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3 Things to Consider Before Updating Your Website

3 Things to Consider Before Updating Your Website

If you’re thinking about updating your website, you’re already one step ahead in the game of “Online Presence”! Many businesses fail to realize how important it is to keep their website updated, fresh, current and relevant. They mistakenly think they can put a lot of effort into building their website and then take a “Set & Forget” attitude about it. Sure, that may give you a presence in the digital world, but it won’t do much for the success of your website, or business for that matter. So let’s take a look at some of the things you may like to consider as you plan your updates. This article discusses audience, technology and experience.

Audience

For most businesses, this will not have changed since launching their website. However, there’s no reason to overlook this consideration. It’s a good opportunity to take a peek at your website’s analytics to see who really is taking interest in what you’re offering. Perhaps your target market isn’t who you originally thought it would be, thus there could be room for adjustments in your copy or images that will be better-suited to the people who are visiting your site in order to convert them into buyers.

Another way to look at this is that there’s a possibility your current content isn’t crafted appropriately to attract the audience you prefer to target. If you’re unsure, there are plenty of marketing/copywriting specialists who will be eager to help you evaluate the message you’re delivering and assist you with re-crafting it to be more appropriate to your goals.

Technology

There’s more to engaging your audience than just the words you use. There are new technologies coming along all the time–things that consumers quickly come to expect from companies who want their business. People enjoy using innovative technologies, and that includes app and website updates that allow them to get what they are looking for, faster and easier. If you’re keeping up with these advances, you’re more likely to be seen as a savvy business who’s keen to meet the demands of the market.

Here are three new web design trends to be mindful of for 2019.

  • A need for speed! Humans simply aren’t patient, especially not since the speed of internet continues to increase their expectations. How does that affect your website and business? It comes down to loading time. A gorgeous site is fabulous, but if your site is so data heavy that it takes ages to load, you’re probably missing a large number of opportunities to convert visitors into customers. Plus, Google now prioritizes search results using their Speed Update. This means the slowest sites are penalized. So it’s worthwhile to streamline your website to be quick-loading.
  • Flat Design means clean and simple. It’s not two-dimensional, but it incorporates a design aesthetic that gets rid of clutter and focuses on the important parts of your website. Because Flat Design uses simpler graphics and other elements, this also ties in with improving the speed of your site.
  • Focusing on mobile first design. At one time, websites were designed to load on desktops only. Then smartphones came into the picture and we started using our internet-ready phones to view websites. The companies that integrated this technology into their design process were the ones who benefited the most. Today, more and more users are predominantly using mobile devices for their searches and online activity. If you haven’t yet given your site a mobile-friendly update, now is a good time to do so!

There are plenty of other trends to learn about. Just be cautious not to confuse them with fads that may not stick around long. Look at the trends and suggestions that you see value in and try to incorporate what you can into your own website design.

Experience

This is another area that takes your consumers into consideration. User Experience (UX) is one of the most important aspects of your website to get right. Visitors want to use sites that are easy to navigate and allow them to complete purchases quickly and easily. Have you reviewed your current transaction process? Have you gone through it to see how it actually works? Here’s a list of things for you to check.

  • How many payment methods do you offer? Once the visitor has decided to buy, she likes to have options. You’ll choose this based on your target audience, but options you may have are Direct Payments, Credit Cards, PayPal, and Swipe, just to name a few.
  • Do you keep buyers on your site or redirect elsewhere for payments? You’ve invested time and money to get visitors to stay on your site, why would you choose to send them elsewhere for payment?
  • Is your branding carried throughout the website and transaction experience? Consumers are more inclined to trust a business that has a consistent look throughout the website experience. That includes the checkout process, another reason to avoid sending them elsewhere for payments.
  • Do you have clear calls to action (CTA) throughout your website? Your visitors should know what you want them to do, easily see how to do so, and have no hiccups when they take that action. It’s a good idea to have multiple CTA buttons throughout your site, not just on the last page.

Again, there are a number of User Experience (UX) design elements that you can incorporate into your website with an update. It comes down to choosing the ones that are most applicable to your business, the market you represent, and the audience you aim to attract.

