Archive for the ‘News for Business Owners’ Category

7 Popular Medical Apps for Doctors

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

In an age driven by technology, many doctors are taking advantage of medical apps on their smartphones and tablets. Although many physicians expressed dissatisfaction with certain apps, medical app usage among medical practices remained fairly high among smartphone and tablet users.

On a daily basis, 51 percent of doctors used medical apps on their smartphones. Additionally, 30 percent of physicians accessed these apps on their tablets. Not only do medical apps help doctors save time, they also help doctors by speeding diagnosis, improving patient monitoring and reducing patient visits to a physician or hospital. Here are seven of the top medical apps for healthcare providers that are used on a regular basis.

Check out these 7 top medical apps for doctors:

Epocrates

As one of the leading medical apps, Epocrates allows doctors to access safety information and prescribing instructions for various drugs. In addition to offering drug coverage information, the app enables physicians to determine various calculations, ranging from BMI to GFR. Epocrates also provides doctors with instant access to medical news and research.

Medscape

As a branch of WebMD, this app provides physicians with safety information and prescribing instructions for drugs. Additionally, this medical app offers procedure videos, a medical calculator, and access to materials for continuing medical education.

MedCalc

This app is ideal for determining various medical calculations. MedCalc offers an extensive array of formulas, scales, scores and calculations for doctors.

Skyscape

Aside from providing doctors with access to journal article summaries, Skyscape serves as a helpful decision-making app. In addition to drug information, a medical calculator is readily available for doctors’ use.

Doximity

This networking app helps physicians connect with one another. Doximity is fully equipped with HIPAA- compliant faxing, text messaging, and emailing capabilities to help streamline communications.

ResolutionMD

Doctors can access X-rays and other images via their smartphone or tablet by using this FDA-cleared app. Physicians have reported that this app is useful for providing instant viewing access for images, regardless of where the doctor is located.  ResolutionMD has all the tools necessary for a diagnosis, including 2D, MIP/MPR, 3D and interactive collaboration.

Alivecor

This medical app doubles as a portable heart monitor and runs on a patient’s smartphone to produce electrocardiograms. The monitor’s sensors use the patient’s finger to produce the EKG over the smartphone/tablet. Patients reap huge benefits from Alivecor, since it works to reassure them that their heart health is in order.

Image courtesy of Anusorn P Nachol / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Image courtesy of Anusorn P Nachol / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

brings together all of the viewing tools needed to make a diagnosis including 2D, MIP/MPR, 3D and interactive collaboration. – See more at: http://www.calgaryscientific.com/resolutionmd/mobile-resmd/#sthash.M1YdakyP.dpuf
brings together all of the viewing tools needed to make a diagnosis including 2D, MIP/MPR, 3D and interactive collaboration. – See more at: http://www.calgaryscientific.com/resolutionmd/mobile-resmd/#sthash.M1YdakyP.dpuf

5 Ways the Healthcare Industry Benefits from Social Media Marketing

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Social media marketing is not just for businesses looking to expand their reach and reputation – the healthcare industry can also benefit from utilizing social media. Here are 5 ways that healthcare providers and service organizations can benefit from social media marketing:

1. Patient education and outreach
Posting information about seasonal sicknesses, ways to stay healthy, and other pertinent health information is a great way to stay connected to patients or connect with potential ones. Chicago’s Sherman Health, a multi-hospital system, even worked with Demi & Cooper Advertising in Illinois to tweet a live surgery. “Twitter is an amazing platform if you look at it as we do. We see Twitter as a multi-device real-time messaging system. Sharing information from an OR is not a new idea. Twitter is a perfect medium for distributing information from an OR because it allows time for messages to be worded correctly. We were looking for new ways to help Sherman connect with their community, to provide information, and help people become more familiar with the hospital. We found that Tweeting the surgery was an excellent way to help potential surgical candidates become more comfortable with Sherman,” said associate creative director Marc Battaglia.

