How MRI Can Determine Disease Diagnosis?

Mri, Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Even though all of us would love to remain fit and healthy, we are bound to fall sick some time or the other. Luckily, modern medicine has advanced significantly and has improved the levels of public health. Whenever you visit a doctor, he or she uses modern methods and technologies to diagnose the problem.

These new methods and technologies have greatly improved the efficiency and accuracy of the diagnosis made by the doctors. MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is one such modern technology that is used for diagnosis. The MRI uses strong magnetic and radio waves to produce clear and accurate images of the internal organs of the body. These images which are generated by the MRI can be used to diagnose ailments that are present in the inner tissues.

What results can you expect from the MRI test?

Here are a few of the numerous advantages of Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI:

1.    Important diagnostic tool

MRI has become an important diagnostic tool in modern times, and a lot of doctors have started using this technology. MRI ‘doesn’t help in the treatment of an ailment but helps doctors in identifying it. It is relatively safe to use, and hence, many doctors recommend MRIs whenever some have pain or discomfort in their tissues. MRI can provide images of all internal organs and can consequently be used to diagnose a host of diseases.

2.    Non-invasive

One of the reasons why doctors readily prescribe MRI tests is that it’s completely non-invasive. Since no cuts or incisions need to be made, the patient is fit to resume a healthy life immediately after the test. It is an entirely painless procedure. It allows doctors to observe the deep tissues in patients which cannot be reached easily through invasive techniques. The use of radio and magnetic waves eliminate the need for the invasive examination.

3.    Cross-sectional images

Before MRI scans, X-ray scans and CT scans were accessible amongst patients and doctors alike. This technology, however, was outdated and lacked several aspects which necessitated the entry of MRI into this field. None of the earlier technologies could produce 3-D cross-sectional images of the internal organs of the body. MRI scans produce 3-d cross-sectional pictures of the body with high accuracy. This advantage of MRI quickly allowed it to take over the healthcare market and become a popular diagnostic tool.

4.    Painless

One of the biggest benefits of MRI is that it is a completely painless procedure, and this has made this method popular amongst patients. This method is not just effective and accurate but is also patient-friendly. Since there is no invasion or poking required, the procedure is painless. All a patient has to do is lie down inside the MRI machine, and the tool does all the rest using radio and magnetic waves that it generates. Even though the waves penetrate the body, the patient feels nothing and is free to resume normal activity after the test.

5.    Can diagnose a host of diseases

The strength of the MRI is in its versatility. MRI is not something that is performed for a particular disease. It is something that can be used to diagnose a host of diseases since all it does is provide a clear image of the internal organs. MRIs can be used to diagnose various heart and vascular diseases. It can also help in determining cases of strokes. Bone and other tissue disorders are being actively diagnosed using MRIs. MRIs can prove to be a vital tool incorrectly diagnosing an ailment before beginning with the appropriate treatment.

6.    Helps in diagnosing cancer

Cancer is a deadly disease with one of the highest mortality rates in the world. Cancer can be difficult to diagnose since it occurs deep within the soft tissue of humans. MRI comes to the rescue here and is being used to diagnose several types of cancers actively.

MRIs have finally provided means to non-invasively diagnose cancer, while the other method (biopsy) requires invasion. The bright and sharp 3-D cross-sectional images allow doctors to identify cancer growth and prescribe appropriate treatment visually.

MRI allows doctors to diagnose cancer even when a biopsy is not possible. MRIs have helped in saving a lot of lives by enabling doctors to diagnose the incidences of cancer correctly.

7.    No manual labor required

MRI machines are large pieces of equipment that are easy to operate. One does not have to manually do anything to the patient apart from asking the patient to lie down. There is no surgical expertise required to produce an MRI machine. MRI technicians are usually not even doctors, and they can correctly use the computer. This lack of manual labor makes the operation of MRI machines easier and has resulted in propagating their spread across different geographies.

8.    Computerized

Another significant advantage of MRI is that the whole system is entirely automated. A patient has to lie down, and the machine does everything and else. This has dramatically increased patient compliance in terms of MRI scans.