Ultimately, you have a lot to choose from when it comes to web design elements. It can be a little overwhelming to know which ones are best for your business and the type of website you have.

What do YOU find most helpful, appealing, or attractive when using websites? If you’re unsure, think about sitting down with a pen and paper while you visit your favorite businesses’ websites, as well as those of your competition. Write down what you like and what you don’t like, then compare yours to see how it stacks up.

If you would like help updating your website, please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your needs. We’d love to help you evaluate your site and suggest possible upgrades that will improve traffic, conversions and growth!

What Is Microsoft Stream And How Can It Help Your Business?

What Is Microsoft Stream And How Can It Help Your Business?

Video is the fastest growing medium, not just on social media but also in business. From watching a training session, to a meeting or a presentation, video has become more and more important in everyday business.

What Is Microsoft Stream?

Microsoft Stream is a cloud-based service that allows businesses to upload, share and manage videos in a controlled and secure way.

How Does It Work And What Does It Offer?

To get started, all you need is your work email address. After getting a verification email and entering the required information, you’re good to go.

Once you’re logged in, you will be able to see trending videos inside your organization, as well as browse videos, channels and groups. You have control over your content through creating a watchlist which allows you to do the following:

  • add videos  
  • like and comment on videos
  • share videos with your co-workers
  • follow channels
  • create your own channels to which you can upload your video content.

Channels do not intrinsically allow you to control access to your videos unless a channel is contained within a group, in which case it would inherit the access and permissions of the group. A company wide channel allows anyone following your channel to get updates whenever new content is posted. You can also identify whom you’d like to allow to add and remove videos from it. In a group channel, the number of viewers as well as contributors is limited. Plus, have control over whether your group channel is viewed publicly or only as a private group. By being able to restrict access, you can protect sensitive content as needed. With all of these controls at video level, you aren’t just controlling who can see your video, but also who can own and edit it, and which groups and channels it will be displayed in.

Another area of vital use is the search functionality in Microsoft Stream. As videos are transcribed in Microsoft Stream, you cannot only search for the title or description of a video, but also on the actual word content of the video itself. By clicking on any line of the transcript you can view and listen to the relevant content from there onwards.

When editing your own videos, you can add subtitles or captions during or after the upload. There is also the possibility of using automatically generated captions through Automatic Speech Recognition technology. You can even edit the captions if you come across any caption errors.

Your videos can be uploaded in most file formats and viewed on all devices from anywhere, anytime. As default storage, Microsoft Stream provides you with 500GB and an additional 0.5GB of storage per licensed user. If you need more, increased storage can be purchased as one or more storage add-ons at 500GB each.

What Is The Difference Between Microsoft Stream And Office 365 Video?

Microsoft Stream offers more features than Office 365. It allows you to give permissions at video level, create sub-channels within a group, access your personal video watchlist, view video transcripts that allow you to jump to particular content within the video and the ability to comment and like a video to name just a few.

Office 365 Video will eventually be replaced by Microsoft Stream. During the transition period, which started in the first half of 2018, both software solutions will exist side by side. Microsoft will inform you through the Office 365 Admin center to initiate the transition. As part of this process, all of your videos, channels and permissions will be copied into Microsoft Stream so you don’t need to worry about losing any content.  

How Can It Help Your Business?

Video in business isn’t just important when it comes to marketing your products and services to existing and new customers, but it is also a great way to record and share company internal content.

It helps capture our attention. We are more likely to remember what we have seen than what we have read. It is also a great means to encourage engagement and ease communication among your staff.

As an organization, you can make your company guidelines available to be read and acknowledged by your staff before they upload their first video to Microsoft Stream (the acknowledgment will then be permanently stored). You can also restrict which personnel in your company gets the right to create and upload content.

With technology moving forward quickly, creating and uploading a video has become very easy. A lot of companies use Office 365 apps like SharePoint, Facebook or Yammer which work well with Microsoft Stream. It is very versatile and allows you to follow and share the right content with the right people.

