Alert Solutions Blog

Reducing Chronic Absenteeism in NYC Schools – A Proactive Approach

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

Absenteeism is a major issue that many K-12 schools are combating today. Missing class does not only affect that student’s future, but the future of other students who do attend school. Teachers aren’t able to move on in their coursework when numerous students are absent for long periods of time. This delays, and sometimes prohibits students from learning everything they should within the current school year.attendnace

According to a recent New York City study regarding absenteeism in poverty stricken neighborhoods, “87,000 elementary school children, from kindergartners to fifth-graders, missed more than 10 percent of the 2012-13 school year.” Not only were these students chronically absent in the 2012-2013 school year but, “At least one-third of the students were chronically absent for five consecutive school years.” These statistics are alarming. However, some political and educational leaders are taking it into their own hands to help stop this epidemic of absent K-12 students.

The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has decided it was time for a change. He announced a new program to embed into schools with the highest truancy rates in less fortunate neighborhoods. He plans to spend $150 million on healthcare needs such as community services, social workers, and psychiatric help – while making the school day hours longer and increasing the school year with weekends and summertime days.

Another proactive leader for K-12 schools in the fight against chronic absenteeism is Principal Patricia Mitchell of school P.S. 48 in South Jamaica, New York. She has decreased her school’s truancy rates from 550 students to about 20 students. She has gone above and beyond the calling of a principal by visiting student homes to find out why her students were missing school.

Mitchell discovered some parents didn’t want to send their children to school because their clothes were dirty. Parents couldn’t get to the Laundromat before school so they had their children stay home. Mitchell accommodated this issue by providing a washer and dryer at school as a convenience for parents. Another method Mitchell uses to prevent chronic absenteeism is to celebrate students by hosting parties when they make significant improvements in attendance.

What are some techniques your school has to prevent absenteeism? Tell us in the comments below!

For tips on how to prevent chronic absenteeism at your school, download our Best Practice Guide today.

Topics: attendance, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, truancy

3 Ways Social Media Can Empower Healthcare Providers

Posted by Nina Caliri on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

Patients are increasingly relying on connected health devises to remain in touch with their physicians. According to a recent Athena Health Study, patients actually expect convenient, 24/7 access to their physicians’ medical practice and their health information.

“The connected health markets are experiencing tremendous growth both in end-user connected devices and on the institutional side,” said Harry Wang, director of Health & Mobile Product Research.

As the connection between medical practices and their patients continue to tighten, here are 3 reasons why healthcare providers should use social media to remain successful:

1. More Young Adults Trust Medical Information Shared via Social Media
According to PwC Health Research Institute, 90 percent of participations between 18-24 years of age said they would trust medical information shared by others in their social media network. Also, nearly 80% of those participants would share their own personal medical information online. socialmediahealthcare-1
 
2. Instant Feedback Can Benefit Patients and Healthcare Providers
Patients are actively using social media as a way to express their opinions and experiences. According to a recent poll, patients expect to hear from their medical practice within a few hours after requesting an appointment or follow-up via social media.
 
3. Medical Practices Can Use Social Media as an Outcome-Based Measurement
Social media allows healthcare providers to build initial trust with a potential patient through its online presence. Having a strong online presence can help separate themselves from their competition.
 
In addition to social media, communicating with patients regularly is also important to increase patient engagement and maintain a high level of patient retention.

To learn more about Alert Solutions’ Suite of Reminder Systems for healthcare providers, click here.

Topics: Medical, patient communication, patient engagment

Engaging Subscribers through SMS Marketing– 3 Guidelines to Follow

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 @ 13:11 PM

SMS marketing is one of the fastest ways to communicate with your subscribers today.

In order to retain engaged subscribers, your SMS marketing campaigns should include helpful and beneficial information. Your SMS marketing campaign should also not be disruptive or unrelated to your business, as this can cause subscribers to consider your campaign as spam.

Here are 3 guidelines to follow to create a more successful SMS marketing strategy:

1. Promote a Valuable Offer
Subscribers want to be excited about your campaign! Your company needs to understand your subscriber’s needs are before you can send out an SMS marketing campaign with an offer. If you think your mobile offer isn’t enticing enough or the value of the offer isn’t noteworthy – you’re best practice is not to send the offer and think of something better.                                               

With the valuable offer in mind, two key elements to use for your SMS marketing campaign should include highlighting the valued offer at the beginning of the SMS text message and making sure the offer creates a sense of urgency. For example, use phrases like “Limited time offer!” or “Offer expires this Sunday! Better act fast!” This could motivate the customer to use the offer as soon as possible.automatedcollectionreminder-2

2. Create Exclusivity with Subscriber VIP status
Make your mobile subscribers feel like they are a part of an exclusive club with VIP status. Not just “anyone” received the exclusive offer – but they did.  When mobile subscribers receive an SMS text message with an offer knowing everyone can use it – the deal becomes undervalued and less appealing.

