Technology Helps Improve Quality of Care

Every step of the healthcare process is aimed at providing the absolute best quality of care to the patients as possible. In addition to making it easier for doctors to collaborate and get important information about their clients to assist in their treatment, technology is also helping give patients greater autonomy at hospitals and clinics in the country. Digital medical records and touchscreen devices are now allowing doctors to quickly pull up charts and see imaging results in greater detail so that if patients need to see multiple doctors in a facility no information is lost in transit. For patients that are hospitalized for any period of time, infotainment terminals can be used as a computer, television, phone and nurse call button all in one. By taking a look at the following infographic, you can see how far technology has advanced in the medical field and ways that it will help shape the next developments in the industry.

Infographic that shows healthcare technology

WebMD App Review: A Beautiful, Patient-Centric App for Medical Knowledge and Healthy Living

2 weeks ago by  for iMedical Apps

screen shot of WebMD appMany doctors and patients are familiar with WebMD.com and its far-reaching Symptom Checker.

The Symptom Checker is a tool that provides a differential diagnosis based on a questionnaire that the user fills out. WebMD has become the go-to site for patients who desire answers for their health questions, in a format that is easily understandable. In order to make this database and other features more accessible to mobile users, they have created a new WebMD App. At first glance, the user interface surprised me with its clean, polished, and stunningly gorgeous interface, which is leaps and bounds better than its website counterpart. Will this sleek UI translate to a hit for patients?

WebMD Healthy Living: Ambitious and Beautiful, but Limited

The app is broken down into two major sections (Healthy Living, and Health Tools), but initially points you toward the Healthy Living portion of the app.

When launching the WebMD app for the first time, a beautiful tutorial orients the user and then asks them for the subject matter that interests them most: Fitness/Exercise, Healthy Beauty, Men’s Style, Healthy Eating, Parenting/Family, Sex/Relationships.

You are then asked to select your lifestyle goals: Balance Life, Lose Weight, Save Money, Reduce Stress, Stay Healthy, and Sleep Better. As I imagine most would, I checked nearly every box in those two screens, excited for what was to come next.

The app’s home screen is the WebMD Healthy Living section, which consists of a beautiful “cover” (my description) consisting of a high-resolution photo and headline, such as “How to Banish a Blemish.” Swiping horizontally brings up a different but equally gorgeous cover with a different topic. In total, there are 8 different covers, which vary from tips to how-to’s to simple definitions. If a particular cover catches your eye, swiping up on the cover takes you to a mobile webpage of that article. Once the article is brought up, the interface returns down to earth, and it is essentially a shell for a mobile website.

Symptom Checker screen of WebMD appThe best way to understand the Healthy Living portion of the app is that it’s essentially a weekly Healthy Lifestyle magazine. Every week, you are provided with 8 articles, each with beautiful covers. While each article will link to several related articles, there’s no clear searchable index or even a category search. What you see is essentially what you get–while you are presented on setup with the option of selecting topics and lifestyle goals, they don’t make that dramatic a difference on the content. I tried deselecting all but two topics and lifestyle goals, and all it did was decrease the number of articles from 8 to 4, but did not introduce any new articles.

If the editorial staff at WebMD continue to pump in a lot of effort by picking rich articles, and continue to make high quality “covers,” the Healthy Living feature could grow in popularity. At this point, though, my concern is that this might be a novelty that quickly wears off and that users won’t be tuning in each week to find out new content.

WebMD Health Tools: The Useful Patient-Centric Reference

Accessing the main menu by tapping on the top left icon on the home screen reveals the meatier, more well-known portion of WebMD, the Health Tools. This includes the famous Symptom Checker, in addition to references for medications, medical conditions, tests/procedures, medical terms, First Aid information, and local health listings. The interface in this section of the app is notably less refined, but is highly functional and easy to navigate.

The Symptom Checker is a faithful execution of the website tool, starting with the option for selecting a body part from a figure or list. Using this system, you can add a combination of symptoms to your list of “My Symptoms.” Certain symptoms will bring up a pop-up of further questions helping clarify the symptom.

