How is technology changing the healthcare sector?

| October 14, 2019

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While technology advancements are changing every industry, the field of healthcare is experiencing rapid developments.

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Peak Health Solutions provides innovative solutions and expertise in coding and auditing services, CDI services consultation, and education, clinical content redesign, analytics and transitional consultation performed by experienced and credentialed coding professionals, Physicians, CDI Clinicians, and AHIMA Approved ICD-10 Trainers.

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Danny Cain discusses safety considerations for night-time transport projects

Article | September 9, 2020

© 2019 American Cranes & Transport Magazine. Night moves Moving over-sized, over-dimensional loads during the day is no easy task. Adding darkness and poor visibility to your trip adds numerous hazards that must be thoroughly identified and mitigated. When planning a specialized transportation project, there are three primary objectives: Ensure the safety of the transport crew and the general public. Protect the integrity of the cargo and transport equipment. Protection of Infrastructure – roads, bridges, traffic control devices, utilities and the like. For the most part, specialized carriers perform night transports to reduce the impact on day-time commuter traffic. Route challenges – construction, road closures, lane crossovers, bridges and other obstacles – are often better solved at night. Police and utility support are often more readily available at night. Night transport hazards include employee fatigue, slowed reaction time and poor visibility for both the transport crew and motorists. Decreased visibility increases potential for trips, falls, runovers, back overs and equipment strikes. It can’t be emphasized enough how critically important it is to ensure that all transport crew members have had adequate rest for these projects. Workers need complete rest before the transport takes place. A fatigued worker is a danger to himself as well as his fellow crew members. And while impaired drivers can be out on the streets during the day, there is often an increased number of these drivers on roadways at night. Limited visibility is a given when it comes to night-time transports. Limited visibility increases the chance of going off route and striking objects, and the transport driver’s maneuverability and reaction time maybe be reduced. Road conditions can abruptly change during a night-time transport. Therefore, it is critically important to know the route and to have drivers run it in advance. Statistically speaking, accident frequency increases when the transporter goes off route and attempts to correct itself. While providing the necessary lighting to make night transport is important, artificial lighting can pose visibility hazards, especially to the drivers. Other hazards may include bright work lighting that produces glare. OSHA has identified the “Focus Four” accident events that make up the most serious injuries and fatalities in the construction business. They are also known as the “Fatal Four.” Many carriers have had employees injured in the past as a result of one of these four incidents. Caught-in-between hazards are injuries resulting from a person being squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched or compressed between two or more objects or between parts of an object. This is also referred to as “pinch points or entrapment.” As the transporter navigates its designated route the landscape is continuously changing. It is imperative that all ground crew members maintain situational awareness and not place themselves between the moving transporter and fixed objects such as guardrails, parked vehicles, buildings, etc. Struck-by hazards are injuries produced by forcible contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment. There are many potential struck-by hazards. Guide wires that must be raised can snap and strike workers on the ground. Tag lines should be used to control loads. The primary purpose of using tag lines is to control the load but more importantly give the worker a safe buffer distance away from suspended and the uncontrolled movement of these loads. Fall hazards are anything that could cause an unintended loss of balance or bodily support and result in a fall. To prevent fall hazards all workers should have either fall prevention or a means of fall protection in place. As a rule, 100 percent tie off is required when using a fall arrest system (FAS). FAS’s should be thoroughly inspected before each use. Electrocution hazards result when a person is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. Maintaining minimum approach distances (MAD) is a critical safety practice. As everyone knows, equipment does not have to physically make contact with energized equipment or lines to cause serious injuries and even death. Electrical energy can “jump” from lines into equipment that has encroached the Minimum Approach Distance based on its voltage. As noted above, it is critically important to ensure that crew members have had adequate rest and are not fatigued. Night transports are difficult enough, and the last thing you want to introduce are tired and fatigued workers. Being fatigued creates a risk for anyone who undertakes an