Why Thousands of Disabled Americans Are Being Warehoused in Nursing Homes

A Senate health committee issued a disturbing report nearly three years ago: In sharp contravention to the Americans with Disabilities Act and a landmark 1999 Supreme Court ruling, many states were warehousing patients with serious but manageable illnesses such as diabetes, blindness and mental illness in nursing homes. Frequently, this was being done against the patients’ will. Instead of spending available federal and state Medicaid funds on community-based or home care to handle these patents, a majority of states were using the more expedient and less costly option of sending them to nursing homes, many of which had empty beds and were eager for the business.

Spotlight

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

The first non-profit outpatient mental health clinic in Los Angeles County, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services was founded to help adults cope with the effects of the Great Depression. Over the years, we have evolved in response to the needs of our increasingly complex community.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

The promising future of Wellness Industry in India

Article | August 21, 2023

In today's uber-fast-paced world, the human race, in general, has gotten highly comfortable running on all cylinders in the rat race of life, especially people in India. Our country is a land where opportunities are aplenty, and competition is ever-present, which makes every day life so tedious and constant that taking a breather is something that people can rarely afford. This has led to increasing cases of anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and insomnia. These cases rose to such high numbers that it gave way to one of India’s most prominent industry sectors: The Wellness Industry. Though the industry captured global attention between 2015 and 2017, a study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that the wellness industry is currently valued at $1.5 trillion globally. This sudden boom can be attributed to the realisation that it is more important to remain healthy than getting healthy. Furthermore, the report, produced after analysing 7500 consumers in six countries (including India), has offered keen insights into consumer behaviour. When it comes to wellness consumers, their trends can be grouped into six categories: Health: People are now investing in many remote medical devices that can constantly monitor their state of well-being. With the increase in popularity in digital wearables, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring services, this trend is bound to increase. Fitness: People are exercising more. Whether it’s jogging, going to the gym, investing in a pedometer, FitBit, etc., there has been a steady increase in people exercising more. Nutrition: Dieting has always been a significant part of being healthy. An increase in dietary food, supplements, nutrition coaches can be observed in recent years. Aesthetics: With a major chunk of India’s youth population getting invested in their social media, notably the pictures that they post, aesthetic well-being has seen a sharp increase. This includes investments in specific Athleisure clothing apparel (Nike, Addidas, Puma), skincare products (collagen supplements, face masks), and plastic surgery. Sleep: Burning the midnight oil is counterproductive. There has been a steady increase in consumers willing to invest in sleep medications, specialised mobile applications that track their sleep and the state of their sleep, ASMR generating devices, White noise devices, and other products that can enable a consumer to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Mindfulness: Introspection, understanding the body and its processes to the molecular level, and figuring out ways to implement clarity of thought and methods for improving focus have been huge draws for the wellness industry. Furthermore, with central government’s schemes like AYUSH and the introduction of International Day of Yoga by the United Nations, this particular trend has seen enormous growth. Impact of these trends on the future of Indian wellness industry Organic Products: According to APEDA, India has become one of the largest producers of organic products. A growing number are actively investing monthly in organically grown produce, meat that is organically processed, oil that is wood-pressed or cold-pressed, cosmetics made from organic materials, and clothes made from pure cotton instead of manufactured materials. People becoming more conscious of what they put in their bodies has led to a steady increase in organic