Author: palmira voelkerding

Governance Frameworks In It Outsourcing

Information technology governance is an essential framework for an organization, as it brings coordination and formal structure to the IT systems used in running the day-to-day activities of a business. Having an IT governance in place means that a corporate entity has a set of policies, procedures, and timelines on how its organization would be run. IT governance is a holistic approach to IT system management as it considers various stakeholders and presents a befitting framework on how they would work seamlessly. Usually, IT governance is theoretically developed by prominent individuals at the executive level of an enterprise. 

Despite having a fantastic team of professionals in systems engineering, data analytics, cybersecurity, and so on, outsourcing specific projects can be inevitable. In fact, if you are a small to medium business owner or manager, there is every chance that you have certain aspects of your processes being outsourced. However, outsourcing poses a challenge; your contractor does not have a holistic view of what you do, so, they might not give you a product or service that entirely fits into your framework. This is not to say your contractor’s service is bad; however, if it does not efficiently integrate into your systems, then it is a bad job in the context of your organization. Therefore, it is vital to have an IT governance framework set in place for IT outsourcing. Here are things to know when outsourcing IT projects.

1. Set an objective for your IT Strategy

When sharing your project with your contractor, it is essential to share your IT strategy with them. Let them know the existing framework you have on ground and how what you request should fit in. Make it easy enough for them to understand your basic concept.

2. Conduct a strategic alignment assessment

Before trusting a (new) contractor to handle your IT business, you should perform certain assessments for your prospective contractor. A good place to start from is to present your existing plan or strategy with the potential contractors on your list, and then you can ask for recommendations about how they intend to address the issue. You can grade their performance with the Likert scale from 1 to 5. 

3. Ensure IT Reporting

It is important to have an IT reporting medium where stakeholders working on a project can file their progress and challenges; this ensures that your contractor stays in line with the framework, and the reports should be logged periodically. This may include having a software that supports reporting.

4. Prioritize processes

Your typical framework should be prioritized. Presenting a step-by-step structure of your processes or systems operation will give your contractor a contextual overview of your procedure, and they can know what to do, and how to integrate their service into your existing framework. 

5. Understanding uniqueness

Letting your contractor know your uniqueness and the distinctive feature of your business and approach towards fulfilling your objective is crucial. However, this is not to say you should share the competitive secret that would make you stand out with your contractor. Your IT governance framework should do the talking for you. It should be able to provide detailed information to your contractor.

What Is CBD Oil?

What is CBD Oil?

CBD refers to cannabidiol. It’s one of the many cannabinoids obtained from the hemp plant. In simpler terms, it is an oil extracted from the hemp plant. You could also call it a natural compound derived from the hemp plant. In total, the hemp plant contains over 100 different types of cannabinoids.

The hemp plant has many industrial applications. It is farmed for its fibers which are used in construction, textile, and other industries. However, in recent times the plant is increasingly being farmed for the production of CBD oil. In most cases, the Sativa variety of the Cannabis plant is what is used, and not the Indica which is high in THC (the compound responsible for getting one high).

Note: CBD oil is different from cannabis oil. Cannabis oil is derived from marijuana and contains very high levels of THC. So while CBD oil has virtually negligible levels of THC and cannot get you high, cannabis oil has high levels of THC and can get you high. 

What does CBD Oil stand for?

CBD does not stand for anything else apart from cannabidiol. The letters CBD should not be mistaken for some elaborate acronym. And cannabidiol, as mentioned earlier, is simply and oil extract derived from the hemp plant. 

Now what is CBD oil by default should refer to the natural oil extracted from the hemp leaves and flowers. However, in some cases, CBD oil can also be used to refer to oil that has been infused with CBD extract, and the extract here could be in different stages of purification and of various concentrations. 

What does CBD oil do?

CBD oil is a product in the midst of discovery and exploration. There is information to show that it has been used in the past in ancient Rome, China, Europe, and other parts of Asia. At the moment, CBD oil is undergoing a renaissance of sorts and is enjoying a lot of recognition. And without a doubt, CBD oil is going to have a bright future in the coming years. All this is to say that there is a lot of research going on regarding CBD oil. There is a lot that we still don’t know about its benefits and applications. 