For example, after selecting “Shortness of Breath,” I was asked about the onset of symptoms, severity of symptoms, etc. When you’re done selecting all the symptoms, you tap “View Possible Conditions,” and are presented a list of possible conditions. Each condition is a tappable list that takes you to a patient information page.

Continue reading WebMD App Review: A Beautiful, Patient-Centric App for Medical Knowledge and Healthy Living

Is Your Retail Business on OSHA’s Radar?

OSHA inspection clipboard with FAILED stampOSHA Cites Retailer on Workplace Safety Standards

By ReduceYourWorkersComp

Supermarket workers have a number of challenges that they must meet on a daily basis, be it dealing with difficult customers or moving items around a store.

With that in mind, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently cited seven Trade Fair Supermarkets stores in Queens, New York for 40 violations of workplace safety standards. The local grocery store chain faces $128,000 in proposed fines following inspections that began in March in response to complaints.

“Our inspections found a disturbing and unacceptable pattern of similar hazards in several stores. For the safety and health of its employees, Trade Fair Supermarkets must take effective action to correct these conditions at these and all its stores,” said Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Employees Reportedly Work Without Protective Eye Gear

At the seven stores, OSHA found butchers operating band saws with unguarded blades and other workers using cleaning products without protective eye gear, exposing them to lacerations, amputations and eye injuries. Four of the stores compromised swift and safe exiting during a fire or emergency because of locked or blocked exits, obstructed exit access and un-illuminated or missing exit signs.

These conditions resulted in the issuance of 20 serious violation citations with $122,000 in proposed fines. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Some Stores Faced Electrical Hazards

In addition, six stores failed to post the required annual summary of occupational illnesses and injuries. All seven stores lacked a chemical hazard communication program and training, and five stores had electrical hazards. Continue reading Is Your Retail Business on OSHA’s Radar?

The Time To Get Flu Shots Is NOW

Dr. Wendy Sue SwansonWENDY SUE SWANSON, MD | CONDITIONS | SEPTEMBER 25, 2013

Wendy Sue Swanson, is a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital who blogs at Seattle Mama Doc.

Please don’t tune me out on this one. Don’t let this post resemble Gary Larson’s The Far Side cartoon where you only hear, “Blah, blah, blah, Flu shot, blah, blah, blah, Flu shot, blah, blah, blah”

I write about flu every year because it’s one infectious disease that is not only more aggressive and dangerous for babies and young children, it’s vaccine preventable. The flu causes high fever, terrible cough, body aches, and significant discomfort. It can also potentially cause more serious infections like pneumonia. Unlike viruses that cause the common cold (rhinovirus or RSV), we have a vaccine for influenza.

I’ve had multiple patients in only 7 years of pediatric practice refuse the flu shot and subsequently get influenza. A few of my patients have required hospitalization for influenza and several have had serious infections requiring multiple visits to clinic, ER trips, and respiratory distress. Whenever this happens in an unvaccinated patient, I feel I’ve failed.

The great news with flu is that we can improve protection for our children and teens easily. The majority of the 150+ children who died last year from flu in this country were not vaccinated. And although it’s true that the vaccine doesn’t protect 100% of those who get it, it does protect most from life-threatening illness. Getting a flu shot is the #1 best way to prevent a life-threatening infection from the flu.

It’s flu shot season. You thinking, “blah, blah, blah…?” [READ MORE]

“… more people are dying from prescription painkillers than from heroin or cocaine.”

EMPLOYERS® Opioid Program Shows Results in Curbing Prescription Painkiller Addiction

prescription painkillers and note that spells out HELPBy WorkersCompensation.com 10/08/2013 11:26:00

Reno, NV (WorkersCompensation.com) – Nationwide, there has been an alarming increase in the number of opioid pain medications prescribed to workers who are injured on the job. EMPLOYERS (NYSE:EIG), America’s small business insurance specialist®, has completed the pilot test of an innovative program to prevent the abuse of
prescription opioid drugs. The program has dramatically reduced the amount of medically unnecessary opioids prescribed and the time it takes to wean injured workers from them, once prescribed. It has also resulted in millions of dollars of cost savings over the past 18 months. Because the program has proved so successful, EMPLOYERS is now rolling it out on a broader scale.

