EMR and EHR System Implementation Best Practices – Part 5 – Case Studies

This is the fifth article in a series dedicated to uncovering the best practices for an EMR implementation. The information presented has been developed by the author as part of a research project.EMR ImplementationsAs EMR systems become more prevalent, more information is being made regarding the success or failure of the final integrated system. According to Hoffman (2007), systems implemented at the Harbin Clinic based in Rome, Georgia had been delayed due to cultural issues including resistance by the physician staff to adopt the new system. Due to the issues, the implementation has increased from two and a half years to over four years. Harbin Clinic is the largest privately owned multispecialty clinic, has 20 locations and employs 135 physicians. This large implementation had significant support from the executive team, however, they found that a number of specialists within the organization did not like the aggravation of keying information into the system because it was not tailored to them. Implementation obstacles identified were the lack of process mapping due to the large number of specialties, lack of a change management strategy regarding adaptation of specialty processes to the new system. The effect of the obstacles led to the extension of the implementation window while increasing the cost of the overall project by a half a million dollars.Bellevue Family Medicine Association (BFMA) in Bellevue, Washington is a healthcare provider with over 100 patients in daily care. Additionally, they had over 10,000 active patient charts. BFMA implemented a new charting system that took two years. BFMA’s implementation succeeded due to the flexibility they gave their physicians on entering data into the system. The use of tablet PCs allowed the user to either type or write into the system. BFMA paid particular attention to how people would utilize the system and accounted for those aspects in their planning and implementation (Schock, 2007). BFMA also utilized structured training on the use of the new charting system. Additionally, BFMA leveraged an outside IT firm to implement the technology in order to free up their own resources.Dominican Hospital located in Santa Cruz, California, implemented an electronic charting system called CareConnect. Dominican is part of Catholic Healthcare West. Dominican utilized formal training as well as CareConnect provided technical support. Dominican also leveraged “super user” groups to help with subject matter expertise. Despite the training and super users, the rollout impacted the nursing staff significantly. There appeared to be a lack of process analysis to understand how the nursing staff utilized the paper charts to administer medication and care. The end result caused significantly more work for nurses to review and validate patient history. Additionally, system issues such as missing or duplicated data undermined trust in the system by the users (Everitt & Hwang, 2007). The system implemented was not analyzed properly to understand whether it was user capable or not. Lack of user involvement, data integrity and usability were significant factors in this failed implementation.Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (TJUH) in 2001 implemented a computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system. A byproduct goal of the project was the building of lifetime electronic health records (EHR). Over 950 physicians enter information into their CPOE and related systems. TJUH took an overarching approach to addressing the realignment and standardization of processes and procedures across the hospital. TJUH involved users at every level of the organization to help redesign workflows and tailoring the system to the appropriate audiences. Strong backing from hospital executives provided credibility that lead to significant buy-in from hospital staff. TJUH implemented an Interdisciplinary Workflow Group to assess departmental processes and make changes where necessary to ensure that the new processes and systems aligned.TJUH leveraged the use of a pilot to test the new system and processes. The pilot allowed them to evaluate progress and then adopt at a pace they could effectively support. As the pilot became the implementation, TJUH leveraged the experience pilot participants to assist with integration of the other users (McGurkin, Hart, & Millinghausen, 2006). TJUH utilized a number of opportunities to ensure the success of their rollout by heavily integrating the stakeholders into the entire process. The integration and change management strategy contributed to the success of their implementation.Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC) is a multispecialty community practice. YVFWC operates 18 clinics in Washington and Oregon. YVFMC purpose for implementing an EMR system was to improve patient care and portability of medical information between the various clinics. Patients would commonly visit multiple clinics depending on where they were located at the time they needed service. Without access to all of a patient’s records, it became difficult to keep them synchronized. YVFWC decided it was time to implement an EMR system that could be accessed by all sites. TVFWC conducted research to determine the best way to implement their EMR system and discovered that “big bang” approaches were to be avoided.They leveraged a pilot approach to ease the transition to the EMR by implementing just one module at time. Doing this, they were able to avoid the frustration that quick change brings on along with the unintended consequence of user resistance and distrust. The pilot approach allowed them to continually refine the implementation tactics and overcome obstacles before the larger organization was affected. TVFWC did run into issues related to the lack of standardized processes from site to site. This led to some resistance at local site. They overcame this deficiency by leveraging a consistent rollout team to help train new and consistent processes in the local sites. Training regimens were utilized before, during and after implementation (Simmons & Tschauner, 2006).Dean Health System (DHS) is located in Madison, Wisconsin. DHS is a multi-specialty healthcare system that provides a network of 60 multi-level ownership clinic that provide a wide range of care in the southern part of the state. DHS deployed an EMR system from EPIC Systems using a a phased approach leveraging a pilot phase to work out issues. Their rationale for the pilot was to gain committed users to help with future expansion. Additionally, DHS leveraged additional tools to help with adoption like speech recognition and integrated transcription services. The combination encouraged greater adoption of the technology (Cordio, 2007).The Newhan Primary Care Trust in East London and Nuffield Orthopedic Centre at Oxford implemented a system from Cerner, a U.S. based company. After the implementation several issues with appointments being mailed out to the incorrect people were found resulting in people missing appointments and people showing up for appointments that did not exist. People working on the project associated the many problems with the speed at which the systems were being implemented. The velocity of the changes being thrown at the medical staff made it difficult to be successful (Collins, 2006). Other implementations related to the same program have also been plagued with issues. The system dubbed “Choose and Book” provides electronic patient records and appointment booking services as indicated above. The system is17.3 billion British Pounds over its original budget of 2.7 billion pounds (Wilkinson, 2006). Causes of failures identified in the article include lack of stakeholder involvement, the sheer scale of the project (country wide implementation) and turnover in program management.A case study analyzing two Danish installations of the same EMR system at two different locations illustrates the approach and subsequent successful implementations of the case study locations. The case study covers a cardiothoracic surgery ward and an orthopedic surgery ward at two different Danish hospitals. Both sites adopted the same EMR system. The system is a standard system providing a shared electronic patient record. The implementation of EMR system was organized by a project manager who created several diverse workgroups to develop integration plans. Super users were identified and leveraged to help with the design of new work processes to support the EMR system. Additionally, the super users provided localized support and answers to questions. User training consisted of 6 to 8 hours in general IT and EMR prior to implementation. Super users were provided with more detailed training to assist in supporting the EMR. Management led meetings were leveraged to ensure users were informed about the project. All of techniques identified above contributed to the successful implementation of the EMR system within the two surgery centers (Jensen & Aanestad, 2007).Cayuga Family Medicine in Ithaca, New York, is a small practice consisting of pediatrics and obstetrics employing two physician partners and a nurse practitioner. They implemented an integrated practice management system and electronic chart system when they opened in 2000. The system served primarily to provide electronic versions of the patient chart until one of the partners realized that the software could do more through the use of date entry templates. Once he gained understanding, the physician created a number of electronic forms to facilitate data entry and coding. The effect of this activity provided immediate benefits to improved workflow and data entry. Additional gains in billing were achieved due to the more accurate data (Loehr, 2006). The ultimate improvement in the system utilization came from a small scale version of process engineering and showed that it can work even on a smaller level.Herb Smaltz of the Ohio State University Medical Center (OSUMC) uses a support “S.W.A.T” team to help with EMR implementations. When moving to a new EMR system, OSUMC leveraged steering committees designed to address the process and procedure changes necessary to implement the new system. Leveraging support teams pre and post implementation helped support those users that needed help. OSUMC leveraged staff in the selection process to encourage buy-in for the new system (Havenstein, 2007). Also covered in the article was Citizens Memorial Healthcare (CMS) in Bolivar, Missouri. CMS leveraged the support of the company’s executives along with the IT group working directly with staff and physicians through all phases of the implementation. CMS spent 8 million dollars on their EMR project and have over 95 percent of patients on electronic charts (Havenstein, 2007). The JKL Healthcare system operates three acute care hospitals and five