activity that requires concentration and a quick response. All companies should have an “Hours Worked Policy” that clearly spells out the number of hours allowed to work before a mandatory rest period. This policy should ensure that the transport crew has had adequate rest during day, that a fatigue assessment is conducted on all team members, that crews are never allowed to work double shifts and that employees are prohibited from driving long distances to return home. Dealing with darkness Visibility and slowed reaction times should be a part of the project planning. A limited amount of ambient light that only projects upward and outward impedes vision and increases blind spots for drivers. Lights cast shadows, increasing the potential for slips, trips and falls. All transport moves should establish pre-planned Emergency Action Plans. When an emergency occurs, time is of the essence and can mean the difference between life and death. If it is a long-distance move the emergency numbers and first responder information can change. Crews should know when it’s time to seek emergency “safe harbor.” When approaching overhead obstructions such as guide wires, electrical lines, communication lines and overpasses, travel speed is of utmost importance. Again, pre-route surveys provide advance knowledge of obstructions. At night, visual identification of roadway obstructions is reduced and delayed and last second reactions to oncoming hazards can lead to accidents. Support personnel in bucket trucks also have the challenge of reduced visibility. In darkness, overhead hazards often require more utility support for height clearances, which means the need for raising energized lines, lifting traffic control devices, trimming tree limbs, releasing tension on guide wires, removing highway signs, repositioning street lights and raising railroad crossing arms. Traffic control can also create hazards. The general public may ignore pilot car lights at night, so it’s often advisable to also use police escorts. All support vehicles and trucks should be properly marked and equipped with strobe lights. The configuration of the transport system can also be a hazard. Navigating sharp turns or crossovers is greatly reduced based on the length of transporter. Snake-like maneuvers of trailers pose an increased risk. It’s important to never allow personnel to take shortcuts by walking through or under transporter while it’s in motion. Stop or have the worker go around. Situational awareness The transport crew must always maintain “situational awareness” to prevent being in line of fire or entrapped between moving and fixed objects. All the equipment used in the transport must be deemed safe. You should have procedures to conduct thorough assessment of all new equipment. Ensure machine guard devices are in place especially around moving components. Provide secured areas using catwalks/railing system. All steps should be designed with slip resistant material. Ensure that all deck openings are properly protected and covered. Components that hydraulically extend and retract should be clearly posted with DANGER signs. Roadway conditions are always a bigger concern at night. Assess weather conditions prior to start of the project and don’t take chances. A “Go – No Go” criteria should be developed for each project. Once the decision is made to transport the load there is no turning back. Changing weather can cause the transporter to lose traction. Underpasses that are shaded during the day will likely freeze up more quickly. If the temperatures drop significantly during the move, equipment performance may be affected – especially those with hydraulics. Because the reaction time of the transport crew is reduced, speeds are often reduced, causing potential for curfew violations. Boarding and deboarding the transporter increases risk for slips and falls. Other potential road condition hazards include grade of road, width of road, shoulder surfaces, railroad crossing clearances and bottoming out, overpasses, tight and narrow turning lanes, parked vehicles and frequent grade changes. Crew prep is essential and should be a part of the job plan and job training. The team should be briefed each day to identify the responsibilities of all crew members. The crew should know it is empowered; everyone has the authority to stop the transport if something looks unsafe or when someone is unsure. In the event of a complication, crews should be informed of how to regroup and formulata mitigation plan. There should be an established means of communication that is limited only to transport issues. Most importantly, crew should embrace these words: When in doubt, call time out! A Task Hazard Analysis (THA) should address all scope of work activities, identify hazards and have a mitigation plan for each, clear channels of communication, the traffic control plan and an “Emergency Preparedness Plan.” And finally: Know the route; ride the route and expect the unexpected. Edwards-Moving_Faktor-5 (2).jpg Edwards Moving performs a night move using it’s Goldhofer Faktor-5 transport system. Keys to a successful night transport Early planning and attention to detail. Anticipate roadway hazards such as guardrails, poles & hydrants that pose obstruction with travel path or turning radius. Preparing a detailed traffic control plan. Thorough due diligence throughout scope of work. Established contingency plan for equipment.

