Alert Solutions Blog

Bullying can Increase Nightmares, Night Terrors and Sleepwalking in Children, Says Study

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Sep 30, 2014 @ 13:09 PM

Bullying and cyberbullying  are chronic issues for K-12 students today. When a child is exposed to bullying, the long term effects can be severe, even generating anxiety and depression over time. If a child’s anxiety is persistent enough – it may cause nightmares, night terrors, and sleepwalking. Parasomnias, or unwanted events and experiences during a sleep cycle, can also be linked to bullying.

A recent study by Professor Dieter Wolke and Dr. Suzet Tanya Lereya of the University of Warwick in the UK suggests, "Nightmares may occur when anxiety exceeds a threshold level, and several studies have suggested that trait anxiety may be related to the frequency of parasomnias. However, even after controlling for pre-existing anxiety problems, our results showed that being bullied may increase the risk for parasomnias."

This study was based on 6,796 children between the ages of 8-10 years old and included children who are bullied and children who bullied others. The results were as follows

-  Children who were bullied at ages 8-10 were more likely to experience sleepwalking, nightmares or night terrors at the age of 12 than those who were not bullied.

cyberbullying
-  Children who were severely bullied at ages 8-10 were more likely to have both nightmares and night terrors at age 12.

-  Children who were bullied and bullied others were most likely to have parasomnias.

-  Children who bullied others at ages 8-10 and were not victims of bullying had no increased risk of parasomnias.

If a child consistently has nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking or any other parasomnias, the child’s parents should ask them about bullying. If bullying is a continuous issue, then the parent should talk with the child’s school to find out the best method to prevent bullying in the future.

For more information on how to prevent bullying, download our bullying prevention guide today.

Topics: student health, bullying, cyberbullying, power announcement, powerschool, education

Promote Tenant Safety during Hurricane Season - 6 Guidelines to Follow

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 @ 13:09 PM

Promote Tenant Safety during Hurricane Season - 6 Guidelines to Follow

September is National Preparedness Month, and with good reason as Hurricane season is upon us. Property managers need to be prepared for such intense circumstances.

Are tenants aware of evacuation procedures or communication methods the property managers will be using? If not, here are a few guidelines you should follow to prepare your tenants and property before a storm arrives.

1. Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Make sure to have the necessary supplies such as first aid kits, several gallons of water for each tenant, flashlights, blankets, batteries etc.rainoutside

2. Be Aware of the Surroundings
Understand the nature and the elevation of your property. Can it withstand flooding and high winds? Note hurricane routes and evacuation plans throughout your community.

3. Establish a Tenant Communication Plan
It is important to maintain continuous tenant communication during an emergency of any kind. Multi-channel messaging is one of the best ways to provide your tenants with notifications during emergency circumstances using the communication channels they prefer. Using tenant-preferred communication methods allows you to send messages simultaneously to all your residents via email, voice, SMS texts and desktop alerts.

4. Secure the Property to Minimize Damage
Since hurricanes can cause massive amounts of destruction to your property, minimizing damage by purchasing plywood to conceal widows is important. Securing all apartments, offices and common areas is vital to saving money and frustrations after a storm has passed.

5. Prepare the Exterior of the Property 
Secure all outside furniture, garbage cans and decorations. Ensure all trees and shrubs are not falling or are about to fall prior to any storms.

6. Get your Tenants  Ready
Distributing newsletters and flyers is one way to communicate with your tenants about evacuation plans, but using automated messages to update the tenants with the latest coverage about the storm or hurricane approaching is essential for your tenant’s safety. Whether there are evacuation plans that need to be changed or property damage during the storm – this can all be communicated fast and efficiently with a multi-channel messaging system.

Tenant safety is essential for property managers to maintain. They are obligated to keep their tenants informed and aware of what is happening within their living spaces.

To learn more about implementing a tenant notification system, download our Residential Property Management Brochure today.

Topics: multi-channel messaging, property management, tenant communication, tenant safety, tenant notifications

Mobile Device Management: Teachers are Taking Control of the Classroom

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 @ 12:09 PM

Technology in the classroom is a growing trend for students and teachers today. Laptops, tablets, cell phones and other mobile devices are frequently used when teaching lessons to K-12 students.

Teachers are implementing a new system into their classroom to increase the attention of students on mobile devices with Mobile Device Management Software. This type of system has allowed teachers to make their lesson strictly about the subject at hand, and not what the student was researching or downloading at any given time.

The Benefits of using Mobile Device Management Software include:

kidswithcellphones

-    “Freezing” mobile devices

-    Locking student’s mobile devices for educational materials only

-    Students will be unable to browse at their leisure

-    Inappropriate applications will no longer be an issue in the classroom

-   Online safety is restored

-    Transitioning to online tests, 1-to-1 and BYOD (bring your own device)

There are certain precautions when using a mobile device management system. For example, certain systems do not work with desktop computers, and other systems can only be used for certain types of operating systems. (i.e. Microsoft Windows, Apple’s Mac OS, Linux etc.)

