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7 Ways an Answering Service Can Help Your Medical Office

Medical Answering Service Operator

As a medical professional, your main priority is taking care of your patients, and that???s when they???re both in and out of your office. No matter the size of your practice or office, there are sure to be times when you need a bit of help, which is where a professional medical answering service comes in. Learn seven unique ways in which an answering service can boost the capabilities of your medical office:

1. You Don???t Have to Hire a Full-Time Receptionist

If you have a small practice, you might not have the financial resources necessary to hire a full-time receptionist to answer the phones, schedule appointments, answer patient questions and the like. With an answering service, you can easily afford to have someone do all that and so much more. Even better is the fact that the right medical answering service agent will have an abundance of experience, which means you don???t run the risk of hiring someone who???s unqualified.

2. Phones Are Answered Faster

When your office is particularly busy, there might not be anyone on hand to answer the phones, which can frustrate callers and patients in need of answers. Having an answering service on hand ensures calls are always answered ??? and answered promptly ??? no matter how busy things get. Remember that a caller might have an emergency on his or her hands, and being able to get through to your office and speaking to someone can offer an abundance of relief and reassurance.

3. Scheduling Appointments Is Made Easier

At the end of the year when patients are scrambling to use their medical benefits before they run out, you might notice you have more people calling to set up appointments, and that???s in addition to your current patients calling with any questions or emergencies they might have. You can rely on a medical answering service specifically to handle year-end appointments to satisfy everyone, including yourself. Something else to think about is the fact that someone might need to reschedule an appointment, which could require some finesse if you have an especially packed calendar.

4. Remain HIPAA Compliant

Keeping patient information protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is essential in this day and age, and the right answering service better ensures you remain compliant. A new receptionist who???s just getting started might not be aware of the latest changes or developments to HIPAA, which could become a serious liability. Rather than take your chances, rely on an experienced medical answering service instead.

5. You???ll Be Brought in When You Truly Need to Be

Some caller questions are easily and quickly taken care of by an answering service, while others require the professional medical expertise of a nurse or doctor. By pairing with the right answering service, you don???t have to worry about being interrupted or called in for situations that are easily handled by an answering service agent. What???s more is you don???t have to worry as much about callers getting the wrong information from agents who don???t know whom to reach out to or when.

6. Professionalism

No matter how talented a medical professional you are, you???re only as good and successful as you treat your patients. An experienced medical answering service knows how to treat your patients with respect and courtesy, setting the tone for what they can expect when they step into your office.

7. Reliability

Patients also like to deal with medical professionals who are reliable and actually answer their phones. An answering service can go a long way in this endeavor. What???s more is an answering service can make sure calls go through even during local power outages.

If you don???t yet have a medical answering service for your practice, what are you waiting for? Know that you have much more to gain than the seven reasons mentioned above.

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How to Work From Home

Information Station

Written by Jacob C. Herman

How to Work from Home

Working from home, whether you are working for yourself or telecommuting, can be the best thing to ever happen to your business or it can destroy any chance of success. What makes the difference? Well, it’s simply how you manage your workday.

The first thing to keep in mind is that working from home is not easy. It takes a lot of discipline and motivation which can be hard to maintain when a big flat screen TV is in the next room calling your name. There’s no one to reprimand you for taking a few breaks to catch up on the latest gossip or football scores, so you have to be the one to say, “No, I will sit here and work”. Somehow you have to separate your personal life from your professional life and this article is going to provide some tips on how to do this:

First, remove all distractions from the room you choose to work in. It can be motivating to have something close by that you can look forward to enjoying but if it’s sitting at arms length, staring you in the face while your trying to focus, the temptation sometimes becomes too much to withstand. So, move that nicely displayed PSP on your desk to a designated drawer in the next room and when break time comes, go for it!!!

Set a work schedule so that you know when those much needed break times are. Working from home allows you to start your workday when you feel the most motivation, but if you don’t organize your time, you might end up wasting that motivation on running errands, visiting with friends, or reading that addictive Stephanie Meyer book. No matter what schedule you decide is best, having a set time to start work and finish work helps you know when its time to buckle down and get things done. It also helps your friends and family know when it’s okay to call for a chat or bug you to take out the trash.

Get a virtual voicemail service that is catered for small businesses so that you can differentiate personal calls from business calls. VoiceNation provides this for as low as $9.95 a month with their SimplyONE service which lets you advertise a business number that is separate from your personal home or cell number; keeping your personal information anonymous but saving you the hassle of paying for a separate business phone system and business cell phone. Anytime you don’t see your VoiceNation number on your caller ID, you know it’s a call you should avoid taking until your workday is done.

