Nurse Clipboard

by Paige Minemyer                                                                               

Nurse Clipboard
Nursing schools are preparing nurses to innovate healthcare.










Nurses have a wealth of experience in medicine, and they’re tapping into that knowledge to foster innovation across the industry with new products and approaches.

The expanding influence of health IT has opened the doors for nurse leadership opportunities. Nurses are not only playing a larger role in health information and data analytics efforts, but also finding technology can make their jobs easier and their workflows more efficient.

Increasingly, hospitals and nursing schools are prepping nurses to embrace innovation, notes an article in The Boston Globe, which describes Northeastern University’s Nurse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program and a Massachusetts General Hospital program that awards grants to nurses and other staffers who want to improve operations.

The University of Minnesota also encourages nurses to take a bigger role in innovation. It recently created a yearly workshop designed to arm nurses with entrepreneurial skills, as FierceHealthcare reported. Thomas Clancy, a clinical professor at the university’s School of Nursing, said the first workshop yielded a number of ideas, including a flashlight that could make it easier to find veins.

“Doctors aren’t really trained to do the business of medicine. They’re trained to be doctors, but they run practices and they start business,” Paulina Hill, principle at venture firm Polaris Partners, told the publication. “It’s the same with nurses. Nothing really limits them from innovating.”






enSiteCareConnect and Alexa

The shrewd logic behind Amazon’s reported plan.

enSiteCareConnect and Alexa
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Thinkstock and Amazon.

Health care is a $3 trillion a year industry, and tech companies such as Amazon are vying for a slice of it. In January, the e-commerce giant announced a partnership with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway to “revolutionize health care.” Chiefly, this joint partnership would work toward developing a less costly health care network for their employees, but the exact aims and methods are otherwise vague. It’s also been rumored periodically that Amazon might enter the pharmaceutical business. Now, reports suggest Amazon is interested in building health care applications directly into its virtual assistant, Alexa.

Amazon is building a 12-person health and wellness team within its Alexa division to help make the assistant more useful to the health care sector, according to CNBC. This includes ensuring its functionality is compliant with health privacy laws. Diabetes management, care for the elderly, and care for new mothers and infants are specific targets of the team. Integrating Alexa with health care—particularly in managing chronic illness like diabetes—makes sense. In many households, Alexa eventually becomes part of the family, working her way into day-to-day activities like controlling the home or learning the news in the morning. Amazon could easily add a new Alexa Blueprint skill that reminds a user of medications that need to be taken at a certain time, coordinates with other apps to log glucose or blood pressure levels, or keeps track of upcoming doctor’s appointments.

In fact, some health care providers and hospitals have already begun working on their own Alexa skills. Libertana Home Health Care has trialed Alexa as a home health care aide for the elderly, helping ensure clients take their medications on time, keeping them connected with distant family members, and acting as a lifeline in the case of falls or injuries. Hospitals such as Massachusetts General have even tested Alexa in the operating room, helping surgeons go through safety checklists before beginning procedures.

Now, rather than relying on third-party developers to create skills for the health care sector, Amazon has a team working on natively allowing for variations of these kinds of experiences. The benefit for Amazon here is threefold: First, it makes it easier for an organization (whether it’s a hospital, retirement home, or insurance provider) to integrate Alexa into their operations. Developing an app of your own can be time-consuming and costly; this removes barriers. This also opens up Alexa products to new markets. With various health and wellness-monitoring capabilities baked in, it may make more sense as a gift to an elderly family member, and it opens the possibility of mass purchases by health care organizations. Lastly, it could give Amazon more valuable insights into its users, which can be used to hone their experience. Of course, giving Amazon access to user health data also raises privacy concerns, depending on what information it plans to collect and how it’s stored—but at this point, that’s difficult to predict.

With an aging population and an anticipated shortage of nurses, the addition of Echo devices in physicians’ offices and hospitals could help alleviate some of the more mundane and tedious tasks health care providers have to deal with. This could help them spend their time more efficiently and in places that matter most. It can also help bring peace of mind for loved ones knowing that an elderly relative can reach out to them with a simple voice command if needed. For other populations, such as new parents, Alexa could be built out to act as a robust resource for the many questions and concerns one typically has with an infant. Paired with the appropriate smartphone apps, client portals, and personnel, Alexa could prove useful in the health care space—and for Amazon, it doesn’t hurt that that endeavor could also be quite profitable.

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By:  Brian Swanson

Practice growth is a core concern for every CPA. Each year, partners look for new and practical ways to enhance the effectiveness of their marketing programs. Some turn to direct mail, telemarketing, advertising, referral networking or newer digital media marketing. While these are all proven methods, there is an internal step you can take that will add immediate value to your efforts: Implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system!