2. Patients participate in their own care
A recent study found that patients who are regularly online are more likely to accept patient-centered care and take part in their own care.
“When medical professionals attempt to gauge how much information to provide patients or try to decide how much they should involve patients in medical decision-making, they may be better off if they base their decisions on patients’ Internet use frequency rather than age, per se,” said the researchers from the University of Texas, the University of Florida and the University of Maryland.

3. Feedback and improvement
Social media allows your hospital to monitor what its patients are saying, which will let you identify issues and problems and give it the opportunity to improve. Facebook and Twitter have also become outlets for people to vent, so a hospital can identify patient frustrations and determine how to best solve patients’ problems with their care or service.

4. Patient interaction
With social media sites, patients are able to post questions for doctors and staff to get answers or advice quickly. This interactive method makes more sense than the patient scheduling an appointment to ask a question or wait on the phone for someone to be able to answer.

5. Building your healthcare organization’s reputation
Potential patients looking up your facility will look online to see what others are saying about your institution and services. It’s imperative to take control over your online presence. Responding to both negative and positive concerns proves that your organization is dedicated to serving the needs of patients. It’s better to proactively manage your online reputation than let it run rampant across social web.

“Social media isn’t going to go away, and ignoring it isn’t really a viable option. The best way to manage your reputation online is to participate,” said Battaglia. “Ignoring it is a short-lived strategy. Hospitals and healthcare facilities need to become involved and present helpful, safe, and accurate information.”

AMA Declares Obesity a Disease – The Impact for Employers

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

The American Medical Association has voted to reclassify obesity from a condition to a disease “requiring a range of medical interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention,” according to an AMA statement. Essentially, physicians will be professionally obligated to diagnose and treat obesity.

Obesity increases risk factors for many serious conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Nearly 30 percent of US adults are considered obese. Since most forms of insurance don’t cover obesity, the policy could improve access to obesity treatment such as nutritionists and trainers. Insurance may even begin to reimburse the time doctors spend talking to patients about nutrition and exercise. The bill would also increase obesity treatment options for Medicare patients and expand the types of providers allowed to offer obesity counseling.

Not only will the AMA decision impact patient care, it may also impact the staffing and employment industry. As of now, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of weight. Staffing agencies should watch carefully as the ADA deems nearly all diagnosed medical conditions as “disabilities.” Could it mean that employers will have to make reasonable accommodations for employees who fall into the obese category? Could obese employees seek additional protection from discrimination and terminations based on weight? An article on Workforce.com believes so.

According to Forbes magazine, the new classification may even make employers more hesitant to hire obese workers, especially since health insurance coverage is required under the Affordable Care Act. Some employers may also try to lower wages to offset the higher health insurance costs of obesity. It also may impact workplace wellness programs that offer financial incentives tied to weight management and obesity.

New York Passes Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Measure

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Across the U.S., numerous states and cities have been recently passing bills that obligate employers to provide paid sick days, which have generated debate among employers and legislators, and have impelled some to overturn the laws.

In May, New York joined San Francisco, Washington D.C., and others as the latest city to pass this sort of bill. Under New York’s law, companies with 20 or more workers will have to provide five paid sick days starting in April 2014. Businesses with 15 or more employees have until October 2015 to obey.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS), about 1/3 of all employees don’t have access to paid sick days.

Those who defend the bills say that mandatory paid sick leave is a public health issue that will help to deter the spreading of disease by letting employees who are sick or have a sick child stay home without having to worry about losing that day’s pay or their job. Other supporters see it as an issue of work-life balance that will allow workers to take care of their family.

However, some employers are against these laws because they’ll raise their businesses’ costs, which could prevent them from hiring new employees or potentially cause firings. Some claim that big employers already offer paid leave and forcing them to comply with new regulations just adds another burden.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research senior economist Eileen Appelbaum says that the average cost increase to most employers offering paid leave is a one-time rise of 2 percent in payroll costs. She claims that mandated paid leave levels the playing field, saying that “workers in low-paid jobs haven’t had access to paid leave and that’s tremendously unfair.”

