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Archive for May 19th, 2012|Daily archive page

Patient Centered Medical Home: Patients equally responsible as Providers

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on May 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm

 WHAT EXACTLY IS A PATIENT CENTERED MEDICAL HOME?

The patient‐centered medical home is a model for care provided by physician practices that seeks to strengthen the physician‐patient relationship by replacing episodic care based on illnesses and patient complaints with coordinated care and a long‐term healing relationship. Each patient has an ongoing relationship with a personal physician who leads a team that takes collective responsibility for patient care. The physician‐led care team is responsible for providing all the patient’s health care needs and, when needed, arranges for appropriate care with other qualified physicians. A medical home also emphasizes enhanced care through open scheduling, expanded hours and communication between patients, physicians and staff.

Based on emerging research, the medical home model has the potential to improve health outcomes and reduce overall costs. One way to fix the problem of spiraling health care costs is to try to change the health care system. It isn’t easy. It means completely changing the way everyone does business. But we can’t keep doing what we’re doing because things will just keep getting worse.

The problem is the way the health care system pays for care. It’s called a fee-for-service business model, and it hasn’t changed much since the start of modern health care. Under this model, doctors, hospitals, and other providers are paid for every service they provide – every visit, every test, and procedure they do – whether or not these things improve our health. It’s based on quantity instead of quality.

It can lead to unneeded tests, screenings, and other expensive care that adds to health care costs each year, without making people healthier and, in some cases, making them even less healthy. And it often results in doctors not having enough time to give the care they want to give. According to a recent study, a primary care provider (PCP) would need more than 22 hours a day to finish all of the work expected of them, whether giving care or doing paperwork.

To try to fix this system, insurers, hospitals, doctors, the government, and professional and trade groups are working together to change the way health care works. The major part of that effort is moving from the fee-for-service model to a new patient-centered medical home model. It’s kind of a weird name, but if you think about what it’s trying to do, it makes sense.

A patient-centered medical home, or PCMH, is not a physical building. It’s a way to care for patients so that you feel “at home” with your care. PCMH changes the emphasis from quantity to quality, helping everyone be healthier and reduce the need for costly care.

It’s been proven that when people have a long history with their PCP, they are healthier and have lower health care costs. Kind of makes sense, right? The better your doctor knows you and is aware of factors that might affect your health, such as stress, the more likely it is that diseases can be prevented or caught early, when treating them costs less and before they cause big problems. And as a bonus, when you have a good relationship with your doctor, you’re usually better informed about your health and lead a healthier lifestyle. It’s easier for a doctor who knows you well to effectively nag you!

A key goal of PCMH is to improve the relationship between you and your doctor. A big part of that is giving doctors the time they need to give that familiar level of care. So PCMH helps PCPs change their practices. They are put in charge of teams of providers customized to meet your unique health needs – so if you have a chronic condition, health care “extenders” with expertise in treating your condition could be on your team. The team may also include staff members and health and wellness organizations that offer education, screenings, and other support.

The PCMH system supports these teams with information and a new way to pay for care. Using the latest technology, like electronic health records, makes the team more efficient and improves communication. New detailed reports of patient histories help the team identify patients who need screenings, follow-up visits, and immunizations. That means your doctor and your whole team will have more information to better help you. It will also increase the coordination between different providers on your team. And instead of getting paid for every service they provide, providers are rewarded for making sure you get the right care you need when you need it. It’s about paying for quality.

HMSA members who have a primary care provider and a patient-centered medical home get recommended health screenings and immunizations at a higher rate than those without a PCP and PCMH.

But it’s not all up to the team. As the name implies, PCMH puts you at the center of your care, encouraging you to take an active role in improving and maintaining your health. After all, a team of doctors can only make recommendations. You are the only one who can make yourself exercise, eat right, get your recommended screenings and tests, take your medications as prescribed, and do what you need to do to manage any chronic conditions you have.

