The Federal Government Needs To Take Stronger Action To Prevent Discriminatory Coverage Of Methadone

Every day, 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose. Tragically, these deaths are entirely preventable; like other substance use disorders (SUDs), opioid use disorder (OUD) is a preventable and treatable disease. There are currently three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for OUD treatment: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Despite research demonstrating their efficacy, particularly for methadone and buprenorphine, fewer than half of patients with OUD receive these medications.

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Stella Maris Inc

Stella Maris is a nonprofit, long-term care facility, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy as an affiliate of Mercy Health Services. For more than 60 years, Stella Maris has offered a comprehensive range of health and residential services for the care of the elderly from retirement through the end of life. Since 1983, we have provided both inpatient and home hospice care, having established one of the first hospice care programs in Maryland...

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

AI Governance Much Needed by Healthcare Providers : Exploring The Genuine Reasons

Article | September 8, 2023

Artificial Intelligence or AI has attained continuous evolution over the years and witnessed widespread adoption across major industries of the globe. The Forbes report of December 2021mentions that the number of AI startups since 2000 has increased 14 times, and investments in AI startups have grown six times. It underlines the fact that the AI industry, powered by its path-breaking developments and innovations, has always been an attractive and trending option in the market. Within a very few years, AI has taken over different segments of healthcare like wellness, early detection, diagnosis, decision making, treatment, research, training, public health functions (surveillance and outbreak response), virtual care etc. A study by Accenture claims that AI-enabled devices and gadgets meet 20% of the clinical demands, and this has reduced the unnecessary visits to hospitals by a great number. Applications of AI in healthcare is broadly categorised into 3 segments, namely, Patient-oriented AI; Clinician-oriented AI; and Administrative-oriented AI. The transformative role of AI in healthcare is undeniable, as it scripts new journey for patients and practitioners, alike. According to Healthcare IT News, 63% of the research subjects agree to the observation that the devices and machinery enabled by AI have provided excellent value to the specialty healthcare divisions like radiology, generic pharmacy, pathology, etc. The rapid growth of AI in highly delicate domains like healthcare calls for great promise to accelerate diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, it also puts ethics, patient safety and privacy concerns at the heart of it; thereby calling for a framework of governance. Gartner report of July 2019 predicted the application of AI in more than 75% of the healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) around the globe. Since most of these HDOs are new to adopting and applying AI-enabled machinery and services, AI governance is crucial to prevent the actions that may lead to errors, misjudgements and further chaos. Moreover, the degree of variance in the application of AI is high, and therefore it is not advised to implement the AI mechanisms without proper guidance or governance. From AI-enabled smart bands to pacemakers, the range of devices and gadgets offered by the AI industry is simply remarkable. The implementation of AI in the healthcare sector has proven to be highly effective in drastically reducing the scope of slipups. Moreover, AI has also facilitated early detection of illness with the help of daily use gadgets and devices in a smart way. At this juncture, it is equally important to create data governance framework that ensure ethical principles are applied to patient, providers and payers’ data. Further, AI initiatives by healthcare providers should be created using transparent protocols, auditable methodologies and metadata. These technologies should do no harm, reduce biases and help patients make informed decisions about their care. A significant part of AI governance also lies in change management. To build trust towards AI’s adoption across the healthcare ecosystem, there should be a dialogue between clinicians, scientists, technologist and end-users. Such discussions will address the opportunities, value and investment, including concerns across the stakeholders. In fact, prominent think tanks suggest healthcare providers to establish an AI Governance Council to monitor the value, investment and use of strategic AI capabilities. Some of the crucial roles and responsibilities for the Council include addressing legal and regulatory compliance; clinical evaluations; ethical usage guidelines and organisational deployment of AI across the system. AI is indeed a revolutionary technology that has huge surprises up its sleeves for the future. But exploring new frontiers comes with its fair share of challenges. Establishing appropriate governance over AI implementation and initiating a conversation around the ethical implications and regulations as well, will play a fundamental role in the introduction and scale-up of AI in healthcare.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Is Technology Working To Prevent Physician Burnout?

