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Leadership Thoughts

Can’t we just TeleEverything? I’ve got Netflix to Binge Watch!

telemedicine
telemedicine

Can’t we just TeleEverything? I’ve got Netflix to Binge Watch!

While money cannot buy happiness, it can certainly buy time. This truism is the driving philosophy of successful companies like Netflix, Uber, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Peloton, Amazon, Instacart and HelloFresh. These companies have come to define the convenience economy with business models based on giving back time, today’s leading currency, to customers. As a busy entrepreneur, I certainly take advantage of many time-saving services like prescription deliveries and telehealth visits.

In fact, the time Americans waste while waiting to be seen by a doctor equates to $1.5 billion a year. Anyone who has ever checked out of a hospital knows that “you’ll be going home today” really means maybe by 4:00 pm. Yet, despite the downfalls of in-person appointments, telemedicine did not take off until the pandemic hit in 2020. The question is, why?

Why Did It Take A Pandemic For Telemedicine To Flourish?
I think the answer lies in the convergence of convenience, willingness to take risks to get it, and policy changes spurred by Covid-19. If a man paddleboarding across the Hudson River to make a meeting or jumping into an Uber (although our mothers told us never to get in a car with a stranger!) is any indication, consumers are ready to take risks for the sake of convenience.

Before the lockdown began last year, people were afraid it might be too risky to see a doctor online due to fear of receiving an inaccurate diagnosis. Because of the shutdowns, however, telehealth became the only way to get medical attention and was a safer alternative to in-person care.

To facilitate the expanded use of telehealth services for healthcare delivery, the government issued temporary regulatory changes. These changes, including adjusted payments for telehealth services, have allowed doctors to stay in business and continue treating the sick. These changes most likely will become permanent.

The Future of Telemedicine
In the 1964 illustrated sitcom, The Jetsons, Elroy Jetson complains that he is not feeling well and has to stay home from school. Rather than take him to the doctor, his mother Jane calls up the doctor on the videophone. Today this retro-futuristic vision of telehealth visits has become a reality.

The digital health industry has improved the patient-provider relationship through mobile apps, patient portals, wearable health sensor devices, and app-based symptom checkers. We will continue to see more AI-driven tools that bring the tactile senses to telehealth visits.

The most important change coming down the road is the transformation of the healthcare delivery model to a value-based one where providers, hospitals, and physicians receive payments based on patient health outcomes. New value-based programs stress a team-oriented, network approach to patient care management that involves coordinating care through the responsible sharing of patient data. Adopting healthcare technology like electronic health record systems creates an online system view that allows healthcare providers to readily track and measure patient outcomes. In value-based healthcare models, primary, acute care, and specialty care are united in a coordinated group approach, led by a patient’s primary physician, who directs the patient’s care team. Telehealth will be vital to ensuring that medical teams can conveniently work with patients without the inundation of time-consuming in-person visits.

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Voices of Nolij: Celebrating Women’s History Month

Leo Faal

Voices of Nolij: Celebrating Women’s History Month

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Nolij would like to acknowledge and honor the extraordinary women who keep our company growing year after year. Leo Faal, a financial analyst, exemplifies every woman who does not let her circumstances deter her from fulfilling her ambitions and following her dreams. Thank you Leo for making the brave journey from The Gambia and contributing to the success of Nolij through your skills, dedication and energy.

“I arrived in New York City in 1990 from the small country of The Gambia in West Africa when I was 17 years old. My ideas of the United States were shaped by movies that celebrated America as a land of possibility and I dreamed of moving here one day to better my life. As a small country, Gambia did not offer many advanced educational or career opportunities after high school. I am the youngest of seven children and lost my father when I was four years old. It had been drilled into me by my hardworking mother that education is the key to a successful life. My cultural education began in New York City, where I found everything to be big, exciting, and a little scary—especially the busy highways! Within months of moving to the United States, I was very fortunate to find a wonderful family who gave me friendship, a home, and a college education. I lived with my new adopted family for 12 years before getting married. After I got married, I became a stay-at-home mother to my two children for 16 years. Although I previously held retail sales positions at stores like Nordstrom, Nolij helped launch my career in finance. I began as an adult intern in the finance department and then transitioned to a full-time financial analyst. As a mature woman entering the job market for the first time, Nolij, a woman-owned company, gave me an extraordinary opportunity to grow professionally. Nolij supports and understands women’s life circumstances and the choices we make because of our families. As my teen daughter now starts her educational journey as a Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar, I echo my mother’s words to her often—’education is the key to the whole world and it’s never too late to make your dreams a reality.’ ”