ambulatory locations. JKL also operates a research institute and a 450 employee physician group with 50 local offices and a home care services company. The article focuses on one of the acute care hospitals recently acquired.JKL began their implementation in 2001 to install an EMR system. JKL chose EPIC and had a budget of 35 million dollars. JKL leverage process re-engineering and certification to help facilitate the integration of the new system. JKL made physician certification required in order to refer patients to the hospital. To help compensate for the training required, they waived their professional staff dues as an incentive to participate in the training and continue to refer patients to the hospital. JKL leverage super users to facilitate integration of the systems after staff members received training. The day that JKL went live, they assigned each physician a personal trainer that completed rounds with them. Additionally, super users were stationed at every patient unit to assist with questions or procedures. Ninety percent of the physicians using the system believe it is beneficial and made it easier to do their work (O’Brien, 2006).Healthcare Partners Medical Group (HCP) located in California moved from an older EMR system to a newer product offered by Allscript Healthcare Solutions, Inc. called Touchworks EHR. HCP operates 38 sites, and four urgent care centers serving half a million patients. The overall project cost 4 million dollars and was scheduled to last 3 years. HCP leveraged a multifunctional team to identify requirements for the new system and break them down into “must haves” and “nice to haves”. The team was also leveraged to evaluate and select the new software package. Vendor considerations were heavily weighted in selecting the new product. HCP focused on ensuring vendor stability and ability to support such a large implementation. HCP analyzed workflows in order address changes to fit the new system and also completed performance testing to ensure the systems could handle large amounts of data transfers. Training was a critical focus for all the users of the systems and included e-learning, instructor led training and individualized training. HCP adopted the use of super users to help field questions during and post go-live. The rollout of the software was accomplished using a pilot method bringing up each location independently. Prior to each location go-live event, managers conducted dry runs of the implementation to ensure that systems and personnel were ready (Yocum, 2006).A study conducted by Miller and Sim (Miller & Sim, 2004)analyzed survey data provided by 90 respondents regarding their use and perceptions of their EMR installations. It was noted that physician’s attitudes were of utmost importance in determining the success of an implementation. Those practices that had an “EMR champion” were more successful and had higher usage of the EMR systems. In contrast, those practices where there wasn’t a champion of the technology, the use of the system was minimal. Also noteworthy was that larger practices with more staff tended to be higher users than smaller practices and the authors associated this phenomenon with the ability of the practice to absorb implementation costs with regard to additional personnel needed to integrate the project.The next article(s) will delve into additional reference material and best practices related to EMR Implementations.All references can be found at http://www.keithfulmer.com

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What Every Parent and Educator Should Know About Enriching Young Brains and Minds

To learn important lessons for all parents and educators, we interview today Eric Jensen, a former middle school teacher and former adjunct professor for several universities including the University of California, San Diego. Mr. Jensen co-founded the Learning Brain Expo, a conference for educators, and has written 21 books on the brain and learning. His most recent book, Enriching the Brain: How to Maximize Every Learner’s Potential (Jossey-Bass, 2006), is highly recommended for educators and parents alike.Alvaro Fernandez (AF): Eric, thank you for your time. Can you explain the role that you and your organization play?Eric Jensen (EJ): We act as translators between the neuroscience and education fields, helping to build a Brain-Based Education movement. We launched the first conference that attempted to bridge these two worlds in 1998. The goal of the conference, called Learning Expo, was for teachers to speak to scientists, and, equally important, for scientists to speak to educators.Critics say that neuroscience research can add little to educational practices. What we say is that, whereas it is true that much needs to be clarified, there are already clear implications from brain research that educators should be aware of. For example, four important elements that are often neglected by educators, given the obsessive focus on academic scores, are nutrition, physical exercise, stress management, and overall mental enrichment.AF: Since 1998? How would you characterize the progress so far?EJ: The good news is that today many educators, more than ever, are learning about how the brain works. There is a growing number of academic programs such as Harvard’s masters program in Mind, Brain, and Education, and peer-reviewed journals such as the Mind, Brain and Education Journal.Still, there are clear areas for improvement. Too many