Make your computer help you start your workday rather than lead you through a tireless search for entertainment. It is way too easy to log on and start tweeting or talking to friends on Facebook and from there the motivation to break away and get serious is harder to regain. Discipline yourself to check business e-mails first so that you get into work mode from the very beginning. If you follow my previous advice and get the SimplyONE service, checking your e-mails will also succeed in listening to your voice mails and retrieving your faxes. The service converts your voice mails to Mp3s and your faxes to PDFs which are then sent to email. This allows you to jump start your workday and not look back until lunch time. Also, if listening to music gets you in the mood to work, then create a playlist and click “play” as soon as you sit at your computer.

Get rid of the clutter that does nothing to help you work. The kid’s toys, unfolded laundry, and bills do not promote productivity in the least because they remind you of things that need to be done in your personal life. Remove these things or yourself from the room even if it means starting your workday later than usual. A change of scenery can be refreshing at times so take advantage of the clean dining room table or sunny patio but make sure to clear your workspace area at some point in the day so that it doesn’t haunt you later.

Get out of the house and take your work with you. This gives you a break from the same old scenery and may even provide a fresh perspective on a project in progress. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to be there all the time. This is another instance where the SimplyONE service comes in handy because it ensures that your business calls follow you to the coffee shop or at least sends your voice mails to your laptop while you’re away. Make sure you go to a place where you aren’t likely to run into your friends but someplace you can feel comfortable.

Make it work for you!!! You alone have the power to make your at home business succeed. The biggest reason business people don’t experience positive results from working from home is because they set themselves up for failure.

For more information about VoiceNation and their services, please visit


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Jun 27, 2012

Case Study: Boulder Emotional Wellness

Category: Services

Boulder Emotional Wellness Improves Client Response Time with VoiceNation’s NextPBX.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

Have you ever wondered how your TomTom or OnStar works? How can GPS calculate your exact position on Earth in the city of Burbank, California? How does the navigational company know what your house looks like in Ontario? How is it possible to look up a street address on the Internet and use your computer to take a “sightseeing” stroll down the street in San Francisco, tilting and rotating your view as if you were really there on a magic carpet ride?


Satellite technology provides us the capability to locate an address from afar. There are currently 24 satellites that circle the earth twice a day at a very precise orbit. These satellites transmit their current positions and data to Earth, where GPS systems read the information and uses triangulation to determine the users’ location within 6 to 20 feet. These satellites can also calculate other data such as speed, bearing, distance to destination, and sunrise and sunset time. 3D rendering and high-resolution pixels allow us to see real time images of any longitude and latitude coordinate on Earth, whether in Long Beach or in Hollywood.


For example, California is a state of various terrains, including mountains, beaches, deserts, countryside and populated cities. Those interested in viewing the state can easily enter any of the following cities into a Google Earth search: Alameda, Bakersfield, Berkeley, Brea, Coalinga, CovinaEl Cajon, El Monte, Encino, El Toro, IrvineOceanside/Carlsbad, Santa BarbaraSan Diego/Lindavista, San RafaelStockton, and Valencia.


However, if you are a resident of a fairly new construction area in the outskirts of Anaheim or Sacramento, your exact address may “not be found”. Unfortunately, we have to rely on local map suppliers to update their information before your new address in Campbell appears in GPS software.


TomTom, the world’s leading navigation solutions provider, takes the data a step further. TomTom provides its employees a company car fully equipped with a video recorder. Employees are assigned to drive down every single street, capturing video footage to help ensure an accurate travel time and updated images. TomTom employees do their best to avoid cities such as Fresno, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles during rush hour traffic due to congested areas on intersecting streets.


In a recent study, TomTom identified the best and worst places for commute, ranking New Zealand the worst city in the world. The company says they are on a mission to reduce traffic congestion and make the best possible use of the existing road network.




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Why Your Business Needs a Toll-Free Number

E-commerce, the buying and selling of products over electronic systems, has given consumers the ability to easily conduct business with companies all over the country. With the click of a mouse and secured payment processing via the Internet, a consumer in Sioux Falls, SD can make a purchase from a company in Duluth, MN. The product is then shipped from the company’s Minneapolis warehouse right to the buyer’s doorstep. But what happens when the buyer has questions about the product he or she is purchasing?