3. Call to Action is Key to Subscriber Engagement
Give your mobile subscribers directions to use the call-to-action link you have embedded in your SMS marketing campaignThese call-to-action links can go directly to your homepage, a landing page, a bar code page or any page you think is necessary for your customer to engage in the SMS marketing campaign. 

How do you engage mobile subscribers with your SMS marketing campaign? Let us know in the comments below.

To learn more about SMS text messaging best practices, download our Guide to SMS Text Messaging Success!

Topics: SMS text messaging, SMS Best Practices, mobile marketing, call-to-action

A Short History in Honor of Veterans Day

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 @ 13:11 PM

Veterans Day was originally named Armistice Day by President Woodrow Wilson in November of 1918. President Wilson stated that Armistice Day will be celebrated on November 11th every year, since Allied nations and Germany declared temporary cessation of hostilities in the 11th month on the 11th day in the 11th hour.  Armistice Day was celebrated to commemorate the end of “The Great War” also known as World War I. americanflag1

After the Korean War ended in 1953, veteran service organizations petitioned to make Armistice Day a holiday and re-name the holiday Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation in June 1954, and declared Armistice Day as Veterans Day in remembrance of all United States Veterans who served in the military alive and deceased.

Every year the United States commemorates Veterans Day with a wreath-layering ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Various other commemorative traditions include parades, ceremonies at military exhibits and tributes to distinguished veterans. 

Alert Solutions would like to thank all veteran groups who serve and have served to protect our freedom in the past, present and future.
 
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” —John F. Kennedy

 

 

Topics: holiday, property management, school announcement, Medical, power announcement, powerschool, education

Property Managers Gain Considerate Tenants by Going Green – Article Suggests

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Nov 06, 2014 @ 13:11 PM

Going Green is a common term used today to describe anyone who helps the environment by reducing waste, reusing anything possible and recycling materials as other resources. Property managers are using “going green” techniques to save money on energy and make their building more appealing to those who care about the environment.

As of July 2007 the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) implemented the Green Initiative. The Green Initiative was created to “encourage owners and purchasers of affordable, multifamily properties to rehabilitate their properties using sustainable Green Building principles.” The Green Initiative is a program sponsored by the Government, “that restructures property debt to account for market rent levels, to pay for rehabilitation and 20 years of estimated repairs and replacements, and to establish a financially viable project for the long term,” as stated by propertymanager.com.

When potential tenants who care about the environment discover that your property is using green methods for sustainability and conservative purposes, they will not only want to move-in, but most likely keep the rental space clean and well maintained.

Going Green for Your Tenants Can Be Enhanced by:

- Reducing Energy Consumption
- Establishing a Tenant Recycling Programgoinggreenrental- Utilizing Cleaning Materials that are Non-Toxic
- Going Green in Your Property Management Office  
- Reduce Paper Consumption and Communicate with Tenants Digitally (Email, Voice and SMS Text)

Using automated notifications like email, voice and text messaging to communicate with tenants is a great going green initiative. There would be no need to use paper to promote tenant events or mail rent and fee notices. This will not only save your business money, but your tenants will stay well informed instantly, and in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Property managers want their tenants to be respectful and cooperative with their living spaces. Promoting the Healthy Homes Initiative and Green Initiative as a standard of living in your building could show potential tenants how you care about their well-being as well as the environment. This greatly improves tenant retention and tenant satisfaction.

To learn more about other property management and rental maintenance best practices check out our latest blog posts!

Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication, tenant notifications, go green

Social Media Techniques for Teachers – 4 Guidelines to Follow

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Nov 04, 2014 @ 13:11 PM

Social Media is used in classrooms all around the world today. Educators have started to use social media during class as a way to enhance student’s education through the internet. Social media when used between teachers, students, parents and other staff should be used for professional and educational purposes only

Here are 4 Guidelines Teachers Can Use to Apply Social Media in the Classroom:

1. Teach Students about the “Dos and Don’ts” of Social Media in a Humorous Way.
Show examples of what a student should post and what not to post on their social media site. Make each model amusing, and notable. “Students will remember the funny examples, but they’ll also remember the lessons behind those examples,” as stated by eSchoolnews.com.
 
2. Open Parent Communication via Social Media.socialmediainschools
Still using letters to contact parents today? This technique is out of date and no longer necessary. Parents can receive your message instantly via email and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Bonus Tip:  Improve parent communication by using social media integration to send out alerts and notifications to numerous parents simultaneously – check out our School Announcement product for more details.
 
