On Zika Preparedness And Response, The US Gets A Failing Grade

There are worrying signs that the United States is unprepared to contain a likely Zika virus outbreak this summer. The critical problems are: insufficient resources for mosquito control, surveillance, and health care; highly variable capabilities and quality of service among public health and mosquito abatement authorities; and weak legal powers to implement critical interventions.

Spotlight

Catholic Health Initiatives

Catholic Health Initiatives, a nonprofit, faith-based health system formed in 1996 through the consolidation of four Catholic health systems, expresses its mission each day by creating and nurturing healthy communities in the hundreds of sites across the nation where we provide care. The nation’s third-largest nonprofit health system, Englewood, Colorado-based CHI operates in 18 states and comprises 104 hospitals, including four academic health centers and major teaching hospitals as well as 30 critical-access facilities; community health-services organizations; accredited nursing colleges; home-health agencies; living communities; and other facilities and services that span the inpatient and outpatient continuum of care.

OTHER ARTICLES
Digital Healthcare

IMMERSIVE ENVIRONMENTS COULD BE THE NUDGE WE"RE ALL LOOKING FOR WHEN IT COMES TO FRAMING BEHAVIORAL FRAMEWORKS...

Article | November 29, 2023

Yes, empathy has become a fad. Connecting to another human is actually something cool kids do now. If a brand doesn’t have an impact model that includes a practical social issue, consumers tend to not take that brand seriously. In this case, empathy needs to be revisited beyond the trend itself for these strategies to have real, lasting impact. Practical strategies around compassion meanwhile have similarly become an intrinsic part of social impact organisations. They have become so commonplace that prosocial behaviour has strayed into a kind of tokenism. It is common for instance for consumers to donate their hard-earned money to companies who focus their energies on trying to alleviate real-world issues. The question then is whether this proxy for compassion isn’t in fact watering down human connections, as well as our positive impact on the issues business and organisations seek to solve with our help. Postmodern behavioral science If it is, then we must understand why and how to change that. This is where postmodern behavioral science provides a possible better alternative to social impact strategies. Postmodern behavioral science suggests that the current approach to understanding human behaviour lacks even a rudimentary understanding of empathy, defined in the area of social impact as a discursive strategy that allows us to feel what the group we are trying to help is feeling. Of course, compassion has very close ties with empathy. Empathy is an innate ability we all have, one that we can learn to develop and fine-tune over time. It is our emotional connection to another human, though one that lies beyond our own ego. It takes the perspective of the person who is struggling and seeks to understand their life, their struggle, and their worldview. It also resolves to value and validate their perspective and experience — something that donating money to a social impact cause does not. In its broader definition, empathy is a shared interpersonal experience which is implicated in many aspects of social cognition, notably prosocial behavior, morality, and the regulation of aggression. Empathy has a host of positive after-effects when applied as an interpersonal experience. If a social impact organisation is preoccupied with raising capital, then it is likely to disregard the practical worth of empathy for those who truly want to achieve its mission. Immersive empathy One way that behavioral science can contribute is to utilise tools that can help augment the experience of those in need for those needing to understand those needs. Both AR and VR can help people visualise and follow the stories of those who require compassion. These create virtual environments for partners, governments, and consumers to experience with the people they seek to help. But of course, much of human behaviour is geared toward seeking pleasant experiences and avoiding unnecessary pain. Our in-built hedonic valuation systems guide decisions towards and away from experiences according to our survival instincts. This is precisely why business owners who want to encourage empathy in their customers go the easy route, but should seek a more participatory frameworks to inspire and provide experiences for those on board with a social mission. Then there are issues like financial literacy in underserved populations, access to clean water, education for women and girls, and environmental conservation, to name a few of the problems that social impact companies are attempting to tackle. If a company is trying to tackle an issue such as access to clean water, then rather than start there, it should first ask exactly how this issue arose and developed. It should question the beliefs that underpin this chronic social inequality, those that inform policies, practices, cultural taboos, and beliefs about water and people’s access to it. To simply respond to an issue in its developed form is to leave it unfixed. We must be willing to reverse engineer the origins of that issue that got us to where we are. In other words, human behaviour is not the only component to consider in this. The main behavioral framework public servants should take with them is to develop a nudge unit solely based on the relationship between behavioural science and technology. This is mainly because technology is an inevitable part of how we now relate to one another. Immersive Compassion meanwhile should embrace tools like AR/VR that seek to create empathetic environments and valuable impact longevity. To fully embrace empathy as an organisation is to create relevant and rigorous responses that go as far as to alter the infrastructure of its target goals. Optimising social impact comes down to optimising human experience.

