The increasing role of the social media in healthcare

 

The increasing role of the social media in healthcare 6With the social media having moved beyond being a platform for sharing personal information; its role in healthcare has nearly exploded of late. This is mainly because the growth of the social media has more or less coincided with that of the electronic records in healthcare.

Whatever the identifiable or unidentifiable reasons for the convergence of social media in healthcare; the fact is that social media in healthcare is a major phenomenon that is here to stay.

Social media in healthcare is being analyzed for potentially huge business opportunity, and it is being taken up for serious discussion in legal circles, with the American Congress and many other legislative bodies around the world thinking of taking serious steps for regulating it.

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The most fundamental aspect of social media in healthcare is that its growth has been helped by the core feature it brings: its ease of adaption in this sector. Healthcare information, as we all know, is very vital, and speed is of great importance. This is why social media in healthcare has come to be one of the most talked about scenarios in the healthcare today, propped in no less measure by the gigantic size of the American healthcare economy.

The advantages social media brings into healthcare

 

The increasing role of the social media in healthcare 1As just seen, the social media in healthcare facilitate great use because they help transmit information at a pace that was difficult to imagine till recently. With the development of the electronic health records (EHR) in the US, technology has made possible the customization of health records. A platform like the social media can help accelerate this pace enormously. It can also help practitioners and other stakeholders of healthcare information, such as Business Associates and Covered Entities and a host of related ones gather information and transmit it and process it at lightning speed.

Concerns

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The enormous benefits that the social media bring into healthcare notwithstanding; there is room for serious concern.

Like all other technology-driven tools, the social media in healthcare comes with an inherent risk: the laxity of records. Loose or nil security or healthcare records are a serious cause for concern. The recent breaches in health data have cost many healthcare organizations in the US millions of dollars.

The social media in healthcare give an opportunity for marketers to pitch their products or services, but they also open up lots of opportunity for the unscrupulous among these to exploit and manipulate this information. This is akin to the potential drawbacks credit cards and other such facilities bring. The social media in healthcare is a tool that is open to a high degree of vulnerability to breach. This is all the more true of new technologies, such as the cloud, which the social media in healthcare have embraced with open arms.

So, while the social media in healthcare is a force to reckon with, it is not something that is totally free of drawbacks. Till regulatory action frees the sector of these, the social media in healthcare will continue to grow, albeit with its concerns.

 

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Rural health care centers provide low-cost care

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Providing health care services in rural areas is vital to addressing health disparity needs in the United States, said Candice King, the ACORN clinic’s executive director.

To get dental services she can afford, 73-year-old Juanita Jenkins has one of her sons drive her 16 miles from her home in the Duval neighborhood in northeast Gainesville to the Alachua County Organization for Rural Needs (ACORN) Clinic in Brooker. The 32-mile round trip is worth it, she says.

Jenkins is one of thousands of people in Alachua County and surrounding counties who need the inexpensive services provided by nonprofit organizations, such as ACORN, which was established in 1974 to serve area migrant workers.

“I started coming here last year and I’ve been here to the dentist about four or five times,” said Jenkins, after getting fitted for dentures. “They take good care of you here, and I would recommend their services to anybody.”

Thursday is National Rural Health Day, created to recognize rural health workers for their efforts and their collaborations that address the unique challenges faced in rural communities.

Providing health care services in rural areas is vital to addressing health disparity needs in the United States, said Candice King, the ACORN clinic’s executive director.

ACORN has grown from a singlewide trailer on a sandy lot of land to several modular buildings that house dental, medical and administrative offices at 23320 N. State Road 235 in Brooker.

The clinic provides a range of medical, dental and mental health care services, referrals to other health services and social services and professional education and training, King said.