staff developers are weak on the science. I see too many books saying “brain” in the title that are not grounded in any brain research. Something I always recommend when shopping for books is to check the References section, making sure the book references specific studies in credible journals from 2000 on.AF: Now, those are mostly awareness-related initiatives. What, if any, are the implications in daily teaching and learning in schools?EJ: You are right, this is still an emerging field. A number of private, independent, forward-thinking public schools and charter schools are implementing specific initiatives, mostly around brain-based teaching strategies, nutrition and exercise. But these are tougher for some public schools, which have limited resources and flexibility. to implement. We also see an growing number of enlightened parents learning about the principles we discuss and applying them at home.AF: Have you seen any impact at the policy level? specifically, what do you think about the current debate about the merits or demerits of No Child Left Behind?EJ: I agree with the move towards accountability. Now, the question is, accountability for what? for creating narrow, specific test scores? or for helping nourish better human beings. I have seen very little policy activity in the US; some in Asian countries such as Singapore and China, that are evaluating how to refine the curriculum for 5-10 year olds. In the US, there was a major push for music enrichment programs, that was somehow misguided, in the late 90s. The problem is that, whereas it is clear that enrichment has an impact, it is tough to measure specifically what type of enrichment, since much of the benefit develops over time. The short term “stock-market” mentality that measures student growth over a few weeks or months has to be tempered by long-term measures, too.For example, it seems clear that there are important skills that can be trained, that make for a better and more successful human being – such as the ability to defer gratification, sequencing, emotional intelligence, improved working memory, vocabulary, and processing skills. However, the type of assessments used today to measure schools’ performance don’t focus on these. We would need broader assessments to allow educators to focus on those important long-term skills, beyond the immediate pressures.A specific area going from bad to worse is the level of stress in the system, and the lack of resources and knowledge to regulate it.AF: You mention processing skills, as well as other cognitive skills. In your recent column you highlight Scientific Learning’s computer program that can train auditory processing. What’s your view on the role of computer-based programs?EJ: It is encouraging to see programs based on extensive research, such as Scientific Learning’s. I appreciate the value of such programs to tailor individualized interventions to the needs of specific kids. So I believe these programs present a huge potential.Now, we must not confuse what is just one narrow tool with a whole enrichment program. Brain-based education also must take into account other important factors such as nutrition, physical exercise, the arts, stress management, social interactions…Copyright (c) 2008 SharpBrains

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$250 Payday Loan – How To Get A Quick Cash Advance Loan

Payday loans, also referred to as cash advance loans are small cash loans, that consumers can use for unexpected cash needs or to manage daily expenses. Whether the economy is booming or sagging, consumers always have a need for quick unsecured personal loans.Why Do Consumers Use Payday Loan?Unlike traditional loans, payday loans require less scrutiny and documentation. In addition, payday loans are a quick and convenient way to get cash in a pinch. Most applicants are approved for a loan in minutes, even if, they have less than perfect credit. Lenders are able to wire cash to the approved applicant’s account, in 24 hours or less.Do I Qualify For A Payday Loan?Most lenders have four main qualification requirements, in order to approve your payday loan request. If you can “yes” to these four questions, then you will most likely qualify for a small cash advance loan.
1. Are you are a citizen of the United States of America?
2. Have you been consistently employed for the past 3 months or 90 days, with a steady income?
3. Are you 18 years or older?
4. Do you earn at least $1,000 per month?How Do I Get A Loan Up To $250?You can get a loan through a neighborhood cash advance store or an online payday loan lender. Both options can get you the cash you need. Online payday lenders offer the extra convenience of a quick loan application process that saves you time and secures your loan, discretely. Once you select a lender, you must complete a loan application. The application process, tends to be straight-forward and takes about one or two minutes, if you use an online bank.A loan representative will review your loan request and approve it instantly, if you meet the four (4) loan application requirements, listed above. It is important to complete your loan application as thoroughly and truthfully as possible, because it will expedite the approval process.Once your loan request is approved, cash will be wired to your checking or savings account in minutes. The cash can be withdrawn by visiting your local bank or by automatic teller machine (ATM).When Do I Have to Pay Back My Loan?
