In this article, we will be looking at using tools and technology in a healthcare private practice. And how they could possibly think about technology or use technology in their practice. I think it’s quite clear that technology is here to stay. There was some doubt in the early 90s, about, whether this is gonna happen or not. But I think we can clearly say that it’s it here. Remember they sent a man to the moon, with less technology than what most of us carry in our pockets. This though always kind of sobers me, in terms of thinking around technology.
Change Management with Tools and Technology
The whole idea is how receptive are people to making a change, because it’s not as simple as just moving from a Microsoft base laptop to a MacBook. And for most people, that that is a huge change. With every change, there is that switching cost and there’s a little bit of that hurt or nastiness about changing. Whether it is that you lose half your documents, which hopefully is not the case, or have to spend two months learning how the new system works.
Yesterday someone was telling me she moved to a MacBook from Microsoft and the email doesn’t quite work in the same way. And I thought “Okay, that’s interesting” I have never really thought about it that way. But it was a very real thing for her.
Many people are resistant to change because of the, amount of effort that you need. So I would say when you’re looking at technology, in my in my opinion, it should be that you’re looking at probably three factors. Will it save you time? Will it save you money by doing this? And will it bring you value?
Why is technology becoming more important for healthcare practitioners?
I think if I just say why is technology becoming more important for healthcare practitioners? It is because it’s the world that we are living in right now. And I think based on that, it’s that we have less time. Practitioners are almost forced by clients to climb onto the technology bandwagon. I mean, if you’re not sending your clients and invoice by email, which they can then submit to their health insurance and medical aids, and it’s handwritten, it’s almost like that is what’s expected. And if you’re not doing that, you are out there behind the curve and behind where the majority of the industry seems to be at the moment.
And that would be the reasons for looking at technology and saying, if you’re a healthcare practitioner in private practice, that technology is available to you. I would argue that it’s been available for many years. Some of the practice management software, has been available for 20 or 30 years.
Healthcare practitioners in my opinion, should be considering technology is because it is here to stay. And there’s a lot more technology available to, healthcare practitioners in order to make their lives better and easier.
We spoke about being remarkable, this would be getting a better experience for your clients. By choosing a technology that satisfies, in some of those those areas that you’ve highlighted or want to focus on on being remarkable. With all of these discussions are always going to go back to what have we done has it worked for us? And possibly also, without disclosing too much but with our clients, more or less has it actually worked out for them.
Be intentional with your technology purchases.
And I think choosing any any bit of technology is difficult. I mean, it starts from.
- What phone do you have?
- What laptop Do you have?
- Which programs or software applications do you put on the, device to be able to do this stuff.
That decision has become a lot easier, like over the years, especially with Apple, releasing their first smartphone and kind of pushing the boundaries of what you can do.
But as you said, you know, I’m sitting at the airport, going down to Cape Town for a meeting, I want to be able to be as productive as if I was on the local network in at the office. And when I looked around,that was my requirement. With every single bit of technology that we use as a team, it has to satisfy those requirements for me. So it has to be online based, which means normally that, then it’s accessible wherever. Obviously, with online base, you have to worry about the security parts. But if you have the security part covered with two factor authentication, or something, very similar, then that’s normally fine.
Make sure it can work on multiple devices.
So that means and this is probably the biggest change as well, that I’ve found over the years is I don’t want to just work on my laptop.
We had a client recently where, we brought her on from using another practice management software. That software only worked on her laptop, and you couldn’t get it to work on any other laptop unless you phoned into the support team. And you got it authorized and stuff like that even then the secondary laptop would only access the software if the main laptop was switched on and logged into the software. In my opinion, we are way past that. I’m not saying you have to be relaxed about security, but I am saying you have to be at a stage where when you choosing the technology it has to work on multiple devices.
So all of the technology that we use in it has to work on a laptop, on an iPad, and it definitely has to work on the smartphone. It might be that some of the features are reduced on the smartphone. Which for obvious reasons would would make sense. But it can’t be that doesn’t work on the smartphone, I think that that’s the key part. And yeah, it must be quick, it must be all of those kinds of things.