“The Centers for Disease Control has reported that more people are dying from prescription painkillers than from heroin or cocaine,” said Stephen V. Festa, executive vice president and chief operating officer at EMPLOYERS. “Opioid addiction decreases worker productivity, makes workplaces less safe, prolongs disability claims, and increases
the risk of death from overdoses.”

EMPLOYERS’ opioid program takes proactive measures to help control the flow of narcotics within the workers’ compensation claim. Its approach involves the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, injured employees, workers’ compensation physicians and pharmacy benefit managers.

“We realized that the best way to address this growing problem is to involve everyone connected to it,” Festa said.

Continue reading “… more people are dying from prescription painkillers than from heroin or cocaine.”

CDC Addresses Recurrent Nationwide Shortage of Tuberculin Skin Test Antigen Solutions

TB Alert for Employers from CDCPosted in NewsCenters For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC)Hand Hygien

In an April 2013 health alert, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that TUBERSOL®, a product of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, was in shortage nationwide. Although supplies were restored in early June 2013, the CDC says that TUBERSOL® is in shortage again until at least the middle of October 2013.
At the current time, the 5 tuberculin units/0.1 mL, 5 mL (50 tests), multiple dose vials are unavailable. The 5 tuberculin units/0.1 mL, 1 mL (10 tests), multiple dose vials are in limited supply.

TUBERSOL® is one of two purified-protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin antigen solutions that are licensed by the United States Food and Drug Administration
(FDA). JHP Pharmaceuticals, LLC, manufactures APLISOL®, the other PPD tuberculin product that is licensed by FDA. JHP Pharmaceuticals, LLC, has notified FDA
that APLISOL® is on allocation, meaning that historical customers have precedence for buying the product, and APLISOL® is available in restricted quantity. Regional
shortages of APLISOL® have been reported since healthcare providers switched from TUBERSOL® to APLISOL®.

Two kinds of immunological methods are used for detecting Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection: tuberculin skin tests (TSTs) and interferon-γ release assay (IGRA) blood tests. The indications for using these tests are the same for both methods, although one or the other method is preferred for certain populations.  When setting testing priorities because of the current shortage of antigen, these preferences may be considered as factors when one of the methods is unavailable. Together, these tests are the only means for detecting latent M. tuberculosis infection, and they contribute to diagnosing tuberculosis (TB) disease. When findings such as chest radiography and mycobacterial cultures are sufficient for confirming or excluding the TB diagnosis, the results from a TST or an IGRA blood test might be unnecessary. Nevertheless, most TB cases in the United States are diagnosed with a set of findings including results from one of these tests. When TB disease is strongly suspected, specific treatment should be started regardless of results from TST or an IGRA blood test.

In cross-sectional controlled studies, TUBERSOL® and APLISOL® give similar results for most patients. The agreement between results from a TST and an IGRA blood test or between results from the two commercial IGRA blood tests is lower.

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Continue reading CDC Addresses Recurrent Nationwide Shortage of Tuberculin Skin Test Antigen Solutions

Assisted Living Facilities – An Opportunity To Make New Friends

Assisted Living Week logoAs per psychologists making new friendships is a pretty costly affair. Now you may wonder that it is not a very romantic take on friendship. However, if you look at it objectively making friends involves you to make an investment which gives you returns in the present or near future. You have to commit time and energy on a certain person and hope in return you may get a certain set of benefits.

Why friendships are important for the older generation

For the young the online networks offer a solution to reducing the investment. Though it can be argued that it reduces the returns you may get as well. However, face to face friendships are still considered important in maintaining relationships. For older people this is the only way they know how to connect with their peers. For them, however tech savvy they may be, the need to meet someone face to face is important. Especially at their age when mortality is looming having your peers around you physically is crucial.

Why at Assisted Living Facilities 

Continue reading Assisted Living Facilities – An Opportunity To Make New Friends