By Ryan McGinty, President / CEO at OCERIS, Inc.
Running a business is no trivial task. There is no shortage of mind-numbingly repetitive tasks that need to be done on a routine basis. The reality is that complicated or mundane tasks often get put on the backburner until the last minute. As someone who designs workflow solutions for healthcare, as well as running a business, I’ve seen and had my fair share of challenges in efficiency. Making the best use of technology is the number one thing you can do to improve your productivity and maintain your sanity.
The first thing to do is to evaluate your current situation and determine what barriers are in your way. Look at every task that is done more than one time, determine how many resources and how much time is required to accomplish the task, then look for ways to make this task more efficient. You may already have tools that can help you, but you may also need to consult with someone who specializes in the task in question. While many consider the fees charged by consultants to be expensive, this must be weighed against the true cost the task incurs on the business. For instance, freeing a mere hour a week adds up to 52 hours, or more than a full work week, over a year. Think about what you do in a week – that’s a lot of time.
The goal will ultimately be to get as much data digital as possible – and that’s where technology solutions come into play. Digital information can be shared, searched, accessed off-site, and backed up. Paper locks your data into a format that is not conducive to collaboration and often times is misplaced or misfiled resulting in hours of lost time. Choose a solution that best holds the data you are working with, for example, accounting software, document management solutions, or an EHR. For other types of data, look for ways to share it, such as cloud drive solution – just make sure it is HIPAA compliant.
If you implement a new product, or have one already in place, the next step is to make sure that you know how to use it. Today’s software is ever increasing in capabilities and complexity. Most people don’t even know the capabilities of products they already own. These capabilities could save countless hours and reduce frustration. Many products have free resources such as webinars and help files to help you better understand the capabilities of the product. If these resources aren’t available, or a hands-on approach is more appealing to you, see if the vendor offers one-on-one training. As with consultants, the cost of the training is usually justifiable when compared to the amount of resources and time saved.
Lastly, for processes that can’t be easily automated, use collaborative technology to document and share the steps to complete the process. Working a complicated task from a checklist is much easier than rediscovering the process each and every time. Often the process is already documented, but locked on a sheet of paper in someone’s desk. Having this information shareable will prevent disruption when an employee is inevitably unavailable and another needs to handle their responsibilities.
Today’s technology offerings can significantly streamline any business and greatly increase the quantity and quality of work that a single person can handle, making your business more efficient, and therefore, more profitable. Embrace it, make sure you know how to use it, and enjoy more profit and time.