On a global basis, courier services are a significant business. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry that’s growing at a rapid pace, with new businesses joining the market every year. But how do you know which are trustworthy? And how can you rely on them with sensitive and delicate deliveries, such as those required by medical courier services?
What’s more, what if you’re a company in need of a medical courier service but aren’t sure if any of them can meet your stringent requirements? After all, shipping and distributing medical items may be a costly and delicate procedure, and the success of delivery could be critical to your medical courier companies.
But, as they say, it’s easier said than done. Logistics management isn’t your bread and butter if you run a hospital, pharmacy, or doctor’s office. Using a typical delivery service can be dangerous, especially if they don’t meet the medical delivery criteria. When you need medication delivered from point A to point B, you want complete trust in the courier. Keep on reading the text, and you will get to know the qualities of the best medication courier services.
By Travis Schneider, founder and co-CEO, PatientPop.
Running an independent healthcare practice isn’t easy, and few practices have the resources or bandwidth to chase down late payments. While most patients want to pay their bills on time, it’s clear that many don’t – which leads to an unhealthy revenue cycle that can threaten a practice’s success and/or growth potential.
A 2019 report indicates that 22 percent of physician offices said that 10 percent or more of all patient accounts go to bad debt, which can take months or even years to recover.
For those practices that have trouble collecting timely patients, taking a closer look at the organization’s billing strategy can often reveal several opportunities to get paid faster. By evaluating current practices and asking the right questions, practices can make important changes that can improve the long-term financial health and success of their practice. If your practice is struggling to collect timely patient payments, here are the top three questions to consider:
How Does Your Healthcare Practice Handle Invoicing?
Postal mail is a nearly obsolete means of collecting payment. Thus, practices that use paper invoices sent via the U.S. postal service are less likely to receive timely payments. From delivery delays to misplaced bills or stamps, there are simply too many ways a well-meaning patient can get derailed when trying to make a payment. That’s why digital invoicing and online bill payments are the wave of the future – and savvy practices know, it not only improves revenue cycle metrics but can also enhance the patient experience.
The Patient Pop’s Patient Perspective Survey for 2021 reveals that more than 50 percent of patients prefer a digital experience when it comes to paying their bills. Digital, transparent invoicing and billing can support a healthcare practice’s patient retention strategy too.
According to the same survey, more than a third of patients (36.4 percent) have left a healthcare provider in the last two years — and many cited issues with costs or billing as a primary reason for making the switch. Acceptance of digital payments makes it fast and easy for patients to make their payments.
Many cyber gangs list ‘medical organizations’ as non-targets. But, that hasn’t stopped them from executing attacks on hospitals, health delivery organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and other entities in the sector.
Since 2020, the health sector has seen a rapid rise in cyberattacks. Ransomware has been the main form of attack.
Cybercriminals have claimed that healthcare providers have only been collateral victims. Yet, some have deliberately targeted hospitals to obtain classified medical records, transactions, and other sensitive patient data. This article will uncover the main cybersecurity challenges facing the healthcare industry, as well as some solutions to the main threats.
Top Cybersecurity Challenges for Healthcare Organizations
Ransomware gangs have stepped up their attacks on critical national infrastructure, including healthcare.
A survey from 2021 interviewed 597 health delivery organizations. 42% of them reported being victims of at least two ransomware attacks in previous years.
Ransomware is usually distributed through phishing emails containing trojan viruses. The attackers disguise the virus as a link or attachment. When a user clicks the link or downloads the attachment, the trojan is ready to strike.
Obesity comes in many forms and for many reasons. Among the various options for treatment, different approaches work for different people. But no matter the approach, treatability and successful treatment are not the same. We all understand this, to a degree. We make New Year’s resolutions and try to commit to portion control, but sticking to our plans can be difficult. For people who suffer from obesity, it’s even more challenging.
People battling real obesity are especially prone to treatment regimen non-adherence. Those who take initiative to lose weight are examined, prescribed and advised many times over on a continuous basis – it can be exhausting and humiliating, and can sometimes feel futile.
In recent years, billions of dollars have been spent on human-dependent and AI-based solutions to help patients with chronic conditions, including obesity, manage their own health. However, lack of adherence to prescribed regimens – one of the biggest challenges in chronic disease management – prevents many tech-based solutions from serving the purpose they were created to serve.
More than any other reason, such technologies fail because they are missing a critical element – emotional understanding. If one cannot understand a person on an individual level and know what makes them tick, it is all the more difficult to acknowledge the emotional difficulty of weight control. This is why many tech solutions end up contributing to guilt and self-despair instead of hope and motivation. The resulting morbidity is measurable in both quality of life and millions of lives lost each year.