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Healthtech Security

Benefits of Healthcare Branding

Article | August 31, 2023

Effective Healthcare branding changes how the public perceives a healthcare organization. Brands are all about perceptions. The way your customers perceive your organization determines your brand. That encompasses your doctors, your board members, your nurses, and your patients. The process of healthcare branding helps organizations ensure they are perceived the way they want to be; as trusted, knowledgeable, caring, and experienced. More than a tagline, name, messaging, or logo, the recognizable feeling that these elements induce is your healthcare company's brand. Healthcare branding ensures that these elements meet in a cohesive system informed by positioning and personality and are constantly implemented across your brand's touchpoints. Why is Healthcare Branding So Essential? Healthcare branding was not always so important. Patients had the freedom to select any healthcare provider. Insurance was the principal determiner of their healthcare provider. It depended upon their workplace. Those without insurance got treatment at community clinics and emergency rooms. As you know, times have changed a lot in a big way. Changing the entire healthcare landscape, the Affordable Care Act put patients in the driving seat. Most of the patients now have access to healthcare insurance and successfully manage their own health. Patients without insurance have the options of out-of-pocket online pharmacies and providers. Healthcare providers have changed their performance metrics system to value-based assessments such as patient satisfaction. More than treatment, now the emphasis is on prevention. It has become a market that is direct-to-consumer healthcare. As a result, the consumer has become the controller of the healthcare brand-consumer relationship. As patients have turned empowered consumers, the benefits of healthcare branding have grown to the point that healthcare companies cannot ignore them. If they do, it affects their business. What are the Benefits of Healthcare Branding? Effective healthcare branding, directed by research and a clear strategy, has many valuable benefits: Identify Changing Patient Needs The needs of patients today have changed from the start of COVID-19. Even when a global pandemic hasn’t fundamentally changed the healthcare landscape, patients’ needs are continually evolving. Healthcare branding gives you the tools to understand evolving patient needs better and rebrand your company to meet them. Brand research includes qualitative research (including one-on-one patient interviews) and quantitative analysis. Insights gathered from brand research are critical in optimally positioning a healthcare brand. It is vital during dynamic and unpredictable markets, as in what happened during this COVID-19. Beyond brand research, effective healthcare branding ensures your healthcare brand is continually aligned with shifting market trends and their impact on patient needs. Establish Trust It isn’t easy to think of a quality more essential to a healthcare organization's success than trust. A healthcare brand is broken or made by the degree to which it is trusted by those it serves. When it comes to healthcare branding, trust is conveyed through everything from messaging to visual identity. Photography, colors, and typography all contribute profoundly to perceiving a brand as trustworthy. In healthcare branding, verbal identity is more important than visual brand identity in establishing it as an expert in the healthcare space. Everything from a reassuring, confident voice in its website copy to guides designed to update patients on necessary healthcare topics and regular publication of articles are proven and well-known ways in healthcare branding to build up trust. Set Your Brand Apart from the Competition However, trust is not the only thing needed in the modern age for effective healthcare branding. The days, judging a healthcare organization based on its medical practice's reputation alone have gone. Patients have become empowered consumers as time passed. The competition to treat these empowered consumers too has become increasingly fierce. Here comes the importance of effective healthcare branding, tracking all your online and offline activities, and evaluating them every day. Your healthcare brand is just one among the many other brands for internet-savvy consumers to choose from. First and foremost, all consumer decisions, including patients' decisions, are based on emotions. So, you have to think of ways to persuade your consumers' feelings to help your healthcare branding in the crowded marketplace. Competitive differentiation is more vital than ever. Effective healthcare branding makes you find out opportunities and ways for differentiation in the challenging and competitive landscape. And, you can capitalize on these opportunities and ways with powerful storytelling and unique positioning. Improve the Patient Journey Patient experience, as mentioned earlier, is a game-changer in the healthcare industry today. Healthcare branding gives you various ways to shape and improve patient experience powerfully. After all, a good percentage of patient experience happens outside the healthcare facility these days. The beginning stages of the patient journey are the awareness and consideration stages. Healthcare branding tools, such as content marketing, are critical in influencing patients in these stages. A website of your healthcare brand can make or break your patient’s pre-treatment experience. It is the selection phase of the patient journey. A premium and well-designed website optimized for conversion will enrich the patients' online experience, looking to book an appointment or answer a question. Healthcare branding is helpful in defining the patient treatment experience. When correctly leveraged, healthcare branding allows your healthcare brand to enhance the patient journey from when the patient hears about the brand to the moment of finishing the treatment. At every patient journey stage, healthcare branding fosters patient trust, builds patient loyalty, and reinforces patient-provider relationships. Takeaway Modern healthcare companies are operating in a competitive landscape where healthcare branding is more important than ever. Patients have become informed and empowered consumers. Digital healthcare brands have redefined the marketplace. Healthcare branding is vital if your healthcare company hopes to stand out from the rest and develop lasting and meaningful relationships with your patients. Fortunately, there are many ways to differentiate your healthcare brand and make it sounds unique meaningfully. Positioning, identity, storytelling, and patient experience represent a powerful area where healthcare brands can better align themselves with their patients' needs and stand out from the competition. Frequently Asked Questions Why is healthcare branding important? Healthcare branding helps you effectively project the personality of your healthcare organization and products. A good thought process to brand your healthcare product will make people remember you forever. What is hospital branding? Hospital branding is the process of making your healthcare organization be perceived better by potential clients. Effective branding makes your patients remember you through the best patient experience and the organization's external look. What are the three branding strategies? There are many effective branding strategies. Line extension, brand extension, and new brand strategy are essential types of branding strategies. You can have any strategy based on the nature of your product.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Can Medical Providers Recommend E-cigarettes for Smoking Cessation?