After completing an MRI scan, the computer generates a report almost instantly, which can be used by doctors in their diagnosis. This level of automation in the case of MRIs has dramatically reduced the scope of human error. Computerized results are quick and can be relied upon to deliver a definitive diagnosis. This also allows ease of access and ease of interpretation of the complex data that an MRI machine generates.

9.    Can be done on almost anyone

The MRI machine is extremely patient-friendly, and it can accommodate anyone. There are no restrictions in terms of age when it comes to getting an MRI. Moreover, any allergies that a patient may have become irrelevant when it comes to MRI. Thus, MRIs are safe and can be done to anyone as long as the doctor prescribes it.

People with metallic implants or cardiac pacemakers should avoid getting MRIs as the metal will react to the magnetic waves that MRI machines produce. Thus, after a quick verbal confirmation regarding the absence of implants, a patient is ready to go for an MRI scan. Patient-friendly MRIs are done at places like Express MRI and many more such establishments.

10.    No radiation involved

The earlier method of X-rays leads to exposure to harmful X-rays, which can cause permanent damage to the body. This radiation exposure is dangerous and should be avoided, but unfortunately, there was no way to do this until MRI came along.

Undergoing an MRI scan does not expose the patient to any harmful radiation. The radio and magnetic waves used are quite safe and have no permanently damaging effects. X-rays, on the other hand, can cause permanent damage to the ‘patient’s body.

Final thoughts

We hope that what you read above has taken away any fear you had related to having an MRI. ‘Don’t be reluctant to get an MRI if it has been prescribed and try to choose a reputed place to get the test done.

If you found this kind of test an interesting one to go through, we are afraid you cannot randomly have yourself checked without a prescription.

How Technological Innovation Is Revolutionizing Healthcare

When we think about the undying importance that technology has on every aspect of our lives, we can’t help but wonder what our life would be without those marvelous miracles. From a door hinge to the screen you are reading this on right now, it’s all possible due to technological breakthroughs by people of immense importance.

But let’s move above the personal dimension and think about the bigger picture — what about technology being put to use for building bridges, harnessing clean water and saving humanity? These experiments and scientific inventions are utmost crucial for our development as a whole society. The most significant impact of scientific innovation has been on the healthcare industry.

Many philanthropists firmly believe that technology is like a big treasure chest. It can be used for the evilest of activities, but if put to use for the society’s welfare, this treasure chest has the potential to impact billions of lives. That is why the “technology” element in healthcare is what’s driving many people to change things for the better.

Following this principle of common welfare to make healthcare accessible to all the people, there have been many technological innovations to change the game. Some have been big enough to wipe out epidemics and some so small yet indispensable. Let’s look at some of them to figure out how they helped.

1.    Electronic Health Records

This is often overlooked in the medical industry, but Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have made healthcare a whole lot efficient. Enovate Medical — the EHR connoisseur that specializes in manufacturing state-of-the-art EHR workstations suitable for every hospital and clinic, shows how much time, effort, and paper is saved due to EHRs. If you want to check out the best range of EHR workstations, do give them a visit.

2.    Artificial Intelligence

This term is thrown around way too often these days in every vertical of business. In the field of healthcare, AI has been more useful than any other piece of technology. AI algorithms that emboss medical records, medical design plans, and even craft sensitive drugs with the highest precision are doing their bit to develop the healthcare sector. AI has made exquisite discoveries in the field of healthcare, and techies are foraying into new territories to see what else can be done.

3.    Virtual Reality

 Although the term “VR” is often used in entertainment, media, and gaming, patients and physicians are making the most of it as well. Virtual Reality is being used continuously by pediatric surgeons to teach kids about biology and also to distract them from whatever procedure they’re going through. VR is used to give the doctors a perspective from the patient’s viewpoint—something that makes them aware of what the patients feel like.

4.    Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is a much denser concept than VR. Remember Pokémon Go? That was the first time smartphone users got up close and personal with AR, and since then it’s become more significant than just life. Nearly all of the medical schools use AR to conduct simulated seminars for students, providing them that much-needed experience which might take up too many resources if done in real sense. Many surgeons simulate surgical procedures to revise before the actual D-day.