Wondering what are the benefits of CBD oil?

At present CBD oil has been shown to have various medical applications that include relieving pain, uplifting one’s mood, helping with sleep, improving appetite, as well as helping with various medical conditions such as arthritis, cancer, seizures, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, and more. 

CBD oil also contains other compounds such as other cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, THC, and oils which all have various medical benefits. When used together, these compounds can help with various medical conditions as well as general wellness. Different people are drawn to CBD oil due to different needs.

Note: Please consult a medical professional if you intend to use CBD oil for medical use. They are best-placed to offer you precise medical advice on whether the use of CBD oil can help, as well as whether it’s safe to use together with other medicines, or if pregnant. 

How does CBD oil work?

Scientists and researchers are still trying to understand CBD (oil) better considering it’s just now being looked into deeply.

That said, at present CBD oil is known to affect various receptors and endocannabinoids in the human body. When this happens, CBD affects the manner in which neurotransmitters in the body can perceive various things such as mood, pain, and other states of being. 

How is CBD oil made?

The production of CBD oil starts with the cultivation of the hemp plants. Once mature, the flowers and leaves of these plants are harvested. From here the extraction process begins. Different manufacturers go about the extraction process in different ways. They use different extraction machines, different processes, and different compounds to bring out the CBD oil. 

Once extracted, the raw CBD oil is then refined to different stages for different markets. Plant-based oils, fats, and chlorophyll are removed to remain with full-spectrum CBD oil. Full-spectrum CBD oil can be further refined to remove traces of THC. What remains from this process is broad-spectrum CBD that still contains terpenes and other cannabinoids. From here the extract can be further refined to remove the terpenes and cannabinoids. What remains is CBD isolate.

The CBD oil, at different stages of refinery, can then be mixed with other products for various markets. It can be manufactured into vape oil, edibles, capsules, tinctures, and various topical products such as balms and creams. 

What is the difference between CBD oil and Hemp oil?

CBD oil is derived from the Hemp plant. In a way, all CBD oil is hemp oil. After all, all forms of CBD oil start out as raw hemp oil extract. However, as explained above, the raw hemp oil undergoes various stages of refinery in order to end up with CBD oil in its various forms. That is, full-spectrum CBD oil, broad-spectrum CBD oil, pure CBD isolate, and CBD-infused oils.

So while Hemp oil is a raw extract that still contains various plant oils, plant vitamins, acids, terpenes, cannabinoids, THC, and other compounds, CBD oil is a more purified form of hemp oil that is already refined for human use. 

Where to buy CBD oil?

Since the legalization of CBD oil in the UK, you can buy it all across the country in cities such as London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow. You do, however, need a prescription. There are local stores that you can walk into and buy CBD oil and there are online stores where you can order your preferred CBD oil straight from the comfort of your home. 

All such stores are licensed by the government and the CBD oil must be tested and approved under the existing laws governing the sale and production of CBD oil. In particular, the CBD oil must be manufactured in a manner that is safe for human consumption and the THC levels must be within the set limits (0.2%). 

I prefer to buy from companies that give back to the community, and while most CBD companies keep all their profits, some CBD companies donate to multiple charitable causes. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that their product is better than any other, the time that they take to give back makes me feel like these companies are genuine in their intent for good, clean, high quality products and services.

7 Bookkeeping tips for small businesses

Most business owners dread going through their books of accounts. After all, math is not for everyone. But whether you like it or not, bookkeeping is a vital recipe for the success of your business.

You need to be involved in your business’ finances. The books are your scorecard to determine your business’ performance, helps you to work faster, and be more efficient. Here are seven sure-fire tips for proper bookkeeping

  • Getting the right software

Bookkeeping software came in handy when business owners had to record their financial transactions manually. It was an uphill task calculating figures and recording data.

Today, we have thousands of bookkeeping software to choose from which come in different levels. These levels include;

  • Cashbook
  • Ledger and cashbook
  • Ledger, cash book, and inventory.

As a small business, you don’t need expensive software. You are on a tight budget, but you still need software that is easy to use and understand. The software should perform functions such as help to invoice customers, combine different aspects of reporting, and produce charts for references.