Article | September 7, 2023

Smoking has a lot of consequences to one’s health. It can lead to cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—all of which are chronic diseases. This is part of the reason why the Health and Human Services agency reports that 70% of adult smokers want to quit. As a medical provider, adults looking to stop smoking will come to you for advice and treatment. One alternative smoking product you might want to recommend is an e-cigarette, given their prevalence in recent years. In this article, let’s take a deeper look at whether e-cigarettes’ should be recommended for smoking cessation and what other treatment options to endorse to patients. Are e-cigarettes approved for smoking cessation? Electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as e-cigarettes, are devices that vaporize nicotine-based liquid to be inhaled by its user. It almost replicates the experience of smoking a cigarette due to the device’s shape and the vapor it produces. However, the FDA has yet to approve e-cigarettes for smoking cessation because there is currently limited research on their effectiveness, benefits, and risks for the human body. Additionally, scientists at the University of California found harmful metals in the vapor from tank-style e-cigarettes. These e-cigarettes are equipped with high-power batteries and atomizers to store more liquid. These result in high concentrations of metals like iron, lead, and nickel in the vapor. Exposure to and inhaling metallic particles may impair lung function and cause chronic respiratory diseases. As such, medical providers should not recommend e-cigarettes for smoking cessation. What can medical providers recommend for smoking cessation? Smoking cessation medication Presently, two FDA-approved prescription medicines for smoking cessation are Bupropion and Varenicline. Bupropion is an antidepressant that decreases tobacco cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It does this by increasing the brain chemicals dopamine and noradrenaline. This comes in a pill and can be used alongside other smoking cessation aids. Varenicline also reduces cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It blocks nicotine receptors in the brain, decreasing the amount of enjoyment one gets from smoking. One thing to note about this is that it will take several days for Varenicline's effects to take place. Therefore, it's best to prescribe these pills 1-2 weeks before the patient quits smoking. Like Bupropion, Varenicline may be used simultaneously with other quit-smoking products. Nicotine Replacement Therapy Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a treatment involving nicotine consumption at gradually decreasing levels. This reduces the patient’s desire to smoke without them having to quit cold turkey. NRT involves using nicotine alternatives that don’t produce smoke, such as nicotine pouches and nicotine gum. Nicotine pouches are oral products containing ingredients like nicotine, flavoring, and plant-based fibers. These are placed between the lip and gum, where nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream. Different variations have different strengths. On! pouches come in different strengths: 2mg, 4mg, and 8mg. Patients may start from 8mg variants and gradually decrease this dosage as their NRT progresses. Pouches also come in a wide range of flavors—including citrus, mint, and berry—to entice users. Meanwhile, nicotine gum is chewing gum that contains nicotine. It is chewed a few times before being parked between the gums and cheek for nicotine absorption. The nicotine gums by Lucy are a significantly better alternative for tobacco users. Like pouches, this gum comes in several flavors, such as cinnamon, mango, and wintergreen, and different strengths ranging from 2mg to 6mg. Counseling The recommendations mentioned above—medication and NRT—are more effective when coupled with counseling. A Primary Care Respiratory Medicine study revealed that successful smoking cessation is best attained through pharmacological treatment and counseling. Sessions typically involve a patient meeting with a counselor and they discuss their smoking habits, possible causes, and how to mitigate them. Medical providers should include counseling in addition to medication and NRT. E-cigarettes have yet to be approved by the FDA as smoking cessation aids. For now, medical providers should provide medication, NRT, and counseling to patients who want to quit smoking.

