Kinship Center, a nonprofit adoption agency, to move into old Atascadero library

A local adoptive parent, whose two children were exposed to drugs and alcohol while still in the womb, says that if it weren’t for the nonprofit Kinship Center, she’s not sure how well her kids would fit in at school, whether they’d trust adults or have self-confidence. Heather (The Tribune is not using her real name to protect the identities of her children) said her older adopted son was taken away from his drug-addicted birth mother in a police car and subsequently moved from one relative’s home to the next. Those unsettling experiences have had a deep impact, and her family needed significant counseling and coping skills to work through them.

Spotlight

WakeMed

WakeMed Health & Hospitals is a private, not-for-profit health care organization based in Raleigh, N.C. WakeMed’s team of 8,000+ nurses, technologists and medical support staff and more than 1,000 affiliated physicians serve the residents of Wake County and beyond using the most advanced technologies and facilities to ensure the finest in health care.

OTHER ARTICLES
Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

8 Ways To Convince A Loved One To Get Help For Their Anxieties And Fears

Article | July 14, 2023

Do you know a friend or loved one who suffers from fear, anxiety, and depression and do not know what to do? It can be difficult to watch someone you know struggle with their mental health and not be able to do anything about it. As a result, here are 8 important tips on how to help the person you care about in these kinds of situations. 1. Learn as much as you can in managing anxiety and depression: There are many books and information that will educate you on how to deal with fear and anxiety. Share this information with the person who is struggling with their mental health. 2. Be understanding and patient with the person struggling: Dealing with depression and anxiety can be difficult for the person so do not add more problems than what is already there. Do not get into arguments with the person who is having a difficult time with their mental health. 3. Talk to the person instead of talking at them: It is important not to lecture the person who is struggling with anxiety and depression. Talk to the person about their issues without getting upset. Most people will listen if you approach them in the right manner. 4. Remind the person the importance of getting help: One way to convince the person who is struggling with fear and depression is to tell them what may happen if they don't get some assistance. Anxiety and depression can be difficult to manage and usually these mental health issues won't go away by themselves. 5. Find out why the person won't seek assistance: Address the issues on why the person will not get the necessary help. Many people who are struggling are fearful and frustrated. Try to find out the reasons why he or she won't get the help they need and then try to find ways that will overcome their resistance of seeking treatment. 6. Join a local 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 on how to help the person who is struggling. 7. Talk to someone who has been there: Find somebody who used to struggle with fear, anxiety, or depression and have them talk to the person who is struggling. He or she could use their past experiences to try to reason with the person that you care about, and they might be able to use their insights to convince the individual to seek treatment. 8. Talk to a counselor: Talk to a professional counselor on how you can help your friend or relative with their mental health struggles. A counselor can give you advice and ideas on how to help out your friend. Your main goal is to get the person who is struggling to seek help from a mental health specialist.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Addressing social determinants of health with data interoperability

Article | August 21, 2023

Across the spectrum of healthcare delivery – payor, provider, vendor, consumer, there is a land rush underway to embrace consumer-centric care. With tools like value-based care, chronic disease management, retail services, analytics, and remote patient monitoring, healthcare organizations are pivoting towards capabilities that provide a deeper understanding of patient behaviors and address the whole patient and not just the condition.

