The continuing education of a healthcare IT entrepreneur

Leveraging tools to create an efficient workflow means keeping up with the latest software.

As an entrepreneur with my own business, I am required to learn more new things than I ever imagined. That includes new software tools – and lots of them.

Our firm uses SalesforceIQ to track prospects and clients. This tool has so much flexibility and is so easy to set up that we have found many additional ways to use it. Our virtual admin sets up the basics for us once we provide requirements; we then maintain the data. It’s so easy and intuitive that I have made changes myself that in another system would require a programmer.

We’ve been leveraging LinkedIn, which has meant learning about functions individuals don’t need to use. We have needed expertise from our LinkedIn support person and then our virtual admin to implement. But it’s been fun to learn what’s possible and figure out how best to leverage it.

Then there are those basic Office 365 tools. Maybe you have a love/hate relationship with them. I do at times. Sometimes, you hear the term “bloatware” for products that are so feature-rich you couldn’t possibly use them all, much less figure them out.

Anyone in management knows the basics of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. But do you really know how to use all the advanced functions? Or do you turn it over to a staff person at some point to do that level of manipulating? What you think should be intuitive just isn’t much of the time. Or maybe I’m just showing my age.

But I keep at it and learn as I go. I just need to recognize when it’s diminishing returns and ask someone for help. I shoot off a note to one of my colleagues or our admin. My husband is probably happy that he can’t be my “next door office support person” for these kinds of questions; he uses all Apple products.

When you’re the CIO, people think you know how to use all the tools. I can’t count the number of times my grown daughters have said to me, “Mom, you’re the CIO, how come you don’t know how to do that?” But like others in management, you rely on people who can assist when needed. In fact, you usually have even quicker access since the IT staff wants to make sure you are well supported. So, over the years, I too stopped learning how to do certain things if someone could do them for me.

There’s one tool that I rely on heavily that I still need to figure out how to optimize. That’s OneNote. I rarely take notes on paper anymore. It’s all in OneNote, organized by projects and people. Of course, it could always be better organized, but isn’t that the challenge of electronic files in your own work? The ability to fully integrate OneNote with Tasks in Outlook is what I want to do, but have yet to get it set up. Might just be a configuration issue. One of these days I’ll take time to figure it out or find someone who can help me. Until then, I’ll do what we all do, a less efficient workaround. Pains me to call it that, but just sayin’.

To add to this learning phase, we recently traded in our 2008 car for a 2017 model. The many features to learn on this new car will take some time and a call or two back to the dealer. This is despite a detailed user manual, which we have accessed numerous times already. And the safety features with built-in sensors makes me realize that driverless cars will be a reality in the not too distant future.

Love technology and will keep learning every day!

This blog was first published on Sue Schade’s Health IT Connect blog.

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