Another example is from Preston Winn, AirWatch Director of Business Development for Education states, “These devices, if not used correctly, can be a distraction,” Winn says.” It’s not hard to get devices to teachers, the struggle we have is helping teachers understand how to use [them] effectively in class.”

K-12 schools are spending an immense amount of money on mobile devices. Utilizing mobile device management systems properly is key to maximizing the value of an administrator’s investment.

Do you think using the Mobile Device Management system will improve your student’s attention? Share your thoughts on our blog!

 

 

Topics: mobile learning, educational technology, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs

Streamlining Patient Communication is Vital - The Right Strategy Can Help

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

Patients are in need of fast, easy and effective communication with their medical practice.  Since the Affordable Care Act has been implemented, smaller medical practices have been forced to take on more patients, and they may not be equipped with the right patient communication strategy. Maintaining a high quality relationship with the patient can be a challenge when the medical practice does not have the accurate technology to use.

-          Patients have longer waiting times on the phone and in person.

-          The messages patients leave with the office are often not responded to quickly, or not returned.

-          When a patient is consistently waiting and ignored, they are more likely to switch medical practices.

Not only do these negative impacts affect the patient and the medical practice in the view of the public, but the medical practice can potentially lose a lot of money per patient. On average for a primary care doctor, $100 is lost per missed appointment and $200 is lost per missed appointment for a specialty practice.

The good news?  There are patient communication strategies available for medical practices to use!

Here, at Alert Solutions, these three critical strategies are incorporated into our patient communication solutions:patientwaitingroom1

-          Patient Access and Support - These are important attributes to a patient’s healthy relationship with a medical practice. There should be an established form of communication that works best for the patient.

-          Data Analysis - “With the proper data analytics in place, medical practices can gather and leverage patient contact data to pinpoint and respond to patient communication challenges that might not be obvious to the physicians or office managers.”  Personalization of data for each patient will be useful when sending messages for individual appointments.

-          Multiple Communication Venues - Using multi-channel messaging and automated message delivery, medical offices can engage patients effectively, while saving time and money by freeing up staff time.

How would this patient communication strategy be helpful to your medical practice? Share your thoughts on our blog!

Explore the options for improving patient engagement with our automated patient communication solutions

Topics: multi-channel messaging, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication

Some eRate Discounts will End in 2015 for K-12 Schools

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 @ 13:09 PM

In the year 2014 alone, eRate discounts saved K-12 schools a total of $ 2.4 billion for e-mail, voice mail and website hosting applications.  According to the FCC, starting in 2015, this crucial abundance of discounts will no longer be available.

The cancellation of eRate discounts will propose an intense, most likely negative, change to many K-12 school budgets.  However, there are other applications that can be used for e-mail and web hosting sites that are currently free.

There are two free applications that are used within school communities today:  Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office 365 Education (A2 Plan).emailinbox

Google Apps for Education

-          Includes g-mail (e-mail) accounts

-          30 gigabytes of storage per user

Microsoft Office 365 Education (A2 Plan)

-          Includes e-mail accounts

-          50 gigabytes of storage per user

The Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft’s U.S. education business, Cameron Evans said, “Microsoft has long been a committed partner to schools in helping implement technology tools that address their unique needs and meet budget requirements.  Our Office 365 Education A2 plan has been available to education institutions for free since 2012, regardless of their eRate-eligible discount level.”

Both of these applications are useful, but they do have their setbacks. For example, the Microsoft Office 365 Education application does not have free archiving capabilities, and this is a requirement for schools by state law.

Other setbacks include:

-          Privacy and security measures that are often insufficient

-          Legal terms are always subject to change with or without notice to the school

-          Additional staffing and resources for support  - there will be expenses even with a “free” application

What do you think of the latest eRate discount changes? Share your thoughts on our Blog!

To read more about e-Rate, check out another blog post!

 

Topics: educational technology, power announcement, powerschool, education

Planning a Mobile Marketing Campaign? Get Started the Right Way!

Posted by Nina Caliri on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 @ 14:09 PM

So, you’ve finally decided to see what all of the mobile marketing hype is about. Good choice – as studies suggest more than 90% of SMS text messages are read within minutes of delivery. This accounts for a rapid response that is unseen in other messaging channels.

But before getting too excited, consider the following

1. Do you understand the law?

Like everything else, mobile marketing laws evolve over time. Are you up to date on the latest legislation? Check out a recent post on our blog.

 2. Do you have an opt-in list?automatedcollectionreminder-1

You’ll need explicit written permission from subscribers to send them SMS text messages. Building your list organically will net the most relevant mobile marketing campaigns.

 3. What will your call-to-action be?

Unless your mobile marketing campaign is purely informative, you need to map the intended response of your audience. In other words, what should happen after the recipient reads your SMS text message?