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6 Tips On Discussing Your Mental Health Issues With Your Friends

Article | October 26, 2020

Do you have a difficult time explaining your mental health issues to your family and friends? If so, here are six suggestions on how to discuss your mental health issues with your friends and relatives. 1. Talk to a counselor: The most important thing that you need to do is to talk to a counselor about your mental health problems. Seeking professional help will go a long way in overcoming your current issues. In addition, a counselor will be able to give you additional advice on how to deal with your friends and family members. 2. Don’t argue with others: It is important that you do not get into arguments with those who are giving you a hard time. Your number one priority is getting your life back on track. Your health is more important than what other people may think. 3. Watch who you hang out with: It is important to surround yourself with positive people. Try to keep your distance from those people who are giving you a difficult time. Remember that your goal is to remain positive and hopeful. Do not let the negative people in your life bring you down. 4. You are not alone: It can be very frustrating to deal with your mental health issues when your friends and relatives are on your case. Remember, you are not alone. There are millions of people around the world who struggle with their fears, anxieties, and depression. The key is to find those people who can relate to you. 5. Stand your ground: It is important to stand your ground when dealing with family members and friends who are giving you a hard time. Explain your situation and your feelings to the people in your life, however don’t let them hassle you. Your number one priority is to get better and not to please everyone that you know. 6. Join a support group: There are many mental health support groups in your area that can help you. Many hospitals, churches, and counselors in your area will be able to provide you with a list of groups. These mental health organizations will be supportive of your situation and they can give you additional advice regarding your problems.

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5 Healthcare Tech Trends Worth Keeping an Eye On

Article | April 16, 2020

The healthcare industry is experiencing rapid shifts. Some of this is due to the current pandemic, but much of this evolution was happening even before the COVID-19 outbreak. Understanding and embracing the introduction of new technology into the market will be important for healthcare professionals and patients alike. Here are some of the trends worth keeping tabs on:

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Blockchain in the Healthcare Industry

