Are strangers' mental health 'recovery narratives' helpful?

Researchers at the University of Nottingham in United Kingdom have reviewed dozens of articles analyzing the helpfulness of other people's "recovery narratives" and found that they can help people overcome their own mental health problems.

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Nebraska Methodist Health System

Based on more than 120 years of caring, Methodist Hospital created Nebraska Methodist Health System in 1982. As the first health system in the region, Nebraska Methodist Health System set out to establish a level of caring and quality that is second to none.

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Digital Healthcare

Why Medical Drones Are Taking Off in Healthcare

Article | November 29, 2023

With their speed and maneuverability, drones have long captured attention for their potential to deliver shopping orders and photograph the world from above. But the machines can also serve a medical purpose by shuttling drugs, defibrillators and other equipment to emergency sites or care facilities. Improvements in battery life, GPS navigation and artificial intelligence functions are making drones a more practical option in healthcare, says Dr. Daniel Kraft, faculty chair for medicine and neuroscience at Singularity University, an executive education program that also serves as a business incubator and consultancy service. Theft is also a concern, says Will Stavanja, chief technical officer at AirBox Technologies, which is testing its DroneX fleet for medical deliveries in the Caribbean. “Right now, most drones land, drop the package and leave,” says Stavanja, whose team has developed smart mailboxes for secure delivery. Addressing that risk will be key to determining whether drones can handle sensitive cargo. “You want a very high degree of certainty,” Kraft says. “It’s one thing if you lose a urine sample or a blood sample; you can get another one. It’s another to lose an organ.”

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Healthtech Security

Modernizing Caregiving: How a Robotic Emotional Support Animal Can Help Caregivers

Article | November 29, 2023

A wealth of evidence supports the health benefits of keeping pets: increased life span, exercise, improved mental health, and a sense of purpose. But for older adults and those with disabilities, the responsibilities and expense of owning an animal can be overwhelming, and caregivers are often forced to take on those burdens themselves. To make matters worse, dementia patients can pose a physical threat to live animals. What alternate solutions exist for those who cannot safely or practically keep a live pet? Fortunately, information technology and robotics have advanced to the point that realistic, robotic emotional support pets are becoming a legitimate option. As research in this area advances, experts have found that robotic emotional support animals can offer a myriad of benefits similar to those associated with live pets. Robotic companions can also help caregivers. Robotic Emotional Support Animals in Practice Imagine the following scenario: An elderly woman with dementia suffering from Sundowner’s Syndrome relies on a strict daily regimen established by her caregiver. This routine is a delicate dance, balancing the patient’s meals, medication, and personal care, all designed to keep her as relaxed as possible. One afternoon, as the caregiver prepares dinner, the caregiver realizes that the patient’s beloved dog is nowhere to be found. She runs outside to look for the dog, leaving the patient to fend for herself. The patient is agitated over her missing dog and suddenly alone in a kitchen with pots and pans boiling. Fortunately, the caregiver finds the dog outside, but the patient is now too overwhelmed to eat or take her medication. Despite the caregiver’s best efforts at redirection, it’s a rough evening for everyone. How a Robotic Emotional Support Animal Can Ease the Role as Caregiver As any experienced caregiver knows, consistent emotional support for patients is critical. A robotic emotional support animal can significantly ease a caregiver’s role in this respect. Robotic companions replicate many benefits traditional pets provide – affection, responsiveness, and companionship – without the associated caregiving demands, such as feeding walking, or veterinarian visits. The Benefits of Robotic Emotional Support Animals The owners of pets are known to enjoy Reduced impact of depression Lower blood pressure Reduced triglycerides and cholesterol Longer survival rates after a heart attack 30% fewer doctor visits after age 65 Longer life spans Robotic companion animals provide genuine comfort, mirroring the emotional connection that living pets provide while lightening the caregiver load. Uplifting conversations about the robot companion elevate the moods of both patient and caregiver, potentially reducing feelings of burnout. In embracing such technology, senior care and assisted living facilities can foster an environment that makes staff and residents all smile a little more.