Looking at how important visual media has become as a tool for information (YouTube is the second largest online search engine) and communication, it is crucial for businesses to understand the benefits a software like Microsoft Stream can offer, not just to individual staff but their organization as a whole.

How Will the IoT (Internet of Things)  Change Assisted Living?

How Will the IoT (Internet of Things) Change Assisted Living?

As each generation advances in knowledge and use of the internet and “smart” devices, our homes are becoming more and more loaded with information to collect. That is no different for those in Assisted Living Facilities. One might be surprised by the increase in level of care supplied by those facilities that are making effective use of the IoT in today’s technology-rich market. The possibilities seem almost endless, but here is a rundown of a few of the changes that will make the care of our elderly loved ones more efficient through the use of smart devices and “smart environments”.

A smart room
The cutting edge technologies available today are able to gather information and data about the resident in the room and revert that data immediately, into active, real-time responses.

Sensors can be fitted throughout a facility, to capture information that is sent to relevant parties such as the resident’s nominated healthcare provider, nurses or aged care workers internally. Residents would have the choice of wearing smartwatches that can allow the facility’s staff to know the location and well-being of its residents at any time, so they can respond to queries and requests.

This technology allows interested loved ones or staff in the facility the ability to go into a portal to see what their loved one is doing, with secure permissions, of course. They can know whether or not mom is in her room and available for a call, or if she’s having physical therapy and the call should wait. They can monitor changes in eating habits, sleep patterns, and so much more, all with the help of the Internet of Things.

More personal with more information
Through the implementation of these technologies, nurses and other care workers would be able to respond to residents not just in person, but also via voice or video. Furthermore, they could be more proactive in their care. Because of all the biometric information the sensors in the room and wearable devices can capture, the system would be able to alert staff ahead of time if there’s a possibility of something happening, rather than staff waiting to react to an incident.

Another advantage of this interconnectivity is that staff would be able to see a screen for the resident they are talking to, containing information specific to that person’s needs and preferences. So it wouldn’t matter who was on duty or how familiar they may or may not be with the residents, each staff member would be able to access notes to assist in providing personalized care for every resident.

Better management of independence
There’s no denying that one of the most challenging aspects of deciding whether or not to enter assisted living is the feeling of losing one’s independence. No one wants to make a parent feel that way and very few individuals see past this potential risk when considering the subject for themselves.

This is an area that has seen great improvements in the assisted living industry already. Thanks to better monitoring systems, improved communication and advanced technology, residents are given greater freedom to live independently until or unless the need arises to give them more support. Many people might not think the IoT is critical to the care of our elderly loved ones, but as you can see, there are many benefits available with these interactive devices that share information.

If you are an Assisted Living Facility that would like to discuss ways to create and manage network systems that will bring these technologies to your residents and their carers, please contact NCN Technology for a free consultation.

What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The internet landscape is growing at an exponential rate. It’s no longer just about computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones – the Internet of Things (IoT). It almost seems like there’s a new device coming out every day! Washing machines, robotic vacuum cleaners, door locks, toys and even toasters are labeled “smart” because they are internet connected. This was a future we were promised in science fiction stories not that long ago, but now it’s turning up everywhere we look, and consumers are itching to own a piece of that promise.  As a result, we now have a new umbrella term added to our vocabulary, the “Internet of Things.”

The Internet of Things (IoT), in its most basic form, is everyday devices that are able to be connected to each other and the internet. These everyday objects, such as smart watches, CCTV cameras or even traffic lights, are able to communicate with each other and to the applications that allow you to configure them. Just as you can use an app on your phone to setup your wifi-enabled air conditioner, a wearable device can alert health care professionals when a patient is in need of critical attention.

Not all devices are created equally when it comes to security.

Automating our life at home and at work naturally reduces human labour and as we move more and more towards smart cars, smart homes and wearable devices, we gather more and more objects that are considered part of IoT.

This has both pros and cons, some of which may seem fairly obvious to many.  As with anything relating to the internet, users are wise to do their best to understand the risks involved with using the technologies they bring into their lives. With understanding, they are better-equipped to implement security measures that protect their private information and thus make using these convenient devices work to their advantage.