The Family and Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993, promises up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to covered workers. Appelbaum, who is the former director of the Rutgers University Center for Women and Work, says that higher-paid employees might be able to afford unpaid time off, but most employees can’t go without a paycheck for very long.

According to the BLS, while employers are not required by law to give paid sick leave, around 75% do.

Crowdfunding: The Answer to Funding a Small Business?

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Money is always a concern when building your business or when you’re looking to keep it in the black. Crowdfunding is defined as the “practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” But is it the answer to helping your small business?

For a select few, it could be.  Rather than having to look to banks or private investors to get the capital needed to support your company, crowdfunding opens up your capital-seeking channels to include everyone and anyone. With President Obama’s Jumpstart Our Business Startup Act, (JOBS), it will be easier for startup businesses to go this route to raise funds than to attempt to jump through many hoops to get that funding. The bill basically states that business startups looking to grow can turn to online investors to gain the needed money to succeed.

Websites like Kickstarter, RocketHub, and Indiegogo let companies showcase their businesses to a wide audience and provide a crowdfunding platform where anyone can safely invite others to donate to their business or donate money. Each site gives businesses or project designers a place to create a profile consisting of relevant information about the project or business venture as well as establish a fixed financial goal of what they are hoping to raise within a set number of days. Rather than the customary investors most businesses seek out to obtain funds, crowdfunding is exactly what it sounds like – funding by the crowd, or general public. Backers who donate money can pledge a minimum sum to the fund and may receive a reward for their involvement.

However, not all companies who seek out money via crowdfunding actually receive the capital they’re hoping for, and in fact, the majority don’t. “The assumption is that everyone gets funded, but nothing can be further from the truth,” says Chance Barnett, CEO of Crowdfunder, a social networking site for investors and companies trying to raise money. “A majority (of companies seeking funding) aren’t companies that are deserving of capital today.”

The JOBS Act says that non-accredited investors can invest in a business and that same business can then raise up to $1 million a year without being obligated to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since the JOBS Act has passed, websites devoted to helping companies connect with individuals looking to donate money to their crowdfunding efforts have seen their numbers rise to an all-time high.

Why Small Businesses Struggle to Obtain Credit

Friday, May 31st, 2013

If you are a small business owner and having trouble getting credit from a bank for your business, you’re not alone. A new study by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) shows that only 1/3 of small business owners are actually able to receive the credit their companies need.
One reason your corporation may not have been able to get a loan or line of credit is the size. The smaller your business, the less likely it is to be able to receive the financial support it needs from the bank. The NFIB survey revealed that of businesses with 50 to 250 workers, over 50% have a business loan while roughly 65% have a line of credit, compared to the almost 16% of businesses with one or fewer employees that have a loan or the roughly 34% that have a line of credit.
Lending to small businesses is riskier and more expensive for banks than letting bigger companies borrow money because the default risk is higher for small businesses as their failure rates are greater than big corporations’ rates. This is because changes in the business world and market have a bigger impact on the smaller companies than the larger corporations. Banks also assess loans to smaller businesses as unworthy endeavors because they are more expensive. Big companies looking for a business loan are usually looking to borrow a large sum of money and profit margins on larger loans are higher than they are on smaller loans, which is typically what a small business is looking to obtain. This leads to banks focusing more on bigger customers and corporations and being more willing to lend to them.
However, there are some steps you can take to make your small business more appealable to banks and increase your chance to receive a loan or line of credit.
1. Research Banks: Knowing which banks specialize in business loans and in what industry lets you target banks more likely to give your small business a loan.

2. Network: Building good relationships with your accountant and other advisors establishes a group of people you can look to for advice and introductions. Using a local bank in the community will also let you connect with the important decision makers at that bank and develop a relationship with them.

3. Get Your Finances in Order: Organizing your financial documentation will make your loan application process much easier and smoother. Understanding your credit report and being mindful of your credit score will also ensure there are no surprises when the bank considers your application.

