Getting to know PRAXES Technical Support Specialist Jeff Scribner
Originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick, PRAXES Technical Support Specialist, Jeff Scribner, describes his technical skills as self-taught and the result of being part of a tech-savvy generation. Scribner studied marine biology at Dalhousie University but after graduating in 2009 found that the opportunities in his field were limited due to the recession at the time. A mutual connection led Scribner to meet the team at PRAXES over five years ago and after a sharing of ideas and discussions, he was offered a position as Technical Support Specialist. Scribner took some time to answer a few questions on his unique career path and why working with PRAXES is a challenging yet complementary fit for his own love of adventure and travel.
How did you first learn about PRAXES Medical Group and how did the opportunity to work with them transpire?
I love playing squash and through a squash contact I initially met PRAXES CEO Susan Helliwell, who also plays. I ended up having an interview with Susan Helliwell and John Hockin and they both saw something in me and decided to offer me the job. Early on, we had a big project with Nova Scotia Ground Search and Rescue. I was hired on to test software, write help tools and training material and to work with the NSGSAR to teach them how to use the software. I would also listen to their feedback and work with our developer to improve upon the service and software. From there, my position really grew and spilled over into many different responsibilities including website coordinator, communications, social media coordinator, and covering technical issues for PRAXES on the medical side of the business.
Can you describe what your position currently entails?
If anyone has a technical problem they come to me. Primarily, I work very closely with our software provider to oversee development of the EMwerx software we use for our telemedicine service and Search and Rescue clients. We now have four provincial Search and Rescue organizations using our software and my role has grown to client manager for these projects. To name a few other tasks, I co-ordinate publishing our newsletter, blog and website content and layout. I create training material for our various projects (Camtasia videos, GIF animations image editing and documents). Additionally, I contribute to SOP and technical documentation, train new employees and clients and work to optimize our website using SEO, Google Analytics, Google Adwords and implementing advice from industry leaders.
Previously, you lived in Halifax and when you decided to move to Montreal, you considered resigning. However, you’ve managed to move and travel while continuing to work for PRAXES. How do you feel about this option to work remotely?
At the time I was ready for a change from Halifax. I’d been with PRAXES for three great years and so I gave six months notice and sat down with Susan to let her know. She understood I wanted change but made a counter-offer and suggested I continue to work with PRAXES from home. We did this for a few months and kept meeting to make sure that things were getting done. Working remotely you have to be more disciplined and it’s a learning curve to separate home and work spaces. The word ‘remote’ comes up a lot with PRAXES actually. We deliver remote healthcare to clients in remote locations. We have more remote workers than we have in the office. It’s really only possible when you have an open-minded leader like Susan. She’s someone who trusts her staff and this builds a cooperative type of work environment.
You’ve been with PRAXES for over five years now and have really seen the company grow. Telemedicine is also growing as a viable option in healthcare. In your opinion, what does the future look like for telemedicine in the healthcare industry?
It makes a lot of sense with technology now offering more ways and easier ways to communicate. For people who are disabled or simply can’t get to a hospital, telemedicine is a great option. It could be a big player for those in rural communities and on the private side, which we are really focusing on. There’s certainly an un-tapped market for telemedicine for those in isolated, remote locations for workers and for those who are travelling and are far from familiar healthcare services.
What are your favourite aspects of your position with PRAXES?
I have to say working remotely is one of my favourite aspects at the moment. I haven’t lived in one spot since June 2014. This past year, I was in Central America for three months, Western Canada and California for over a month and in Peru for a month – all the while working full time. It’s been great but it also really requires me to focus and not get distracted. I still need to get up every day and get my work done like everyone else so it’s up to me to be disciplined.
The people at PRAXES also make it an amazing company to work for. Since my position isn’t one that I was specifically trained for and since PRAXES is a small company, I’ve really had the opportunity to learn a lot of different things. Susan and John give you the opportunity to try new things and they challenge you. They place trust in you and it’s not a top-down approach and I find that a very progressive way of running a business.
What are some of your interests and pursuits when you’re not working?
Travel is definitely a big interest but I would say that music is my biggest passion. I’m always exploring new sounds and I spend a lot of time listening to and searching for new music. Most of my spending money goes towards concerts and vinyl and I play guitar as well. Currently, I’m interested in learning to play a new instrument. Playing squash has also been a big part of my life which coincidentally is what led me to meet Susan and John.