5.    Smart Health Trackers

If you’ve noticed a trend in technological advancements, then you might’ve realized that it’s all about making things more handy, compact, and easy to use. At this very moment, the health tracker market is being dominated and played by the biggest tech giants. With the likes of Apple and Fitbit scouring for their share, this helps users in keeping track of their health. This leads to significant changes in the lifestyle just because people know what’s up with their health, and it couldn’t be possible without technological advancements.

6.    All-in-one Health Monitor

Remember how we always fantasize things that might become true shortly? The healthcare industry is in constant pursuit to give birth to a device which examines the patient’s basics in one go—just like in sci-fi movies. This superficial diagnosis machine isn’t on the market, but with smartphones providing valuable data and everything being online, it can be done. We have to wait and watch!

7.    Immaculate Drug Development Procedures

Drugs are the most expensive commodities in the world—for the producers, that is. We get subsidized rates and thanks to Uncle Sam, they cost cents on the dollar. It’s not just the cost of drugs, but the efforts that make them expensive. But with automation and robotics, the production costs have been cut down by a margin. Not only does this ensure lower prices but lesser mistakes due to cutting edge technological procedures.

8.    Nanotechnology

Here’s another term that’s thrown around a lot when healthcare and tech are talked about—nanotechnology. If you’ve watched enough spy movies, you might’ve seen remote-controlled nanoparticles blowing minds. Nanotechnology, if successful, can turn out to be massive development in finding a cure for cancer. Drugs are usually injected, swallowed or inhaled after which there’s a gestation period before they start working. With nano-tech, drug delivery will be quicker and more precise.

9.    Robotics

We talked about robotics a while ago, and this medium of getting things done through the machine has lead to miraculous results. Robotics has given rise to advanced physiotherapy techniques, preventive and curable surgeries, and rehabilitation procedures. With the science of bionics, many specially-abled people have been able to make their lives easier.

With bionic arms and legs assisting amputees, the quality of life has improved by significant margins for people who had it all tough. But robotics is not just for the patients, and they help in many ways. Ranging from smart surgical instruments to interactive companions that help patients suffering from depression, robotics are covering every dimension of healthcare to change it for better things in times to come.

And of course, then there are the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Google—who have combined robotics with AI to make technology interactive through smartphones. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant are very much every person’s best friend and personal assistant.

10.    3-D Printing

3-D printing is already being utilized in the most sensitive of surgeries and operations by doctors throughout the globe. 3-D printing can be used for printing tissue cells with blood vessels, synthetic skin, and even bones. The prosthetics industry is not able to serve more people than before because 3-D printing is inexpensive, and prosthetic limbs can be customized according to every person’s necessity.

The Future Is Bright for Health Tech

If healthcare and technology join forces, then this optimistic and productive duo can make the world a better place. We are in that stage of development where every day we discover something new, and with every innovation, there’s a chance for us to make this world a better place to live.

Be it Enovate Medical’s extensive range of EHR Workstations of 3-D printed prosthetics and AI-supported surgeries, all of this has one single objective—to use technology for the people’s welfare and to ensure that our children grow in a happy place that’s free of ailments.

Hacking A New Way of Life: Insulin Pump Users Take Innovation Into Their Own Hands

By Vidya Murthy, vice president of operations, MedCrypt.

Type 1 diabetes is a way of life. It is a chronic condition in which the pancreas creates little to no insulin. Those living with the condition, or type 2 insulin treated diabetes, must diligently monitor their carbohydrate intake, at a per-gram precision, to calculate and manage insulin levels. This occurs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This means regularly getting up in the middle of the night when a glucose monitor alarms as insulin levels either spike or drop precipitously, calculating insulin requirements and then either administering an insulin injection or eating something.