Mobile Communications: A Blessing to Healthcare

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Why should healthcare facilities invest in this Mobile Communications?

  • Worker accessibility is critical in the hospital environment. Nurses, doctors, technicians, maintenance and transport staff must be able to instantly reach and be reached by colleagues.
  • Outdated paging systems and multiple communication devices cause misunderstanding and reduce productivity in hospitals.
  • Hospitals have emergencies everyday, and being prepared for emergency situations is of the upmost importance. Having a mobile communication device that alarms staff members of an emergency allows them to prepare in advance. Being prepared in advance increases productivity by improving response time and eliminating wasted time on false alarms.
  • Having the capability to search, create, and manage information in your hand helps physicians drastically improve decision-making.

It is clear that the potential for mobile communication to transform healthcare and clinical intervention in the community is tremendous. Several previous studies have evaluated the use of mobile phones to support healthcare and public health interventions, notably in the

1. Collection and collation of data for healthcare research

2. Support of medical and healthcare education and clinical practice in the community

3. Support telemedicine and remote healthcare in developing nations, with examples including their use in off-site medical diagnosis and as information support in the treatment of HIV care in difficult to reach rural areas.

4. The use of short message service (SMS) text in the management of behavior change.

5. In sexual health education.

6. Improve patients’ adherence to antiretroviral treatment

7. Controlled drug trials.

8. GPS (Global Positioning System) and location-enabled smartphones offer many additional application opportunities that can further assist the independent living of persons with disabilities and/or multiple chronic conditions, as well as in epidemiology/public health surveillance and community data collection.

Use of this new technology impact existing workflows

a. Increase productivity and efficiency in the healthcare environment

b. Help ensure that mobile workers are instantly available and accessible when needed

c. Increase available time for direct patient care

d. Enables immediate decisions at point of care

e. Enhances patient care.

Obstacles involved with using this technology in healthcare?

Cell phones are not a viable solution to the hospital communication challenge, as their usage is prohibited in certain areas of the hospital. Additionally, construction materials used in parts of the building can reduce or block coverage altogether. As a result, hospitals have typically relied on overhead paging to reach mobile employees and disseminate urgent messages. However, overhead paging can disrupt the healthcare environment — often disturbing patients as they try to sleep, rest or relax. And the public nature of overhead paging does not provide the level of discretion required by law for some messages, causing the recipient to take additional steps to learn the pertinent and sensitive details.

Communication inefficiencies can have a profound impact in the healthcare environment. For doctors, nurses and technicians, additional time spent on administrative tasks and tracking down colleagues directly translates into less time available to care for patients. According to a recent study, the average nurse spends only about 31 percent of his or her time in direct patient care.1 And with the current nursing shortage across the U.S., inefficiencies in working processes can further stress the system and erode quality of care.

  • Misinformation regarding mobile wireless systems, electromagnetic interference and management procedures has led to a broad range of inconsistent policies among healthcare organizations.
  • Overly-restrictive policies may act as obstacles to beneficial technology and may not address the growing need for personal communication of patients, visitors and the workforce. At the other extreme, unmanaged use of mobile communications can place patients at risk.
  • It may not be feasible for healthcare organizations to manage every mobile wireless handset that is randomly brought into their facility without certain restrictive limits.
  • Security: Transmission of sensible data over the air, Cryptography, Virtual Private Networks

Wireless devices increase adoption of electronic health records (EHR)

Ease of accessing patient records, security and privacy controls for electronic information, and the ability to share patient information across geographies and affiliations or a 360-degree view of the patient are some of the key factors that increase adoption of wireless devices for HER.. Electronic transfer of information can enable physician offices, laboratories, radiology practices, and hospitals to securely access and transfer patient information. Adopting these new systems and integrating them into practice workflows can improve patient safety and efficiency of care, reduce duplicate tests, enhance quality of care and health promotion, and save thousands of lives.