Leo Faal,
Financial Analyst

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Leadership Thoughts

Social Media Handles Rock For Federal Consulting Businesses And Why You Should Think So Too

Social Media Handles Rock For Federal Consulting Businesses
Social Media Handles Rock For Federal Consulting

Social Media Handles Rock For Federal Consulting Businesses And Why You Should Think So Too

Covid struck, and Nolij transitioned to virtual work overnight. I thought, “How do we stay connected to our clients, prospective clients, teaming partners, and employees in a virtual environment?” Traditionally, in the federal consulting world, consulting businesses try to get in front of clients and teaming partners through scheduled in-person meetings or industry events and connect via emails for specific opportunities. I thought. “How do we show that Nolij is an authentic woman-ran consulting business, we value our partners, we are committed to delivering excellence to our clients, and are at the forefront of emerging technologies? How do we build trust, loyalty, and a strong brand as a health IT woman-owned consulting business?” Meeting in person has its charm and value, and while I look forward to doing it once more, I’m learning there are other avenues to build our brand and make connections.

Our answer was to dedicate more resources, energy, and time to branding Nolij on various social media handles. Nolij hired a marketing consulting company and a full-time social media consultant. Even though we have these professional resources, our employees also play a large role in the process. It is a time-consuming effort to get the marketing going, but with more experience and time, we hope this process becomes easier, and we build a solid following that values our posts.

Today we are active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Glassdoor. It is a lot of fun communicating the great work that our employees do every day. It is a time to boast and brag, and genuinely enjoy our existing relationships and develop new ones.

For people curious about what we’ve learned along the way, we’ve highlighted a few lessons learned.

  • The power of a quick read is essential for increasing views and shares. Today’s busy business professional wants to cut to the heart of an article in a very short amount of time. We discovered that our 1–2-minute blogs and articles create more traffic than our longer 5-minute reads. For example, our one-minute read, “Employees are the Heart of Nolij”  received the most page views in the shortest period.
  • Videos drive traffic to make connections! We found that short videos with creative content incorporating a strategic message maximize the numbers of views, likes, comments, and shares. For example, our EHR video received over 1,000 views on LinkedIn within a few days.
  • Blog topics matter! Timely and relevant topics that address today’s unique challenges generated higher traffic patterns than general topics. We have discovered that relevant blogs increase traffic to our website creating new opportunities for connections. For example, my blog “Secrets to Success-for-Female-Founders had the highest average time spent on a page.
  • People love a laugh, mix it up a little too… don’t always be serious. Christmas Eve, I sent out a video of a lady downing red wine, and my caption was “I’m not ready for Christmas!”. A friend of mine sent it to me, and I thought it would be funny to post it during Covid times. Needless to say, my funny friend got me 1,000 impressions within a few days on LinkedIn.

I am hoping more CEO’s and businesses in federal consulting follow suit. Writing meaningful content that both educates and allows companies like Nolij to get to know them better. It is more important than ever during Covid times to use Social Media.

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Leadership Thoughts

Secrets to Success for Female Founders

Secrets to Success for Female Founders

Secrets to Success for Female Founders

Care About What You Do

I founded Nolij Consulting, (pronounced “knowledge”), a certified Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB), in 2013. I started the company with the mission of providing excellent federal health information technology services at competitive rates. With this mission in mind, the company quickly grew within federal healthcare to become a strong information technology WOSB. By remaining committed to my mission to support and improve federal healthcare, and focused specialization in software and system testing, electronic health record modernization, and enterprise solutions, I have had the privilege to support projects aligned with my passion.