Technology over the last 20 years has transformed how treatments are planned and delivered, namely two separate hardware components evolved 1) In the 1970s, pumps were developed that could dispense insulin and 2) In 1999, the continuous glucose monitor eliminated the finger prick for point-in-time insight, and instead continuously tracked sugar levels. These devices were clinical leaps that advanced the quality of care for patients, but these technologies did not evolve ‘together.’ They lacked the ability to connect with each other and thus required that patients actively participate in the delivery of care. 

Patients were looking for a solution and began to develop their own alternative. “Looping,” as the solution became known in the diabetic community, involved overriding the default algorithm that came with a pump and feeding data from a glucose monitor into the calculation. Doing this required multiple pieces of technology to be connected into a system that could be managed by an end-user. It allowed diabetics to experiment with treatment plans — something device manufacturers and the FDA could neither regulate nor monitor.

Devices that allowed this level of manipulation were not commercially prevalent, as manufacturers continuously work to improve the security posture of their products. It therefore became common to source a legacy pump off eBay or Craigslist from others in the community. Once these devices were procured, there are multiple open source solutions available to enable even those who are not tech-savvy to build a system that works for them. Patients were clearly looking for a solution that was not available on the market and found a way to change their quality of life by hacking existing technology.

“Looping” introduced a variety of concerns, including whether patients truly understood the calculations that had been introduced and how manipulations of those calculations impacted patient care. This unregulated solution meant a level of uncertainty around security as well — could a malicious actor intentionally manipulate a solution to cause harm to an individual?

Many in the community cited parallels to open-source software as a response to these concerns, arguing continuous improvement of open source solution is more secure than proprietary solution development. The FDA’s regulatory purview does not seem to extend to the solution at this time as there is no commercial gain nor medical advice being dispensed from this community.   

In 2006, the first project to pursue an artificial pancreas was launched. With time and more research, automated insulin delivery, also known as a closed-loop system, became the modality of care preferred by both clinicians and patients. This meant that a continuous glucose monitor would provide data to an insulin pump to manage a patient’s needs. Industry leader Medtronic was the first to make this technology commercially available in September 2016.

Cost considerations, personal preferences and the idea of control continue to fuel the DIY-artificial pancreas community’s efforts to equip patients to manage their own care. Even as the FDA advocates for more rigorous cybersecurity controls being built designed into devices, the impact of patient-hacked solutions is indelible in the larger ecosystem and will continue to inform the evolution of commercially available solutions.

7 Ways AI Is Changing Medicine As We Speak

Artificial intelligence is a topic that should interest us all – as it revolutionizes the world with every second and in unimaginable ways. And the healthcare system is one of the areas that AI has already started to revolutionize. These are the main ways in which that is happening.

To read the full article I wrote recently, visit MedSource Consultants’ website.

My MultiBriefs: Auto-Generated Email Messages From EHRs Can Contribute To Physician Burnout

The time physicians spend on desktop medicine appears to be increasing compared to the amount of time they can spend with patients. The cause of this switch is likely the obvious current enemy of healthcare: electronic health record (EHR) documentation.

In particular, it’s the emails generated by EHRs that are the problem.

According to a new study, physicians’ EHR inboxes are stuffed with system-generated messages on behalf of the electronic health records they are operating within their organizations, which can lead to job dissatisfaction and even burnout, Health Affairs reported.

The rest of my article appears here on MultiBriefs.

The Perils of Making Your Health Data Available Online

Hack, Hacker, Elite, Hacking, Exploits

It’s easier than ever to put health data on the Internet. Fitness trackers, health apps and other connected devices can give people a lot of insight into their health. Unfortunately, that’s not the only way that their health data ends up getting used. Health insurance companies are particularly interested in getting their hands on all of the data they possibly can about people. They end up adjusting their risk pools based on the added insight, as well as looking at individual subscribers and choosing to increase their rates or possibly deny service entirely based on it.

Insurers are in the Business of Data

The entire business model of health insurance revolves around data. They use information to establish risk pools to determine which medical conditions and characteristics result in more claims or higher claims. Because of this, they try to gather as much information as possible about the population on a group and individual level.