Anything connected to the internet is vulnerable to cyber attacks. This is particularly true of IoT devices for one very simple reason. Not all IoT devices have security settings that can be easily configured. Because of this, plug-and-play type devices should be carefully researched before they are connected to the internet.

As exciting new gadgets make our homes smarter, they’re also making them more vulnerable.

With the rush of the IoT craze in the consumer market, many manufacturers are working to get their products to market as quickly as possible, thus security can be overlooked at the point of design and release to the public. However, you have probably paid close attention to your PC passwords and are running an antivirus software plus being careful when browsing online. Now think about this. Hackers know that the general population operates the same way, therefore they have moved to hacking routers instead of computer systems.

This is where the home router plays a very important role. The router is essentially the entry point of the internet into your home  or business. While not all connected devices can be protected by themselves, the router has the ability to provide protection at the entry point. Although today’s typical router does provide some additional security (i.e., password protection, firewalls, and the ability to configure them to only allow certain devices on your network), they do not come with installed security software. This makes it possible for malware to sneak through. With the popularity of IoT devices, and the high vulnerabilities they carry, attackers are already focusing on ways to exploit them.  So it’s certainly an area to consider when implementing security measures within your home and workplace.

When it comes to the Internet of Things, there are so many benefits that could improve the way we work and make our home lives easier. But keep in mind that whatever is connected to the internet is available to anyone who knows how to take it. Therefore, it’s wise to do your research before you connect a product to the internet, learn how to configure any security settings and consider how much access a device really needs to your personal information.

We live in an exciting time for technology. There’s no reason to shy away from taking full advantage of efficiency, we just need to do so with some considered security measures.

6 Ways To Attract More Website Traffic

6 Ways To Attract More Website Traffic

What good is a website if no one visits it? If you do get visits to your website, is the number high enough for you to reach your goal of generated sales or views (also known as conversions)? If not, what can you do to increase the number of visitors to your website?

Let’s have a look at 6 ways to help you generate more traffic to your website.

  1. Use Google Analytics

One of the best ways to figure out how to improve your website for attracting new visitors is Google Analytics.

In short, it allows you to analyze the traffic on your website. Google Analytics interacts with your website’s programming language (Javascript) and by doing so, collects information about your website’s visitors. Google then makes this information available to you through its tool, Google Analytics. All you need is a Google account. Most people have a Gmail, Google+ or YouTube account nowadays, which means they can use the same account for Google Analytics.

The setup of your account is very easy and lets you track whichever information you are interested in gathering (e.g. geographical location, gender, age, frequency of visiting your website, etc.). The tool provides standard reports, dashboards and so-called segments (a particular dataset such as the age of your viewers) which you can customize if you wish to do so.

You have the ability to dive deeper into the information and see which content on your website generates the most and least interaction, how long your website visitors stay on your website, how the visitors of your website found you, and so much more.

Google Analytics is a user-friendly tool providing a high level of information that can be used to optimize your website’s content and attract further visitors. In turn, the result should be an increased number of conversions. Considering this, there is no reason to wonder why 50% of the top 1 million websites use this incredible free web analytics service offered by Google.  

  1. Have an Outstanding Website

Remember that people make up their minds fairly quickly when they view your website, which means it needs to look the part.

Here are a few important things to consider:

  • Ensure the design is modern and clean
  • Have a consistent layout, even when viewed on a mobile device
  • Use high-quality images
  • Create interest with eye-catching headlines
  • Concentrate on making your website visually appealing

You’ll want to aim to create a site navigation that is user-friendly. It should be easy for the visitors of your web page to find what they are looking for. A simple way to allow users to search for relevant content is by having filter options. You’ll also be doing visitors a favor by having important information, such as who to contact and how, easy to find. Always bear in mind which customers you would like to attract and what is important to them while they’re visiting your website. Make sure that your website is fast and that it’s secure, especially if personal information, such as credit card details, are provided when checking out.

