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Facts about Fats

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on June 5, 2012 at 8:00 am

“Did you see how much cholesterol this coconut milk has?”, my wife asked me while walking down the aisle for Asian food one day. She is one paranoid personality when it comes to cholesterol in food items. At times she starts an argument about saturated and unsaturated fats although she has no clue as to what they are. And then comes the challenging part to
explain her the dynamics of cholesterol. But I enjoy those discussions as I learn a lot with the curiosity of hers.
Cholesterol is a part of lipids which is the scientific term for fats in the blood. At adequate
levels, lipids perform important cellular functions in your body, but can cause health problems if they are present in excess.
Concerning lipids are mainly cholesterol and triglycerides.
Hyperlipidemia, along with diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), positive family history, and smoking are all major risk factors for coronary heart disease.
Who gets it? obese, smokers,and those who don’t like to get up and exercise. Medical  conditions that cause   hyperlipidemia include diseases like diabetes, kidney disease,pregnancy and underactive thyroid gland. You can also inherit hyperlipidemia. The cause may be genetic if you have a normal body weight and other members of your family
have hyperlipidemia. You have a greater chance of developing hyperlipidemia if you are a man older than age 45
or a woman older than age 55. If a close relative had early heart disease (father or brother affected before age 55, mother or sister affected before age 65), you also have an increased risk.
Symptoms: None. You would never know it until you get adverse effects because of that. So why do I care? You better care about this because you could be the one getting a heart attack or a stroke before even knowing whats happening. Hyperlipidemia causes atherosclerosis which is hardening of the blood vessels, thereby compromising blood supply
to major organs like heart and brain.
So how do I know if I have high lipids? Blood test. The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that people get this test every 5 years after age 20. Your blood test will show your physician the levels of different lipids in your blood which will help him decide how aggressively you need to be treated. Most blood tests measure levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol), total cholesterol (LDL plus HDL), and triglycerides. Current national guidelines suggest a LDL cholesterol goal of <100 mg/dl for individuals already with heart disease or
diabetes, <130 mg/dl for those with moderate risk of heart disease, and <160 mg/dl for everyone else. Your doctor can calculate your risk score for heart disease. This score can then be used to determine whether you need to start taking medications to lower your LDL cholesterol.
Although there are no firm treatment targets for HDL cholesterol or triglycerides, most experts agree that optimal HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels are >40 mg/dl and <200 mg/dl, respectively.
What’s the treatment? Lifestyle modifications is the most important step to lower the lipid levels. I know some people don’t like to do it, but you need to get up and do some exercise. When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no “I’ll start tomorrow.” Tomorrow is disease. Change your dietary habits. You should replace foods high in
saturated fats(the majority come mainly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products) with foods high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats(vegetable oil, fish, nuts, legumes, etc). A humorous patient once said to me, “They claim red meat is bad for you. But I never saw a sick-looking tiger.” I wish I had an answer to his argument.
Stop smoking. Smoking can lower HDL, narrow your blood vessels, and injure your blood vessel walls. All of these effects can speed hardening of the arteries.Try to lose some weight. Therapeutic lifestyle changes can lower total cholesterol by 10 to 20 percent in some people. More commonly, however, people with hyperlipidemia experience a 2 to 6 percent reduction from TLC. If TLC doesn’t help, its time to start some medication which your doctor will decide for you. Lipid-lowering medications include Statin drugs (which prevent your liver from manufacturing cholesterol), Bile acid sequestrants, (which prevent your body from reabsorbing the cholesterol in bile. Bile is a liquid secreted into your small
intestine that helps you digest dietary fats), Fibrates and Niacin.
So, its never too late. Lets work on it. Remember, the best six doctors anywhere are sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise and diet.

Every Doctor’s Dream…..