Where Do Insurers Get Health Data

Insurers can get health data from multiple sources, some of which are freely offered up, and others that are purchased through third-parties or gathered from publicly available online sources.

First-party Data

First-party data is the information that the health insurance company has access to and generates directly. They have information about the claims filed through their company, data from the partnering medical providers and other records. The sheer amount of information that an insurer handles on a daily basis is overwhelming to think about, and it’s only going to expand as more ways of generating health information become possible.

Voluntary Disclosure

Some health insurance companies offer incentives for people to provide additional information about themselves. This process could involve entering in activity levels, going to get an annual physical, and disclosing information on smoking, drinking and substance use. Since the subscriber is providing this information directly to the insurance company, it’s considered part of their first-party data.

Social Media

Social media profiles can show a lot of health information, even when a person doesn’t mean to. If they’re engaging in high-risk activities, such as extreme sports, or they go into detail about their health conditions and other issues, the insurer would be able to see this information if the profile isn’t locked down. Of course, given data privacy concerns from many social networks, even a private account could still be at risk of having that information sold or otherwise misused.

Shopping Records

Another unexpected source of health information is shopping records. If someone is buying cigarettes, cigars, or pipe tobacco online, it’s a strong indication that they have a smoking habit. The same goes for ordering alcohol. Medical devices that indicate pre-existing conditions could also show up on these records, which could become problematic when it comes to making insurance claims in the future.

Wearable Devices

Fitness trackers and other wearable devices are able to track sleep patterns, heart rates and other information about the person. They may also share their height, weight, diet and habit data with these services.

Third-party Databases

Many third-party companies have databases available with information that’s relevant to health information or that the insurance company can use to add more context to the data they already have. This data is not always sold with the consent of the user that it’s collected from.

Connected Medical Devices

More medical devices are able to connect to the Internet, which means that there are more opportunities for this health data to end up in the hands of people other than a doctor or another authorized party. CPAP machines are a commonly impacted device in this situation. Read more about that in this article.

What Health Insurance Companies Can Do With This Data

AI-technology helps health insurance companies derive actionable insights from this information. In some cases, that can be beneficial to healthcare overall when it comes to predicting whether someone is at more risk for developing a certain type of medical condition and being able to recommend preventative healthcare in advance of that. Unfortunately, where it’s likely to come into play for health insurance companies is whether they will raise someone’s rates or deny them coverage based on the likelihood of developing expensive health conditions, even if they don’t currently have them, or declaring something a pre-existing condition.

What Happens If Health Data Is Stolen?

The healthcare industry is one of the most common targets for hackers, due to how valuable their data is. When the insurance company is pulling together all of this information without someone’s knowledge or consent, they are putting it at risk of being stolen if they’re ever subject to an attack that accesses their databases.

A few ways that a subscriber gets affected in the event of stolen health data includes:

How to Respond To Stolen Health Data

People have a few ways to react in a way that prevents further data from being stolen and to protect themselves against the negative consequences of this situation. The first step is to get all current medical records and keep a close eye on them to see whether unexplained or unexpected claims show up. Do the same for credit reports in case they also use this information for identity theft. Freeze the credit reports so they’re unable to open up accounts in that name, as they could try to get a Care Credit account at a healthcare provider or a similar medical account.

Let the insurance company and medical providers involved know if anything unusual appears during this time frame. Stay on top of reporting this information.

It’s difficult to keep health data safe when health insurance providers are collecting it from so many sources. It’s impossible for the typical layperson to know how much of their information is out there and how it’s being used. However, they’re the ones bearing the most risk in the event of a data breach. Protecting online activities by using an encrypted virtual private network service, locking down social media accounts, and limiting the health information shared online are all good steps going forward.

Redefining Adaptive Radiotherapy And The Future of Cancer Treatment?

By Yves Archambault, strategic initiative director, Varian.

It’s hard to imagine what it can be like to go through cancer treatment, even when being treated with the latest adaptive therapy technology. You walk into the clinic, lay perfectly still inside a long, narrow tunnel-like machine…for about 45 minutes or so, as your clinician uses an MR-linac system to visualize and treat the target area. Uncomfortable? Yes. Slow and resource-intensive? Definitely. Expensive? Certainly. This is adaptive therapy today.