Like ACORN, Archer Family Healthcare, an arm of the University of Florida College of Nursing, started out in a small building before moving into a larger building to better serve its patients. According to Joan Newell-Walker, manager of the clinic, retired Dr. Dee Williams lobbied to establish the clinic after being urged to do so by Archer residents. Williams’ efforts led to the clinic opening in 2001, and it has grown from an approximately 1,000-square-foot, two-story bungalow to a more than 5,000-square-foot facility composed of six modular buildings that were built in downtown Archer in 2007.

“We have grown to accommodate approximately 5,000 patient visits annually,” Newell-Walker said.

Patients visit the Archer clinic for a variety of reasons, including chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as prenatal care, medication consultations, health education and disease prevention, immunizations, physical exams and more, Newell-Walker said.

The clinic in Archer was established to meet the needs of residents who live in the rural community in southwest Alachua County who didn’t have a health care facility before the clinic opened. But it’s grown to serve patients from throughout North Central Florida, Newell-Walker said.

The clinic’s funding comes from local, state and federal sources, and it’s run by advanced registered nurse practitioners, Newell-Walker said.

The nurse practitioners provide expert care for patients and are supported by other health care professionals, including a case manager, community health nurses and a consulting physician, Newell-Walker said.

At ACORN, a wide variety of dental, medical and mental health care services are provided, including disease management education, general medical care, reduced cost X-rays, women’s health care, dental exams and X-rays, extractions, orthodontics, root canals and more.

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Health Education England launches online workshop on improving digital readiness

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Health Education England is launching an online workshop to gather views on digital readiness.

The organisation is working in collaboration with Digital Health and innovation and crowdsourcing agency Clever Together on the online workshop, which forms part of the Building a Digital Ready Workforce programme.

It will be launched on 22 November in partnership with BCS Health and Care, the Federation of Informatics Professionals in Health and Social Care, and the Faculty of Clinical Informatics.

James Freed, chief information officer at Health Education England, told Digital Health the exercise was a chance to gather the views of those who already have a strong voice as well as those who are less commonly heard.

“In almost all technological programmes I have seen, our efforts are mostly about technology and very little about process, and the process redesign, and almost none on people,” he explained. He hopes the new online workshop will address that.

Andy Kinnear, chair of BCS Health and Care, added the aim was to hear from “digital experts; the wider group of people involved in the digital space such as nurses, doctors and care professionals; and the entire health and social care workforce”.

The online workshop will run for about three weeks and its results will form the basis for how the BRDW programme will prioritise and invest £6m over the next four years. Its findings will be extensively covered by Digital Health.

You can register now for the online workshop. Our feature article gives more detail – including interviews with James Freed and Andy Kinnear. Keep an eye on Digital Health over the next few weeks for ongoing coverage.

Video of father comforting newborn son receiving his first vaccines goes viral

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On October 26, first-time father Antwon Lee took his two-month-old son Debias King to get his first vaccinations. Lee, 29, said he was very nervous for the appointment, telling People Magazine that he “felt kind of scared a little bit,” as he knew the child was “going to go through some pain.” Before the visit, he also continually reassured his son that he could cry if he needed to.

TEARS AS CONJOINED TWINS DIE DAY AFTER BIRTH

When it came time for the vaccinations, Lee held his son in his arms and told the little boy to “stay strong,” while Shamekia Harris, Lee’s girlfriend, recorded the visit on her phone. Little Debias did cry as the nurse gave him his shots, but stopped soon afterward when Lee consoled him.

The video has since gone viral, with about 13 million views, 51 thousand likes, and 186 thousand shares as of Wednesday.

Sadly, Lee’s father, Anthony Lee, 57, died that same day due to complications from drinking. Lee explained to People that he was emotional and very close to his father, and that he later spoke to his son Debias about his hopes for the future.

“I talked to him like a grown up … I told him, before I leave, want to see him succeed,” Lee said.

Lee wishes that the video will remind others of the importance of fatherhood, “I want them to take care of their kids, because when you sign up for something, you have to stick with it,” he told People.

