Optimal Cholesterol Level

ERIC VAN DE GRAAFF, M.D. | February 27, 2012

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It’s not uncommon for people who’ve just suffered a heart attack to object to the idea of going on cholesterol medication when I make the suggestion.  “I just saw my doctor last month.  He said my cholesterol was fine.”  Since the pathology of coronary atherosclerosis invariably involves cholesterol deposition into the lining of the artery, a person with a typical heart attack has, by definition, a dysfunctional balance of cholesterol.  But I avoid verbalizing the thought that first comes to mind: Well, here you are in a hospital bed with a new stent in place.  Clearly your cholesterol can’t be that great.

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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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A snapshot of the precision medicine landscape

Article | March 4, 2020

The global market for precision medicine is projected to top more than $84.5 billion by 2024. Targeted therapies for rare, genetic diseases, cancer and chronic conditions come with the hope of a cure. Companies such as Roche, Novartis, Spark Therapeutics, Pfizer, Editas and BioMarin are among the pharma players in this space. There seem to be new developments in precision medicine on almost a weekly basis. So what do educational institutions need to do to create fertile ground for gene therapy research to produce the next generation of companies developing these therapies? And what needs to happen to facilitate data sharing, ensure access to genome sequencing and these promising therapies?

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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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Top 10 Strategies for Healthcare Digital Marketing