Most lenders have a repayment period of two (2) weeks to four (4) weeks from the date that the loan is made. Since payday loans are short term cash advances based on your future paychecks, they are usually due when you receive your next two (2) paychecks. It is important to borrow only as much as you need and can repay back, in a short period of time. A reputable lender will be more flexible and can work with you to establish a suitable repayment schedule, based on your needs.What If I Live In A State That Has Restrictions On Short Term Loan?Although, cash advance loans are very convenient, not all states have cash advance lenders. A quick search can yield results on whether you can get a quick short term loan in your state or not. For example, states such as West Virginia, New York, New Hampshire and cities, including the District of Columbia have restrictions on small cash loans. In some cases, it is illegal to get a loan. If your state does not provide the ability to get a small short term loan, other options include automobile title loans, if you own a vehicle. In some cases, you can get more cash, if you use a title loan but it should be noted that the lender can repossess your car, if you do not repay your loan.

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We Predict You’ll Love Asset Financing Credit Facilities When Seeking Business Finance Loans

Making a prediction is a sometimes risky scenario, potentially damaging to your credibility, but we’re quite confident in saying that Canadian business owners will recognize non bank asset financing as credit facilities for business finance loans to be the best thing they every heard of when it comes to financing their business.Quite frankly we don’t think we exactly going out and making a stretch comment because, hundreds if not thousands of Canadian firms are investigating and utilizing this type of financing.As the Canadian business economy turns itself around going into 2011 most of are clients are finally focused on growth again.But how is that growth to be financing, since lending standards and criteria at institutions such as the banks don’t appear to have been liberalized at the same pace that your company hopes to grow at!That’s where our trend prediction comes in. Asset based lending focuses on your assets and growth opportunities – it doesn’t focus on rations, tangible equity in your company, rations, covenants, cash flow coverage, etc, etc, etc!So you are picking up on the opportunity, let’s see how things work. Asset based lenders keep it simple, they lend a very high value against your ongoing assets. What are the typical assets lent against – you can almost guess what they are. They are receivables, inventory, unencumbered equipment and real estate.The big mystery around asset based lending in Canada, based on conversations with our clients, is that business owners don’t really know or understand who these firms are. So we’ll tell you.They are specialized firms, both Canadian and U.S. based, that focus solely on providing credit facilities and business finance loans with your assets as security. They take the same security as a Canadian chartered bank would, and you manage your facility on a day to day basis, drawing down cash as you need it. Funds are wired into your account as you need them, based on… guess what… assets! That really is the one key difference that our clients pick up on, that the total focus of this type of assets financing is the collateral itself.We already know your next question… because we’ve heard it a hundred times before. Its’ how much can we get ‘… followed by what does it cost.
Speaking in general terms your receivables are financed at 90% of their value, and because of the nature and marketability of different types of inventory this type of collateral is margined anywhere from 25-75%. Recall we had noted that unencumbered equipment can be drawn against also. Typically an appraised current market or liquidation value is agreed upon with you and the asset financing provider.Costs vary around this type of financing. On occasion it is competitive with bank financing – and giving you twice the liquidity – but more often than not it’s more expensive. You offset those costs by greater access to credit facilities that will grow your business and profits.Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can walk you through the Canadian landscape of business finance loans in the asset based lending area. You’ll quickly find, we think, that our prediction is becoming more true every day, asset based financing is hot! And here to stay.

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Network Marketing – How to Go From a JOB to Network Marketing and Is It Worth It?