3. Promote Your School and Build Your Brand through Social Media Websites.
Is your school hosting a homecoming game on Friday? Did a student win a scholarly award? Let your followers know on Facebook and Twitter. These updates will create a brand for your school and demonstrate how your school cares about the students and staff. You want to show students, parents, businesses and communities what your school is doing throughout the year to create a solid social presence.

4. Let Students Take Ownership of Their Education Using Social Media.
Provide students educational values through social media. There is so much information online that can help students – why not use social media as a guide.  According to eSchoolnews.com you should, Show students how they can use social media to locate resources, look up posts about current events (such as posts in favor of and opposed to an issue), and evaluate information to determine if people and/or resources are credible.”

Maintaining students and teachers privacy and safety is important. If educators can teach their students about how to stay safe on social media and how to use the sites for researching and educational purposes, then social media can be a quality tool for today’s classroom. 

Check out our latest blog posts to learn more about technology and how it is used in the classroom!

Topics: student health, school notifications, school announcement, school safety, educational technology, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, parent communication

Keep Patients Actively Engaged with Your Patient Portal – 4 Quick Tips

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 @ 12:10 PM

Many medical practices are utilizing patient portals more and more. Patient portals are useful tools to communicate and engage with patients between office visits. Patient portals allow each user to access patient information without having to call the medical practice or wait until the doctor’s appointment to speak with someone in person. Creating an effective patient portal will increase a positively reinforced relationship between the patient and medical practice.

“Portals must be engaging, user friendly and should be integrated into clinical encounters so the care team can use it to educate, communicate, and support self-care and decision making,” as stated by mediapost.com.

Here are 4 tips to improve the patient portal at your medical practice:

1. Improve Patient Communication: Remind patients they have access to your patient portal.
The patient portal should be presented to your patients at least one or two times when they are visiting the medical practice. Reinforcement will help promote the use of the patient portal.  CustomerRoutine-1

2. Use the Patient Portal to Educate Patients.
Many patients have questions about their own health. If the patient can not directly contact your office for non-emergency questions, your patient portal could provide links help with their answers.

3. Use an Online Scheduling Feature.
Allowing patients to schedule appointments online  is beneficial to the patient and medical staff. The patient will not have to call, and possibly wait to speak with someone at the medical practice, Plus, staff will have more time to focus on the patients at the office and other vital tasks that need to be done.

4. Allow Patients to View and Pay Medical Bills Online.
Giving patients the option to view and pay medical bills online will save money on postage, and possibly prevent late charges for the patient.  According to a recent study done by Intuit, “77% of patients would be willing to pay medical bills online if the option was available to them.”

BONUS!
Another communication method to use along with the patient portal is automated patient notifications. These notifications are used to contact the patient via voice messages, SMS text message and email to remind patients about upcoming appointments, prescription refills, bill payments and more. 

Increasing patient communication and engagement can be easier if your medical practice utilizes the patient portal correctly. The patient must know about the portal and what it can do to help them.

Want to learn more about Alert Solutions’ patient communication solution? Download our Patient Communication Brochure today. 

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, patient retention, patient engagment

School Bullying Side Effects Can Persist Well into Your 50s, Suggests Study

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 @ 13:10 PM

School bullying is a serious issue that schools around the world are tackling today. Not only can school bullying affect a student through adolescence, but studies have shown that the effects of school bullying can last well into your 50s! School bullying can drastically change the student’s psychological mindset, and many say it should be taken as seriously as child abuse.

The British National Child Development study tracked 7,700 children starting in 1958. As the children aged, they were asked about their social relationships, mental health, professional and economic situations and quality of life. This study stated, “Over a quarter of the children in the study – 28% – had been bullied occasionally, and 15% bullied frequently.”  All of these children were monitored through their 50s with the focus on people who were frequently bullied as a child.

 The study showed the following side effects from school bullying were actively present in adults:
-          Depression
-          Anxiety
-          Suicide antibullying
-          Lower educational levels
-          Higher risk of being unemployed
-          Lower salary

The study also said, “People who had been bullied as kids were not only less satisfied with their lives in the present, but they anticipated being less satisfied in the future, compared to non-bullied counterparts.”

The authors of this study do not know the exact reason why these effects of bullying last through adulthood, but some theories suggest, “It may be that bullying creates a cycle of victimization that continues throughout life and impacts virtually every realm of life. Or it could be that the stress of being bullied “embeds” itself into the very genes, affecting the hormones and brain chemicals that govern the stress response, mood, and sensitivity to one’s environment.”

More and more research shows how school bullying is an epidemic that needs to be stopped at a young age. Early intervention is key to a more positive future for children. School bullying should not be considered an inevitable part of growing up; it creates such distress and more pressing issues that can be noticed well into adulthood.