Despite its barriers to entry, adaptive therapy is often dubbed as the “holy grail” of radiation therapy as long-term clinical adaptive therapy follow-up has shown significant improvement in terms of tumor control and low toxicity profile cancers below the respiratory system including prostate cancer. Additionally adaptive therapy has proven to offer dosimetric benefits, especially with head and neck cancers and cancers below the respiratory system.

Not all Cancer Cells Are Created Equal

Adaptive therapy is a type of radiation cancer treatment that evolves over time in response to the temporal and spatial variability of tumor microenvironment and cellular phenotype. It accounts for macro fluctuations in the tumor’s shape and position due to changes in nearby organs. Adaptive therapy also considers physiological changes, like bladder fluctuations. With adaptive therapy, a clinician regularly adapts his or her treatment approach based on how the patient responds or changes throughout the treatment process, adjusting it to better target the cancer. It takes daily variabilities into account. Unlike adaptive therapy, standard treatment follows a strictly detailed, rigid plan that is set in place at the beginning and tracks a pre-defined schedule, not accounting for unpredictable anatomy changes.                            

Adaptive therapy creates a personalized treatment strategy guided by the individual patient’s experience. Updated details about the patient’s internal anatomy and treatment response are constantly being evaluated and are used to adjust the course of treatment. In adaptive therapy’s current state, the slow process, significant capital equipment, hours of training, and need for extensive involvement from a highly skilled clinician makes it unattainable for many.

Limitations Should Not be Ever-Limiting

The reality is, as healthcare advances, we must adapt. Whether it’s the way clinicians interact with patients, how we’re tracking prescriptions, or new innovations that incorporate automation, industry is challenged to evolve and grow alongside such advances.

This begs the questions, “What does the future of adaptive therapy look like? Is there reason to hope it will evolve and dismiss its current patient and doctor limitations?” 

In cancer care, the future is now. It is time to remove these barriers and redefine adaptive therapy, so the experience becomes more accessible, comfortable, and executed with more efficacy for both patients and clinicians. An intelligent, accessible adaptive therapy approach has the potential to improve patient outcomes that can result in a longer disease-free life expectancy for patients. Additionally, it may help open the door for more opportunities, research and advancements in cancer treatment.

We would be remiss not to acknowledge the fact that it will take time to overcome these limitations, drive clinical adoption and see results. This present reality, however, should not keep us from building its future today. 

Nobody Said Change Was Easy 

As with any change or clinical evolution, there are roadblocks to adoption. Clinics may choose to remain conservative when it comes to new treatment methods and hold out until additional statistically-significant data surface. Additionally, the time, resources and training needed to implement new, or unknown, technologies can hinder initial adoption. 

Policies around payment and reimbursement will also likely be an obstacle for the clinical community. There are protocols, processes, and standards that clinics must follow when implementing treatment adjustments and changes. The frequent changes made during adaptive therapy require authorization from a radiation oncologist, which can be time-consuming, tedious, and costly. But every patient is unique, and it has been proven that one size does not fit all when it comes to cancer treatments.

The Adaptive Complexity of Cancer Requires Intelligent Advancement

We expect the challenges to be worthwhile, as the future of adaptive therapy has the potential to offer patients a better experience overall—faster, more comfortable, and more accessible treatment. Additionally, faster treatment will open the door to hopefully allow clinicians to treat more patients each day. The AI and automation that the future of adaptive therapy will incorporate may also empower clinicians to do more in less time. Finally, as the future of adaptive therapy may be more affordable, clinicians across the globe would be able to leverage the technology in order to deliver better patient experiences. 

It’s a continuous process and we’re hopeful of advancements as we continue to build and improve on what was done before. It is amazing to see how far adaptive therapy has come in even the last two years. The future of adaptive therapy will offer a personalized, long-term treatment strategy that can offer better experiences to clinics large and small, and most importantly, to patients of every kind.

