Kim Von Ahsen, MHA, MLS(ASCP)CM, SLSCM, Region VI Director
It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that the demand for one’s time is probably the greatest pressure in today’s society. Pressure to work more due to shortages in the workforce, pressure to be with loved ones who have milestones we don’t want to miss, and pressure to be caring to one’s mental and physical health. It’s really a testament to the greatness of our ASCLS volunteers when you give us a bit of this finite, precious time to our profession and it made me think “How can I make sure that the time is best used for our ASCLS Region VI Council Members?” In our laboratory processes, we are continuously challenged to look at how to streamline and standardize; why should we not look at our volunteer positions and apply the same theories? Are there positions or functions that could be optimized and efficiencies gained by using technology? For Region VI, we found there were two areas that took a significant amount of time 1) Meeting Agenda and Minutes and 2) Treasurer Reports.
Creating an agenda takes time, not including the distribution of the agenda, related meeting minutes, and public posting/access for members of the meeting, all of which can be a consuming and tedious task. A search was done to look for free technology that could make the Region Secretary’s responsibilities easier for our Region Council Meetings.
We chose the free online product called My Committee and trialed it starting with the 2015-2016 term. My Committee has a free version that allows for one committee and limited storage but this free version has been more than adequate in handling our meetings and council size. My Committee allows you to create and share meeting agendas electronically through the click of a button. It captures minutes and status of action items including committee review of minutes, all while providing members with a central location to collaborate and stay connected between meetings. Also, minutes can be made public and allow for sharing with all members and non-members through a website link which eliminates the need to upload your minutes to another repository. View our public minutes. Meeting minutes are now available same day or next day to attendees.
After the success of using My Committee, the next position evaluated to determine if technology could enhance and save time was the Region VI Treasurer. The Treasurer is a position for which it is often hard to recruit volunteers because of the belief that it takes a large amount of time and can be difficult to do. Many believe you need to be a great accountant to be successful when sometimes you just need some good technology. Wave is a small business accounting software that connects to your bank account and allows you to sync your income, expenses, and balance your financial books. The reporting feature eliminates the need for excel spreadsheets or other manual reporting as once transactions are reviewed and categorized, all information is easily captured in the multiple reports available through the software.
Technology tends to be a bad word in relation to the best use of one’s time – social media, TV, and archaic laboratory equipment; however, a well-chosen technology can actually add back time by eliminating unnecessary work. Most importantly, technology wasn’t added to the Region VI Council to replace our wonderful volunteers, rather it was to allow them time to do their best work. Time is best spent building professional networks, addressing our workforce needs, and ensuring safety and quality services through leadership.