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Lee, however, isn’t the only person to go viral for his vaccination video: In 2014, pediatrician Michael Darden gained attention for his unique approach to giving shots, and the video still doesn’t disappoint:

Read More: http://snip.ly/9obne#http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/11/01/video-father-comforting-newborn-son-receiving-his-first-vaccines-goes-viral.html

The science of Sad: understanding the causes of ‘winter depression’

The science of Sad

For many of us in the UK, the annual ritual of putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be accompanied by a distinct feeling of winter blues as autumn well and truly beds in. This might be felt as a lack of energy, reduced enjoyment in activities and a need for more sleep than normal. But for around 6% of the UK population and between 2-8% of people in other higher latitude countries such as Canada, Denmark and Sweden, these symptoms are so severe that these people are unable to work or function normally. They suffer from a particular form of major depression, triggered by changes in the seasons, called seasonal affective disorder or Sad.

In addition to depressive episodes, Sad is characterised by various symptoms including chronic oversleeping and extreme carbohydrate cravings that lead to weight gain. As this is the opposite to major depressive disorder where patients suffer from disrupted sleep and loss of appetite, Sad has sometimes been mistakenly thought of as a “lighter” version of depression, but in reality it is simply a different version of the same illness. “People who truly have Sad are just as ill as people with major depressive disorder,” says Brenda McMahon, a psychiatry researcher at the University of Copenhagen. “They will have non-seasonal depressive episodes, but the seasonal trigger is the most common. However it’s important to remember that this condition is a spectrum and there are a lot more people who have what we call sub-syndromal Sad.”

Around 10-15% of the population has sub-syndromal Sad. These individuals struggle through autumn and winter and suffer from many of the same symptoms but they do not have clinical depression. And in the northern hemisphere, as many as one in three of us may suffer from “winter blues” where we feel flat or disinterested in things and regularly fatigued.

Putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be accompanied by a distinct feeling of winter blues.

One theory for why this condition exists is related to evolution. Around 80% of Sad sufferers are women, particularly those in early adulthood. In older women, the prevalence of Sad goes down and some researchers believe that this pattern is linked to the behavioural cycles of our ancient ancestors. “Because it affects such a large proportion of the population in a mild to moderate form, a lot of people in the field do feel that Sad is a remnant from our past, relating to energy conservation,” says Robert Levitan, a professor at the University of Toronto. “Ten thousand years ago, during the ice age, this biological tendency to slow down during the wintertime was useful, especially for women of reproductive age because pregnancy is very energy-intensive. But now we have a 24-hour society, we’re expected to be active all the time and it’s a nuisance. However, as to why a small proportion of people experience it so severely that it’s completely disabling, we don’t know.”

There are a variety of biological systems thought to be involved, including some of the major neurotransmitter systems in the brain that are associated with motivation, energy and the organisation of our 24-hour circadian rhythms. “We know that dopamine and norepinephrine play critical roles in terms of how we wake up in the morning and how we energise the brain,” Levitan says. One particular hormone, melatonin, which controls our sleep and wake cycles, is thought to be “phase delayed” in people with severe Sad, meaning it is secreted at the wrong times of the day.

Another system of particular interest relates to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety, happiness and mood. Increasing evidence from various imaging and rodent studies suggests that the serotonin system may be directly modulated by light. Natural sunlight comes in a variety of wavelengths, and it is particularly rich in light at the blue end of the spectrum. When cells in the retina, at the back of our eye, are hit by this blue light, they transmit a signal to a little hub in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus that integrates different sensory inputs, controls our circadian rhythms, and is connected to another hub called the raphe nuclei in the brain stem, which is the origin of all serotonin neurons throughout the brain. When there is less light in the wintertime, this network is not activated enough. In especially susceptible individuals, levels of serotonin in the brain are reduced to such an extent that it increases the likelihood of a depressive episode.

The most popular treatments for Sad is bright-light therapy.