More than often, buyers feel more comfortable making an online purchase if they can speak with a live person on the telephone. By offering a toll-free number to your consumers, you position your company as being an easily accessible and convenient place to shop, despite your St. Louis location. Toll-free numbers establish a larger business presence, giving you instant credibility.

Companies who conduct business online must present authenticity. Buyers are sometimes skeptical of making purchases from an online site if they cannot confirm actual contact information. Buyers know they cannot easily make a return to a company in Kansas City, MO if they live in Twin Cities, MN or in Omaha, NE. In fact, making a return to an online store can be a nightmare. Offer your prospects a contact number where you can easily be reached.

Toll-free numbers allow your business to grow, which may mean move to a new location. A successful clothing company in Wichita, KS can very well expand to other areas of Kansas such as Lenexa and Topeka without needing to disconnect and reconnect, ensuring their phone lines stay open for business.

Statistics show ads featuring 800 numbers generate approximately 30% more orders. Toll-free numbers help to increase profits and maximize marketing ROI.

The more obvious approach is that a toll-free number allows consumers to contact you at no charge. Although long distance is very reasonably priced, people don’t want to pay an extra charge if they don’t have to. A prospect choosing between a company that offers a toll-free number versus a toll number, will most likely dial the toll-free number first every time.

Bottom line; don’t lose a sale over a few cents per minute.

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The Evolution of the Internet

The Internet and World Wide Web, two terms commonly used interchangeably in every day speech, actually have two completely separate meanings. The Internet is a global series of interconnected computer networks linking computers to each other and serving over a billion users worldwide. It is a global data communications system.

The Internet, originally termed Arpanet from the U.S. military arm that funded it, was developed in the late 1960’s to allow a community of computers to connect and share information across long distances. It is not owned or run by anyone. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was in charge of setting up the network and enlisted several additional groups to test and implement the system. The Internet first connected large universities, UCLA and Stanford. The system then expanded to the University of Utah and University of California Santa Barbara. The Arpanet was renamed Internet in 1984, made available to the public in the mid 1990’s and has grown to host close to 2 billion users in 2011. Users reside globally, from England to Asia and from Billings and Bozeman, Montana to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The World Wide Web (WWW) is an Internet service that provides access to interlinked hypertext documents. Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web in 1990 as a way to publish information via the Internet. Computer science student, Marc Andreessen created the first-ever web browser, known as Mosaic. Internet traffic then grew further with Internet websites and web pages.

While the Internet gives users the capability to connect, the web allows users to view text documents, images and videos via hypertext on websites, web pages, articles, blogs and email.

The Internet and World Wide Web have also given way to e-commerce, the buying and selling of goods electronically. Communicating between Aurora, Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado, all the way to Boise, Idaho now comes exceptionally easy. Conducting business between Ogden, Park City, Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah can be done with the click of a mouse.

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Answering Your Questions About Answering Students’ Questions

To watch a teacher answer students’ questions, one might think the teacher was somehow born with the ability to do so. Answering questions from students is, however, an acquired skill. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions many new teachers have regarding how to properly and effectively answer students’ questions.

1. How long do I wait to respond?

Do not be afraid of silence, but neither should you allow it to take over your classroom. It is often best, if you know you have the class’s attention (and they are not simply daydreaming), to reword the question. It may be that they simply did not understand the question and a rewording of that question might be just what they need. Perhaps try to remind them (maybe preemptively with an anticipatory set) of when or how they learned the information about which you are asking, or replace a word with one that may be easier to understand. Most importantly, be patient. A good rule of thumb is to wait five seconds before saying anything.

2. What do I do if I get the wrong response?

Try to point out what was right about the response, even if it is only a small portion of what was said. At the very least, if the student is entirely off base, give the student credit for trying. Being short in your response, using one word sentences like “no” or “wrong” not only discourages that student from ever responding again, but also stops any other students from taking his or her shot at answering. It is important, though, to make it perfectly clear that the answer was incorrect so as to prevent confusion.

3. How do I know what questions to ask?

For new teachers, one helpful bit of advice is to plan your questions ahead of time. This is useful because classroom discussions will often veer off course and, while often times these tangents can be helpful, it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure the students will learn curriculum. To avoid unintended detours, it is often helpful for the new teacher to carry with her at all times a clipboard. On this clipboard, the teacher can place a laminated sheet of paper to be written on every day with new questions she means to ask. This will help keep the class moving in the intended direction and, should the conversation go astray, stopping the class and asking one of the questions on that list will refocus your students.