4. Have a Plan: Knowing what you will do with the money if you receive the loan, having cash flow projections based on the impact of this money, showing how the loan will increase your company’s growth, and providing a contingency plan in case the loan doesn’t do what you initially planned it to in your company all will show the bank responsibility and can only help your chances of obtaining a loan or line of credit.
Are you struggling to obtain a bank loan for your small business? Don’t worry – there are options!  Invoice factoring is a smart funding solution for small businesses. Whether you are a small business that works in the medical industry, or virtually any industry, as long as you have unpaid invoices – you can improve your cash flow today by factoring receivables. Rates are low and there is no debt added to your balance sheet. Not to mention, bad credit or past financial problems are okay. Approval is based on the credit of your customers – not your company. We have connections with a nationwide network of business factors who can get your small business the cash you need. Contact us to learn more.

Business Cash Flow Crunch? 5 Small Business Cost-Cutting Solutions

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Cash flow can be a big problem for a small business. Here are some tips on how to minimize costs for your small business while maximizing efficiency and making the most of your money.

1. Utilize Combined Purchasing Power
By reaching out to other small businesses and joining together to buy supplies, your collective purchasing power is more desirable to suppliers. Going to the suppliers as a cohesive unit and stating the businesses’ intentions of buying from the vendor who offers their goods at the best price, will make the group more likely to get a more competitive rate for the supplies, especially if the consortium signs an exclusive agreement with the vendor for a longer length of time. Getting supplies this way may also make it easier to ask for a discount and save your business even more cash.

2. Embrace the Idea of Interns
When a business looks to temp agencies for a person to complete more mundane tasks or help out at a company, they miss out on the beauty of offering an internship. There are numerous college students looking for opportunities and experience, many of whom will work for low wages or use an internship to earn college credit. Interns can be trained to contribute more to the business or be delegated undertakings such as filing, stuffing envelopes, or doing supply inventory. Many in this college-age workforce are also adept with technology and could help with your company’s website or social media reach, as well.

3. Go Green
Nearly half of office paper is thrown out within 24 hours of being printed. The amount of money spent on ink, paper, and professional printing could be better used within your company if you adopt a paperless workplace. Using electronic file storage and free online spaces like Google Docs or DropBox eliminates the need for hard copies of documents floating around the office and will save your company hundreds of dollars as your small business cuts back on printing and ink costs. Using laptops instead of desktop computers can also save you money as laptops use significantly less energy than a typical desktop PC. Additionally, buying appliances that are energy-efficient is also a great way to go green. While you may shell out more for the merchandise up front, in the long run, a more energy efficient product will save you money.

4. Reconsider Your Office Space
While paying rent is inevitable, subletting office space or moving your office to an industrial area rather than maintaining an office in commercial space can cut down your company’s costs. Considering establishing your business as a virtual presence is a viable option too; your employees can then work from home and you eliminate the need for office space entirely. If this isn’t a possibility for your business, try renegotiating with your landlord – with a low demand for office space, your landlord may be more accommodating with the rent to keep you as a tenant.

5. Pump Up Your Advertising
Getting the word out about your business and attracting new clients and customers can be expensive but focusing your marketing and advertising efforts online can save you money and have a far reach. Connecting with potential consumers in online forums and message boards or starting a blog lets your business advertise and publicize itself for free. Another possibility for free advertising is to reach out to clients and ask them to write a testimonial on your business’s website or tell their friends about your company – word of mouth can go a long way and serves as free PR for your corporation.

If slow paying customers or unexpected growth create cash flow challenges for your business despite your best cost cutting efforts, invoice factoring is the solution. PRN Funding partners with a wide network of experienced business factors who work with nearly all industries including staffing, transportation, construction, manufacturing, telecommunications and more. We can help get your company funded today!

Employers Cut Back on Generous Health Plans

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

According to a recent New York Times article, companies that offer high-end health plans are scaling back benefits to employees. This is because of a so-called Cadillac tax, which penalizes companies that offer these sorts of plans. The purpose of the tax is to discourage employers from plans that shield employees from the high costs of healthcare and can lead to excessive and unnecessary medical procedures. The tax is highly controversial, but intended for employers to consider long-term healthcare cost control.