  • Time-Tracking Software for Employees

The employment industry is changing fast. Today, most companies pay their employees for the time they have worked and the output. This way of payment strengthens employee performance and puts aside those who don’t work hard.

As a small business, you should start preparing for the future by paying your employees by the hour. How do you count the hours? There are many cloud-based tracking software that records the time an employee clocks in the office, used a computer, and the amount of work done.

These software eases bookkeeping records. You only have to log in and determine how much you owe your employees, the overtime they’ve worked, and vacation. Look for a tool that resonates with your payroll for easy integration during payment.

  • Keeping A watch on Late Paying Customers

If you don’t act on time, late payment customers can degrade the financial position of your business. You depend on their payment to pay your employees and keep the business functioning. 

The best strategy to avoid this is reaching out to the customer fast when they are overdue. Ask them when they will make the payment. If they have financial difficulty, draft a payment plan. The plan should not infringe on both parties.

  • Separate Personal and Business Finances

Mixing finances is common mistake business owners make when doing their bookkeeping. And the result is not good either. You find yourself tangled in a tax web that may tarnish both your personal and business financial records.

To avoid the long days of pain in the future, open a business bank account that’s under the business name. Also, get a business credit card to start making the credit rating that is separate from yours.

  • Record all your Business Expenses

Many changes take place in the taxation sector every year. You don’t want to find yourself at loggerheads with the taxman. The best way to do this is to ensure you record all your expenses. A simple act like scanning the digitized receipts will save you time.

Ensure that you also notify your accountant of any purchases you make. He should have a say in the investment if it’s worthwhile to the business or not. 

  • Do Frequent Check-Ups

Whether it’s a weekly, monthly, or quarterly check-ups, they’re essential as you can identify trends that affect your business. If they’re positive, leverage on them, if they are negative, solve them. 

For instance, you’ll notice some of the customers that pay late. You can reach out to make a payment plan. Or you may see that one of your product records high sales than others. You can get more inventory to keep up with the demand.

  • Don’t Introduce New Systems Without a plan

There are thousands of systems available today that might increase your business’ performance. However, implementing too many of them may do you more harm than good.

Your employees are human beings. If you swamp them with many systems, the chances are that they’ll lose time learning the new system. They’d instead use this time doing important stuff that brings more income to the business. 

Implement a system only if it is promising, but do it in a strategic way that does not affect the performance of your business. 

Bottom-line

Bookkeeping is not for everyone. However, with a few tips we’ve given you above, you can pull it off. If you need someone to hold your hand on your quest to becoming an expert in bookkeeping, you should check out this Bookkeeper Business Launch review. This course will teach you the ins and outs of bookkeeping which is what every business owner should know.

These 8 Platforms Can Boost Your Business Visibility. Here’s How to Use Them

Is your business visible enough to the prospective customers, vendors, and employees in whose hands its fate rests?

If it’s not actively managing its presence on these eight platforms, the answer is a resounding “no.”

Perhaps that’s not what your resource-strapped enterprise wants to hear. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life — one that’s only likely to become more urgent as your industry grows more crowded and competition for impressions, engagement, and sales increases.

You’re ready to do what it takes to boost your company’s online visibility. You don’t have a choice. Here’s how to make the process as painless and fruitful as can be.

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the preeminent social media platform for businesses in North America. If you don’t yet have an active LinkedIn profile, drop what you’re doing and create one. We’ll wait.

Good. Now that that’s done, take full advantage of LinkedIn’s capabilities:

  • Access to millions of thought leaders, including top leaders in your industry
  • Private and public LinkedIn groups where business leaders and organizations can discuss matters of mutual concern (and burnish their own credibility)
  • Publishing tools that make it easy to broadcast short- and long-form updates and content
  • Social features that bring you closer to your employees, customers, and industry peers

LinkedIn Premium is even more feature-rich. For most small and midsize businesses aiming to increase their market visibility, it’s a slam dunk.