4. What is the process of answering a question?

While it may not always appear obvious to the students, the teacher will usually follow a certain procedure when answering a question. Basically, this process involves three steps:

  • Did everyone hear that?
  • If you are in any way uncertain whether the class heard the question, repeat it yourself or have the student repeat it. It does no one any good to give a great answer to a question half the class did not hear.
  • Try to answer as directly as possible. For many students, asking a question is something far outside their comfort zone. The teacher must remember that it is also something which requires trust between student and teacher, and must therefore show the student she is trustworthy. One way to disintegrate that trust is by somehow writing off the question. Having another student answer or telling a student he should already know the answer does nothing to help any of the students in the room. A good rule of thumb to remember in the teaching profession is that it is rare that a question exists only for the student who asked it. While alternative answering methods are effective and a nice way to engage the entire class, make the student who asked the question aware of the fact that you are about to employ one of those techniques. Something like, “That’s a great question, and one I think we should all participate in, so what I want everyone to do is ask the person next to you for a possible answer and write it down. Then we’ll share.” In this way, you were able to use the most effective answering method you could think of without alienating your student.
  • Ensure understanding. This can be as simple as asking your students if they understand, though you should be aware that while it is often difficult to get students to ask questions in the first place, it may be more difficult to get them to admit in front of their peers that they did not understand the explanation. Therefore, it may be best, if you have the time in the discussion, to do a quick recap, verbal or written, to ensure understanding. Also, if you have a hunch that the entire class may not understand your answer, note when you will be available to answer any questions they may have after class.

5. How do I make sure to address the questions any students with disabilities in my classroom may have?

Students with 504 plans and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) may be difficult to address in your classroom for a variety of reasons. While running an inclusive classroom is a noble effort and one which is often encouraged or required by administrators, it can lead to classroom management issues, especially for the new teacher.  Here are a few tips for encouraging classroom participation for all students:

  • The special education teacher is your best friend
  • Having an open line of communication with the special education teacher and the paraeducators (teacher’s aides, assistants, etc.) is vital to your success in the inclusive classroom. These teachers are resources, because they know (usually by heart) any accommodations specified in a student’s IEP. Also, they tend to know the individual interests of their students, as well as any idiosyncratic tendencies a particular student may have.
  • Use those interests. Perhaps even more than with a non-IEP student, building trust with a special needs student is key to their education and your success. Therefore, the successful teacher can usually find a way to make the most of a student’s interests by somehow incorporating it in the classroom discussion. For example, if a student is into NASCAR, it may benefit the teacher to shape one or two questions around what she knows (or has researched) about NASCAR. Liken a character in a novel to Jeff Gordon, or note the geometric properties of the racetrack at Daytona.
  • With your special education teacher, set reasonable expectations. There is a major difference between setting reasonable expectations for the special needs student and “lowering expectations”. Lowering expectations does nothing for the student, the class, or the teacher. However, setting high expectations relative to a special education student’s needs is important. Remember that eventually these students will be expected to live independently or at least gain as much independence as possible, so demanding nothing of them is doing them a major disservice.


Deep Southern Cuisine

Southern United States cuisine is unique to its roots depicting the “deep south”. You will find cultural variations from state to state, but most dishes considered southern can be found anywhere you go. Some states are known for their signature item, such as Louisiana Hot Sauce or Georgia Peaches. You will find that all southern states take pride in what they call “comfort food”.


Comfort foods are consumed to improve the emotional status of an individual and are commonly a cultural preference. Southern foods such as fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, pot roast, meatloaf, and casseroles are all considered comfort foods.


There is no shortage of home grown vegetables in the south. Southerners in Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, and Macon enjoy growing watermelon, butter-beans, okra, peppers, squash and tomatoes. Savannah, Georgia and Mobile, Alabama are known for its fresh seafood, including grilled fish, scallops, oysters, alligator tail and fried shrimp. In the south, you can get shrimp any way you want it. Shrimp n’ Grits are a favorite dish throughout the south. Fried catfish is common is areas of Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Jackson.


Have you ever heard the term “soul food?” Head on down to Louisiana, where they are known for their creole cuisine. New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport are home to the many craw fish boils and low-country boils. Cajun food is readily available, along with turnip greens, rice and cornbread.