shops across India. Exercise, Dieting & Nutritional Supplements: From using simple Calcium supplements and energy drinks to adhering to a strict diet regimen, today’s consumers are genuinely worried about falling sick. This has led to an increase in purchasing supplements. Another trend can be observed where an increasing number of consumers have started buying vitamin, Zinc, and iron tablets, to shore up immunity. Furthermore, Indians have begun consuming gluten-free cereal, cold-pressed juices, Kale products, Avocados, and other food products recommended to be healthier alternatives. Indians have also become BMI-conscious, and an increasing number of them have started to invest in gyms, yoga/cardio classes, exercise-wear, sports wearables, and other products that can enable a person to work out more effectively. Constant Increasing Demand for Oxygen: Even before the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, getting access to 99% breathable oxygen has pure oxygen was a necessity considering the rising concerns of pollution in Indian cities. As per the ‘World Air Quality Report, 2020’ prepared by Swiss organisation, IQAir, 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, with Delhi being ranked as the most polluted capital city globally. Moreover, people who indulge in extreme physical workouts exercise, or suffer from high-altitude sickness, need oxygen handy to maintain their wellbeing. In India, prominent wellness companies like UCS Wellness Pvt Ltd have made significant strides to ensure that every individual has access to oxygen through their innovative specially outfitted 18-litre aluminium-bottled oxygen cans of 18 litres under their brand gO2therapy. With the pollution rate showing no signs of slowing down, and the steady increase in demand for oxygen, it would be no surprise to find every household medical kit fitted with a portable oxygen cylinder. Transitioning to Digital Platforms: With the increase in popularity of Telemedicine and Remote-patient monitoring, healthcare and the wellness industry are gaining an aggressive online presence. There are many online exercises/online videos, fitness apps, meditation apps, motivational apps, power coaches, and so much more. Indians find it easier to use these online tools combined with a digital wearable to keep their well-being in the best of conditions. Investing in Social Media Influencers: With the increase in online dependence, the voice of social media influencers is soon to be gospel when it comes to maintaining a fit body and healthy mind. Much like how mainstream celebrities endorse various products, the wellness industry has seen great rewards in deploying online influencers to support their products. Typical examples can include a famous workout specialist advertises particular apparel, gadget, energy drink, or brand of Whey Protein distributors as part of their video. Alternatives to Allopathy: In the Indian market, the wellness industry has seen a shift in paradigm where an increasing number of consumers opt for Siddha, or Ayurveda substitutes, instead of conventional medicine. This is seen more in the age group of 40+. This particular age group has patients with a long history of high BP, high cholesterol, and other ailments that require continuous monitoring and medication. They feel that the healthier choice is in traditional medicine or treatments like Panchakarma, Ayurveda, or Siddha. Conventional medication provides them with little to no side effects, which is the primary reason for its increasing popularity. India is expected to become a wellness hub in the global community following a 12% growth per annum. The Make in India initiative is expected to bring in more investments and opportunities in this sector. The Ministry of AYUSH, with a separate department for Yoga, has been exempted from service tax. A budget of around ?3,400 crores has also been earmarked to be spent over the next five years to help set up and strengthen Ayush Wellness Centers under the National Ayush Mission. This has sparked an increase in startups and businesses focusing on the wellness sector. Meanwhile, the global pandemic is also giving rise to a new consumer behaviour called wellness rebound where they are becoming more health-conscious and striving towards regaining their health soon after recovering from an illness. Considering the aftermath of the pandemic, the aggressive implementation of technology, and the constant consumer market in India, it can be inferred that the wellness industry will evolve and expand further with little to no backslide.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Managing Your Fearful and Negative Thoughts