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Health Technology, AI

Getting cancer screening programmes back on track with AI and digitisation

Article | July 18, 2023

COVID-19 has been a catalyst for change, with the diagnostics industry taking centre stage and rising to the challenge of a global pandemic. One of the silver linings of this mammoth task has been the unprecedented time and focus dedicated to finding new technologies and solutions within the sector. The lessons learned from the pandemic now need to be taken forward to improve breast and cervical cancer detection, prevention and treatment across the UK over the coming years. In the more immediate term, the diagnostics industry, alongside public health leaders, faces a daunting backlog as screening programmes for breast and cervical cancer were put on pause for months. These two life-saving tests have been some of the most overlooked during the pandemic and getting back on track with screening is critical as we start to turn the corner. We believe innovation in diagnostics, particularly artificial intelligence guided imaging, is a key tool to tackle delays in breast and cervical cancer diagnosis. The scale of the backlog in missed appointments is vast. In the UK, an estimated 600,000 cervical screening appointments were missed in April and May 2020. And an estimated 986,000 women missed their mammograms, of which an estimated 10,700 could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer. It is clear that hundreds of thousands of women have been affected as COVID-19 resulted in the reprioritisation of healthcare systems and resource allocation. Both cervical and breast cancer screening are well suited for digital technologies and the application of AI, given both require highly trained medical professionals to identify rare, subtle changes visually –a process that can be tedious, time-consuming and error prone. Artificial intelligence and computer vision are technologies which could help to significantly improve this. What does AI mean in this context? Before examining the three specific areas where digitisation and AI can help, it is important to define what we mean by AI. It is the application of AI to medical imaging to help accelerate detection and diagnosis. Digitisation is the vital first step in implementing an AI-driven solution – high quality images demand advanced cloud storage solutions and high resolution. The better the quality of the input, the more effectively trained an AI system will be. The first area where AI-guided imaging can play a role is workflow prioritisation. AI, along with increased screening units and mammographers, has the potential to increase breast cancer screening capacity, by removing the need for review by two radiologists. When used as part of a screening programme, AI could effectively and efficiently highlight the areas that are of particular interest for the reader, in the case of breast screening, or cytotechnologist when considering cervical screening. Based on a comparison with the average time taken to read a breast screening image, with AI 13% less time is needed to read mammogram images, improving the efficiency with which images are reviewed. This time saving could mean that radiologists could read more cases a day and potentially clear the backlog more quickly. For digital cytology for cervical cancer screening, the system is able to evaluate tens of thousands of cells from a single patient in a matter of seconds and present the most relevant diagnostic material to a trained medical professional for the final diagnosis. The job of a cytotechnologist is to build a case based on the cells they see. Utilising these tools, we are finding that cytotechnologists and pathologists are significantly increasing their efficiency without sacrificing accuracy to help alleviate the backlog of cervical screening we are seeing in many countries. Prioritising the most vulnerable patients Another key opportunity is applying AI to risk stratification, as it could help to identify women who are particularly at risk and push them further up the queue for regular screening. Conversely, it would also allow the screening interval for those women at lower risk to be extended, creating a more efficient and targeted breast screening programme. For example, women with dense breast tissue have a greater risk factor than having two immediate family members who have suffered from breast cancer. What’s more, dense breasts make it more difficult to identify cancerous cells in standard mammograms. This means that in some cases cancers will be missed, and in others, women will be unnecessarily recalled for further investigation. A simple way to ensure that those most at risk of developing breast cancer are prioritised for screening and seen more regularly would be to analyse all women on the waiting list with AI-guided breast density software. This would allow clinicians to retrospectively identify those women most at risk and move them to the top of the waiting list for mammograms. In the short term, to help tackle the screening backlog, prior mammograms of women on the waiting list could be analysed using the breast density software, so that women at highest risk could be seen first. Finding new workforce models Being able to pool resources will allow resource to be matched to demand beyond borders. Globally, more than half a million women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and the majority of these occur where there is a lack of guidance to conduct the screening programme. The digital transformation of cervical screening can connect populations that desperately need screening to resources where that expertise exists. For example, developing countries in Africa could collect samples from patients and image these locally, but rely on resources in the UK to support the interpretation of the images and diagnoses. Digital diagnostics brings the promise of a ‘taxi-hailing’ type model to cervical cancer screening – connecting groups with resources (drivers with cars) to those who are in need (passengers): this is an efficient way of connecting laboratory professionals to doctors and patients around the world. It’s going to take many months to get cancer screening programmes up and running at normal levels again, with continued social distancing measures and additional infection control impacting turnaround times. But diagnostic innovation is on a trajectory that we cannot ignore. It will be key to getting cancer screening programmes get back on track. AI is a fundamental piece of the innovation puzzle and we are proud to be at the forefront of AI solutions for our customers and partners.

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Managing Your Fearful and Negative Thoughts

Article | August 27, 2021

There are times that we encounter negative thoughts that can be overwhelming. For some people, the more they try to get rid of their thoughts, the stronger they become. As a result, here is a brief list of techniques that a person can use to help manage their negative thinking. 1. Do not focus on your fearful thinking: The first thing a person must do is not to dwell on the fear provoking thought when it comes. The more a person tries to reason out on the fear behind the thought, the stronger it becomes. The next time you encounter a negative situation, get into the practice of not dwelling on it. 2. Think of a red stop sign: At times, a person might encounter a fearful thought that may be difficult to manage. When this happens, visualize a red stop sign which can serve as a reminder to think about something else. Regardless of how scary your negative thinking may be, do not dwell on it. This technique is great in dealing with your negative situations and depression. 3. Its only fear: The difference between an obsessive thought and a regular one is that an obsessive thought is based on fear. With this in mind, try to find the source of the fear behind your negative thinking and then find ways to get rid of your worries. 4. Your thoughts are exaggerated: Sometimes, a person may encounter a lot of scary thoughts coming at them all at once. Instead of getting upset, remember that your negative thinking is exaggerated with worry. Ignore the fear behind these obsessive thoughts, regardless how the strong the fear may be. 5. Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking: When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or depressed, challenge them by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. Focus on the reality of your situation and not on your negative thinking. 6. Carry a small notebook of positive statements with you: A person should keep a small notebook of positive statements that makes them feel good. Whenever they come across a positive and uplifting verse that makes them happy, write it down in a small notebook. A person can then carry this notebook around in their pocket and whenever they feel anxious, they can read their notebook. 7. Take it one day at a time: Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or month, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your situation. In addition, you will not feel overwhelmed with everything if you focus on one thing at a time. 8. Get help: Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your fears and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future.

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Spotlight

WakeMed

WakeMed Health & Hospitals is a private, not-for-profit health care organization based in Raleigh, N.C. WakeMed’s team of 8,000+ nurses, technologists and medical support staff and more than 1,000 affiliated physicians serve the residents of Wake County and beyond using the most advanced technologies and facilities to ensure the finest in health care.

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