Tech Your Message Out Private practitioners can tap easy-to-use tools to better communicate with staff, clients and families. App-titude
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App-titude  |   November 01, 2015
Tech Your Message Out
Author Notes
  • Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts, and consultant to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie, looks at technology “through a language lens.” sean@speechtechie.com
    Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts, and consultant to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie, looks at technology “through a language lens.” sean@speechtechie.com×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / App-titude
App-titude   |   November 01, 2015
Tech Your Message Out
The ASHA Leader, November 2015, Vol. 20, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.APP.20112015.np
The ASHA Leader, November 2015, Vol. 20, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.APP.20112015.np
If you’re in private practice, you know that internal and external communication is key. Technology tools can help convey important messages about services, scheduling and more to staff members, clients and families, while saving you time.
Design it simply. Your waiting room provides important opportunities to convey information and impressions to all who enter. Your signage and flyers about policies, events or even tips on communication strategies need not be bland. Canva (free on the web and via an app for iOS) bills itself as “amazingly simple graphic design software,” and it is. With its simple drag-and-drop interface, you can create posters that combine eye-grabbing layouts, icons, text and your own images, then download for posting on social media or printing. Canva also has short, accessible lessons offered in its “Design School” so you can develop a little “meta-” about what works—and doesn’t—in imagery.
Get the word out. Once you have a handle on your graphics, be sure to leverage the possibilities of social media. All businesses, including private clinical practices, should have some degree of presence using channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Engaging on social media allows your clientele expanded options to connect and engage with your work, as well as for you to connect with other service providers and information sources in your area.
Post about relevant research, events or scheduling, such as timelines and weather-related cancellations. For a more direct approach, check out Remind (free on the Web and via apps for iOS and Android), a text-messaging service designed for classrooms but open to memberships for coaches, parents and others. With Remind, text messages can be sent to a client group instantly after members sign up, and all phone numbers are kept private.
Log in to a sweet suite.Google Apps for Work offers a suite of indispensable tools for a private practice setting for as little as $50 per year. Although you will want to keep confidential information out of the cloud, the digital vault and productivity tools in Google Drive provide an easy location for your staff to create, share and collaborate on materials.
For example, our social communication practice staff have developed visual cue cards and lists of picture books, video clips and associated lesson ideas to use in treatment. Once documents are in Drive, they also have a digital “home” for you to share via link with your clients. Consider also the power of Google Forms to poll, survey or offer digital sign-up to clients.
Encourage interaction. Your signage need not be one-dimensional. Take a cue from marketers and consider including Quick Response or “QR” codes that provide a link to “follow” your social media channels or to digital resources such as documents, surveys or even videos. QR codes can be created easily with websites such as The QR Code Generator. Savvy clients (or their children) will know that QRs in your waiting or treatment rooms can be scanned with free apps such as Qrafter (free for iOS) or QR Code Reader (free for Android). For a video about how QR Codes can be used in a classroom setting, with many tips adaptable to your practice, see Karen Mensing’s TED-Ed Talk.
Make it visual. With the advent of affordable high-definition televisions and portals that connect televisions to your devices wirelessly, it is easier to provide visuals, particularly in group treatment or family training situations. Our practice and clients have benefited greatly from our installation of TVs connected to Apple TV, a set-top box that starts at $69. We connect laptops, iPad or iPhone wirelessly to a television set to display information or apps to clients and families during treatment or training sessions. Similar features and connection to Android devices is available with the Chromecast ($35).
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FROM THIS ISSUE
November 2015
Volume 20, Issue 11