Transition from a JOB to Network Marketing Can Be ChallengingIf you ask a large number of people to create their ultimate business or career in detail, listing the specific things they would like to have and things they would like to avoid, they would most likely have lists that look similar to the ones below:LikesPositive atmosphere – Great product/service – Unlimited income – Residual income – Enjoy the people with whom you work – Time freedom – Work is something meaningful – Room for personal growth – Lots of perks – International opportunities – Contribution to worthy causes – Low risk – Low start-up costs – Economy-proof – Tax benefits – Fun!DislikesBoss – Commuting – Alarm clocks – Work schedules – Other employees – Politics, cliques, & compromises – Discrimination – Educational requirements – Lack of benefits – Lack of training – Lack of advancement – Lack of appreciation/respect – Lack of challenge – Lack of support – Not enough pay – Don’t enjoy work duties – No fun!Since most of us already know what a JOB is, I would also like to explain what Network Marketing is (and isn’t), so we are absolutely clear about our subject. We will begin this overview with a definition of some of the basic marketing terms:Marketing:Simply means the moving of a product/service from the manufacturer or provider to the consumer.Retail Sales:This is what most people think of as ‘selling’. This is includes product sales from retail stores, groceries, department stores, drug stores, etc.Direct Sales:This usually includes product or service demonstrations or door-to-door sales for items such as insurance, cookware, encyclopedias, Fuller Brush, Avon products, as well as home parties for things such as Tupperware, jewelry, scrapbooking, etc. Direct sales may also be done by mail order. With direct selling companies, you work for that company. If you decide to quit and move to another area, you have to start all over.Network Marketing:This type of marketing is sometimes referred to as ‘Multi-level Marketing’ (MLM). It is all about moving products and services by building relationships with others (networking). The main difference in Network Marketing and the other types of sales above is that in Network Marketing, you are in business for yourself… not by yourself… providing products and/or services to others.If you choose to build this type of business with the company who sponsored you, in most cases if you move to another area you can resume building your network without losing the volume of the group that you left behind. In most Network Marketing companies, you are either buying products and/or services from the company you represent at wholesale prices and then providing them to your customers at a retail price (the difference being your profit), OR you are personally trying the products/services yourself and then sharing their benefits with others. Then they can purchase them through your company… usually at a lower price than they are currently paying. You are then paid a percentage on your use as well as on their continued use of those products/services.When you build your own business by sponsoring and training other motivated persons like yourself, you build a ‘network’ through which to channel the movement of your products and/or services. The money made in this type of opportunity can be life-changing and is primarily made through the network-building activities. But large bonuses and outstanding residual income also comes from the product and service offerings. You get paid over and over for products/services you only had to provide once! Note: if you are operating out of your home, there can also be substantial tax breaks.Multi-level Marketing (MLM):This is the older term previously used for what is now referred to as Network Marketing above. It refers to a system of compensation provided to persons on more than one level who are causing the product to move or the service to be provided. (Some of the illegal ‘pyramid schemes’ discussed below and chain distribution schemes/letters have tried to pass themselves off as MLM companies, which has created a great amount of confusion and incorrect assumptions.)Pyramid Scheme:Most Network Marketing opportunities are NOT ‘pyramid schemes’. Pyramid schemes are illegal and do not include the movement of either products or services. If a product doesn’t move, you can’t call it ‘marketing’.View of Pyramid vs. Network Marketing:PyramidMost companies who manufacture a product or provide a service are built and organized in the pyramid shape. The manufacturer/provider is at the top of the pyramid, the sales force is in the middle, and customers are at the bottom. The difference in Pyramid Marketing is not so much that it is built from the top down, as the fact that there is no manufacturing or service at the top and no customer base at the bottom. There is only the person who started the company at the top, and those who are under that person are hired and paid only to recruit other recruiters. Since there are no products and/or services, there are no customers and no value received (other than recruiting bonuses).Network Marketing (or MLM):Network Marketing/MLM companies have the same shape and functions as most of those companies above, but in Network Marketing, there is always the movement of either products, services (or both) to the customer, who receives the value of those products/services. Network Marketing is all about moving products and services by building relationships with other people (networking). Network Marketing is a huge business opportunity and has been in our midst for about 35 years. They wouldn’t have been around at all if they were illegal! Some companies that have been around for twenty years or so earned $2 million to $15 million in their first year or two and are planning to do a billion dollars per year in the future. You can begin to see how the right opportunity with the right company could be the road to financial independence!I do feel that it’s only fair to tell you that opportunities such as these are NOT ‘get rich quick’ schemes. These opportunities require that you have the following traits, at a minimum:- Motivation – You must have a very large motivator or goalWhat is your ‘Why’? Why do you want to succeed? What do you want out of life?