I am very proud that today Nolij is playing a pivotal role in The Department of Defense (DoD)’s mission to complete the largest health record modernization effort in the history of the military health system. This is a multi-million dollar contract where we conduct the Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) testing of MHS Genesis, made up of Cerner and Dentrix, and all the applications that touch MHS Genesis, to make sure all health records for our military heroes and their families travel with them seamlessly throughout their career and into military retirement. We also work with private hospitals to make sure they can access the DoD healthcare records. This has been a huge improvement to the healthcare of our nation, and we are so proud and honored to be a part of it.  It has been great to continuously be recognized by our clients for the excellent work we do. Nolij received the Award for Excellence from the Program  Executive Office (PEO) Defense Healthcare Management Systems (DHMS) organization for its MHS Genesis testing efforts.

Hire the Right Talent

You have to be passionate about the work you are doing, but you cannot achieve success without the right team. I have surrounded myself with people who have the right attitude, aptitude, and energy and the right mindset to roll up one’s sleeves and do what it takes to win work and keep the business running. For a small business to be successful, you need to hire employees, that appreciate the uniqueness of working for a small organization  and value the risk and rewards that go along with it. We are fortunate to have built an outstanding company with employees that appreciate this.

Continue to Build Capabilities

It is important to constantly be looking for ways to innovate. Being a women-owned small business (WOSB) in the federal space can be challenging, as you compete for opportunities against large businesses and other set-asides like HUBZone, 8as, Native American, and Hawaiian Owned. We have learned to partner with these companies focusing on building our business around emerging technologies supporting our expertise such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Cyber Security, and DevSec Ops and now focusing on the commercial market more than ever. We feel our electronic healthcare records information technology expertise can be a big benefit to the commercial market. We hope to continue building software partnerships like AWS, UiPath, and MicroFocus, and EHR software vendors. We take pride in announcing that we have signed a joint venture with an 8a company, Advanced, Innovative IT Solutions, LLC, with expertise in cybersecurity and commercial healthcare. I have wanted to branch out into the cyber and commercial health space and with this partnership, we will have the expertise to do just that.

Support Other Women

Nolij Consulting is a woman-centric company and I feel that women leaders need to support other women. I am so gratified that our success has allowed us to support our women veteran’s through an organization called Women’s Veteran Interactive (WVI) which was started by Ginger Miller, a veteran herself, who saw hardship after her military career and wanted to help other women veterans in need. Nolij has a lot of respect for Ginger and would like to once again “Thank her for her service and dedication to Women Veterans”.

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Leadership Thoughts

If Your Company Is Predominantly Men, It Just Might Be Yesterday’s Product

If Your Company Is Predominantly Men, It Just Might Be Yesterday’s Product

If Your Company Is Predominantly Men, It Just Might Be Yesterday’s Product

Companies must look at all available avenues and options to grow. You have to stand out, be innovative and creative. Think forward. What does the next generation want? You want to be ahead of the game, so your product and ideas and your image don’t slowly die. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for businesses to be prepared to innovate and think outside the box. Many companies had to transform their way of conducting business practically overnight. Companies required creative solutions. Some companies are doing better than ever; others are not doing so great. How do you best position your company to survive in any market climate and under any condition?

We need to look at our companies as a product. Is it a high-quality product rich with diversity, forward-thinking, and innovation? Or is our product stifled by the same patterns, the same predictable outcomes, and the same ideas?

As a women-owned small business owner and a mother of a bright 16-year-old daughter, I think about what companies are missing if they don’t consciously make an effort to empower women in the workplace to accelerate company growth. Women are a tremendous resource for creative thinking and innovative ideas and can move companies to the next big thing. My daughter’s generation is more independent than ever, aware of social and economic patterns, and believe in themselves and their female peers. If your company has predominately male leadership, if it’s not leaning more towards an even split, then the next generation of women will consider your company yesterday’s product. A product not worth their investment and time; a place where innovation and creativity will be stifled by the perspectives of the men that lead it. 

I want to take a moment to recognize the bright daughters of my outstanding employees and all that they are accomplishing. It’s exciting to think about a future where their contributions will not only be recognized but will be sought-after. Ultimately, empowering women in the workplace ensures your company will be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.