Companies that are scaling back their health plans are going to be looking to control their business costs in other ways as well. One way to do that is through invoice factoring, which is the sale of unpaid invoices for cash advances. Proper cash flow is a step in the right direction for companies struggling to meet healthcare reform requirements, and could be a blessing amidst the current uncertainty.

Job Market Growth Slows; Other Growth Picks Up

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

2013 is starting off on a good note for some sectors; the question is, will this translate to job growth? According to this Wall Street Journal article from Tuesday, recent positive figures from the consumer and housing sectors are causing economists to raise their growth estimates for the first three months of the year. The revised rate of 3.5% would be the fastest growth pace since the end of 2011 and a kick-start from the stall at the end of last year.

Job Growth Slows

Job growth, though, seems to be slowing down in March compared to February. The Labor Department showed that hiring slowed to 88,000 jobs in March, which is less than half of the estimated amount. These underwhelming results are tempering optimism about sustainable economy growth. It is in following with a recent trend of strong winter months and then a seasonal slowdown in spring- what some call the “April Fool’s Economy.

Overall Picture

While looking at month-to-month data can be useful, economists warn not to put to much stock into monthly results. It remains to be seen whether economic growth will follow recent year trends and slow down over the year, or break the chains of post-recession blues. Like the old adage warns, let us hope for the best while expecting the worst.

Trucking Companies and Cash Flow: What are the Options?

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Though often overlooked, the trucking industry is vitally important to the health of the US economy. Think about it: without truck drivers delivering goods, interstate commerce would grind to a screeching, tire-burning halt.

Unique Challenges

Despite the importance of trucking companies, the way the system is structured often leaves them in a shaky financial position. Truck companies submit invoices for services rendered, and then often wait 30-90 days for payment on the accounts receivables.

For a bigger company with large cash reserves, waiting to be paid would not be a problem. But for small to mid-size companies operating on a tight budget, it might not be an option. Expenses such as payroll and gas add up in the time between payment, and not paying your drivers is never a good business practice. Add to that rising fuel costs, delays due to traffic congestion, driver shortages and new regulations, and it is a recipe for financial hardship.

Therefore, trucking companies often have to turn to outside financing. The following are some options for trucking companies to consider:

Asset-Based Lending

Also known as factoring, this options refers to the process by which businesses sell their accounts receivables to a factoring company.  Approval for factoring is based on the creditworthiness of the trucking company’s customers.

At the time of the sale, the client gets 80-90% of the cash back immediately from the invoices. The remainder of the balance comes after customer repayment, less a percentage fee that typically ranges from 1-5%.

This option is best for B2B companies that cannot afford to wait for payment, and the cost is usually 4-5% monthly with an effective annual interest rate typically between 18-30%.

Bank Loans

Though hard to come by, bank loans are often the cheapest form of financing. The loan process involves an application and review of the company’s creditworthiness and financial history. Small companies especially tend to be turned down for loans, although exceptions do exist.

After approval, fund disbursement usually takes about 30-90 days to reach a trucking company’s bank account. This form of funding is best for trucking outfits with a great credit history and don’t need the money immediately.

Cash-Advances

Cash advances take place when a company receives an advance sum from a lender. The company pays the lender back with percentages of their monthly card receipts until the loan (plus a predetermined rate) is repaid. There are legal limits to the rates, and they cannot be changed retroactively. The benefit to cash advances is immediate cash- it is the fastest method for obtaining cash without going to a loan shark.

This financing method is best for trucking companies who need immediate cash for a short amount of time and have limited financing options. The cost is usually 20% and up.

Lease-Back

A trucking company may choose to sell property, plant, and/or equipment, and simultaneously leases it back for cash.

It is best for trucking companies with valuable plant or equipment assets that are underutilized, and the cost is monthly lease payments plus the depreciation and tax burdens of equipment.

Choices, Choices

Every trucking company is unique, and it is up to them to find funding solutions that meet their individual needs. Being informed on all the options is the first step toward finding a suitable cash flow solution.