When working as patient advocates or at a patient organisation, we need to be fast, efficient and professional even though resources may be limited. I use a lot of technology to help with this aspect, and have constantly been exploring new and start-up technology platforms for my work. These are usually either free of charge, or at least cheaper in an initial period, there are a lot of free and reliable tools out there that can satisfy the professional needs that we may have.
One of my favourites is HubSpot, the page where you can create infographics in PowerPoint. Infographics are excellent tools if you want to convey information in a fast and effective way. They are not suitable for elaborate analysis, but absolutely ideal if you want to explain statistical findings, concepts, or processes.
Most of the time we need to work on rather complex projects that require quick and effective sharing of documents that we can work on simultaneously. Google Docs to the rescue! Open your Google account (it makes sense to set one up for this reason alone! See illustration to do so), click on the button for Google apps (top right, near your photo), and then select Docs, or enter docs.google.com into your browser. You can then create and share, in a few easy steps, documents, calendars, spreadsheets and questionnaires. You can also edit these simultaneously with your co-workers.
Project management often requires quick and effective communication across your organisation or project group. There are many different tools for this, but I recommend trying out Slack. It’s like a forum used to be, but better. You can download it to your smartphone also, and you get notifications every time someone sends a message. You can manage separate threads according to your needs and topics.
A similar but slightly different project tool is Wiggio. This allows you to not only keep track of the conversations but you can also upload and share documents, create a joint calendar, start and moderate discussions, even organise a teleconference that will be set up for you by Wiggio. You also have full control of who is part of which conversation, and the joint file repository, or folder, makes it easy for everyone to find what they need.
If you want to share files with your group, Dropbox remains one of the most convenient options. The 5 GB storage capacity of the basic free account is usually completely sufficient for personal or light professional use. Links can be created for individual files or entire folders, and Dropbox also offers some basic editing options. There is a Dropbox app for smartphones and tablets, and you can very conveniently use your presentation slides on your phone without any need for complex conversions across formats.
Box is an online file sharing and content management service for businesses. The company uses a freemium business model to provide cloud storage and file hosting for personal accounts and businesses. You can determine how to share your content with other users. Official clients and apps are available for Windows, Mac OSX, and several mobile platforms. Now basically, you have everything you need to start managing your projects. Share your files and information, and stay in control of the process! Using these technology tools will help you save time and resources, and also allow you to become more professional and more efficient at what you do.