a little training, a little coaching, they can move your company into a solid, profitable direction.

How do you develop the mentor/mentee relationships within your organization?

How To Make Tough Decisions

How To Make Tough Decisions

Leadership has its benefits.

It can also become one of the most difficult jobs to have, especially when faced with some of the toughest decisions of your life.

Things like firing someone, downsizing an office, or even canceling a project can increase a leader’s stress tenfold. Not to mention the added turmoil that comes along with it if the decision winds up blowing up in your face.

What’s a leader to do?

Like everything in business, decisions don’t have to be made through gut instinct (although that sometimes helps). Instead, a few simple questions can guide you to not only making a tough decision, but also support the results as well. Ask yourself:

How will this decision effect the people?
A decision is never just about the leader; it ripples down and impacts the entire company. A decision may only effect one person immediately – firing a person, for example – but ultimately it will impact a variety of people throughout the workplace. Consider everyone your decision will touch. Will it improve morale or hurt it? Will it make the office better or worse? How long will it take to implement the decision and who will be a part of the process? The more thought you put into the decision as you are finalizing it, the easier implementation can be.

Who can I trust to help me make this decision?
Every great leader has a strong support system behind him or her. Who can you trust to give you advice? Find people to support you in many different ways. Not every person will be able to provide the same perspective in different situations. But as you lean on people and discover their strengths, don’t be afraid to call upon them to provide you with the details you need to finalize your decision making process. Choose your mentors wisely. Reach out and find support for different aspects of your life. From coaches to friends, mentors and allies, all are important assets in a leader’s Rolodex. Nothing can allow you to make a better decision than knowing you have the right partner by your side, providing you with the right amount of information you’ll need to make an educated decision.

What are the facts? Am I allowing emotions to get in the way?
It’s hard to make decisions when your heart gets in the way. A great leader must learn to separate facts from emotions when finalizing a decision. Emotions can sway an argument. Facts never lie. Gather enough facts about a situation to make a clear judgment call, then use them to support your actions.

Is this the right decision?
Each of us has an internal set of guidelines, morals, that help guide us every day. Sometimes we make decisions based on what we think is right; sometimes we make them based on what we know is right. Who has influenced you to make this decision? Are you implementing it based on orders from top management? Do you feel it’s the right decision for the situation? Don’t just take action based on orders. It’s much easier making a decision and living with the results when you know your actions match your inner judgment.

How can I back my decision?
Once a decision is made, a great leader will have to face his critics. Some will love and support a decision; some will not. Yet once a decision is made, it’s more important than ever to have a clearly defined path – a vision of the future – and stay true to course to move forward and upward. Keep your support system close, and remind people of the ultimate goal throughout the process.