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Health Technology

5 Ways AI is Likely to Benefit Medicine & Improve Patient Care

Article | September 12, 2023

Since ChatGPT’s launch in November 2022, artificial intelligence (AI) tools have become disruptive to nearly every industry. While there's been controversy about whether AI would benefit the healthcare industry, it has proven to be just as capable in healthcare as in other sectors. In the medical field, there is reason to believe AI tools may be an even more reliable and useful resource than other sectors. Medical students have been panicking over AI's threat to their career prospects. But as these systems mature, the experts increasingly believe that AI may serve as a counterpart to human medical expertise rather than a threat. How AI Tools Are Expected to Aid Medical Professionals? Again and again, as the debate over modern AI tools rages on, we encounter the analogy of the calculator. No one feels threatened by calculators, not even professional mathematicians. Instead of throwing up their hands, math experts embrace the power of these now archaic computerized devices. If the experts are correct, this may be similar to the future of the alliance between AI and humans. According to the designers and programmers who understand how these systems work as well as how information technology tends to progress, AI can be expected to help the medical profession in the following ways: Cosmetic Surgery Consultations One of the farthest-reaching applications we see develop is in consultations for plastic surgery and similar applications. Perhaps one of the easiest aspects to understand is hair-loss consultations. In our practice, we use a device known as HairMetrix, which uses an AI-driven analytical system to help determine what is causing a patient to lose their hair and which treatment options would be the most effective. Because it is AI-driven, it is fully based on visual scans and is completely non-invasive. Just like this, AI can be used in an abundance of other ways to minimize the use of exploratory surgery and improve healthcare outcomes. Improved Diagnostics Artificial intelligence is already helping medical providers deliver diagnoses more quickly. These tools can identify anomalies that might otherwise take human hours or even weeks to identify. This has improved the rate of cancer detection, among other things, which will predictably improve survival rates. Developing New Pharmaceuticals The development of new medicines is notoriously slow. Not only is testing a painstaking process, but even seeking FDA approval can take years. AI is expected to help the development of pharmaceuticals through simulation on the molecular level, allowing researchers to see how the active mechanisms in a drug will work in the body. Improved Administrative Efficiency In the medical field, administrative tasks are notoriously slow. It is believed that generative AI will be able to automate many administrative functions and innumerable office chores. It could streamline sorting patient files, accelerate the interpretation of data, and much more. Patient Access In an area where information technology is already improving patients' lives, access to medical advice is still a bottleneck in the system. AI tools have the potential to slowly bridge the gap in health disparities. Combined with the power to diagnose, this could dramatically increase the capability of online patient portals. Of course, this list of anticipated AI capabilities is far from exhaustive. Researchers and medical professionals have high hopes for these tools, and some are already proving to be more than mere speculation. In a world where AI is reshaping industries at an unprecedented pace, the healthcare sector stands poised to benefit significantly from this technological revolution. From streamlining administrative tasks to revolutionizing diagnostics, the potential of AI in medicine is vast and diverse. As we witness AI-enabled tools like HairMetrix, enhancing the cosmetic surgery consultations and AI algorithms expediting diagnostic accuracy, it's clear that we are only at the beginning of a healthcare transformation that is set to improve patient care, increase survival rates, and revolutionize medical practices.