  1. Use Google AdWords

Another Google service, the biggest of its kind, is Google AdWords. It is an online advertising service that allows the ads of your services and/or products to be displayed on the Google Search results page. The aim is, of course, to tempt users to click on your advertisement which will lead them to your website. By bidding on keywords relevant to your target audience and being able to place a maximum amount you are willing to pay each time that your ad generates a click, you can influence the ranking of your ad on the Google Search results page. The keywords themselves trigger an auction if one or more businesses are bidding on a keyword. As a result, your ad will be displayed on the Google Search results page. “Businesses generally make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords,” Google proudly states. It is therefore another great tool to help increase not just the traffic to your website, but ideally your conversions as well.

  1. Make Use of Social Media

If you do have a website, you should maximize the use of social media. There are over 2 billion people using social media worldwide today. Facebook pages, Facebook Groups, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, you name it, use them. The more you can advertise your services using social media, the better.

Be smart with your content. People are looking for quality content and don’t want to be inundated with useless information. Ask yourself how you can add value to your ideal customers. Post regularly to make sure that your articles, posts, comments and blogs are not getting lost in the news feed. Remember that the likes and shares of your posts and comments will be visible, not just to your connections, but to their connections as well. Imagine too, the benefit of having a few influencers promote your content. Make sure to provide a link to your social media on your actual website.

  1. Check Out the Competition

How do they advertise their services and/or products? What does their website look like? What are the latest features they are using? What are their latest offers? Are they on social media? If so, which social media channels are they using? These are just a few simple questions you can ask yourself when checking what your competitor does, giving you a good idea of why they might be making a bigger profit than you!

  1. Offer Giveaways Regularly and Make Use of Email Marketing

If it’s an actual product, a first consultation for a service you are offering or a free video tutorial, we all love to get something for free. Whatever it is that you give away, feature it regularly on your web page and share it through your social media. Ask your website visitors to sign up with their email address in order to get their free gift. Let them increase their chances by sharing and promoting your giveaway. Once you have grown your subscription/email list, follow up regularly with emails on new offers, updates to your website, news, etc. Make sure that you are not just concentrating on first-time visitors of your website, but recurring visitors as well. You want people to come back to your website and purchase your products or services again.

As you can see, there are a number of ways to increase the traffic to your website. Apart from making sure your website is current and up-to-date in design as well as content, it is important to make use of the above mentioned tools. The data and the analysis of the same are invaluable. They let you make a decision between fine tuning your content or simply replacing if not removing it altogether. They also allow you to influence how and where your ads can be seen and how far you want to reach your audience.

If you feel you don’t have the time or this all still seems a little intimidating, please reach out to the team at NCN Technology for assistance in ensuring your website is optimizing all available channels to improve your results.

Mobility and Productivity

Mobility and Productivity

The “Office” feature for the Samsung Focus 2 mobile phone is an excellent opportunity to turn your device into a productivity center. This application allows you to create different types of documents directly from a device. Create text-based documents, presentations, spreadsheets and more! Think of the “Office” feature as a mobile version of Microsoft’s own Office productivity suite.

Getting Started:

Step 1

Open the “Office” software on your Samsung Focus 2 mobile phone by first opening the “Apps” window on your device’s screen. Next, tap the yellow icon labeled “Office.” A display with options pertaining to the types of documents you can open or create will fill the screen.

Step 2

To open a file, begin by swiping your finger to the left across the screen and open the “Locations” window. If the document is saved on your phone, tap the option labeled “Phone.” Choose the file name of the document that you want to open. If you don’t know the name but do know keywords in the document, tap the word “Search” to perform a basic search. You can also use the “Office 365” and “SharePoint” features to access shared documents that you have worked on using other devices.

Step 3

To create a document, swipe your finger across the right of the screen to reveal a list of various document types. Tap “Explore OneNote” to begin composing a new virtual notebook and “Explore Excel” to begin creating a new spreadsheet. Choose “Explore Word” to create a new text document using Microsoft Word. Select “Explore PowerPoint” to begin creating a new multimedia presentation.