 


Social Media In Healthcare

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on May 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Social media in healthcare gives a substantial promise, including the construction of valuable information sprung from collaboration, patient-to-patient social supports, and more sustained and collaborative patient-provider relationships across the continuum of care. The benefits of integrating social media into healthcare marketing efforts are priceless – from improving patient care to gaining media coverage to attracting new patients and staff. If your healthcare organization hasn’t already taken advantage of social networking channels, now is the time.

The rise of social media has been phenomenal.

Use of social networking sites has grown from 5% of all adults in 2005, to half of all adults (50%) in 2011.For example, Facebook, which began with 5 million users in 2005, today has 845 million participants, more than the entire population of Europe. Twitter has also shown tremendous growth, reporting 460,000 new accounts created on average per day. More than 1,200 hospitals participate in 4,200 social networking sites.

 Current Obstacles

  • Privacy and security are top consumer concerns when sharing their health information through social media. Consumers are most concerned with personal health information being shared in public and information on social media being hacked or leaked . The main stumbling block is the lack of a set of accepted best practices that would enable organizations to become less risk-averse.
  • Ethical questions are a major concern. Are we violating patients’ privacy by listening in or soliciting comments online? Are we ignoring the people who don’t participate in social media?
  •  Return-on-investment questions present another barrier. Should we devote scarce resources to explore this unmapped territory? What risks do we face if we embrace social media, and what if we don’t? Will social media really help us reach the people we want to reach?
  •  Healthcare organizations are also concerned about practical questions. How ready are we to use social media? How should we use it most productively for our own goals, and what is the best way to start? What policies do we need to support this work and what level of the organization should approve them?
  • Negative effect on workplace productivity.
  •  the risks of exposing the hospital’s networks to viruses and malware,
  • HIPAA concerns and
  • Consuming the hospital’s bandwidth.Image

Despite the issues,Social media is here to stay in health care. It will evolve quickly. Patient engagement will continue to characterize this change. Organizations will use social media tactically within their overall marketing and communications efforts — videos and mobile technology will likely dominate these approaches.  Online patient communities will expand and will become a rich source of information for others. Physicians and other health care providers will discover social media, which will have the potential of progressing medical research.

Heal Naturally

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on May 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm

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In Health, Healthcare, Uncategorized on May 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm

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EHR Ownership: Doc Vs patient…A WAR waiting to start

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on May 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

The stage two meaningful use places a much greater emphasis on patient engagement and set high standards for making data electronically available to patients. Physicians should think about these requirements as they work to implement a new EHR system. The new rules state that a professional must make electronic records available to 50 percent of their patients. Furthermore, 10 percent of a physician’s patients must actually view and download these records.

Multiple state statutes, regulations, and cases govern the ownership of health information and the information contained in medical records. The classic statement of the rule concerning ownership of medical records is that the provider owns the medical records maintained by the provider, subject to the patient’s rights in the information contained in the record.

But,under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), every person “has a right of access to inspect and obtain a copy of protected health information.” The Meaningful Use regulations require that outpatient providers give patients clinical summaries within three business days for at least half of all office visits, if requested. Hospitals have to provide an electronic copy of discharge instructions upon request.

EHR ownership has been a hard pill to swallow for Health care providers and patients. It is hard to point out which one should be the owner when the contribution is the same. Patients’ health events and their information is what make the medical record. Healthcare providers on the other hand manage and form the formatted record to help patient and other providers get the right information when needed. Personally, I feel that ownership should be divided into both. Although, being a health care provider and knowing the risk of certain information disclosures which I do not want the patient to see, I feel that EHR should have a system in place to put in that confidential information to help other providers provide the best care under legal framework.

This way, we eliminate the risk of patient frustration of not being able to see what goes in their medical record. I also feel that this will help patients make better and wiser decisions for them when they can see what different healthcare providers think about their care. It will also reduce the medication error risk which is a major current issue in US Healthcare. It will make the care transparent which will ultimately lead to better healthcare status in country.

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