… and out of this opportunity?Are your reasons strong enough to keep those spirits up when you get discouraged… as we all do from time to time?- A desire to make a difference by helping others make a difference- You must be ‘coachable’ with a desire and willingness to learn. Your sponsors will always be there to help you whenever you need help, but you must also help yourself by listening and learning daily- You must have confidence and believe in yourself, your company, your sponsor, and your services and products. (Everybody knows that ‘if you think you can’t do it, you can’t')- You must maintain a positive helpful attitude… that shows from the inside out… in order to be truly helpful to your customers and those you are teaching (‘Negative Nellies’ don’t do very well in this business… especially since your business is built on a foundation of relationships!Doctors, lawyers, and attorneys (to name a few) spend years & years after graduating from college to learn their professions. Though the profession of Network Marketing does not take as much time and effort to learn, you must realize that it cannot be learned overnight. You can’t get discouraged after only a few weeks! You will have sponsors helping you every step of the way, but you must study both the network marketing concept and study your company’s products/services to be able to succeed in this business. To be truly successful, you must also be able to teach someone else the same things that you learned in order to help them be more successful. Previous teachers and educators have, in some cases, been more successful in Network Marketing than previous sales professionals.Most of the people in typical jobs can relate to the amount of freedom that being in Network Marketing could provide on a full-time basis (see the ‘Likes’ list at the beginning of this article), but most are only able to start part-time. The quicker you make the move, the faster you eliminate the ‘Dislikes’ items and begin to achieve the freedoms you deserve. The best way to not just survive, but to thrive in this economy, is through Network Marketing. Companies still must move their products and services. They either have to hire a large, expensive sales force and pay for massive, costly advertising, or utilize Network Marketing to tell their story by word-of-mouth. They can provide support and pay distributors/representatives on a purely performance basis to promote their products. In this economy, word-of-mouth advertising continues to work better than any other form of promotion.The ‘Catch’ to Network Marketing is learning to accept a temporary loss of social esteem from uninformed people who don’t fully understand the relatively new concept of relationship marketing. People will think less of you not only because they are ‘stuck’ in the old way of doing business, but because of what they have heard from their friends/acquaintances to be true about ‘Network Marketing’ or ‘MLM opportunities’. These pre-conceived beliefs have taught them to think of Network Marketing as a sort of glorified lottery ticket with scratch off numbers representing the friends & family that they think ‘might be good at this sort of thing’. When their numbers don’t win, they give up, and end with nothing… just like a lottery ticket.Those who didn’t take this opportunity seriously usually have told their friends: ‘Look, I’ve been there. I’ve done it. I talked to every person I know, and Network Marketing just doesn’t work. Save your money!” This becomes another lost opportunity probably because they didn’t look at it as though they were learning a new profession or starting a new business. They were just hoping to ‘get lucky’.The other objection you will likely hear is: ‘Don’t get involved with that. It’s a ‘Pyramid Scheme’.” They may or may not know that pyramid schemes are illegal. They probably are not aware that Network Marketing would not have been flourishing for the last 35 years if it were illegal. They also probably don’t realize that the pyramid’s shape and framework can describe most all businesses. Only the companies with no products, services, or customers, where the distributors/representatives of that company receive income only for recruiting other recruiters are typically in the category of ‘Pyramid Schemes’.If you can deal with (and learn to welcome the challenge of) the rejection from the people who have these misconception of Network Marketing, then companies will pay you an unlimited amount of money if you can learn to help the blind people see. If you decide to embrace Network Marketing, along with its inherent problems, then you need to learn to be a professional in the field. Below are some of the phases of Network Marketing.Posers – those who treat this profession as a lottery ticket… hoping to ‘hit it big’ with as little effort as possible. You may start in this position, but if you are still there after 90 days, you had better ‘make a new plan, Stan!’Amateurs – they focus on different things, though still a lot of focus is on ‘luck’ – looking for that one sign-up that will make you rich. The other focus is on timing, positioning, training, and shortcuts. Basically, all quick marketing tactics are learned and utilized.Professionals – Wikipedia definition: A person who is paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The possible definition of a Network