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Spotlight

Catholic Health Initiatives

Catholic Health Initiatives, a nonprofit, faith-based health system formed in 1996 through the consolidation of four Catholic health systems, expresses its mission each day by creating and nurturing healthy communities in the hundreds of sites across the nation where we provide care. The nation’s third-largest nonprofit health system, Englewood, Colorado-based CHI operates in 18 states and comprises 104 hospitals, including four academic health centers and major teaching hospitals as well as 30 critical-access facilities; community health-services organizations; accredited nursing colleges; home-health agencies; living communities; and other facilities and services that span the inpatient and outpatient continuum of care.

Related News

What You Need to Know About the Zika Virus

CHI Health | February 05, 2016

A virus stirring worry globally reached the Omaha area Thursday, with two cases of the Zika virus reported in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. Health authorities confirmed the virus in two women in their 20s who had recently traveled to Zika-affected nations.

Read More

Zika Virus Worries? Here's How to Have a Safe Summer Pregnancy

CHI Health | June 14, 2016

If you're pregnant or planning to start a family soon, you no doubt have concerns about the Zika virus. How can you avoid it? Should your travels include Mexico? Get the facts about the virus from CHI Health expert Dr. Richard Starlin, infectious disease specialist, and learn about a special event planned June 23 -- Having a Healthy Summer Pregnancy -- from Lisa Strasheim, CHI Health director of women's and children's services, on the Morning Blend.

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Keeping an eye on Zika

Emory Healthcare | August 02, 2016

Jessica Fairley, an infectious disease specialist with the Emory TravelWell Center, follows news about Zika virus disease closely. She gave birth to her third child, daughter Avery, on July 25.

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What You Need to Know About the Zika Virus

CHI Health | February 05, 2016

A virus stirring worry globally reached the Omaha area Thursday, with two cases of the Zika virus reported in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. Health authorities confirmed the virus in two women in their 20s who had recently traveled to Zika-affected nations.

Read More

Zika Virus Worries? Here's How to Have a Safe Summer Pregnancy

CHI Health | June 14, 2016

If you're pregnant or planning to start a family soon, you no doubt have concerns about the Zika virus. How can you avoid it? Should your travels include Mexico? Get the facts about the virus from CHI Health expert Dr. Richard Starlin, infectious disease specialist, and learn about a special event planned June 23 -- Having a Healthy Summer Pregnancy -- from Lisa Strasheim, CHI Health director of women's and children's services, on the Morning Blend.

Read More

Keeping an eye on Zika

Emory Healthcare | August 02, 2016

Jessica Fairley, an infectious disease specialist with the Emory TravelWell Center, follows news about Zika virus disease closely. She gave birth to her third child, daughter Avery, on July 25.

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