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Health Technology, AI

Transforming Patient Records: Impact of Top 10 EHR Tools

Article | July 18, 2023

Delve into the EHR tools reshaping the healthcare industry for an efficient and patient-centric future. Unlock streamlined workflows and data-driven decision-making through these EHR software tools. Adopting an EHR tool has become crucial for clinics and healthcare providers striving to revolutionize their operations and deliver a high standard of care. These innovative EHR software tools possess the potential to transform healthcare workflows, enabling clinics to optimize processes, streamline operations, and provide an exceptional level of care to patients. From facilitating seamless communication and improving operational efficiency to enhancing patient satisfaction, EHR tools unlock possibilities for improved operations, accurate claims processing, and enhanced financial management within practices. This article explores the top 10 electronic health record tools that are reshaping the healthcare industry and paving the way for a more efficient and patient-centric future. 1. Avalon EHR It is an EHR evaluation tool that prioritizes robust physician-patient engagement, setting it apart from complex electronic health record (EHR) systems. With an unwavering focus on reliability and security, Avalon offers a cutting-edge solution for the future of healthcare. Its key features include CureMD's clinical overview, which presents alarms, trends, and patient histories on a single screen, ensuring comprehensive insights. The platform also boasts a specialized rheumatology section with templates for typical symptoms, simplifying documentation processes. Furthermore, Avalon provides regular updates for various medical specialties following CPT and ICD codes, ensuring compliance, proper medical procedures, and diagnosis recording. Notably, it supports automated overnight transcription of dictations into templates, significantly reducing the time and billing service partners' costs associated with finding and documenting clinical findings. 2. AdvancedBiller The AdvancedBiller Grow program offers medical billing companies a comprehensive and advantageous solution, combining industry-leading software solutions with exclusive partner benefits. This program is designed to drive optimal outcomes by providing a unified practice management workflow, excellent support, free promotional opportunities, and competitive, scalable pricing. With a focus on boosting performance and profitability, AdvancedBiller equips businesses with the necessary tools to excel in their field. The program features custom health plans that assist doctors in managing individual patient needs based on age, sex, and lab findings. Additionally, it offers customizable note-taking templates to align with specific workflows and preferences. This EHR tool also facilitates telemedicine appointments, enabling patients to communicate face-to-face with their doctors and receive important notifications. Furthermore, the program enhances data management by allowing doctors to save sensitive information and screenshots during conference calls securely. By leveraging the AdvancedBiller Grow program, medical billing companies can optimize operations, deliver superior care, and achieve notable success. 3. Halemind EHR integration tools, such as Halemind, present a game-changing solution that enables clinics to elevate their operations and provide superior patient care. This comprehensive platform offers many features, including appointment scheduling, patient registrations, check-ins, consultations, prescriptions, billing, and reporting, all aimed at delivering a seamless customer experience. With Halemind, clinics can transform their business and scale up their operations. The platform also provides specialized functionalities for pharmacies, allowing real-time access to customer histories, order tracking, invoicing, and supplier management. In addition, hospitals can benefit from Halemind's capabilities, such as operations planning, invoicing, payment collection, patient sample tracking, and customizable data display. Medical facilities can further enhance their efficiency by utilizing its in-patient module for managing wards, rooms, and beds and generating discharge reports. 4. SIMPLEX HIMES Patient Portal SIMPLEX HIMES software incorporates an optional yet powerful feature, the Patient Portal and Mobile Application, designed to revolutionize patient engagement and communication. This EHR tool seamlessly integrates with existing websites, providing healthcare facilities with a comprehensive EHR tool to enhance the patient experience. The Patient Portal enables efficient control of patient intake, bed availability monitoring, operating room scheduling, and centralized patient demographic management within hospitals. The software streamlines operations for pathology labs by managing information about referral laboratories, generating barcodes for sample tracing, and delivering timely test result alerts via email or text. Additionally, patients benefit from self-service portals, empowering them to conveniently schedule appointments, access medical records, locate service provider locations, and communicate with their doctors. 