2. Crunchbase

Crunchbase is one of the most popular business directory sites on the planet. With extremely high domain authority, your Crunchbase profile is basically a free entry on the first page of Google’s search results for your company name. It’s also a great venue for conveying key details about your company. The Crunchbase profile for InsureOne, a leading insurance broker, is a great example.

3. Medium

Medium is a blog-in-a-box, but better. Like Crunchbase, it has high domain authority, allowing users to reach audiences far wider than would be possible through their own personal blogs (though, as we’ll see, it’s important to have a branded business blog in your corner as well). 

For inspiration about Medium’s possibilities, look to the thought leaders you’d like to emulate. For instance, billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s Medium profile is rife with insights about business and technology; yours can do the same.

4. Facebook

You most likely need no convincing that Facebook is a worthy investment of company time and resources. Do you know how to get the most out of your Facebook company page, though? If you’re not —

  • Publishing multiple short-form updates per week
  • Running contests and giveaways for loyal customers
  • Joining (or starting) interest-specific Facebook groups
  • Posting video and other multimedia content to your profile

— then you’re not utilizing Facebook’s potential to the fullest.

5. Yelp

Yelp: It’s not just for restaurants any longer.

A well-curated Yelp profile can burnish any organization’s reputation, not least because it’s the Internet’s most visible source (other than Google and Facebook) for unbiased customer reviews. Cultivate positive feedback by:

  • Asking every customer to leave a five-star review after a completed sale
  • Offering to make right any less-than-perfect experience
  • Adding the Yelp sticker to your shop window and/or website

6. A Branded Business Blog

Your branded business blog is most likely to be on “receive mode,” at least to start. That is, the channels already listed here are likely to serve as funnels for its traffic. The narrow end of those funnels must lead to compelling content that your customers and prospects find valuable — and shareable, more importantly.

7. YouTube

If you’re not on YouTube, you’re doing video wrong. No need to invest in professional-quality equipment: Intimate talks and presentations filmed with a smartphone camera will suffice.

8. Twitter

An active Twitter feed is a powerful ally for your brand. More than any other platform, Twitter is a place to let your company’s true colors shine, as Patagonia’s Twitter feed exemplifies.

What Is Your Business Missing?

If your business isn’t reaching the audiences for these eight high-visibility platforms, it’s missing something. Full stop.

Fortunately, rectifying that omission is as easy as creating a free profile (or a few), or adding a new domain to your existing web hosting account. Your multichannel marketing apparatus will be up and running before the day is through.

Then again, creating these properties is just the start. If you really want them to make a difference to your marketing and branding campaigns, you’ll need to invest real resources in them. That means creating original content, posting regular updates, sharing third-party content that’s likely to resonate with your audience, and more.

As onerous as that sounds, you can’t afford not to make these investments. At least, not if you want your company to stay one step ahead of the competition in a crowded marketplace.

7 Marketing Strategies Every Startup Should Know

Marketing is critical for any startup because if people are not aware of the startup’s existence, they will not buy from it. However, when done the conventional way, marketing campaigns can be very costly, particularly for startups. Startups can use non-conventional marketing strategies to reach their target audience and grow their business. These marketing strategies that ride on modern trends that include the use of postcards newsletter template builder, email templates, content creation, search engine optimization, social media, and landing pages.

Sometimes even promotional products, and promotional products of Personalized Basketballs. Startups need to use as many of these strategies are they can to promote their products and services. Here are seven marketing strategies that every startup should explore: 

  1. Sending Email Newsletters

Emails are effective marketing tools that can help startups attract customers at minimal or no cost. To use this strategy, startups need to build an email list of prospective and existing customers in order to send them emails that promote their products or services. You can do this through your website. For instance, you could include a newsletter subscription form on the website to collect email addresses from visitors. 

The other way of building an email list is by asking customers to share their email addresses directly, even if you run a podcast. To interest customers, ensure that you include non-commercial information on your newsletters. For instance, a startup could feature content such as infographics, videos, articles and guides that empowers its target audience on the newsletter.

  1. Use of Social Media Posts

At this time and age, businesses cannot underestimate the power of marketing through social media platforms. With more than 3.5 billion people currently using social media across the globe, these platforms are taking marketing to a high level. Startups can use social media to promote their products or services by sharing posts such as videos, articles, infographics, offers, and promotions with their followers. 