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on June 4, 2012 at 9:30 am
  • All available appointments are full.
  • All staff showed up for their shifts.
  • No one burns toast in the toaster oven and sets off the fire alarm.
  • None of the staff show up to work wearing flip-flops or pink underwear beneath their white scrubs.
  • All patients have been reminded about their appointments so they all show up.
  • Patients calling for same-day appointments are able to be worked-in appropriately.
  • No patients give false information at check-in.
  • Established patients arrive on time with their insurance information and co-pay.
  • New patients arrive on time to complete their paperwork, and give their insurance card, photo ID and co-pay to the receptionist.
  • Patients with fasting appointments arrive having fasted.
  • All patients arrive bringing their bag of medications.
  • Patients in wheelchairs and with difficulty ambulating are accompanied by caregivers.
  • Patients who do not speak English or are deaf have notified the office prior to the appointment and the appropriate technology or interpreters are available for the appointment.
  • Patients with procedure appointments have followed their pre-procedure instructions.
  • Patients with procedures have been pre-authorized by their insurance carrier and their personal financial responsibility has been discussed with them and payment arrangements have been made.
  • Patient eligibility has been checked and those unable to be authorized have been called before their appointment to gain further information about their payer source.
  • If computers go down, there are paper procedures in place to enable staff to continue seeing patients.
  • No patients arrive saying “I forgot to tell you, this is Worker’s Comp/ an auto accident/ a liability case and I was told by my lawyer not to pay anything.”
  • None of the patients pee on a waiting room chair.
  • Neither JCAHO nor any state or federal officers show up.
  • The copiers and faxes all work.
  • No subpoenas come in the mail.
  • It’s not your very first day live on electronic medical records.
  • All phone calls are answered before the third ring and no one has to leave a message.
  • No patients walk in the door with severe chest pains and say “I knew the doctor would want to see me.”
  • Patients remember to call the pharmacy for refills.
  • Providers all run on time and seem in particularly good moods.
  • Patients get their questions answered with callbacks within two hours.
  • Someone delivers sandwiches, drinks and brownies to the practice for lunch. There is enough for everyone.
  • No bounced checks come in the mail.
  • Providers spend so much time in the exam room listening to their patients that the patients leave feeling that every question they had (and a few they didn’t know they had) was answered.
  • Providers circle the services and write the diagnosis codes numerically on the encounter form, remembering that Medicare doesn’t pay for consults any more.
  • Sample medications that providers want to give patients are in the sample closet.
  • Records that providers want to reference are in the chart and are highlighted.
  • No one calls urgently for old medical records that are in the storage unit across town.
  • There are no duplicate medical records.
  • Patients checking out never say “But he was only in the room for 5 minutes!”
  • The patient restrooms don’t run out of toilet paper.
  • No bankruptcy notices come in the mail.
  • All phlebotomists get blood on the first stick.
  • No kids cry.
  • Congress announces that the SGR formula has been revoked and a new reasonable model for paying physicians has been discovered.
  • Everyone goes home at 5:00 p.m., glad to have a job, glad to be of service, and happy with their paychecks.

WISH IT HAPPENED IN REAL WORLD.

‘Brand’ name: Must for Physicians in Current Times

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on May 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Do you stand out in competition with other healthcare providers? We all know what a ‘BRAND‘ means. It means ‘Value’. How much are you willing to pay for a certain name item depends upon what value you give it. Whether it be shoes, clothes, electronics, cars or whatever, we all have our brands that we prefer. The contents in this post are true for any business.

Giving a ‘brand’ name to a physician is something that was never thought or heard of. It sounds like business. But wake up my friend. Like it or not,” Medicine is Business“. It is a service oriented business where patients are the customers. As a customer, I need to make sure I get the right Brand that meets my needs and gives me peace of mind.

Healthcare has been very ‘Fragmented’. People boast of differentiated markets in healthcare, but that is not true. Almost all have the same services that they provide to the patients. Most of the practices have inbuilt labs and other diagnostics to attract patients.The value of services that you receive is called Branding. We all want the better brands at affordable price. Some segments in society do not even mind paying higher as long as they get what they want.

A lot of healthcare businesses want to grow their market share. But in service sector, as opposed to products, the improvement in ‘Bottom Line’ is more important. Generating revenue is the key. They need not worry about the market share. How many people shop at Jos A Bank stores. Not too many. Does the company want to get most market share. They don’t because they can’t. They focus on the bottom line and generating revenues. Healthcare is specialized service that should not be compromised on. People should know what they can get from you as a provider that they will not get anywhere else.

So how should doctors position their ‘ Brands’?

Many ways:

1. Focus on Service consistency: Make sure all the patients are getting the similar services without any variations. Any significant variations break the Branding structure very fast. For example, make sure all patients are seen within a certain time frame so that they do not have to wait. If waiting times variate, your brand equity goes down. So, focus on Consistency.

2. Connect to the needs of the patients:All customers have a different mindset. they all expect something different. Make sure their needs are assessed and addressed appropriately. It could be overwhelming sometimes to make everyone happy, but try your best.

3. Tap the patients’ emotions: Connecting emotionally is must. It has been a saying that ” Patient gets half better already by talking to a doctor”. I feel it is a true statement. Reassurance and good explanation of the disease process helps patients get a clear idea of their outcomes.

4. relevance to the needs and desires of the patients is must: Stick to the relevance of the issues patients are coming in for.

5. A smile goes a long way: Smiling is addictive. It is hard to see people not smiling back to you if you greet them with a smile. Smile creates positive emotions. It helps the connection emotionally.

6. Social Media: It is a must for Physicians to utilize the wonders of Social media. There are so many social networking sites to help you share the thoughts and ideas you may have with the world out there. An attractive, well informative website always helps. Pictures of the facility and the staff  is a must. New Patients can easily connect with you if they see your picture before. A short video would work as icing on the cake. Tell them what you can offer and your mission. Believe me, it will sky-rocket the practice.

7. Get a logo and Tag Line: It is also a crucial step in getting branded. The Logo and tagline should convey what you can offer.

It is not an easy journey for a lot of physicians to be Brand Oriented, but that is the need of the day. Those who will do it will be successful.

From a patient’s perspective, it is a wise thing to know the provider you will be seeing before hand.See who offers what in the market. Health should not be compromised. The media presence and knowledge of a physician is a very strong factor that you should look for to get the best care. Do your research and make the best decision for yourself. Talk to your friends and family to get some insight about their providers and ‘Get the Best Brand’ for yourself.

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