My MultiBriefs: Trump Administration Makes Another Healthcare Price Transparency Push

The Trump administration thorn may be officially piercing the side of hospital administrators. As a result of a recent executive order by President Donald Trump, they will be required to make information concerning their negotiated rates with insurers public.

Providers and payers will be ordered to give patients estimates for out-of-pocket costs for procedures in advance of the procedure, according to the order.

To read the rest of my article, visit MultiBriefs.

The Magic of Breakthrough Technology: A Case of Disrupting the Pediatric Space

By Abhinav Shashank, CEO and co-founder, Innovaccer.

Children have entirely distinctive needs as compared to adults. Care is delivered to them in a manner entirely different than adults by care teams that hardly ever double-up as providers for the elderly.

Abhinav Shashank

In fact, we hear numerous stories of organizations that transformed their care delivery by fabricating children-specific strategies and have been really successful in doing so. However, very few experts ever discuss how little thought we put when it comes to developing healthcare technologies tailored to the specific needs of pediatric organizations.

Do pediatric organizations have the technology to succeed?

By 2017, more than 95 percent of hospitals had certified EHR technology. However, these EHRs are heavily adult care centric and may not include measures that are specific to pediatric populations. In fact, in a recent research piece conducted on 9,000 pediatric patient safety reports, it was found that about 36 percent of reports were related to EHR usability issues.

EHR usability has been one of the underrated issues that we need to address if we are to build an efficient pediatric landscape. This can be attributed to the fact that even a slight misjudgment in comprehending the information stored in EHRs can substantially increase the chances of errors and adverse events. The issue is all lot serious for pediatric organizations where patients are extremely sensitive to the care provided to them at any given point of time. Complicated EHRs can do no good to neither children nor pediatricians.

Why is the EHR usability valid ask for pediatricians?

Infants born prematurely have different needs as compared to completely healthy infants. A 5-year old kid faces problems that a 13-year old teenager does not. Vaccination once missed can prove costly in the future. A child with Type 1 diabetes may require care plans entirely dissimilar to other children. Theoretically and practically, each child is unique: from a prematurely-born child weighing less than a kilogram to an obese 105 kg 14-year-old. The EHR should be able to ingest all such details with perfection and should provide as many measures that pediatricians may require.

Consider twin siblings born on the same day, having an identical vaccination cycle, and same last name. However, they may react differently to various treatments and have different weight or gender. If they need some medication, they might be given different mg/dose prescription. Amidst all this, the care teams have the onus of ensuring that each exercise is taken care of with utmost precision. For that, they need powerful EHR systems and alert systems, among other things. In other words, organizations need advanced decision support systems, an ask that is only valid to deliver value-focused care.

Doctors need reliable EHRs to understand the complete picture

More often than not, there are only two sources of information during any given care episode — data stored in the EHR and patient’s own words. However, pediatricians cannot expect much support from their young and very young patients. For infants, it gets all lot difficult since it gets even harder to comprehend their symptoms.

For such patients, EHRs need to tell the complete picture each time lest errors are bound to happen. Goes without saying, children are more vulnerable to such errors as compared to any other patient population. Ideally, pediatric organizations need to have extremely robust, agile, and accurate EHR systems. However, the situation is far from ideal even at this age and time.

Pediatric organizations need custom-made EHRs and IT infrastructure

To begin with, EHRs should have an extremely user-friendly interface, support for adding or converting charts locally for specific syndromes, extremely precise dosage range, and capabilities to identify missed or pending vaccination. They should strictly have a pediatric-specific threshold for each symptom, treatment, or trait, while also having a feature for identifying copied and newly-added records. Alerts, as discussed earlier, for potentially wrong data entry should also be a default feature.

Coupled with a layer of advanced analytics system on top of their EHRs, pediatricians can successfully navigate the challenges as they come their way. If pediatric organizations have a system in place to send regular immunization and wellness visit reminders, they can both increase adherence rates and reduce potential risks.