In addition to marketing products, social media platforms serve as great spaces for engaging existing and prospective customers to understand their pain points and feedback on how they experience the products or services being offered by the startup. Some of the leading social media platforms that each startup should consider using include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon. 

  1. Use of Blog Posts 

Blogs are great marketing tools that can give business startups the exposure they need. Statistics show that through blogging, businesses can generate up to 126% more leads compared to their competitors who do not blog. Using blogs, startups can position themselves as leaders in their industry and drive organic traffic to their sites through internet searches. 

The best way to create an effective blog is through publishing content that your target audience is seeking for or interested in. When such content is valuable, search engines will rank your blog highly on search results. This translates to high traffic as more people get to know about your startup. 

  1. Generate shareable content

Internet marketing thrives on sharing. This means that the content you create about your startup should be interesting and valuable to make your audience want to share. The more people share a piece of content, the more that content goes viral and reached more people. Some of the content formats that entice people, encouraging them to share include visual content such as short videos, infographics, images as well as blogs, stories, and articles.

 In creating content, consider information that is related to your business or is about your business. Of importance to note is that providing additional information to your followers or customers could entice them to become more curious about what you are offering. 

  1. Use Referral Programs

To grow your business fast, consider using the referral marketing strategy. This strategy thrives on allowing customers to promote your products or services to their friends and family. Most successful companies set up referral programs because people tend to believe in personal recommendations from people they know more than they believe company adverts.  

Every startup can reach more customers through a referral strategy by getting current customers to refer other people to the business. Find creative ways to encourage existing customers to refer their friends to your startup. For instance, you could offer customers who refer people to your business commissions, discount vouchers or coupons that they can claim in the future. An example of this could be ‘refer 2 friends and get free shipping the next time your shop’. The audience you attract through referrals can be a strong lead for your startup. 

  1. Hold a pre-launch event

When you are launching your business or product, create a buzz about it and let your target audience about it online and offline. One way to do this is by issuing raffles. Though this will cost you, it will entice them to get raffles and market the business. Through raffles, you can also encourage your audience to follow your business on different social media platforms. Once they connect with you on social media, you will be able to get their feedback about the products or services you offer. You will also be able to develop a contact list for use in future events or communication. 

  1. Use Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is a strategy that involves driving traffic to your website and other online platforms through search engines such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo. For this strategy to work, you need to focus on optimizing your website for the search engines so that people can find your startup without having to call you. 

Statistics show that every day, millions of internet use search engines to find stuff on the web. If you optimize content such as blog posts, articles, images, videos and social media posts for search engines, you will attract visitors to your website and begin connecting with them to grow your customer base.  

Since you will be driving traffic to your website, ensure that it is loads fast so that visitors can access it without having to wait. To achieve this, you need to avoid the use of many heavy images as those will slow the website. Instead, use images only where they are really needed. 

Simple Barcode Inventory System for Small Business to improve efficiency

Inventory control is an essential element of any business. By maintaining effective control over your inventory, you can minimize losses and increase productivity. 

An effective inventory control system in place allows companies to offer more accurate stock information, faster shipping services, and improved customer experience. 

Small businesses sometimes assume that they don’t require a comprehensive inventory system. Many believe that implementing an inventory control system will be too costly for a start-up business or SME. 

However, small businesses and enterprises can benefit from advanced inventory systems, even more than larger organizations. As small companies generally have less staff and fewer resources, anything which streamlines processes and enhances productivity is beneficial. 

Furthermore, an effective inventory control system needn’t be costly to implement. 

What is a barcode inventory system?

A barcode system is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to maintain control over your inventory. Put simply; a barcode is a visual representation of data. When you scan this information which a barcode scanner, it updates the data in the system accordingly. 

1D barcodes are, perhaps, the most familiar type. They consist of vertical straight lines and a series of numbers along the bottom. However, 2D barcodes are becoming increasingly popular. 

Usually square, they consist of dots and various small shapes. As 2D barcodes can hold more information than 1D barcodes, more businesses are upgrading to 2D systems. 