Article | August 21, 2023

Workers in the healthcare industry are among the most burned out demographics following the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, a report by Medscape on physician burnout and depression in 2022 calculated a five-percentage point increase in burnout overall, from 42% in 2020 to 47% in 2021. Critical care physician burnout was also found to increase from 44% to 51% last year, placing them at the top of Maryville University’s list of physician specialties with the highest cases of burnout. This is closely followed by rheumatology physician burnout, which was 50% in 2021. At the bottom of the list, emergency medicine physician burnout still came in close at a rate of 44%. Burnout can result in, among other things, exhaustion and a loss of concentration, which can be dangerous in healthcare. With that, advancements in technology have been made to help mitigate stress and reduce the chances of burnout in healthcare. Maximum Tasks, Minimum Efficiency Reports show that many technological advancements in the healthcare industry actually aren’t appropriate for managing physician workloads. This is due to the range of tasks physicians need to perform, from creating treatment plans to managing EHRs. Our previous discussion on EHR-Generated Messages highlighted how the misapplication of this algorithm had actually led to these inboxes getting clogged. This has primary care physicians spending more than half their workday interacting with EHRs that only remind physicians to order certain tests, instead of dealing with critical messages from patients or colleagues. This has been counterproductive in terms of efficiency, leading to more burnout symptoms and the tendency to reduce clinical work hours. It is therefore important that technology integrations consistently consider the broader picture of the tasks of physicians. Tech Developments for Reducing Burnout Shifts in the industry have thus begun to focus on the quality of efficiency and physician assistance, rather than the quantity of technology available. Here are some notable examples of technology that has become finely integrated within the healthcare industry. Ambient Technology in Clinical Documentation Ambient computing streamlines the clinical documentation process by using artificial intelligence to respond to human behavior and needs. This provides front-end speech and computer-assisted documentation, reducing the time needed for physicians to work on admin tasks, and thereby minimizing burnout. Smart hospitals have started leveraging this through sensor-based solutions, and experts from Michigan University believe usage must be made easier and simpler to use for the provider if the healthcare industry is to further leverage ambient computing for CDI. As of 2021, adoption has only started to take off, especially in the revenue cycle. Computer Modeling in Vaccine Development The traditional process of designing novel vaccines usually lasts 10 to 15 years and can cost between $200 million and $500 million. However, a feature by News Medical highlights the recent development of COVID-19 vaccines, which uncovered the capabilities of computational modeling systems. This showed an ability to predict which parts of a pathogen may be recognized by the immune system’s B cells and T cells. This allows rapid identification of vaccine targets from a genetic sequence, which reduces the years required for preclinical research. Physicians are thus able to respond faster to vaccine developments, and reduce the overload of health systems during any future pandemics or epidemics in the long term. Patient Placement Technology The shortage of physicians is a common setback in the industry, one that staff at the Rice County District Hospital in Lyons, Kansas mitigated using patient placement technology. Patient placement technology coordinated care for patients inside the 25-bed, level 4 hospital, as well as those needing to be transferred to another facility. By integrating local EMS and other transport services with health systems, manual telephone calls were no longer necessary. Hence, physicians were able to quickly and effectively get patients the care they needed while managing time-critical diagnoses. This maximizes the limited resources available without stretching out the workforce. Physicians are able to focus solely on their patients, knowing that the time-consuming logistics are being efficiently handled by technology. The industry needs to continue to look into the practices of reducing burnout among physicians, more so as we continue to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. By emphasizing physician wellness and efficient technology, we can continue to assure the health and productivity of healthcare workers into the future.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Telehealth’s Benefits for Patient-Centered Care — and Where It’s Going

Article | September 7, 2023

As the COVID-19 pandemic upended the healthcare system, hospitals and doctor’s offices doubled down on technology and implemented a host oftelemedicine services, from virtual visits to remote patient monitoring and customized treatment plans. The results were unexpected. Not only did telemedicine help bridge the gap between physicians and patients during the health crisis, but arecent J.D. Power studyfound that telemedicine also delivered increased customer satisfaction, outpacing other healthcare services. Patient-centered care played the largest role in this shift. Technologies that let staff reach patients anytime, anywhere enabled providers to shift their functional focus away from simply treating issues to building better relationships.

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

Article | October 21, 2020

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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Spotlight

Stella Maris Inc

Stella Maris is a nonprofit, long-term care facility, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy as an affiliate of Mercy Health Services. For more than 60 years, Stella Maris has offered a comprehensive range of health and residential services for the care of the elderly from retirement through the end of life. Since 1983, we have provided both inpatient and home hospice care, having established one of the first hospice care programs in Maryland...

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