Step 4

Use the toolbars to create and formate new documents. Toolbar buttons will vary depending on the type of document you’re creating. The mobile versions of the Microsoft productivity programs are very similar in design to the full desktop versions. The only major difference is that all features have been reorganized to take advantage of a smaller touch screen. Text is entered into all programs using the virtual keyboard, similar to the way you compose an SMS text message or e-mail on your phone.

Step 5

When you’re finished creating your document, tap the “Save” option from the toolbar to save your progress. You can also tap “Share” to share the document using e-mail, Facebook and other types of online services.

Facilities Need Stronger Healthcare Data Security

Facilities Need Stronger Healthcare Data Security

Does your organization need Stronger Healthcare Data Security? Last year was a record year for Data Breaches and Healthcare information is now more vulnerable than ever. According to a gemalto report “Healthcare organizations encountered the greatest number of breaches among all other industries in 2017.”

Given the forces at play, healthcare data security is top of mind. Healthcare providers need to make sure patient data is secure. Layering your technology is highly recommended by Cyber Security Professionals. One type of technology to include in your stack is Multi-factor Authentication (MFA). This gives your IT department control over secure passwords and reduces the threat of weak password creation and management.

MFAs also provides the ability for single sign on to make it easier for users to access their applications. Rather than memorizing different passwords, users login once and connect to all associated applications.

Items to consider when looking at MFA’s for your organization:

Will it full-fill HIPAA and HITECH Logon Requirements?
Will it provide Secure Logon Access into EMR Data?
Is it Card-based, Multi-Factor Authentication?
Does it work with existing physical access badges?
Does it work on Cloud, Enterprise Servers, Small Business, Networks, or Stand Alone Computers?

These are just a few questions to ask when evaluating solutions. There is not one solution that will protect your data. For Healthcare Data Security, it is recommended to find the best stack of solutions to meet your organizational needs.

For more information, contact us at consulting@ncntechnology.com

How sales enablement can speed up move-ins

How sales enablement can speed up move-ins

It’s no secret that assisted living companies are facing occupancy challenges. Assisted living occupancy reached its lowest levels since 2009 in the second quarter of 2017, according to data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. And occupancy challenges continued through last year and into this one.

One underlying issue is that older adults are expressing a desire to receive care in their homes as they age rather than move. In a Merrill Lynch study, 85% of retirees said they would rather receive care in their own homes, compared with 10% who said they would prefer an assisted living facility. In fact, senior housing accounts for just 4 million out of 46 million potential older-adult customers. This finding underscores that the value of assisted living facilities is not being effectively communicated to seniors and their adult children, who are often the key decision-makers.

So how can we change that?

Sales enablement helps organizations address this challenge by streamlining the sales process and shortening sales cycles. It accomplishes these goals by improving buyer interactions with better, more relevant sales content and equipping sales teams with the tools they need to be more informed and productive sellers.

Let me walk you through each phase of the sales enablement process, which begins well before the sale is made — an important point to understand, as we know that almost 60% of the buying decision is made before a lead will talk to sales.

Know your audience. In the past 15 years, the personal care and/or financial assistance given to a parent by an adult child has more than tripled. Approximately one-fourth of adult children — many of whom are baby boomers — provide care for a parent. That number is expected to grow, making it essential that assisted living providers understand how to market to and engage boomers.

Boomers are interested in honest reviews to help them make informed choices. According to Google search data, clicks for senior living terms showed 27% growth from 2015 to 2016. Costs, payment options and care services drove queries of younger boomers, whereas those aged 65 or more years showed more interest in amenities, lifestyle and dining options (yes, seniors in increasing numbers are using Google and social media – see the section below).

Your unique value proposition. Your marketing messages need to demonstrate your value and build your brand by creating a narrative that will connect with and attract your target audience. Per the above, when speaking about amenities or lifestyle options, share information in the context of a story that will resonate, and from several perspectives.

For instance, although offering resident or community manager testimonials to underscore the quality of your community is good, consider using adult caregiver testimonials, too, such as: “I entrusted my mom to XYZ because they give me weekly reports on…” That kind of information resonates with the ones who often make the financial decisions about assisted living.