Using a Barcode Inventory System

To use a barcode inventory system, you simply assign a barcode to each product in your system. You can then print out quality labels with the barcode on and apply it to the corresponding product. When you scan the barcode, it will automatically update your inventory system. 

Similarly, you can achieve the opposite effect when using a barcode system too. By using a different setting, you can enable the system to deduct a product from your inventory when you scan the corresponding barcode. 

As you can see, a barcode system enables you to record stock as it enters and leaves your premises. More importantly, it increases the accuracy of your data and allows you to manage your inventory far more quickly than if you were to do it by hand. 

What are the benefits of a barcode inventory system?

There are numerous advantages associated with using a barcode system to monitor your inventory, including:

Efficiency

Printing barcodes on to quality labels and scanning them allows your inventory to updated in record time. This will streamline your processes and increase productivity significantly, thus freeing up staff members for other tasks.

Functionality

If you introduce a new product, you can simply add a new barcode to the system and update your inventory. Similarly, if you discontinue a product line, it can be removed from the system in seconds. With the ability to make swift changes, the functionality of a barcode inventory system is second-to-none. 

Flexibility

Barcode inventory systems can be used on all types of products. Regardless of what packaging materials you’re using, quality labels will ensure that you can adhere barcodes to products of any shape or size. 

Reduced costs

When you manage your inventory manually, it can take a significant amount of time. Whether you’re doing this yourself or assigning staff to the task, it will cost you a considerable amount in terms of productivity. 

Switching to a barcode inventory system ensures the job can be done more quickly and by fewer people. As a result, you can minimize your outgoings, cut your wages bill and reduce overall costs.

Accuracy

Manual inventory management inevitably leaves the door open for human error. However, conscientious your staff are, they will make mistakes from time to time. 

When using a barcode inventory system, however, you can minimize these inaccuracies and maintain comprehensive stock information at all times.

Real-time data

Depending on the system you choose, you can access real-time inventory data when you use a barcode system. This means you can check stock levels and locations whenever you need to and access the latest information. 

Keeping track of your stock in real-time negates the possibility of ordering or producing too much and minimizes waste, thus reducing your costs even further.

Implementing a barcode inventory system

Small businesses, in particular, need to operate as cost-efficiently as possible. With the right packaging materials, printing equipment, barcode scanner, and quality labels like Zebra Printer Labels like the one from enkoproducts.com, you can implement an effective barcode inventory system straight away. 

Barcode inventory systems make life easier. They increase efficiency and lower costs, which is why they are an excellent investment.

7 Ways Smartphones In Healthcare Are Becoming Vital

There’s a mobile revolution brewing from smartphones in healthcare.

According to the latest statistics, mobile health (mHealth) is expected to reach $21.71 billion by 2022. There are many factors that influence this market’s growth, but one of the most important is the adoption of smartphones and wearable devices into the healthcare industry.

Smartphones in healthcare will affect everyone, from patients to medical students, doctors and nurses, everyone uses a smartphone for health purposes. Here are a just a handful of ways smartphones are becoming indispensable to the healthcare industry.

1. Enable patient monitoring

Before smartphones, patients had to come to the hospital for physical check-ups or, if they had just underwent surgery, remain hospitalized for a couple of days, so doctors can closely monitor their recovery.
For doctors, that meant seeing more patients on a hard to maintain schedule. On the flip side, patients were spending tens of thousands of dollars on hospital stays.

Smartphones have made it possible for doctors to remotely monitor their patients, so that patients are able to recover in their home comfortable and without a hefty hospital bill. It also frees up doctors’ time to allow them to better serve more patients, lowering their workload and increasing profits.

What’s more, software as medical device (SaMD) enables wearables to collect health data and send it in real-time to physician’s mobile device via wireless technology such as Bluetooth. This makes caring for chronically ill patients a lot easier and less expensive.

Receiving real-time data about important changes in someone’s heart rate or glucose levels, for example, allows doctors to quickly tweak their treatment and avoid a trip to the emergency room.

2. Facilitate learning for medical students

Gone are the days when medical students carried textbooks heavy enough to give them a chronic back pain. Nowadays, all they need is a smartphone and their favorite medical apps.