Great southern BBQ can be found in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Cross Plains Orlindo and Knoxville, Tennessee. BBQ recipes and preferences vary from person to person, but you will find one common thread throughout the south. Each BBQ-er and each smoker thinks their recipe is “the best” and is reluctant to share recipe secrets. Common side dishes are coleslaw and baked beans.


Don’t forget to pair your meal with a tall glass of sweet iced tea and leave room for dessert. Southerners are known for their baked cookies, pies and cakes!


Staying Cool in the Heat

Staying cool and hydrated during the hot summer months is very important when temperatures reach record highs. Dangerously high temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses such as fainting, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat-related illnesses are most dangerous to young children and the elderly, but can also affect anyone whose active outdoors. Prevention is the key to staying healthy and keeping cool.

Stay familiar with the climate in your area.

For example, summers in Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas are hot and very humid. Humidity affects how our bodies cool us down. The human body cools down through the evaporation of sweat on our skin. The more humidity (water vapor) in the air, the harder it is for sweat to evaporate, leaving us to feel hotter and stickier.

The state of Texas is located at the intersection of several climate zones and experiences very hot and humid days. Summer temperatures in Ft. Worth, Arlington, Corsicana/Navarro, Tyler and Dallas average the upper 90s°F. Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and Denton temperatures average in the mid 90s°F, and Lubbock, located further north has more mild climate with summer temperatures averaging 90°F. The mountainous area of west Texas experiences a dry, humid-free climate with summer temperatures averaging around 80°F.

In areas such as Albuquerque, New Mexico, residents experience temperatures between 80°F to 90°F in the early summer months due to low humidity. However, during the late summer months, humidity increases but the overall temperature drops. In Santa Fe, the highs peak around 70°F.

Flagstaff, Arizona is located at an elevation of around 7,000 feet, making for cooler summer temperatures averaging only 81°F in July. Phoenix on the other hand is one of the hottest places in the United States with highs topping off around 110°F during the summer. On June 26, 1990, the temperature reached an all-time recorded high of 122°F. Tucson summer temperatures reach 100°F.

Tips to beat the heat:

    • Drink plenty of water

    • Exercise outdoors when the weather is cooler, such as during early morning hours

    • Dress for the heat, wearing loose fitting, light clothing

    • Stay in the shade

    • Take a cool shower or get in a refreshing swimming pool

    • Keep the air flowing

    • Close blinds in your home to avoid direct sunlight

    • Eat light meals, such as cold fruit, yogurt, or salads instead of hot, cooked meals

    • Do not over exert yourself in the heat

    • Wear sunscreen at all times when outdoors

    • Use common sense


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Finding Your Perfect Vacation Rental

You are planning a get-a-way vacation for your family of five and not quite sure where to stay. You have read feedback reviews from previous travelers, priced out your accommodation options, and just cannot find the perfect place for your family to spend vacation. You have considered Vancouver or maybe, Richmond. You want a kitchen for your week’s stay, which means a hotel is out, and a resort just doesn’t offer the seclusion you prefer. After all, you are looking to “get away” and relax.

Have you heard of VRBO? VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) is a site that provides an online space for homeowners to advertise their vacation properties and make it easy for travelers to search over 160,000 rentals in over 100 countries worldwide. The site was founded in 1995 by vacation rental owners who self-managed their second homes. This means you can find your perfect South Carolina rental in Charleston or Columbia. Property owners post pictures, availability, pricing, accommodation information and contact information on the site for you to view.

VRBO provides you with so many ways to search rentals. Just enter your search criteria and view the listings available. Search by destination, such as RaleighLexington, or Seattle; amenities, arrival and departure dates, pricing, bedroom count, etc.

Helpful Tip: Make sure to note the VRBO listing number of your preferred search results. With so many properties to choose from, it can be timely to find a previous favorite you saw in Virginia Beach.



You can find vacation rental properties in and around cities like Alexandria and Louisville, Kentucky; Dover, Newark and Wilmington, Delaware; mountain, city and coastal properties in North Carolina, such as ApexCharlotte, Durham, Greensboro, and Wilmington; Maryland rental properties in and around Baltimore, Damascus, and Waldorf; and Virginia rental properties in Alexandria and Vienna.

VRBO also features Nevada rentals in Las Vegas and Reno. If you are looking to travel to the scenic states of Washington or Oregon, you can find properties in Richmond Beach, Tacoma, Beaverton, Eugene, and Portland.

Vacation Rental By Owner offers accommodations for every person looking to escape to the beaches, the mountains, and everywhere in between.



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