5. Patient Engagement The Patient Engagement tool offers patients unparalleled access to their personal health information, visit summaries, and lab results, empowering them to take an active role in their healthcare journey. With the help of this EHR tool, patients can conveniently book appointments online using the healow Open Access feature, efficiently manage their medications, and engage in secure messaging with their healthcare providers. In addition, the eCW software utilized within the tool provides organized data capture, trend analysis, and customizable documentation options for various healthcare specialties. Clinicians can effortlessly retrieve any aspect of the patient record through the Patient Hub, ensuring complete and efficient access to vital information. Furthermore, eClinicalWorks Version 11 introduces Eva, a computer program that assists physicians in evaluating patient records, leveraging details from the Progress Note tool and data flowsheets. This advanced functionality enhances clinical decision-making and promotes efficient patient care. 6. Electronic Prescription The Electronic Prescription tool revolutionizes prescription management in the healthcare industry, offering a seamless and efficient solution for healthcare providers. This advanced software streamlines the prescription process by eliminating traditional prescription pads, enhancing convenience and accuracy. AllegianceMD, integrated within the tool, enables patients to fill out their history and demographic information online within defined clinic limits, facilitating seamless integration of patient information. This EHR tool encompasses a range of features, including an active/inactive medicine list, e-refill requests, an allergy list, and comprehensive drug interaction checks. The software also includes a lab module for efficiently tracking test results and follow-ups. With its extended functionalities, the Electronic Prescription tool elevates prescription management, promoting patient safety and enhancing workflow efficiency for healthcare providers. 7. Telehealth WRS Health Telehealth offers healthcare providers and patients a secure and reliable virtual care experience. With seamless integration into the electronic health record (EHR), this comprehensive telehealth platform provides a single platform for managing virtual patient encounters. Designed with ease of use in mind, both patients and providers can navigate the user-friendly interface effortlessly. This EHR comparison tool is a safe alternative to in-office visits, offering private and secure online consultations that comply with HIPAA regulations. This telehealth solution ensures a smooth and efficient workflow with its seamless integration of clinical and revenue cycle management (RCM) functionalities. 8. Practice Management for Billing Companies The Practice Management tool offered by SequelMed is a comprehensive solution that streamlines operations and enhances efficiency in healthcare practices. This advanced tool automates various tasks, including billing, claim processing, revenue management & clinical procedures, and generates analytical reports for comprehensive insights, with the option of bundled or separate programs for electronic health records and practice management. The software provides interoperability with imaging systems and medical equipment through HL7 and DICOM interfaces, offering flexibility in deployment options with on-site or cloud hosting. In addition to its core functionalities, it enhances patient engagement with real-time communication, online patient registration, active prescription lists, immunization schedules, and a patient portal. The Practice Management Tool simplifies computerized prescription processes and promotes connectivity across healthcare systems, enabling healthcare providers to optimize their operations and deliver efficient, patient-centered care. 9. Medical Practice Management Software The Practice Management Software offers healthcare providers a powerful solution to streamline operations, ensure accurate claims processing, and expedite reimbursement cycles. With its intuitive design and comprehensive features, this software empowers practices to take control of their operations and optimize efficiency. Users can benefit from the HIPAA-compliant claims clearinghouse provided by NueMD, allowing for the seamless processing of unlimited claims. The software makes it easier to submit paper claims by reducing it to a single click, and it also simplifies payment transactions by incorporating credit card processing. Additionally, the ONC-ATCB-certified EHR enhances clinical workflow by providing charting capabilities, e-prescribing, laboratory report monitoring, and secure fax management. 10. LiquidEHR LiquidEHR is a cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) solution ideal for small and midsize optometry practices. It offers a range of features to manage medical records, scheduling, and billing effectively. The software includes specialized tools specific to optometry, such as historical IOP charts, drawing tools, built-in eye charts, frames data integration, and image management. Clinicians using LiquidEHR have access to electronic insurance filing tools, patient recalls, drug interactions and allergy checks, problem lists, medication recommendations, educational resources, vital signs monitoring, and more. The system also ensures data security through access controls, audit logs, and encryption features. Future Scope By staying informed about the top EHR tools highlighted in this article, medical practitioners can unlock streamlined workflows, improved communication, and data-driven decision-making to optimize clinical practices and deliver exceptional patient care. The future of EHR assessment tools looks promising, with emerging trends like artificial intelligence, machine learning, interoperability, and telehealth shaping the way forward. By embracing these advancements, healthcare professionals can stay ahead of the curve, maximize operational efficiency, and position themselves for success in the healthcare industry.