According to an article published in The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), over 70 percent of medical school students reported using at least one medical app regularly.

This percentage will only increase in the coming years, with more medical apps created daily. Some grant students instantaneous access to evidence-based medicine or test their diagnosis and treatment skills. Others help them stay up-to-date with industry trends, guidelines and medical literature.

Small enough to fit in a lab-coat pocket, smartphones have become a medical student’s best study companion. Learning to become a doctor is easier and more convenient than ever before, thanks to these devices’ ability to store all their studying materials in one place.

3. Improve clinical trials’ efficiency

Clinical trials are a vital part of medical innovations. And smartphones are helping streamline the way they are conducted.

With the steady rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) in healthcare, smartphones are becoming more prevalent in mobile-enabled clinical trials. In trials with large numbers of participants, having patients use their own smartphone or tablet for data collection can drastically reduce costs.

It can also improve data quality and increase compliance. Patients are more likely to record important health information in real-time with devices that never leave their sides, versus jotting it down on paper hours later.

And if they happen to forget to document their symptoms or take their medication — which is often required in clinical trials? Researchers can send patients SMS reminders.

4. Make healthcare accessible and convenient via telehealth

Mobile devices are making healthcare available to more patients, regardless of their budget or their location. The use of mobile technology in healthcare is called telehealth and it allows patients to get 24/7 doctor support for urgent care, psychiatry and other conditions at a fixed cost.

What’s more, studies show telehealth to be just as effective as in-office visits when it comes to diagnosis and treatment planning for chronic conditions, even for difficult to treat conditions like psoriasis.

The growing popularity of telehealth services didn’t go unnoticed by the biggest pharmacy chains. Last year, for instance, CVS Health launched MinuteClinic Video Visits, a telehealth service that gives patients with minor illnesses and injuries around-the-clock access to health services. All from their phones.

5. Empowering patients to manage complex diseases

For patients with cancer and diabetes, managing their condition can be a full-time job.

This is where smartphones come in handy, helping them stay vigilant about their lifestyle.

Patients with complex diseases rely on their mobile devices to schedule doctor appointments or measure their vitals. They also use their phones to lower stress through meditation.

Most importantly, smartphones help patients stick to their treatment plans. A recent study showed that patients with tuberculosis (TB) were more likely to take their medication, if they received support via smartphones versus face-to-face appointments.

6. An accurate self-diagnosis tool

It’s incredible how many health conditions can be diagnosed with a smartphone alone. No need for expensive or painful tests.

There are iPhone apps that can determine if someone is having a heart attack with the same level of accuracy as a medical electrocardiogram.

Others are capable of diagnosing anemia by analyzing photos of a patient’s fingernail beds. And elders can self-diagnose osteoporosis using their smartphone’s motion picture sensor.

Many medical conditions have subtle symptoms and can go undiscovered for years.

Thanks to their mobile devices, patients can now seek professional help — and receive proper treatment — before their health deteriorates.

7. Prevent administrative and medical errors

Mobile devices enable doctors to have access to medical records and critical lab results, in real-time, while at a patient’s bedside. This leaves little room for error.

In fact, one study showed that mobile devices cut medication administration errors by 61 percent and preventable medical errors by 46 percent.

Smartphones are also improving response times for emergencies such as seizures or cardiac events. A growing number of hospitals have integrated smartphone platforms that send phone alerts to nurses and clinical teams whenever patients need immediate assistance.

To keep up with the demand, smartphone manufacturers have launched devices specifically designed for hospital environments. Phones like the Zebra TC51 and the Honeywell Dolphin can endure a drop on the floor and they can come into contact with body fluids and still work perfectly. What’s more, they have a minimum number of seams, so as to keep germ absorption to a minimum.

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It’s easy to see why iPhones are poised to become the new norm in healthcare. While there are lingering concerns surrounding the security of handling sensitive health data from mobile devices, smartphone manufacturers are working on developing features that ensure secure connectivity.  

In the end,  the pros of using mobile health (mHealth), and smartphones in particular, far outweigh the cons. This is why 40 percent of all hospital workers are expected to use a mobile device at work by 2020.