Unfortunately, patient nonadherence causes more than 100 thousand preventable deaths, and costs $100 billion in unnecessary medical costs per year in the United States alone. Half or more of chronic disease regimens are ignored or misapplied.
And all because that emotional element is missing.
Treatment Must Be Both Proactive and Empathetic
Patient non-adherence is too large of a problem for medical professionals to tackle on their own. While practitioners can show genuine empathy and do their best to remain in touch with patients between sessions, guidance is simply not continuous enough to ensure adherence. Once patients leave the clinic or hang up the phone from the call center, it’s too easy to prioritize work, parenting, socializing and relaxation over prescribed regimens.
AI has stepped in, but even technologically advanced and well-funded treatments have come up short. Certain products and services should be applauded for addressing the need to create proactivity in patients. They offer reminders, encouragements and informational updates. However, these products do not offer a human-like emotional “voice” and fail due to a perceived lack of empathy. While more scalable than human-dependent solutions, they often lack warmth and understanding.
Digital therapeutics (DTx) offer a powerful and accessible source for optimism, but in order to mitigate the obesity crisis, they must augment AI.
The American healthcare system has long been burdened by interoperability issues preventing easy access to and sharing of important patient health data. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, those issues have created additional challenges for physicians, administrators, and other industry partners. If these problems persist, they could impact provider business models negatively.
Increased consolidation among physician groups during the pandemic has resulted in a corresponding increase in coding operations for many practices. Given the gap between the demand for coders and the trained talent available to meet that demand, organizations have increasingly shifted toward outsourcing to fill critical technical roles. The process of outsourcing these skills, combined with a surge in the number of labor hours needed to meet organizational objectives, could increase the time to code or decrease the quality of output, ultimately creating revenue cycle issues.
If not careful, staffing issues can cause fluctuations in data quality. With less personnel available to ensure the correct information is entered into the correct fields, some organizations have found it difficult to fully harness the power of healthcare solutions to streamline revenue management and operations. Moreover, understaffed facilities may struggle to make the changes to technologies and internal processes that would equip them to take advantage of government programs providing reimbursements for COVID patient care. New CPT codes for COVID have also required insurance companies to update their processes during the pandemic, adding complexities for providers in how quickly they can exchange medical information.
From a clinical perspective, the pandemic’s far-reaching impact on the healthcare system has manifested in the form of lost productivity, resource deprivation, HIPAA breaches, and other, often severe, consequences. However, the strain it has put on payers and revenue cycle management systems has been somewhat less visible from the public eye. In the concerted effort to support clinicians and mitigate the pandemic’s effects on frontline workers, the focus for getting the right data into the right hands to ensure services could be paid for in a timely manner was temporarily deprioritized. Unless these interoperability challenges are addressed as an industry, the cost of healthcare will continue to rise, as will the clunky experiences for both providers and patients.
Blockchain enthusiasts will be thrilled to hear that the healthcare industry is starting to widely adopt decentralized ledger technology. IT firms are now embracing the potential of this tech to improve the lives of patients and generate greater profits for large healthcare corporations. In the process, these firms are both bringing new tools to the forefront and repurposing existing medical systems.
In this article, we’ll look at three ways in which blockchain is already changing the game in healthcare.
Genome Sequencing Exchange
Nebula Genomics, a startup company from Massachusetts, plans to create a unique open-source software platform based on genome sequencing and blockchain technology. The core idea is to provide detailed DNA analysis for platform users at no cost from their own pocket.
Here, users can sell their DNA data to researchers of their choosing and get Nebula tokens in exchange for it. They can also use these tokens to buy their or their family’s data from genome sequencing. The platform will employ blockchain to secure and hide the participants’ data.
Prescription Medicine Tracking
MediLedger aims to unify a peer-to-peer messaging network with a decentralized blockchain to monitor and trace prescribed medicine and stop counterfeit receipts. Right now, the program will oversee the transfer and ownership of drug prescriptions, but there are plans to expand this network to other countries.
This project resulted from the Drug Supply Chain Safety Act (DSCSA) and FDA legal requirements for stricter control and tracing of medical prescriptions. Those rules mandate that pharmaceutical companies move to a supply chain with an interoperable system to track medications and confirm the authenticity of a returned medicine before reselling.
Chronicled, a blockchain-leveraging IT company, is building a blockchain system that will meet FDA and DSCSA requirements. This network has nodes run by participants from pharmacological companies. The blockchain network completely obfuscates supply chain handshake transactions. It is mainly used to validate the origin of serialized global trade identifiers (SGTINs) and track drug prescriptions.