Marketing Professional is: A person who is an expert at the skills required to build a large and successful Network Marketing organization.Excitement & passion are wonderful and very necessary, but so is professional knowledge and skill. You must know all aspects of not only the products/services you represent, the industry of your products/services, but how to best operate in the Network Marketing profession as well.It has been said that there are 3 elements to a Network Marketing business:1. Company’s products and/or services2. Company’s compensation plan, training, & support3. YOUThe first two elements remain the same for everyone, so the only variable that can cause either success or failure is the third element – YOU! Becoming a professional means deciding to never blame anyone or anything else for your failures. Accept responsibility for what only YOU create. Use your company as a resource… never as an excuse.When starting in Network Marketing, according to Eric Worre’s “Go Pro’, there are seven skills necessary to build a huge business:1. Finding prospects2. Inviting prospects to understand your opportunity and/or product3. Presenting your opportunity/product to your prospects4. Following up with your prospects5. Helping your prospects become individual business owners/representatives (or to become customers, if they are not interested in the opportunity)6. Helping your new IBO/Rep get started right by mentoring them7. Promoting eventsEveryone has heard the saying: ‘Anything worthwhile takes time’. This is true in Network Marketing just as it is in any other business. This is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. If a person starts a traditional business, they expect to break even in their first few years and possibly pay back their initial investment over the first 5 years. When a person starts a Network Marketing business, they expect to get their money back in the first month, make a profit in the second month, and get rich by the third month. When that doesn’t happen, which is quite often the case, they blame Network Marketing. We DO have a better way to build a business, but it does not have a ‘magic formula’. Anything of value takes time to develop. You have to personally grow to the level you want to achieve. Watch those who have succeeded, learn from them whenever possible, and model their behavior. To earn more, you need to become more. Work on your skills and quit depending on luck, timing, or positioning. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. The training and systems that your company has in place & uses daily are there for a reason: they have been proven to work. Find people in your company who have mastered the skills that you are lacking and watch them or ask for help directly. Study the many audio and video programs dealing with being successful in Network Marketing (try some Jim Rohn tapes).With all of the information available on this subject, it is very difficult not to get distracted and forget your main mission of finding prospects, inviting, presenting, following up, closing, getting people started right, and promoting events. Find a balance between the learning and doing… if you spend all of your time learning, no prospects get added, no product/services are moved, and you make no money! If you want to learn how to talk to people on the phone, then talk to more people on the phone. Don’t wait until you have complete knowledge of something before you attempt it. Action should be the center of your focus. Focus on how MANY learning experiences you can have, rather than focusing on whether they were ‘good’ or ‘bad’ experiences. The more experiences you have, the more you learn.Choose a skill you want to develop, make a plan, do your plan, then review your results for future improvement. As luck would have it, teaching a subject is the best way to learn it, so start by teaching all you have learned to your new individual business owners/representatives, and see how fast you can help bring them get up to speed in this new profession. It will help them while it helps you!Watch the type of people with whom you associate – especially in the beginning phases of learning the business. Jim Rohn teaches the ‘Law of Association’, which basically says that you will become the average of the 5 people with whom you spend the most time. You think, act, talk, dress, and even earn as they do. This can be scary… but it is true! Get away from toxic people around you or they will permanently try to keep you down. Spend more time with positive people who have similar dreams and goals and those who have the skills and knowledge that you feel are necessary for you to learn.In summary, we all ultimately have the choice of staying in a JOB and fulfilling someone else’s dreams, or accepting the challenges of learning a new way to achieve our dreams (and some of us have put that off for far too long!). Don’t let anyone kid you… this is not a decision to be taken lightly! The emotional experiences of Network Marketing can be challenging. It requires HARD work, consistency, focus, and patience to achieve and maintain long-term success, rather than luck, timing, positioning, or signing that ‘magic’ person. Though this may be hard work, it is good work that helps people achieve their dreams, and is the best way that I know for the average person to enjoy financial freedom.When you have a clear picture of what this freedom is like, you will find that the price you have to pay to achieve this freedom with Network Marketing is very low. When you help others achieve this kind of freedom, it is TRULY rewarding! You have the ability to help people see a bigger picture of themselves and help them change their lives. With Network Marketing you can really ‘make a difference’!

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