Delivering your message(s). People are looking for answers. It’s your job to make sure you’re delivering them using channels that boomers are most apt to receive them in. Several tools are available to increase purchaser awareness and improve engagement: targeted advertising, direct mail, public relations and, perhaps most important of all, social media. Boomers have grown up with and adapted quickly to rapidly advancing technology; they’re not afraid of technology, as too many marketers presume.

More boomers get their information from smartphones and tablets and through various social media channels. Engagement is key, which is why it is important to develop shareable content that builds your online reputation, and to develop strategically developed social media campaigns.

Also note that more seniors than you think use Facebook. According to Penn State researchers, in 2013, 27% of adults aged 65 or more years belonged to a social network such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Now, the number is 35% and increasing.

The buyer’s journey has three stages: Awareness (of a problem), consideration (of solutions) and decision (to purchase a certain product or service). Sales enablement supports each stage by combining timely, focused content (case studies, product sheets, white papers, ebooks, articles, emails) and technology for streamlining the targeting, distribution, sharing and continuous improvement of your sales messages.

One of the biggest challenges for senior living executives is demonstrating the value of an assisted living community. In today’s competitive senior living marketplace, a proactive, always-evolving sales enablement process will go a long way in differentiating your community and services while helping you achieve your core business and care goals.

Sharon Muniz is CEO and founder of NCN Technology, a full-service information technology and digital marketing consulting firm serving small to medium-sized businesses and government agencies. Her recent work has focused on helping providers of assisted living and long-term care improve their communications outreach and engagement efforts. She is located in Reston, VA.

5 Ways for Healthcare Providers to Streamline Their Communications System

5 Ways for Healthcare Providers to Streamline Their Communications System

In the healthcare industry communication and IT infrastructure lies at the heart of operational effectiveness. Alerting staff for emergencies or simply making sure that the right people are given the information they need to manage caseloads is a daily challenge. Communication disruptions or breaks in the alert chain can have disastrous consequences. A multi-spectrum communication system is essential, with multiple methods of communication to ensure that the message will get through. However, this can present a logistical nightmare for any organization to manage. A healthcare provider needs to somehow integrate this electronic hydra into a seamlessly connected alert system. While this is easier said than done, here are five steps can take an organization in the right direction.

1. Catalogue All Communication Methods

The communication tools at the disposal of modern healthcare providers have served to increase the possible lines of communication and made their management a much larger challenge. The web of email, pagers, smart phones, radios, and communication apps has given healthcare managers headaches for years. A good starting point in tightening up the alert system is to make sure that all these avenues of communications are taken into account.

2. Look For The Gaps In Communication

If there have been deficiencies in communication in the past, sometimes the best way to solve the problem is to do a virtual autopsy. With so many possible ways to reach your personnel when they are needed, what was it, exactly, that went wrong? It could be as simple as a physician being away from his phone on his personal time or a paramedic parking in a cell phone dead-zone during lunch. Sometimes finding these gaps can lead to procedural changes that act as a roadmap for future contingencies.

3. Combine Unnecessary Redundancies

Redundancy is a necessary component of any communications system. Much like any system, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Since Murphy’s Law never takes a vacation, a facility can tend to feel more secure by piling on additional back-ups to systems that have the potential for failure. However, a communications manager should evaluate how effective a redundant communication method will be to the overall communications plan. If these methods can be combined or replaced with a more effective method, take that plunge.

4. Build A Communications Hub

Whether it is an actual communication center in your facility or a virtual hub online or in the cloud, you need a place where all of your communication methods can be accessed directly. At a moment of crisis, there needs to be a place where the cooler heads can gather to resolve the problem. This centralization of communication will go a long way toward cutting down on human error in the alert process.

5. Choose An Effective Mobile Management Tool

Mobile communications, to include SMS and text messages, have become a cornerstone of the communication plan for healthcare providers. A comprehensive mobile communications tool that is customized to the particular needs of the healthcare industry, to include such unique considerations as HIPPA compliance, is essential to communications in the industry. Mobile management and targeted alerts can bring communications systems into the 21st century and provide a sleek, streamlined method of communication with every component of the healthcare facility.