Read More: http://snip.ly/25gi4#https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/30/sad-winter-depression-seasonal-affective-disorder

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What Would Happen to Health Spending Under ACA?

The growth in health care spending is expected to have slowed in 2016 and to remain slow in 2017, due to slower enrollment in government-sponsored Medicaid and a reduction in spending on prescription drugs, according to a report released Wednesday by actuaries from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The report, published in the journal Health Affairs, assumes that President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act, is still in place. Every year, the Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services releases an analysis about how Americans are expected to spend money on health care in the years ahead. The agency will release the final outcomes on 2016 spending at the end of this year, once all the amounts have been tabulated.


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Michelle Loose, a University of Denver accelerated nursing student, checks the blood pressure for patient Elife Bzuneh, during a medical clinic night at the DAWN clinic on August 9, 2016, in Aurora, Colorado.

Priced Out of Coverage


The effects of the Affordable Care Act are expected to dwindle in coming years. The report finds that if the law were to continue as is then the share of the insured population would increase from 90.9 percent in 2015 to 91.5 by 2025, as more people become employed in jobs that provide them with coverage.

The slowing of health spending growth by 1.1 percent to 4.8 percent in 2016 is expected to be short-lived as the U.S. population ages, with baby boomers going onto Medicare and likely needing to use more care. Because of these factors, beginning in 2018 both Medicare and Medicaid are projected to grow faster than private insurance spending as income growth slows.

“Irrespective of any changes in law, it is expected that because of continued cost pressures associated with paying for health care, employers, insurers and other payers will continue to pursue strategies that seek to effectively manage the use and cost of health care goods and services,” Sean Keehan, the study’s first author, said in a statement.

During a press conference in Washington hosted by Health Affairs, Keehan said that “high cost-sharing is certainly one of the important factors” in driving down how much people with private plans use care, given that they have to consider how much they will shoulder costs themselves in the form of out-of-pocket spending and deductibles.

By 2025, actuaries forecast that health care’s share of the economy will reach 19.9 percent, an increase from 17.8 percent in 2025.

According to authors of the Health Affairs article, “medical price growth is projected to quicken in the coming decade compared to recent history, as both overall prices and medical-specific price inflation grow faster.”

In 2014 and 2015, health care spending had accelerated because the Affordable Care Act’s provisions went into effect: Coverage was expanded to more people and more people used health care. The federal government also chipped in more to help people pay for premiums and to pay for Medicaid for low-income Americans. Prescription drug costs also are expected to slow. In 2014 and 2015, spending surged as the drugs that were approved to treat hepatitis C, a liver disease that can require a transplant if it turns into a chronic infection, hit the market.


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Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, center, accompanied by his wife Betty, and Vice President Mike Pence, signs an official document during a swearing in ceremony, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, in the in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

HHS Proposes Obamacare Rule


By 2016, these effects had slowed. Devin Stone, an economist in for CMS Office of the Actuary, said at the press conference that the projections assume that more drugs will lose their patents, slowing prescription drug costs as more generics become available.

Authors of the projections were forthcoming about the fact that the numbers are likely off target given that future of the Affordable Care Act is mired in uncertainty. Republicans and President Donald Trump have vowed to repeal the law, but lawmakers haven’t yet agreed on the timeline or ways to replace it. Decisions from lawmakers on both sides could alter factors around health spending but could also increase the number of uninsured, despite pledges or efforts not to.

Alan Weil, executive editor for Health Affairs, said the projections were still useful to help inform policy, particularly when it comes to designing ways to respond to the parts of the health care system that are driving price increases.

“This is a baseline and it’s still the law, so knowing where we are going is still important,” he said. “It’s also an important baseline to compare changes to the law. Whether we stick to the law or not, it’s important to know where we would have been.”

 

http://www.usnews.com/news/health-care-news/articles/2017-02-15/without-changes-to-obamacare-heres-what-happens-to-health-care-spending