A Career in Healthcare Management – The 5 Information Technology Skillsets You Need to Succeed

Information Technology knowledge and skills are no longer optional for healthcare managers. Aspiring managers and managers currently working in the field should learn as much as possible about the following five areas. Your work life and the life of your practice will depend on it!

Skill 1: Email Etiquette and Management

Email can rule your work life if you don’t make good choices with your messages. Managers need to know how to use the Rules Tool (Outlook) UniMediaWeb to automatically move messages into folders, and how to turn emails into Tasks and Appointments. Work communication can succeed or fail if you don’t have the basics under your command. Knowing how to archive your email will not only save you time when looking for important information but will save you from the frustration of searching through hundreds of emails. Here are the basics of email management:


    1. Most organizational experts recommend looking at your email twice a day, renabyggsystem and turning off the setting that notifies you immediately when you have a new email. Email can be very addictive, and can suck your time away from projects and other work.


    1. Just like paper, try to only touch an email once. Once you read the email, decide whether to delete it, answer/forward it and delete it, or do something else with it like dragging it to the task list or calendar. Don’t get caught in the ugly cycle of reading it once, fotballrevyen and going on to the next email without doing anything about it. If you do that, you’ll end up with lots of emails that you have to read again…and maybe a third time.


    1. Never, never put anything critical (of a criticizing nature) lofotenbirding in an email. If you need to have that type of conversation with a colleague, pick up the phone. A critique of an employee is best done in person, with a follow-up email for the file.


    1. Always check your outgoing email for tone. The best tone for business email is professional. This means a greeting, a message, a “thank you” and a footer with your full name, title, and contact information. Some organizations are more formal, and some are less formal, but I would err on the side of being more professional. You can always set your email signature to include the greeting and thank you and your name, so all you have to do is complete the middle.


    1. For emails that do need to be saved for reference, make subfolders under your Inbox to place reference emails. Even better, copy the email to a Word document, and delete the email.


    1. Have high priority (your boss or bosses) and low priority (listservs, subscriptions) emails automatically come into their folders. The low priority email can wait and the high priority email can be dealt with first.


    1. Beware of group emails with jokes, homespun wisdom, clever tests, and unbelievable pictures as they are a waste of your time. If you need a break from work, go for a walk, but get rid of the group emails. They take personal and server email space and can border on or be outright offensive, causing a problem if you don’t nip it in the bud. Remember that email is legally discoverable.


  1. Be careful about answering emails off the top of your head, possibly when you’re angry or rushed. If you need to delay answering an email because of your mood, drag the email over to the task list and set the to-do for tomorrow.


Skill 2: Understanding Medical Office Software

Acronyms come and go, but the basic software that supports medical practices remains the same. Practice Management Systems (PMS) typically include registration, scheduling, billing, and reporting as one component. Today’s systems are built around the billing function, with scheduling and registration supporting the ability to generate electronic claims and post payments back to the transactions. Because billing is becoming more standardized, it is the reporting that can make or break a practice.

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are sometimes referred to in a broader sense as EHR (Electronic Health Records) and range from the simplest of systems which act as a repository for the electronic chart to the most sophisticated systems which may include digital imaging, e-prescribing, complex messaging, medication reconciliation, and test alerting, among others. EMR and PMS can be integrated or can interface with each other, populating the other uni-directionally or bi-directionally. Those managers with a deeper understanding of their software systems will find it easier to implement pay-for-performance measures such as PQRI and e-prescribing, and will not have to rely on vendors to educate them.

PACS is a Picture Archiving and Communication System that allows easy indexing and retrieval of images. PACS exists primarily in radiology and surgical specialty offices, stinessystue but as more hospitals extend EMR and PACS privileges to physician offices, managers will need to understand something about the technology.

Other systems that will interface with your system are transcription, outsourced billing systems, data warehouses, claims clearinghouse, electronic posting systems, and web services interfaces. Get or make a graphic representation of your software and hardware system/network so you can talk knowledgeably about it and understand the effects of adding new servers, workstations, or software modules.

Skill 3: Using Technology to Stay Current in Your Field

Magazines, newspapers and even television news is losing favor as people find the latest and most in-depth news on the Internet. For physician office managers, news and important information is available through websites, newsletters, newsfeeds, webinars, podcasts, listservs, and blogs. How does a manager sift through all these options and stay current with the demand of running a day-to-day practice?

One of the most important ways to consolidate this information is to subscribe to a feed reader or email from websites you like and have the news come to you (called “push technology”), instead of you checking the website every few days or whenever you remember (aka “pull technology”). These are the programs that will eventually do away with most, if not all, of your magazine subscriptions. You know that guilty pile of professional magazines that you have in your office or at home that you have scanned but still plan to read in-depth? Gone!

Most websites offer email or RSS options to their users. An email option asks you to enter your email address and will email you when new information is available, typically offering the full content inside the email itself. This is ideal for anyone who has these emails automatically placed into an email subfolder to read later.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a way to push the content of many sites into a feedreader, which is an organizer of website feeds. There are many feed readers available at no cost and adding a new website feed to your feedreader is as simple as clicking on the orange RSS icon on the website page and identifying the feedreader you use. The nice thing about using RSS is that you can group sites into categories you decide upon, datewithhistory.com it is easy to add new sites and drop sites that you find a waste of your time, and you do not clog up your email program with lots of emails.


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