Let me begin this post by saying that I do not receive any compensation from any smart phone company for writing this blog post. If you are a physician, regardless of your specialty, age or gender, you must have and learn how to use your Android or IPhone.
I had a physician in my office this morning that was not using his smart phone to the fullest extent and therefore was still carrying around a small paper calendar in his pocket to make sure he knew when he was on-call and supposed to be doing hospital rounds. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but if you have and carry a smart phone, why not use it.
I have listed 6 "things" that every professional should know how to do with their smart phone. By using most or all of these things you can rest easy knowing that you are getting your money's worth out of this monthly business expense.
- Google is one of the coolest companies in the world. They not only offer their free flagship “Gmail” accounts, but they also have a great calendaring program as well as “Google Drive” (formerly Google Docs) which allows you to store existing documents (for free) or create new word processing, spreadsheet or presentation documents using most of the same tools as Microsoft Office. They are also the gold standard in mapping with their “Google Maps” app. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Google Maps each have an app for all smart-phones. Each of these apps are a must have and must use for every physician.
- Work email access. If you do not do these already, go to your IT person and have them work with you so that you can access your work email on your phone. Almost all organizations use either Microsoft Outlook or have an Exchange server; both are compatible with every smart-phone.
- Calendar Syncing. When you go to schedule a haircut or a dental appointment, you should be able to quickly open up your phone, go to your calendar and see all of your work and personal and even your on-call assignments all in one central location. This should be your central calendar. The easiest way to sync your work and personal calendar is to use Google Calendar. Have your IT person help you with the work calendar. Tell them you want to be able to see it on your Google calendar online. Anything that you can see on your Google Calendar with your desktop or laptop you can see on your smart phone.
- On-call schedule syncing. Once you have your Google calendar set-up and you can see things both on your phone and desktop or laptop computer, then follow these directions to get your Call Scheduler on-call assignment schedule to keep your calendar in sync with Call Scheduler. IPhone users can go to: http://blogs.call-scheduler.com/justins_blog/bid/57029/How-to-get-your-physician-call-schedule-into-your-iPhone and Android users can go to: http://blogs.call-scheduler.com/justins_blog/bid/57326/How-to-get-your-Doctors-Call-Schedule-into-their-Android-Phone. If you have any problems call our office at 877-435-8826 and someone will walk you through the process. It is really simple.
- Web browsing is one of the most basic smart-phone functions, but one that is sometimes underused. If I were a physician I would be sure and have a “shortcut” link to my entire groups schedule on the home screen on my phone. This can be used if you ever need to see who is available to swap shifts or you just want to see who is on, when you know it’s not you. Follow this link to see complete instructions: http://blogs.call-scheduler.com/amys_blog/bid/65602/One-Touch-Access-to-your-On-Call-Schedules-on-iPhone-and-iPad
- A few other “must-haves” and “must know how to use” smart-phone apps that I would highly recommend would be Evernote, Dropbox, Pandora and of course the most basic of all text messaging.
Your smart phone is not just for talking on, in fact the trend is that it is being used much more for other things and people are talking less. "Surprisingly, talk time is only 26 percent of the total. The rest of the time the smart phones are being used to surf the Web, send text messages, check e-mail, use a social network or play games" according to Blogger John Breeden II in his post published on June 4, 2013.
Don't be afraid to learn how to use your phone. If you are an Android user, go to the store where you bought it and ask them for help, or you can always go to Google or YouTube and search for “how do I …” and you will find a ton of great advise from fellow users. The same is true for IPhone users. You may also get great service by going to an Apple store and talking to one of their smarty-pants. Also never be afraid to ask your local 15 year old, they probably know more than the workers at the store.
Key Takeaway: Take the time to learn how to use your darn phone. And don’t even tell me you don’t have the time, that’s an excuse and you know it. Professionals make time to learn things that are important to making them better in their business. This is one of those things.
Image courtesy of Stoonn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net