The AHDI Professional Practice Help Desk is a new member benefit which combines the functionality of our previous discussion forums and the Help Desk into one centrally located, comprehensive repository of information relating to the professional practice of medical transcription and healthcare documentation. Our goal is to provide a robust, user-friendly resource which will enable AHDI members to tap into the collective power of the accumulated wealth of knowledge of the association's valued volunteers and professional staff members.
The Professional Practice Help Desk is made up of individual communities, each focusing on a different aspect of our profession. All of the communities consist of the same five sections:
- ANNOUNCEMENTS - Here you will find messages of general interest from the community moderators.
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) - These are the most common questions relating to the specific community topic which have been received through the Help Desk and on the discussion forums. This is a great place to start becoming acquainted with what each community is all about.
- LINKS - Here you will find links to web pages on the AHDI website as well as elsewhere on the Internet with information relating to the community topic. Members can submit suggestions to the community moderators regarding additions to this section via the integrated private messaging feature (see below for information on using private messaging).
- RESOURCES - These are links to documents, software programs and other downloadable resources (usually free) which are relevant to the community topic. Members can submit suggestions to the community moderators regarding additions to this section via the integrated private messaging feature (see below for information on using private messaging).
- QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (Q&A) - This is the only section in each community where members can post questions; all the other sections are read-only. The Q&A section is where members can ask questions which would previously have been submitted via the Help Desk. The community moderators are notified by email whenever a new question is posted, which will enable them to provide a timely response to each question. The Q&A section is not a discussion forum; its function is to provide a concise method for asking and answering specific questions relating to the community topic. However, the PPN does include a public forum, open to all registered members and nonmembers, where any topic relating to our industry can be discussed.
IF YOU HAD REGISTERED ON THE PREVIOUS AHDI DISCUSSION FORUMS PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 1, 2006, YOU WILL NOT NEED TO RE-REGISTER FOR THE PPN. OTHERWISE, PLEASE REGISTER AND AN ADMINISTRATOR WILL ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT SHORTLY. YOU MUST REGISTER WITH YOUR REAL FIRST AND LAST NAME. IF YOU ARE AN AHDI MEMBER, YOUR USER ACCOUNT WILL GIVE YOU ACCESS TO ALL PPN COMMUNITIES; OTHERWISE YOU WILL HAVE ACCESS ONLY TO THE PUBLIC FORUM AND THE ANNOUNCEMENTS SECTION OF EACH COMMUNITY.
One of the first principles of the Professional Practice Help Desk, part of the underlying philosophy by which this resource will be operated, is that medical transcription/healthcare documentation professionals need and deserve tools for self-empowerment. In practical terms, that means we want to provide practitioners with the skills and ability to find the answer, not simply a place where someone else will give the answer. Toward this end, the FAQs, links, resources and Q&A areas will mainly consist of helpful pointers on where and how to find information, on the AHDI website and elsewhere. It has been our experience over the years that the vast majority of the questions that have come in to the Help Desk or posted on our forums have already been addressed somewhere on our website or have been answered numerous times before by Help Desk personnel. The goal of this new PPN is to make the best use of our professional staff and volunteers' time and expertise by archiving the questions and answers in a format that can be easily searched--which in turn allows YOU, the member, to make the best use of YOUR time.
The Search function of the PPN is the single most powerful tool available to members to quickly locate information. At the top of the home page for each community and each section is a prominent search field:
To search the entire PPN, including all communities and the public forum, simply type in a key word or phrase relating to your topic of interest. Typing in "school" or "join" or "compensation" or "speech recognition" would provide instant access to every mention of that phrase anywhere in the PPN. For even more control over your search parameters, click on the "Advanced search" link to display additional search options:
Using the search function of the PPN will be the key to making the best use of this new member benefit. You will find that the community moderators have spent a great deal of time providing links to information that will answer the vast majority of the questions that typically arise. Using the search function will save you time, enabling you to quickly find the information you need to be a productive and knowledgeable professional practitioner.
NOTE: The Search function is only available to registered users, and nonmember registered users will only be able to search in the public forum. The PPN communities are provided for the benefit of AHDI members.
If a search fails to return a match for the word or phrase you are looking for, you can then post a question in the Q&A section of the community. (As a reminder, the Q&A section is the only section in a community where members can post; all other sections are read-only.) After posting your question, you can ask to be notified of a reply to your question by clicking on the "Notify of replies" link at the top of the box where your question is displayed:
You will be notified by email when a moderator has replied to your question.
Another guiding principle for the Professional Practice Help Desk is our belief that YOUR participation is what will make the PPN communities the best they can be. We welcome your suggestions for additions to the FAQs, Links and Resources sections of each community. We have provided a quick and easy method for you to communicate with the community moderators using the integrated private messaging feature of the PPN software. To send a private message to a community moderator, click on the ANNOUNCEMENTS link of that community to display the messages that have been posted by moderators:
You have two options for sending a private message. Option #1 is to click on the Subject link to open the post, and scroll down to the end of the post where the moderator's signature appears. Directly under the signature is a row of icons, including an icon for private messaging:
Option #2 involves click on the Name link of the posting moderator (only moderators can post in the ANNOUNCEMENTS section) to open the moderator's forum profile:
At the bottom of the profile screen, click on the link labeled "Send this member a personal message."
Either option will open a new window where you can enter your message:
We encourage you to make use of this feature to suggest additions to the community's FAQs, Links and Resources sections. You can also use this function to send a private message to any member of a community who has posted a question using either of the above options.
In conclusion, please be aware that the Professional Practice Help Desk is a work in progress. We understand that it will take some time for our members to become proficient in the use of this new format, and we hope you understand that it may take some time for us to fine-tune all the aspects of this new endeavor. If you have suggestions or comments regarding the PPN, please feel free to contact the webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org.