Article | August 16, 2023

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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Healthtech Security

Digital Innovation – a pathway for better life!

Article | November 29, 2023

Throughout my professional carrier, I iused to visit many companies involved in drug discoveries and had seen the challenges they go through. Some are pleasant as the investigational molecules were moving forward in value chain whereas few faced bottlenecks at the end. The association with Pharma industry over the years had taught me about many new ideas and allowed me to see that how innovative ideas are impacting our social and scientific world to a great extent. The changes we see today, are the results of ideas came from various quarters globally and I feel digital innovation had shaped today’s world differently. The impact of digital platform in today’s Pharma world is a “Game-Changer". Innovation is a continuous process which simplifies challenges into reality and plays a very important role in our society. Centuries ago, scientists used to spend years in laboratories to understand material science. The chemical science evolved around discovering elements, synthesis of compounds or even isolating products from natural resources. Today’s world is highly indebted to those discoveries and efforts and modern science has gradually moved towards digital platform. Last few decades, innovations based on new technology platforms has made huge impact in scientific discoveries and few such ideas and action I feel has brought significant changes. Our lifestyle and social environment have witnessed deep impact due to such innovation. The chemical science is evolved not around only chemists today but have huge influence of mathematicians and technologists for faster development. Advancement of digital science, new algorithms to solve the problems has modified the way of drug discovery to a great extent. In the recent past, we were heavily depended on big machines, but innovation has brought the whole items in a small packet now. The technology platform is modified, speed has increased in identifying new drugs with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is accelerating the drug discovery and development processes. Today’s Pharma industries for commercial supplies are now depended on automation, optimization of the manufacturing processes, as well as designing effective marketing and post-launch strategies. The process is aimed to have better control on the operation, improving safety and better predictability of quality. For conducting clinical trials, identifying patient’s profile, an eligibility criteria is crucial which has been made by the processes being faster and cost effective by introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI). Earlier when focus was to identify the origin of life, finding new elements, compounds or building blocks, today’s world is heavily dependent on data or ‘Big Data’. The amount of information available throughout drug discovery and development process, analyzing, interpreting, and predicting right candidate require high-performance systems to analyze data properly and derive value from it. There is advancement of analytical techniques, which provides more accurate information about the clinical trial reports and the data across patient pool, zeroing down towards right candidate is a real challenge and there are several AI enabled tools available where the processing time is reduced significantly which might have taken several years. The exciting part is that innovation is not only limited to laboratory work but works in coordination of mathematical interpretations, data analysis and provide significant clues to develop new molecules and even provide approach towards therapeutic categories. Currently available advanced technologies enhance drug development process, making it less time-consuming and cost-effective process where AI can recognize hit and lead compounds, and provide a quicker validation of the drug target and optimization of the drug structure design. Data scientists play a very significant role in all these activities. Innovation focusing personalized medicine is now a reality and companies involved in such basic research have made breakthrough to understand how the human body responds to drug. Software solution is also available for simulating effects of drugs in patient body based on individual characteristics, scientific data for real time prediction of efficacy and drug interaction on individual. These predictive models are shortening drug discovery pathways to a great extent. Small molecule drugs or even large molecules development are heavily depended today on such modelling and predictive approach. The aim to reduce cost of drug development, shortening discovery path, focus on clinical trial mechanism is more productive with a higher success rate. During the pandemic period, in a shortest possible manner, several companies started working to develop new drugs or vaccines using drug-specific exposure models for drugs under investigation for the treatment of Covid-19. Similarly, discovery platform is also working on cutting edge technology ‘Organ-on-a-chip’ that can emulate the physiological environment and functionality of human organs on a chip for disease modeling, mimicking the impact and could be a game changer in future. I will be happy to see when technology platform can accurately predict human mind and with the help of AI, can find a probable solution to avoid any such complex conflicts. It would be interesting to see that AI is analyzing and predicting the chemical change in the bodies impacting human mind and analysisng it quickly to predict psychological behavior of the patient and guide physician for right therapy. This may lead to predicting problems one may face in old ages where the decays may be prevented at early stage. This is a challenge but understanding and predicting psychological behavior may improve patients’ life. Depression and its remedy may be based on understanding changes, patterns of physicochemical behavior and its impact during mood swing and predicting such things in advance by using the advanced AI tools could be a game changer. Another path breaking development where technology involving both engineers and scientists to help drug design to obtain maximal therapeutic benefits for patients including designing drug delivery systems and biomedical devices is 3D-printing technology. This involves high end computer simulations making analysis faster and predictive than before. Influence of 3D printing in designing variety of dosage forms has simplified its preparation. Though further study is under progress but the technology implementation at late has reduced cost of drug development to a significant extent and will add value in future drug development. It is interesting to see how this 3D printing technology works on human brain mapping and predicting a right path for treatment for betterment of large patient pool. Today with advanced technology, we are now more dependent on machines, limited close interaction with our near and dear ones, but created more friends on social platform. Though life looks easy, but over dependent on machines is creating another complex environment and this growing complexity may change the disease pattern. It will be interesting to see that how these technology platforms improve further to ease out such complexities for a healthy future.