5 things that make a mobile app amazing

It’s no secret that mobile is the future. Fewer people now view content on laptops or computers and more and more now reach for their mobiles. We all know it’s much more convenient, and in May 2019, just over 41% of web traffic came from mobile devices.

So why do so many shy away from making their content mobile friendly? It’s imperative that your business gets up to date with mobile users to ensure you continue to attract custom as technology evolves.

Mobile apps will not only increase the demand for your product but profits, too – as you will be opening up your company to a whole new audience. You’ll have a competitive advantage, as customers are much likely to come to your business first if they know you offer an app which is easy for them to navigate and use on the go.

Showing you’re keeping up with the times and doing more to push your brand will get you recognized within your industry and show that you really mean business.

Now that we have you convinced, what should you actually include in your mobile app to make it stand out from the crowd and gain traffic?

Here are 5 things that make a mobile app amazing.

Knowing your target market

According to Digital Authority Partners, for every 10,000 mobile apps developed, only 1 will make a dent in the market while the other 9,999 will get lost in the crowd.

To avoid being part of that 99.9%, you need to make sure to conduct thorough research on your target market.

You need to make sure that your app is filling a gap in the market, either by addressing a problem or targeting a direct target audience.

A study from the Journal of Business Cases and Applications states that since 2009, the number of niche app stores has doubled annually, while the number of general app stores has decreased. This proves more than anything that users are bored of seeing the same apps rebranded, and want to see something fresh.

Using fresh, professional designs

If you’re looking to create an app that people will want to download and use, it’s important to not only consider what you want to achieve, but how it will actually look on-screen.

The likelihood is that if a user doesn’t find the app appealing, they will delete it and may even leave a bad review. This will leave all of your hard work in the gutter.

Focus on a color scheme and styles of imagery and text that suit and blend with your brand, then develop from there.

If you are looking to work with a developer, make sure they are familiar with your brand and know exactly what you are looking for.

Blog Writer advises working with a team that already has experience in your industry, and to ensure you receive a timeline for the work to watch over and manage your budget carefully.

Science Direct has used the app CAMPER Weather as a great use of design when it comes to mobile. The weather app is designed to put a smile on the user’s face, no matter the weather.

This is how the shoe brand has demonstrated its understanding of optimism: half imagination, half craft. The app uses vivid imagery and colors to bring its brand to the customer in a way that doesn’t feel invasive or pushy.

Creating a robust SEO strategy

It’s obvious that you can’t really create an SEO strategy for a native mobile app, however, you can push your website to effectively market and create leads towards it. Combo App claims this all starts by finding the best keywords that fit in with your brand, location, and what you’re marketing.

Google only starts to pick up SEO after 60 to 90 days, so it’s important you set up the right time frames to make sure your site will push your app at the time of launch. Creating content based on your app will also help to boost its rankings on Google and the traffic it gets.

Remember, it’s important to make sure your app is in the 1% that gets noticed and downloaded!

Using video

The attention span of the world is getting shorter and shorter. An infographic from Wyzowl even goes as far as to claim that the average adult attention span has gone from 12 seconds to 2000 to 8.25 seconds in 2005.

This means that apps now need fewer words and more video, especially when it comes to explainers and demos. Using video will keep the user much more entertained and more likely to stay on the app.

It will also ensure that they understand how to navigate the app without confusion. This is particularly important as those who can’t figure out how to use your product in a short amount of time are much more likely to give up and close down than to persevere.

Marketing to boast about your product

Your app may not make front page news, but for many technology websites, or even the business pages of a newspaper, your efforts to modernize your company and try something new will not go unrecognized.

Sending out press releases may seem like a lengthy process, but even if just one outlet decided to use it out of 50, you will have still increased the word of mouth surrounding your app and will probably attract more custom.

If your copy is easy to read and ready to go, titles are much more likely to use it. Make sure to find a clear angle to promote your content.

Whether that’s your business branching out or your new way to solve gaps in the market, people will want to know.

And if you don’t tell them, the likelihood is that they won’t find out.

This article comes from Michael Reddy @ Digital Authority Partners