How My Small Business Uses Technology
I own a small business, so being up on all the latest technology can be difficult — not because of my tech skills or that of my staff. It is just economics. We can't afford to have an IT person on retainer — I jokingly call the subject of the photo above "the IT department for my office." Instead, we have to pay as we go for assistance with our technology.
Frankly, when something is not working, we try to figure it out ourselves. I am pretty handy at fixing stuff! Plus, I look for deals on computers, printers and other equipment. All my staff members have a desktop and my practice coordinator and office manager have laptops. We still use fax machines, since all of the MDs in our community still send referrals via fax.
Our referring MD practices do not use email. We use email when we can, but not when sending HIPPA-sensitive information. We use a cloud-based appointment scheduler that's simple to use and allows us to have patients make their own appointments from our website if they choose to do so. We also use a cloud-based billing program for insurance claims and collections and accounting. We have a website that we created — it was simple and not costly. We have been collecting outcomes and using simple spreadsheets, but hope we can use ANDII soon. We used software for nutrient analysis food works or nutritionist IV.
I think I am comfortable with technology, but at times I feel like everyone else gets confused when I use something new. I am impatient and don't always take the time to read instructions, so I end up trying to figure it out on my own — which can take more time! At the same time, when I figure out a way to save myself time, I get so excited.
My favorite device is my iPad — it makes life so easy, especially when you set up programs that can work with other programs such as Microsoft Office. And I love Dropbox. Why? Because I go to a lot of meeting with large agendas of 500 pages or more. I find it wasteful to print such large agendas and do not want to carry that much paper on a plane. So instead, I upload my materials to Dropbox and can access them easily.
Lucille Beseler, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, FAND, is the 2015-2016 President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She also is president and owner of the Family Nutrition Center (FNC) of South Florida. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
(Photo: Lucille Beseler, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, FAND)