A CRM can help your firm track key data on clients and prospects. This data can be used to focus marketing efforts, drive new service offerings and help the firm address emerging trends.

Benefits of a CRM

Unfortunately, most firms do not leverage CRM to increase the effectiveness of practice growth programs. However, if properly implemented, a CRM can add significant value to an accounting firms marketing efforts, including:

  • Cross Selling. This is an effective strategy for practice growth that many firms struggle with due to a lack of detailed information. A keenly organized CRM will allow your firm to find new opportunities within your current client base. Examples may include cost segregation opportunities for commercial or industrial property owners, or tax incentives for companies that recently acquired property. The key benefit here is the ability to track this information through the CRM and leverage it to help grow the practice.
  • Targeted Marketing Communications. The information you collect in a CRM will allow your firm to send targeted marketing communications that specifically address client needs. Oftentimes, a firm sends a newsletter with broad content that applies to a variety of businesses. However, a CRM can provide enough information on clients to allow you to send targeted marketing communications. For example, if your firm has several biotech and high-tech companies, you can send this group a more focused newsletter that provides in-depth information on R&D tax credits, rather than a marketing piece where more than half the information is not relevant.
  • New Service Offerings. CRM data gives you the ability to identify trends that impact your clients. Essential to this process is the CRM data and what it tells you about clients. Such information allows you to be proactive in helping clients beyond the typical tax and accounting compliance work and bring “value added” services that address the day-to-day operational issues of their business. For instance, if you notice several clients are experiencing falling revenues, you can then create a profitability analysis service that will help a client identify profitability drivers while reducing overall costs.
  • Enhanced Client Satisfaction. As your firm becomes more proactive in addressing and anticipating client needs their overall satisfaction will increase. This will have a positive impact on client retention and referrals. The more clients understand the value you bring to their business, the more willing they will be to refer other opportunities to you, reducing the overall cost of client acquisition and bringing new opportunities where previously there were none.

In Perspective

To leverage the sales and marketing benefits a CRM offers, it is essential to select a CRM package that best addresses your firm’s needs. Some firms may be just fine using the CRM component of their time and billing system, while others may decide to purchase a separate CRM with more advanced features. For some firms, it makes more sense to have a custom CRM built to address very specific needs. When selecting a CRM application, be sure to consider your budget, and choose one that has the features/benefits most important to your firm.

Regardless of what solution you select it is important to understand that implementing a CRM package is not an easy task. It takes planning, coordination and a team commitment to make it work. However, through consistent updating and analysis of data, your firm will have an invaluable tool that can propel practice growth for years to come.

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On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free. 

Thank You Veterans from EnTek Partners Family


~Dan Lipinski


Your Small Business Needs CRM
Small Business CRM


A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is probably one of the most valuable systems that any small business can implement. It is as important as the people that are hired and will have a more significant effect long term than any one employee.

Recent studies show that companies with a fully utilized CRM system can increase sales by 29%. But, any system is only as valuable as the information that goes into it. How do you get everyone in the company to use it and provide real time data?

1. Make it simple. The biggest mistake most companies make is they try to implement a CRM system that is too complicated for employees to use. They track too many pieces of information. Any CRM system only needs: Prospect information, when and what was talked about last, follow up date/reminder and action, who it is assigned to, and what is the dollar value of the opportunity.

2. Make sure it integrates with other company systems. Is it complementary to what is already being used? Can data be easily imported and exported from the CRM? If a CRM is an island, it will be less impactful.

3. Train them over and over again. Make it easy to use so they can get their jobs done. Show them how to use it from their smart phones or tablets. Identify people that are “super users” and can be advocates for the CRM system. Give rewards for employees that use it most effectively.

4. If the activity isn’t in the CRM system, it never happened. Every company needs to treat their CRM as the only repository for history. No one gets credit for anything if it is not written about here. Every executive in the company needs to use it too (or no one will)!

5. Reports. Make sure you can get real time reports from the data. Answer questions like: What did Sales Rep A do last week? What are the top sales opportunities? Are we going to hit our sales target this quarter?

How well does your company leverage their CRM system


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How to ensure comfort and dignity come first

By Carole Quackenbush



(Editor’s note: This story is part of a special report for The John A. Hartford Foundation.)

Every veteran is unique, with a lifetime of memories, stories and achievements. At the same time, veterans share a common experience regardless of when and where they served. The rigors of military training, the bonds developed among service members, long separations from family and loved ones and the severe stress of combat all form a veteran’s character. It’s common for intense emotions and memories to resurface at the end of a veteran’s life, sometimes to the surprise of family members who are hearing these things for the first time.