Article | July 22, 2020

What is Healthcare Digital Marketing Digital marketing is a new wave in the world of healthcare marketing strategy. Using advanced technologies that use online marketing platforms such as websites, social media channels, and SEO techniques, to reach potential clients with healthcare products and services encompasses healthcare digital marketing. Digital marketing in the healthcare sector makes it easier to create, communicate, and deliver health information and make interventions regarding protecting and promoting the health of diverse populations. Strategies for Healthcare Digital Marketing There are many trending healthcare digital marketing strategies you can use beneficially in healthcare, but here are the top 10 trending strategies that can help you ensure success: Create a Wholesome Patient Experience on Your Website As part of effective healthcare digital marketing for your services, crafting a patient-focused website will help to provide a seamless experience for visitors. While it is important to create a website that you can optimize for search engines, it is also crucial to simplify the process for first-time as well as repeat visitors. Use a conversational tone and features that allow easy navigation so that patients don’t feel like they are being bombarded with medical jargon. Take a look at Mayo Clinic’s homepage. A patient's needs like online scheduling, specialist lookup, and contact information are easily available, while secondary information for those who would like to explore more before they make an appointment is below. This user-friendly healthcare digital marketing strategy will help you a lot in making visitors return to your website, and when they are looking for products and services. Employ a Responsive Web Design With more people leaving the confines of PCs to use the web easily and comfortably, ensuring that your website is responsive to various types of devices is paramount. This applies more to mobile devices because Google has introduced mobile-first indexing in September 2020. Branding Matters If you want to use healthcare digital marketing campaigns efficiently you have to identify what your organization as a brand can give patients. Even if it is healthcare, where target markets and organizational priorities are almost similar, patients need differentiating factors for each healthcare provider. If you don’t want a patient to be lost in the sea of white coats, figuring out what is special about what you can offer is crucial. Make sure your organizational goals and healthcare digital marketing goals are in sync to avoid unnecessary expenditure. Analyze your competition and let that assist you in shaping the path that your healthcare digital marketing strategy will take. You can often learn a lot from a competitor’s mistakes. Provide Blog Content That Is Optimized for SEO Symptom-related searches constitute 1% of all searches, that’s millions, on Google. Use this information to your benefit when planning your editorial calendar for blogs and include it efficiently in your healthcare digital marketing strategy. While you plan around national health observances, you can integrate long-tail keywords, provide links to reputed health sites and articles within your website, and invest in healthcare digital marketing plans. The four to five listings that show at the top of Google’s organic search results page are called the local pack—this part is vital for mobile users because it is all the screen can display before the user scrolls down. If you haven’t already, you should claim your healthcare website on Google My Business and keep it updated. Apart from this, healthcare digital content marketing plans need to be optimized for healthcare-specific SEO keywords. Supplement Blogs with Video Content With more algorithms prioritizing video content, you don’t want to be left behind without any good video content. In the healthcare industry, you have the added benefit of adding to your physician’s credibility if you create edutainment videos telling patients about their area of expertise. Healthcare video marketing can help you leverage the physicians in your organization that are authorities in their respective fields of medicine. Long and scary procedures being described by certified physicians is often reassuring for patients. Likewise, patient testimonials can pay this comforting reassurance forward, resulting in building a good reputation for your organization through similar healthcare digital marketing approaches. Take Advantage of Paid Advertising After you’ve created all this carefully crafted content that is optimized for SEO, you can’t just let it sit only on your website. Sometimes even if you maintain up-to-date business listings, Google’s local pack is overshadowed by paid ads. You have to promote it on search engines and social media platforms through pay-per-click (PPC), search, targeted, and display ads. Here you need a clear healthcare digital marketing strategy. Call-only campaigns and other ad extensions can be used to promote the services you offer as well. Leverage Social Media While organic social media campaigns are great, they can only get you so far. Using it as your only social media strategy can only give you subpar results compared to paid social campaigns. A paid social media plan is more than just clicking on ‘boost’, you have to create a strategy that suits your goals, targets the audience you need, and budgets for a specific ROI. You can create highly personalized campaigns without wasting your budget and reach the patients who are most likely to find your posts useful. It can be quite advantageous if you use healthcare social media marketing to your benefit while being tasteful in what you post. A healthcare care social media platform can be included in your healthcare digital marketing strategy. Set up an Email Strategy In healthcare, there are a few types of emails you can take advantage of, like reminders for appointments and annual physicals, seasonal tips for flu season, and announcements about new technology being used in your organization. Letting opportunities like these slip by is lost chances to keep patients engaged with your services and your patients also lose out on information that potentially could have been useful to them. Including a well-planned email marketing strategy as a part of your healthcare digital marketing plan will prevent patients from marking your email as spam and give you good open rates. Setting up free subscription-based newsletters as Johns Hopkins Medicine does allows you to prevent unnecessary unsubscribes as well. Follow-up with Patient Reviews and Feedback Word-of-mouth referrals have and always will be a part of marketing and healthcare digital marketing can help you evaluate the quality of the referrals you are getting. Patient success stories often inspire and evoke emotional responses from people, apart from serving as a way to show others the quality of the healthcare services you provide. Track Your Healthcare Digital Marketing Strategies After you’ve put all this effort into creating healthcare digital marketing strategies for email, social, and video you have to analyze where your budget is being spent the most, and whether it is reaping you the kind of benefits you are expecting. Understanding and capitalizing on patient micro-moments allows you to position your brand appropriately so that you are right there when they need your services. Measuring and studying your healthcare digital marketing conversion metrics is highly beneficial when it comes to using your resources to serve your needs best. It doesn’t hurt to track all the mediums you’re using to communicate with patients including calls that are made to your front desk. Analyzing this data can help you understand the blockers that lie in the path between a patient and doctor. A laggy scheduling system, long call-hold times, and patient misinformation are just some of the revelations this analysis can bring to light. Trends in Healthcare Digital Marketing Healthcare digital marketing plans were almost non-existent, but they slowly developed to include traditional marketing like print, direct mail, television, and radio. The limitations of these media can now be overcome with healthcare digital marketing. Doctor reviews, patient discussion forums, and physician certifications and availability are now an online search away for most patients. On-demand healthcare is becoming increasingly popular, and big data is playing a pivotal role in decreasing errors via patient record analyses and creating preventative plans for recurring emergency room patients. The future even holds possibilities for telesurgeries, telemedicine continues to grow, and virtual patient treatment and other emerging technologies are changing the landscape of healthcare digital marketing. High-risk patients are being aided by heart rate sensors, oximeters, and exercise trackers paving the way for increased investment in medical devices that can be worn. These devices give people a sense of agency when it comes to their health while creating room for gamification and considerable changes in healthcare insurance. Even with all these innovative changes, for healthcare digital marketers, one aspect will remain primary and this is the patient. Gone are the days when healthcare costs were affordable and patients were not proactive in researching which healthcare provider to choose. The modern patient has to be prudent in selecting the person responsible for improving their health, and it is your responsibility as a marketer to show them why your organization is the best. Stay updated with the latest healthcare digital marketing trends with webinars as the times are changing faster than ever. Frequently Asked Questions What is healthcare digital marketing? Marketing healthcare products and services with the use of advanced digital technologies and techniques are called healthcare digital marketing. These techniques can be Google AdWords campaigns, responsive websites, SEO tactics, mobile apps, unique landing pages, social media campaigns, and email marketing programs, and much more. Why is digital marketing important in healthcare? Healthcare providers are facing challenges everywhere, especially in marketing their products and services. So, as technology is evolving, to stay competitive and continue improving the patient experience, the healthcare industry should invest in healthcare digital marketing strategies. What is a healthcare marketing strategy? Healthcare marketing strategies support and promote the practices of healthcare providers and telemedicine providers. Healthcare digital marketing strategy includes many channels and forms to target the right patients in the right way at the right time.

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Prime Cure Health is an Accredited Managed Care Organisation providing world class services ranging from capitated full risk options to the South African Medical Scheme industry to occupational wellness solutions and Managed Care programs in dental & HIV management.

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