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Digital Healthcare

The Need for Cost Clarity

Article | January 28, 2022

With consumers’ share of healthcare costs expanding, we need to do a better job making charges more transparent and more predictable My husband recently stubbed his toe. Badly. Badly enough that I encouraged him to go see a doctor. He was reluctant. While I suspected he’d rather just garner sympathy by complaining to me while limping around the house (just kidding, honey), his stated reason was all too familiar: “I have no idea what we’ll have to pay. They’ll want to do anX-ray,it might need surgery, and I have no idea what it’ll cost.” All true. We have good health insurance; but like most Americans, when we go to the doctor or have a procedure, what we will actuallyhave topay out of pocket remains a mystery.This is something that we can and should change. As consumers we are shouldering more and more of the cost of healthcare. And the biggest increases are for those of us with employer-sponsored plans. According to an analysis of federal data by the Commonwealth Fund,deductibles in employer plans more than doubled between 2008 and 2017, from $869 to $1,808. Especially troubling, an accompanyingCommonwealth Fund survey revealed that only 62% of adults were very or somewhat confident in their ability to afford healthcare. This increasing burden is also evident when you look at the crushing levels of medical debt in the United States. According to a new studyby JAMA, medical debt is now the largest contributor to personal debt. And the data for this study was collectedbeforethe COVID-19 pandemic. Some of this debt is driven by unpredictability—if the heart procedure you needed costs several thousand dollars more out of pocketthan you thought it would, you may not be prepared, emotionally or financially, to pay it. This is a bad outcome, obviously. The risk of nonpayment rises for the provider; and a recuperating patient is burdened with the stress of a large,unexpected bill. More skin in the game Soas consumers are paying more out of pocket, some may become reluctant to seek care (like my husband) or seek more information about what they willhaveto pay for the care they receive. Consumers are also armed with incredible levels of price transparency with other products—everything from hotel rooms to clothing to household items. With so much skin in the game, and the internet providing so much information, consumers’ expectations are changing when it comes to healthcare. State and federal regulators are also beginning to take action, a trend that will likely accelerate. Most hospitals are now required to publicly disclose the prices they charge. This does not, however, solve the issue for consumers. While it provides a measure of visibility into pricing for insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid, it doesn’t show what share the patient will ultimately pay. Making the complicated simple The complexity of pricing in healthcare is well documented. Niall Brennan, CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit that analyzes medical costs, suggests that healthcare costs are too high.As a recent Wall Street Journal article reported, a price of a C-section varied from $6,241 to$60,584 at one hospital. This all has to do with the vagaries of the agreements that hospitals sign with multiple insurance companies and government payers. In turn, each insurance company will have its own deductible and out-of-pocket schedules, which providers don’t have access to. We are seeking to change this at Change Healthcare. We are piloting our Care Cost Estimator with a few innovative providers. With the Care Cost Estimator, weleverage our unique dataset, and the largest eligibility network in the industry, to make the unpredictable, predictable.Because we’ve managed 15 billion healthcare transactions—and our network covers 1 million physicians, 6,000 hospitals, and 2,400 payers—we have an unmatched ability to analyze what real-world patients are paying for practically any procedure, performed at almost any hospital or clinic. With a cloud-based transaction engine, providers will now be able to tell their patients how much they will have to pay out of pocket for a given procedure.And this analysis takes place in real time. Removing unpredictability in pricing This gives providers the opportunity to offer added value for their patients, taking some unpredictability out of whatis often a stressful transaction. In addition, it accelerates patient payment cycles which, as the patient’s share of the cost burden increases, is becoming more and more important. We’re not talking $50 co-pays anymore; it’s thousands of dollars per transaction. If necessary, providers can also help the patient plan for the expense, offering financing options, thus reducing unpaid bills. For the patient, it allows more informed decision-making and peace of mind. Testing the beta version of our Care Cost Estimator with our partners will allow us to receive real-world feedback and collaborate with customers on how to continuously improve the product as we scale it. We expect the ROI for providers, in addition to the payment-cycle improvements, will include greater patient satisfaction and loyalty. For the patient, it provides information necessary to help make proper decisions and plan emotionally and financially; in other words, giving the consumer the same information for vital healthcare transactions that’s available to them for practically any other purchase. This kind of win-win solution is at the core of Change Healthcare’s mission to improve the healthcare experience for everyone—including my husband and his broken toe!

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Spotlight

Nebraska Methodist Health System

Based on more than 120 years of caring, Methodist Hospital created Nebraska Methodist Health System in 1982. As the first health system in the region, Nebraska Methodist Health System set out to establish a level of caring and quality that is second to none.

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