Physical, Emotional and Psychological Pain

The harsh toll of war includes disease, disability and illness that can complicate end-of-life care. Depending on the war, veterans may have been exposed to ionizing radiation, Agent Orange, open-air burn pits, battlefield transfusions, below-freezing temperatures and infectious diseases. These exposures put them at a higher risk for a variety of cancers, Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, hepatitis C, respiratory illnesses, malaria, tuberculosis and more.

Symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can arise at the end of life, even if they weren’t present before. Sometimes clinical symptoms can mimic those of PTSD, including traumatic recollections, flashbacks, hypervigilance, hyperarousal and agitation and nightmares. These symptoms are often prompted by an emotional or traumatic experience such as receiving a terminal diagnosis.

In addition to physical and psychological conditions, veterans might feel like purging themselves of memories by discussing their military experience with others — sometimes for the first time. Veterans can also have concerns about how their families will manage after the veteran dies.

Navigating End-of-Life Needs for Veterans

At VITAS Healthcare, a provider of end-of-life care, we have extensive experience with veterans. We witness every day veterans exhibiting clinical and psychosocial issues more often than other hospice patients. We want to make sure our veteran patients feel safe and secure, and that’s why it’s important to acknowledge veterans’ emotional concerns, not dismiss them. Even if they are only memories, they are very real to the person experiencing them.

When caring for veterans, it’s important to respond appropriately to challenging clinical issues while placing patients’ feelings of comfort and security first. Veteran volunteers, who are veterans themselves, can play a valuable role by listening, understanding and empathizing in ways even family members sometimes cannot.

Honoring Veterans at the End of Life

One method to connect with veterans and ensure their comfort and dignity is to provide them with information on their benefits. Identifying potential entitlements and coordinating with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), service members’ agencies and other local and state organizations can be extremely helpful to veterans and their families who may not realize how to acquire the benefits they have earned.

It is also key to remind veterans they have a support system and that they are valued. Some veterans returned from war without even receiving a “thank you for your service.” Giving veterans the recognition they deserve can make a world of difference.

Something small like offering veterans a recognition ceremony honoring their military service can go a long way. It can happen quietly, right at the bedside.

Additionally, the nonprofit Honor Flight Network sends veterans from around the country to the nation’s capital at no cost to visit and reflect at their war memorials, which is typically a very meaningful and special experience for veterans.

When veterans are unable to make the trip due to mobility issues or terminal illness, there are other options.

In some states, Flightless Honor Flights take place in a large room decorated by the community to resemble an airplane. With a video presentation played on a large screen, patients experience an Honor Flight without having to step foot on an actual plane.

In addition, Virtual Honor Flights are ideal for bedridden veterans. We’ve purchased virtual reality headsets with pre-recorded, 360-degree tours recorded by retired military tour guides, of the World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorials, Women’s Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

Veteran patients and their families should know they are never alone. From challenging clinical symptoms to complicated benefits issues to a simple “thank you,” veterans should feel supported. It is never more important than at the end of life to show veterans unwavering honor and respect.

Carole Quackenbush is an admission liaison at VITAS of Cincinnati where she focuses on working with VITAS veterans patients, offering the unique needs they face at the end of life and marketing the specific services available to veterans who require hospice care.

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Small Business CRM

Small Business Customer Relationship Management

Small Business CRM
enSiteCRM for Small Business


By Vangie Beal

In CRM (customer relationship management) terminology, the phrase small business CRM is used to describe a lightweight CRMapplication that is designed to meet the needs of a small business.

Customer relationship management solutions provide you with the customer business data to help you provide services or products that your customers want, provide better customer service, cross-sell and up sell more effectively, close deals, retain current customers and understand who the customer is.

While the phrase customer relationship management is most commonly used to describe a business-customer relationship, CRM systems are used in the same way to manage business contacts, clients, contract wins and sales leads.

The Difference Between Enterprise and Small Business CRM

Typically, CRM applications and software are considered enterprise applications — that is an application designed for larger enterprises that would require a dedicated team to develop custom CRM modules, another team to analyze the resulting data and reports, plus an IT staff to handle costly upgrades and deployment.

Small business CRM applications differ from enterprise CRM in a number of ways including the amount of data handled by the system, IT requirements, pricing, and the tools and features of the CRM application itself.

Top 5 CRM Questions

1. What is CRM?
2. What is social CRM?
3. What is CRM dashboard?
4. What is enterprise application?
5. What is small business ERP?

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