So if I was to give a recommendation to clients it is this. When you are looking for technology when choosing it just be a lot more intentional about that. And if you’re not getting that, from whatever bit of technology you’re using. Then I would really look at it from the perspective that in the world that we’re living in it, there are multiple solutions to any given problem.
Tool and technology basic must haves.
Choose the email that you that you want to go with. And again, if I go with, what you were saying is, most healthcare practitioners get this wrong, in terms of using maybe a personal email. I would definitely recommend, going with a business type email, for your private practice. Something that’s separate to your personal email, where you are emailing your friends and your family. And with this as well, it’s up to preference, that would just be my recommendation.
If I look at email itself, don’t just go with any email, you know, go with an email that’s from a trusted provider. The ones that kind of spring to mind are G mail, Microsoft with their office 365 or Apple mail. We’ve got an offering, on our infrastructure, which is a secure, dedicated mailbox, tied to your actual domain or your website called IsoWeb.
Document drafting and storage.
Closely tied with email would be, how do you back up your documents. We were speaking to someone, last week, and she was moving from the one laptop to the other. But she didn’t know how to move documents. I would definitely recommend having a backup type solution in place. Google has Google Drive, Microsoft has One Drive and there are multiple other such as Dropbox.
Basically figure out for your critical documents, how do you put that, in some type of online based backup storage facility. You can also use an offline back up like an external hard drive. Just make sure that, that backup works and you can access it. With an offline backup definitely, don’t put the backup drive, with your laptop, in your bag, in the car. Because if it gets stolen, the laptop, and the backup drive are gone. So definitely have the backup drive separate, so that you can recover when you get the next laptop.
So that’s quite a common mistake that most people make, over and above not backing up. But to me, it’s quite simple there’s a drive on my computer that I know is being synced to an online cloud storage. And I always put the documents in that drive or that folder. So it makes it very easy, for me to switch from the one laptop to the other. Because it’s just logging in connecting to each one of the services and then you’re good to go.
The other one would be you have to have some form of video conferencing technology. Again, 2020 has shown us you need to be able to do online consultations or online meetings. You do need to do a bit of research to check which options are safe and secure, especially in a healthcare environment. So take a little bit of time and look into what kind of video conferencing software you can use. Because that does impact you if you are going to be doing online sessions.
Password Management Tool.
I’m yet to find an example of someone that does this extremely well. The reason I say a password management tool is that you want to have all of your passwords in one place. With any given person, you have at least five passwords that you need to remember your email, banking stuff, hosting accounts, all of those kinds of things.
You need some way that you can securely store that and more importantly, that it’s not a document stored on your computer. Because I mean, you can understand the ramifications of that if that laptop is in the wrong hands. But a good password management tool gives the ability to generate a password that’s not something that’s simple to remember. It’s some obscure password.that, you can you can actually store in the password management app and just login. Some of them even automatically log in for you.
So I would definitely recommend that you look at a password management tool. And definitely, not just in your head. Because invariably, what you do is you start reusing passwords, which they do not recommend. Don’t use the same password on your email as you do on your online banking profiles. Because, if someone has access to the one, they do have access to everything.
When something doesn’t work, look back at what happened and ask some serious questions. You know, did we shift I would say, as a recommendation whenever you’re thinking of choosing a technology. Maybe look at what we have, and what we would recommend. And I want to be as transparent as we can, especially with with this type of content, so that you have the best decision. By no means am I saying you need to choose our solution, but at least it should spur on some ideas. Or a philosophy of, how we’ve come up with it or, why we’ve chosen that it should resonate in some way. And if it doesn’t, find someone else or find other content that resonates with you in terms of how you should choose a technology that’s going to make a difference for your private practice and your life.
If you’re on the go and need to quickly send off a claim or book an appointment. You should to be able to do that wherever you are. Instead of having to first get home switch the computer back on then sit down and work. Because the moment you start doing that, you wind up working all night or until all hours of the day and you don’t actually switch off. Technology helps you to have that downtime, but you’ve got to have the correct information and the correct tools to do it.
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