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Health Technology, Medical Devices

Maximizing Efficiency in Hospital Management Systems with EMRs

Article | May 22, 2023

EMRs have transformed how healthcare organizations handle patient data, improving efficiency and reducing errors. Hospitals can utilize them to enhance patient care and optimize management processes. Contents 1. Understanding Hospital EMR Systems 1.1 EHRs vs. EMRs 2.Role of EMR in Improving Hospital Management System 3. Resolving Challenges in EMR Implementation 4. Revolutionizing HMS with Next-Gen EMR Innovations 5. Key Takeaways 1. Understanding Hospital EMR Systems Electronic medical records (EMR) systems in hospitals, as digital adaptations of traditional paper charts, have become an integral part of modern healthcare. They encompass vital patient information, such as diagnoses, medical histories, lab results, medications, and physicians' notes. These systems enhance workflow efficiency by streamlining clinical processes, reducing manual tasks, and facilitating quick access to patient data. By eliminating paperwork and manual searching, EMR hospital software saves valuable time and allows healthcare providers to focus more on patient care. With improved access to comprehensive and accurate information, EMR systems contribute to enhanced patient care, treatment planning, and coordination among healthcare teams, ultimately leading to better outcomes for patients and healthcare institutions. 1.1 EHRs vs. EMRs Electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs) are two electronic systems used in modern healthcare to manage patients' medical information. While both aim to improve the quality of healthcare and patient safety, EMRs stand out for their ability to enhance workflow efficiency, improve patient care and safety, and offer better control over data security and privacy. Compared to EHRs, EMRs are more straightforward to use, less expensive, and do not require as much implementation complexity. Choosing between EMRs and EHRs ultimately depends on the specific functions that best serve the needs of the medical facility. Medical practitioners can find EMRs to be a compelling option due to their affordability and simplicity, as well as their ability to manage medical records securely and effectively. 2. Role of EMR in Improving Hospital Management System The Hospital Management System (HMS) covers three vital areas of hospital management, namely - Operations, Finance, and Clinical. The clinical aspect of the system includes EMR, which provides medical practitioners with a range of advantages, such as • EMRs facilitate quick transfer of patient information between different departments. • The digital record-keeping environment helps save a significant amount of space. • EMRs can help practitioners increase the number of patients they can see, leading to improved productivity and workflow. • Reduced errors in medical practice can result in better patient care and management of test results. • EMRs can reduce operational costs, especially in relation to overtime labor and transcription services. • EMRs can be customized and scaled to meet the specific needs of medical practice. • EMRs allow for advanced clinical documentation and e-prescribing. • EMRs enable more efficient and accurate billing processes for healthcare practices. In terms of benefits to patients, EMRs can improve the treatment and diagnosis of diseases,facilitate rapid decision-making and coordinate care among medical professionals assigned to individual patients,with a reduced likelihood of significant errors in a patient's health record. 3. Resolving Challenges in EMR Implementation EMR integration is vital as more healthcare organizations adopt hospital electronic medical records. However, the process can be time-consuming and challenging. Here, we will discuss the top six challenges of integrating EMRs as well as ways to overcome them Standardizing Data Formats Data compatibility is one of the primary challenges in integrating EMRs. The diverse formats in which various EMR systems store data can pose a significant hindrance to integration efforts. Addressing this obstacle requires identifying a viable approach for converting the data into a standardized format that is compatible with both systems. Coding Incompatibility Dealing with varying coding standards is another significant challenge that arises during EMR integration. The utilization of distinct coding standards across different EMR systems can pose a considerable challenge to the integration process. To overcome this hurdle, one must devise a solution to map the codes from one system to the codes in the other system. Data Security EMR integration raises significant security concerns that require attention. Securing the data and restricting access to only authorized users are critical aspects that necessitate appropriate security protocols. To ensure data safety and confidentiality, it is imperative to establish sound security measures. Maintaining Data Quality Integrating EMR systems carries a risk of data loss or corruption, making it crucial to prioritize data quality. To address this challenge, it is imperative to establish effective measures that ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data. Ensuring Optimal Functionality Following the integration of EMR systems, it is crucial to conduct rigorous testing and validation to ensure that the systems are functioning optimally. Despite the potential costs and time investments involved, it is necessary to prioritize this step to avoid complications and setbacks in the future. Cost Management Integrating EMR systems can be a significant financial undertaking, necessitating careful planning and budgeting. It is essential to factor in the costs of licenses, hardware, software, and services when embarking on an integration project. To address this challenge, one can explore cost-saving measures such as negotiating with vendors or implementing open-source software. 