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When you get something new in either your professional or personal life, do you read the manual? If you do, do you read it cover to cover and really absorb all the details?
I’m sure some of you can confidently answer yes to those questions, but for most us-myself included-it’s more of a quick skim to catch the big details and a learn as we go approach.
In most cases, this works just fine. Many new technologies are designed with intuitive interfaces and guided workflows. These make it easy to get something up and running right out of the package, and once it’s in use, we rarely look back to see what we missed.
I mean, those instruction manuals can be long and very dry reads. The manuals for some robust software applications can be as large as a multi-volume encyclopedia, and with the type of schedules we all keep today, there’s rarely time to get through an entire manual even if it’s a shorter book for a less complex technology.
Instead, we file those manuals on a shelf, in a drawer, or elsewhere out of the way. Then, if we didn’t throw it out and we find ourselves in dire need of answers, it could be a valuable resource. Still, it’s more likely Google or a customer service phone number is that go-to resource.
If the provided instructions aren’t the best resource for learning a new applications, we need to turn elsewhere. Sure, you can get by with just mastering the one or two everyday tasks that drew you to invest in the platform, but if you don’t at least get a sense of the full set of capabilities, you’re missing out on additional benefits and features that could greatly increase its value to you, your practice and patients. Those extra features could be time saving shortcuts, efficiency boosting automations, or capabilities that can open new opportunities for your practice if you just knew they existed.
It’s important to have a plan to unlock these “secret” features. That manual is just one way to learn the application, and it’s most likely among the least effective. Instead, it’s important to make time for training for you and your team, even the team members who won’t be using the software every day. Dedicated training-whether in person or online-is a great place to start and being sure to bookmark any on-demand and online training resources is another great step. This will get you closer to unlocking the potential of the application and discovering all the secrets your software is hiding.
Those secrets are the focus of this issue’s cover story, Software Secrets Revealed, where we look at how to discern which applications best fit your practice, and then showcase a roundup of software titles along with some of their best “secret” features. Understanding those features can unlock new potential for your business. Discovering one of these unexpected software features can be like finding a cheat code for your practice or a shortcut to success.
Implementing these features doesn’t require any special computer skills, but it does require some time and dedication. Just like anything else you use in your practice, it takes some effort to master it completely.
Discovering the full capabilities of your software platforms can be accomplished by seeking ongoing training, connecting with and communicating with experts, finding and using online resources, and simplest of all, trying out every option the software gives you.
Make some time for you and your team to practice with your software. If it includes modules and capabilities you never touch, carve out a time every week to dive in and practice using them. You can delegate different segments of the software to different team members. Let everyone master one area of the application and then dedicate a time at a team meeting for those new experts to share the secrets they’ve learned.
Learning something new is always a great feeling, and this is especially true when what you learn was once hidden or secret. Even if you know you won’t use a feature immediately, understanding it and how it works will help you have a deeper understanding of the full set of resources and capabilities available to your practice.
If you haven’t already, get started learning today to unlock the full potential of your business. And, when you do uncover a secret to your software, pass it along to friends and colleagues because this type of secret is worth sharing.