Concussions are a growing concern globally, with many pushing for greater awareness and ongoing research being done with regards to managing the condition.
There are many ways to cure post-concussion syndrome, but in recent years, researchers have made advancements to incorporate technology in managing concussions.
The technology impacts both the prevention, detection, and treatment of concussions. Medical researchers now rely on impact sensors and concussion care apps to enhance healing. Here are a few ways that technology is impacting concussion management:
Impact sensors are designed to record forces transmitted to the head-on collision. The sensors can be attached to concussion safety devices like helmets, mouthguards, or on the skin to enhance efficiency. With research still ongoing, impact sensors can now assist in detecting minor concussions injuries.
Besides seeing force transmitted to the head, impact sensors can also detect early-stage concussion and collect data on the severity of the trauma. The devices are finding a place in helping stop post-concussion syndrome. Additionally, products like patches can be worn behind the ear and be used to detect concussions. Most importantly, the products can be integrated with mobile technology to communicate.
The healthcare industry promotes health by providing treatments and ensuring a better quality of patient’s life by preventing health issues. While each healthcare professional serves a vital role in this industry, nurses play a central role. Nurses educate patients on health promotion, preventing health issues and injuries, and providing the necessary care and treatment.
With the evolving healthcare industry and the increased demand for skilled care providers, the need for nurses with advanced qualifications has never been greater before. Today, most healthcare facilities hire nurses who are either RNs (registered nurses) or possess a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree.
Getting a BSN Degree
Nurses are the frontline workers in a healthcare facility as they directly contact the patient. Therefore, it becomes critical for them to have a BSN degree, to gain necessary clinical skills, and enhance their practical knowledge to provide expert care to patients. As a result, most RNs are now pursuing a BSN degree to help them get ahead in their careers.
Several institutions offer an online BSN degree program to help nurses pursue education part-time full-time. This RN to BSN online program helps them expand their knowledge of patients from diverse backgrounds, learn healthcare promotion strategies to improve patient outcomes and use information technology to manage and disseminate information for improved decision-making in healthcare.
This program offers prospective nurses multiple advantages, including high earning potential, career mobility, and career advancements, with advanced skills and knowledge in nursing practice.
As we become more aware of the factors that impact our mental well-being, we also notice an increase in specialists’ efforts to provide people with proper care and solutions. Community mental health services are part of these efforts and focus on providing specialized services outside of a hospital setting.
This way, people who don’t have the means (or knowledge) to ask for help from a mental health specialist will be able to access such services. Plus, community mental health services can provide educational support and consultations to local care providers and partners.
Furthermore, specialists who work with secure platforms like EHR for mental health have the chance to provide better insight into the mental well-being of the community they serve. They do so by collecting data from the field and using it to compile various reports and graphs that can offer a more accurate general view of the area.
Is Community Mental Health Necessary?
When it comes to mental health, we live in an era of discovery. The scientific community is still learning and discovering new aspects of what mental health is for the individual and the community.
However, the need for such a service is overwhelming. According to the World Health Organization, the pandemic triggered a 25% increase in the prevalence of depression and anxiety at a global level.
So, as the world tries to recover from the negative effects of the pandemic, we need all the support we can get. Plus, community mental health services can be a positive factor in the development of collective mental health awareness and understanding. Specialists can identify early signs of mental illness, provide guidance so individuals will know how to navigate their problems, and spread awareness in the community so everyone involved will know how to cope.
This way, we help prevent people who suffer from untreated mental illnesses from being institutionalized, as it used to happen in the U.S. prior to the Community Mental Health Act of 1963. As such, people are able to get treatment where they live (when possible), which is an important factor in a successful recovery.
Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has had major impacts in the health care industry, affecting providers and patients alike. However, it also aids the pharmaceutical sector in finding and creating the drugs that support health care through the treatment and management of diseases. Here’s a closer look at some positive changes AI could bring this year.
1. More Applications of AI for Drug Discovery
Uncovering effective drugs can be a time-consuming process. However, AI could make it faster and more fruitful.
A recent partnership between Roche, its U.S. subsidiary Genentech and clinical-stage biotech company Recursion will involve using AI to find new drug targets and accelerate this phase of development. The arrangement could lead to up to 40 programs for neurology and cancer drugs over the next decade.
However, experts warn that applying AI to drug discovery could also have a dark side. One pharmaceutical company previously used AI to find beneficial therapeutics. However, it also relied on the technology to uncover new toxic nerve agents to use as bioweapons.
In less than six hours, the algorithms had found 40,000 molecules that fit the researchers’ desired parameters. They warned that their experiment should be a wake-up call. Depending on AI to find new drugs is promising, but some people could misuse the method’s potential.