4. Revolutionizing HMS with Next-Gen EMR Innovations In the coming years, emerging trends in EMR are expected to have a significant impact on the hospital management system. It is crucial for hospital EMR management to keep a close eye on these developments and stay informed of the latest technological advancements to provide optimal care to their patients. Adapting to the evolving landscape and staying current with these changes will be essential for hospital management systems to continue providing high-quality care and remain competitive in the healthcare industry. Cloud Computing It refers to the instant digitization of medical records and easy access to them. It is a significant trend in the development of electronic medical records (EMR). However, there are challenges in transferring data between databases. It proves to be a boon when medical staff is scarce as it allows easy access to patient records. Moreover, Cloud Computing in EMR technology can provide healthcare providers with quick access to patient data, which can enable them to provide timely and appropriate care. RPA Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to the computerization and digitization of data. In the healthcare industry, RPA can alleviate the burden of manual labor and provide more precise and reliable data. Sophisticated software and techniques are utilized to derive this data, addressing the problem of inefficiency in EMR without necessitating a complete overhaul of the system. RPA is also a time-saving process that enables medical staff to allocate their time more effectively to crucial tasks. Additionally, RPA can reduce the need for manual labor, resulting in cost savings. Revamping EMR with IoT, AI & Voice Recognition The integration of IoT, artificial intelligence, and voice recognition in healthcare has significantly aided in the development of EMR. This combination has the potential to transform the healthcare industry by providing precise and swift data, which could prove critical in saving numerous lives. By combining these three technologies, more accurate data can be obtained, further enhancing patient care. Big Data and 6G Networking for Healthcare Analysis Big data analysis helps generate medical records by collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources. This approach provides precise insights that benefit both patients and medical professionals. The sixth-generation network, currently in development, has the potential to transform healthcare. By improving the speed of data transfer and communication between remote locations, this new network will facilitate the digitization of medical records and lead to the development of improved EHR and EMR systems. Wearable Devices for Better Patient Monitoring Various wearables with sensors can monitor patients' daily activities and later be integrated with EMRs for better healthcare. The wearables track patients' medical activities and vitals like heart rate and temperature. Integrating these wearables with EMRs provides timely information to healthcare centers, leading to improved care and treatment. 5. Key Takeaways EMRs have the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry by enhancing patient care quality, productivity, and outcomes. However, implementing EMRs entails significant changes that require strong leadership support, dedicated physician champions, efficient training and optimization, and flexibility from the implementation team. Targeted training and support for specific components of the EMR system, such as patient portals and documentation tools, can help users adopt the system more efficiently and reduce the impact on productivity. By following a well-planned implementation strategy, healthcare organizations can harness the benefits of EMRs while minimizing disruption to their operations. Overall, EMRs offer solutions that create a secure and efficient platform for healthcare facilities and patients, helping to promote better connectivity and healthier lifestyles. The demand for EMR systems is pressing and vital in the current scenario, as the developments in the EMR industry indicate that they will play a critical role in revolutionizing the medical sector.

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Spotlight

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

The first non-profit outpatient mental health clinic in Los Angeles County, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services was founded to help adults cope with the effects of the Great Depression. Over the years, we have evolved in response to the needs of our increasingly complex community.

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