Article | January 8, 2021

Prioritizing health and managing it, has become highly important because our lifestyle is continuously evolving in ways that take a toll on us mentally, physically, and emotionally. However, the major issue for the patients lies in the inaccuracy of treatment due to the lack of complete health records in any hospital. With the recent changes in privacy legislation and data management, patients are even unable to retrieve their own health records. For example, someone had an accident and was taken to the emergency room. The first thing they will need to do in their condition is to fill the hospital’s form. Then, for the treatment, if the injured person is conscious enough, doctors ask questions like if they are allergic to some medicines or do they suffer from diabetes or any other disease. Besides, what if the individual denies having allergies or diabetes in their half-conscious state? And the previous hospitals where they have already had treatment before have denied sharing the medical details of the person either due to privacy issues or data corruption. Well, it can create a lot of fuzz. Solely, to improve the health industry without compromising the security of the individuals, blockchain has remained in the discussion. It has the potential to address the operability challenges present in the healthcare industry. But, what is blockchain, what are its underlying fundamentals, why blockchain, and what are its advantages? Today’s blog will help in understanding every aspect of blockchain and its impact on the healthcare industry. So let’s get started! What is Blockchain? Blockchain is a P2P or peer-to-peer distributed or decentralized ledger technology. It stores a chain of data called blocks of information. These blocks are chained together by cryptographic signatures. These signatures are called hash that is stored in the shared ledger and backed by a connected processes network - node. These nodes reserve a copy of the complete chain and get continually updated by synchronization. Though, to include blockchain in the process it’s necessary to hire a developer who has prior experience and knowledge about its architecture and can work with the components efficiently as blockchain is a designed pattern that consists of three major constituents - a distributed network, a shared ledger, and all the digital transactions. a. Distributed Network As discussed before, blockchain is built on peer-to-peer networks. While having no central point of storage, it makes the information on the network less vulnerable to being lost or exploited. Unlike the traditional client-server model that has a centralized storage point or controlling party, all the information in the blockchain network is constantly recorded and transferred to the participants of the network that are also known as nodes or peers. These peers also own several identical copies of the information. That’s why blockchain is seen as a huge improvement to centralized models and is considered the future of data storage and ownership. b. Shared Ledger Each authorized participant in the network records the transactions into the shared ledger. If they want to add any transaction, it is important to run algorithms that evaluate and verify the transactions. If the majority of members agree to the transaction’s validity, a new transaction gets added to the shared ledger. The changes done in the shared ledger is reflected in minutes or even seconds in the copies of the blockchain. Once the transaction is added, there’s no way to modify or delete it. Also, as the copy is shared in the form of a ledger to each member, no single member can alter data. c. Digital Transaction Transactions are information i.e. data transmission to one block. During the process of data transmission, each node acts as a central point to generate and digitally sign the transaction. As the nodes connect each other in the network, each of them has to verify the transaction independently for its conflicts, validity, and compliance. Only after the transaction passes the verification, the information is added into the shared ledger. The major element that makes digital transactions successful is cryptographic hashing that encrypts the data for security. Why Blockchain technology in healthcare? It has happened so often that the patient remains unable to gather all of their previous medical records in one format from one place swiftly or sometimes cannot even collect the required information at all. Unfortunately, in most cases, the information of critical patients remains scattered across several different institutions of healthcare that too in different formats. Besides, the data management systems along with the security regulations also vary in different institutions making it difficult to trace and fix mistakes. But, what can blockchain do? A blockchain is a system used for storing and sharing information with security and transparency. Every block in the chain is an independent unit of its own and a dependent link among the collective chain that creates a network controlled by participants rather than a third party. As blockchains are managed by network nodes instead of central authority, they are decentralized that prevents one entity from having complete control over the network. With the incorporation of blockchain, the need for a central administrator will be removed by cryptography. Healthcare providers will be able to promote data management processes beyond perception. It will help in collecting, analyzing, sharing, and securing medical records. It will provide the access to healthcare workers for retrieving health records with the cryptographic keys provided by patients from anywhere without creating any privacy or security problems. Advantages of Healthcare Blockchain Although applications of blockchain in the healthcare industry are inceptive, some early solutions have shown the possibility of reduced healthcare costs, improved access to information among different stakeholders, and streamlining the entire business process. So, keeping aside the buzz, let’s see the real advantages of blockchain in healthcare. 1. Master Patient Indexes The master patient index helps in the identification of patients across separate administrative systems. It is often created within the EHR or electronic health record system. As these EHRs have different vendors, there are several irregularities of MPIs. In many cases, the data of a patient between these healthcare systems become mismatched. However, with the nature of decentralization in Blockchain, it possesses the ability to solve the issue. In the blockchain-based MPIs, the data will be hashed to the ledger and content will remain unique as only the authorized nodes of the data can make changes to the hashes while all parties with access can only check the related information. 2. Single, elongated patient records Blockchain technology is potent to transform health care by placing patients at the center of the system while increasing the security and privacy of health records. It provides a new model for health information exchange by forming electronic elongated patient records secured and efficient. Additionally, the fact that the data is copied among all the nodes of the blockchain network creates an atmosphere of clarity and transparency that enables healthcare providers and patients to know how their data is handled by whom, how, and when. It can also help healthcare from potential frauds, data losses, or security attacks. 3. Supply Chain Management Supply chain management in healthcare is a challenging aspect. With scattered settings for ordering drugs, medical supplies, and critical resources, there’s an inherent risk of compromising the supply chain that might impact patient safety. Indulgence of blockchain technology in the transactions can tap into the complete process of medicine or drug products movement. As all the transactions will be recorded onto the shared ledger with every block recording and maintaining every transaction, it will become easy to verify the vendor, distributor, and origin of the drug within a matter of seconds. It will also enable healthcare physicians and officials to check the authenticity of the supplier’s credentials. 4. Claims Justification Currently, the insurance claim processes face difficulties like lack of transparency i.e. most customers don’t even know how insurance works; human errors and inefficiencies i.e. insurances are full of confusion along with human errors that create inefficiencies that lead to the increased cost to customers; higher frauds in claims. But, blockchain technology can simplify and enhance recordkeeping, payment processing, claims registration, contract management, and closure with its immutable ledger. 5. Interoperability Interoperability is the capability of distinct healthcare information technology to interpret, exchange, and use data. Due to the privacy issues, the alphanumeric code to identify a patient has been revoked that caused problems in gathering the required record of the patient. Enforcing measurement standards for industry-wide interoperability is also a challenge in interoperability. With blockchain in healthcare interoperability, data can be shared in real-time on the trusted network and provides access to the patient’s record in a secured manner. Moreover, with the pri

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Peak Health Solutions, Inc.

Peak Health Solutions provides innovative solutions and expertise in coding and auditing services, CDI services consultation, and education, clinical content redesign, analytics and transitional consultation performed by experienced and credentialed coding professionals, Physicians, CDI Clinicians, and AHIMA Approved ICD-10 Trainers.

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