Utilizing communication methods to prevent school bullying and cyberbullying can provide a better future for students. Schools today are using anti-bullying management platforms to encourage students to say something when they witness or experience a bullying and cyberbullying issue.

Need help creating or improving the anti-bullying strategy in your school? Download our Anti-Bullying Strategy Guide today. 

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

Converting Email Subscribers to Loyal Customers - 3 Steps to Follow

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 @ 13:10 PM

Email marketing campaigns are essential tools for businesses to utilize in order to promote their company.  Email marketing campaigns help build relationships with their subscribers and convert them to customers. Sometimes just one email reminder with a little personalization and a call to action can keep the email subscriber intrigued until they are ready to commit to being your customer.

Here are 3 helpful steps to convert your email subscriber into a loyal customer.

1. Follow up with the email subscriber by sending triggered email marketing campaigns.
Email subscribers may go to your website with the intention of purchasing a product or service, and never finish the process, or they may not finish signing up for an additional email subscriber list but still give their email address. Keeping track of a potential customer’s data will allow you to send triggered email marketing campaigns. Triggered email marketing campaigns will get a potential customers attention, and have a click through rate at an estimated 152% higher than traditional emails, and 50% higher open rates.persondoingemailsurvey-1

2. Personalize the email marketing campaign to ensure the email subscriber knows they are important.
Statistics from a Marketingland article has shown personalized email marketing campaigns, “lift transaction rates and revenue per email six times higher than non-personalized emails.” A few examples of personalizing an email marketing campaign are including the subscriber’s name, and making the customer feel like they are a VIP or exclusive club member. Providing the customer with information like sneak previews of new products or services or providing them with a first look at a top-secret sale. When a customer feels appreciated, and they respect your brand – they are more likely to convert from a subscriber to a new customer.

3. Call to actions need to be clear and related to the email marketing campaign.
Every email should include at least one call to action (CTA) to engage your subscriber. They should be directed to participate in a sale, use a promotion code or visit your website. If the email subscriber is attracted and likes what you have to offer, they are more apt to click the link in the email marketing campaign. The CTA should be clearly defined, straight to the point and easy to see and access, so there is no confusion on what the CTA is representing.

QUICK EXTRA TIPS!
- Use A/B testing to optimize the use of your email marketing campaign.
- Your email marketing campaign design should match your brand and website.

Customer conversion is crucial to growing your company. It is important to stay connected with your email subscribers as they are your potential future customers.

Looking for more helpful tips to improve your email marketing campaign? Download our Targeted Email Marketing Guide today.

Topics: email deliverability, personalization, audience targeting, trigger campaigns, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Prevent Bullying and Violence in Your K-12 School – 3 Guidelines to Follow

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 13:10 PM

In today’s K-12 schools, bullying is a constant fear many children face every day. Bullying not only has an emotional impact on a child, but physically as well. Children are violently pushed, shoved and even beaten.  Violence from bullying or for any other reason needs to stop. Schools cannot watch every child at every second of every day, but there are policies and guidelines students, parents and teachers can follow in order to prevent violence or bullying from happening.

Here are 3 guidelines to prevent bullying and violence from occurring at your school.

bullyingfighting

According to a Centers for Disease Control report “about 828,000 students each year are victims of non-fatal victimization while on school property.”  This exemplifies the importance of taking violence and bullying seriously.

1. Develop Emergency Preparedness Plans. Every school has different plans to stop violence or bullying from happening. One rule that should be included is a zero-tolerance policy for students to bring weapons of any kind into school. “Some plans may require students to wear uniforms and implement security measures, including metal detectors and visitor sign-in,” as stated by edweek.org. It is important to have students, teachers and staff feel safe at school and not worrying about violent behaviors. <<Download Our Emergency Preparedness Guide>>

2. Develop School-Wide Bullying Prevention Policies.  Schools need to have standard rules and policies for how students, teachers and staff act towards one another. The principal is responsible for standardizing high expectations and goals for good manners and behaviors. Implementing rules for teachers to promote honesty, integrity, kindness and respect are key qualities to discouraging violence.  <<Download Our Bullying Prevention Policies>>

3. Educate Teachers and Students on Violence Prevention.  Teachers should understand how to clearly identify rules and constructive methods of communication in order to prevent violence or bullying. Teachers need to communicate to students how important it is to report any acts of bullying or violence immediately. However, students may be afraid to “tell on” someone in fear of the violent student doing the same act towards them. However, there are anonymous two-way communication methods out there so students can feel at ease about reporting bullying and violence to school administrators. 

Violence and bullying are difficult issues to manage, but it is important to take both harmful acts very seriously. There may always be scenarios of violence and bullying in K-12 schools, but with the support of students, parents and teachers violence and bullying prevention is possible. 

Topics: bullying, cyberbullying, school announcement, school safety, power announcement, powerschool, education

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