4. Have you figured out the technicalities?

It may take weeks, or even months, to provision the phone number or short code that your SMS text messages will appear to be coming from. And remember, there is a 160 character limit!

Execute your new mobile marketing campaign properly to achieve the highest possible ROI and increase response rates.

Want to learn more about getting started? The experts at Alert Solutions can help get you going today!

Download our brochure or download our Guide to SMS Text Messaging Success for more SMS best practices.

Topics: SMS text messaging, SMS Best Practices, mobile marketing

K-12 Schools Install ‘Standing Desks’ to Improve Student Health

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Sep 09, 2014 @ 09:09 AM

A rising trend in the corporate environment, standing desks have made their way into hundreds of classrooms nationwide, according to a recent District Administration article.

What is a standing desk? Simply put, it’s a regular desk raised in height. There is no chair, but rather a standing_deskstool. This causes students to spend most of the day standing, which is said to increase alertness and combat childhood obesity by improving student health.

In fact, during a trial study completed in Texas classrooms in 2011, fourth grade students at standing desks burned an average of 300 additional calories per week compared to their sitting peers. The difference is even greater for overweight and obese students, who burned an average of 575 additional calories per week.

And because more than one-third of children and adolescents are overweight according to the CDC, it’s possible that standing desks will become even more prevalent in America’s K-12 schools over the coming years.

Teachers with standing desks also notice a difference in the attentiveness and concentration of their students, stating that they are more focused on their schoolwork.

Are you starting off the new school year in a health-conscious state-of-mind?   Check our more student health blog topics from Alert Solutions today!

Topics: student health, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education

Property Managers: Automated Rent Reminders are Worth a Shot

Posted by Nina Caliri on Thu, Sep 04, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

Few things affect your property’s revenue stream more than vacant units and late rent payments. And while steady, consistent communication helps to retain good tenants, reasons behind past-due and delinquent rent is far, wide and unpredictable.

Is there anything you haven’t tried? Regardless of the number of units at your location, you’ve probably experienced tenants that do not pay their rent on time. Property managers need a non-intrusive method to help get that rent money in the door by the first of the month.AutomatedRentReminders

Many are now turning to automated rent reminders. Think about it – you’ve likely received an email or text message letting you know that your credit card or utility bill is soon due. Are you employing the same tactic at your rental properties? Sent through the communication channels your tenants prefer, a courtesy email, voice or SMS text message is all it takes.

Alleviate collections and help ensure the steady cash flow you depend on. To learn more about implementing automated rent payment reminders at your rental property, download our Commercial or Residential brochures today!

Topics: property management, tenant communication, automated collection reminders, tenant notifications

Alert Solutions Named to Inc. 500|5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies

Posted by Nina Russo on Tue, Sep 02, 2014 @ 12:09 PM

Alert Solutions is excited to announce it has been named to Inc. Magazine’s 500|5000 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in America.

This is the first time we’ve been recognized, posting 121% growth over three years and placing us at number 2,972 of 5,000. We’ve also been named amongst the top 10 Rhode Island-based companies, within the likes of Alex and Ani and Carousel Industries.AlertSolutionsInc5000

“Alert Solutions is thrilled to be a part of this prestigious list,” stated Dave Baeder, our president and CEO. “This recognition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our entire team in delivering the highest quality products, services and customer support.”

The Inc. 5000 rankings are based on revenue growth between 2010 and 2013. To qualify, organizations must be privately-held, for profit, independently owned, and based in the U.S., with minimum 2013 revenue of $2 million. This was the 33rd annual Inc. 500|5000 and the most competitive crop in the magazine’s history.

Click here to read the rest of our press release.

Topics: Medical, power announcement, powerschool, education

Use Automated Reminders to Boost Patient Communication at Your Medical Practice

Posted by Nina Russo on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

According to the Institute of Medicine, up to 98,000 patients die each year because of clinical communication failure.

From critical test results to follow-up notifications and appointment reminders, medical offices should always provide excellent patient communication.  This not only benefits the patient, but will also benefits the medical practice by increasing patient satisfaction and decreasing the potential for malpractice.

Automated notifications can be delivered via patients’ preferred communication methods including email, voice and SMS text messaging. This better ensures patients are receiving the message quickly and reliably and allows for medical offices to confirm delivery through real-time reporting.doctorpatientmedication-1

Other uses for these automated reminders include:

Medical offices should be aware, the greater patient communication there is, the greater patient retention they will experience. Through increased patient retention and cost reduction from benefits such as decreased missed appointments, decreased medical non-adherence and other issues facing the healthcare industry, medical offices can drastically increase their bottom line with automated notifications.

To learn about improving patient communication in your medical practice with automated reminders, download our brochure!

Topics: appointment reminders, Medical, patient communication, patient retention

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