Role-based access to sensitive patient information and automatic triggers for varying health trends can further play a substantial role in making care more efficient for the young. All such steps combined can help us in realizing the dream of creating the “Internet of Healthcare,” where every stakeholder is connected with each other and there is a seamless exchange of information at all places in real-time.

The road ahead

As we embark upon the journey of creating an “Internet of Healthcare” where everyone would be connected with everyone, we first need to have quality IT infrastructure that can make this possible. EHRs are the building block for such a system. It’s time we add the human touch to such technological solutions, and take the first step in the direction of reinventing EHRS.

Best Marketing Tips For Medical Practices

Protesting, Megaphone, Hand, Woman

A business has to find ways to flourish, reach out to people, and thrive. Every company has a purpose, and they need to serve; that is the way people accept them — even a field like medical practices that everyone requires every-now-and-then needs a particular form of a marketing boost. You have to show what makes you better than the rest and improve your goodwill and reputation.

Brands don’t only work due to the level of advertisements you place. There are reviews, word of mouth, and many more ways to shine out. When you’re from the service industry, it is essential to know what people have to say about you because they don’t have a product to review.

If you are a doctor who sits in a specific chamber and consults patients, you indirectly have a small business that needs marketing like any other. You want to serve clients and help them get healthier, but the truth is you get business only when people fall sick! Doctors have one of the noblest professions in the world, but they can’t shy away from the fact that they need marketing to help more and more people visit them.

Healthcare is not only about primary physicians. It includes caregivers, pharmacies you collaborate with, helpers, and more. When you have a business, you will think about all these aspects of medical services and how you want to contribute to it as a whole. It helps you cut down on clutter and give your patients all that they need from one place.

How to market medical practices?

You need to know some of the vital steps you must take to market your skill and serve people. Check them out as listed below:

1.    Develop a focused message

You need first to start and see how good you are in what you do. No, we’re not doubting your credibility but asking you to understand how it is to channelize what you know. Medical practices involve a lot of studies but often ignore aspects like dealing with humans and their psychology.

You have to give a clear message to your potential clients and also let them know about your knowledge and craft. You need to see the competition you have and how you can stand out among others. It is essential to let people know how you are different and map out attributes that will make them take your service.

2.    Create a website

Everyone needs a website irrespective of how big or small their business is. In the era of digital media, you have to integrate internet marketing methods. A company like Yeah! Local SEO can help you create a website and help you rank. They optimize it so that you get the right level of searches and increase your client base.

Along with the website, you need mobile optimization. People must know how to find you, reach you, or connect with you. Digital marketing tools are way cheaper and effective compared to print ads. So, you must consider getting your digital game healthy.

3.    Ask patient’s for testimonials

When you’re starting, you will need people to give you recommendations. One easy way that gets you more people are testimonials from patients. You can ask your patients to provide a review of their experience and post it on your website. Many healthcare institutes do this to get more people to consult them.

4.    Host an open house

When you’re just starting, or you’re around a month old, you must host an open house meet and greet. Ask your staff, referral coordinators, regular patients, colleagues, and well-wishers to join in.

It is a great way to know your people better, offer prizes, motivate people, and more. Most businesses have openings to let people know who they are and what they aim to do. This can work as much as for healthcare that much for any other business.

5.    Referral gifts

If loyal patients are connecting you to more patients, you must give them a referral gift. In can be a free consultation for them or a small token of appreciation. It encourages people to spread word of mouth and is a compelling way to improve a service-based company.

6.    Send emails

Every business needs a personal touch as it goes a long way and has a lot to say about you. Sending a birthday greeting through emails or keeping a checking a check on a patient’s recovery shows that you care. In the email, you can also mention that you recommend once a year or twice a year checkup, that indirectly boosts your business and shows concern.

7.    Consider community outreach

You must try and get involved in the community to know more about the patients. You can start volunteering or get your employees involved in this. It helps you have a better understanding of their lifestyle and help you treat them better. The more you know them, the more they want to know about you. It helps you have a focus on your efforts and help you improve your reach.

8.    Guest posts

Although you can depend on your SEO and web design company for this, you need to know what it is. Guest posting is a form of indirect marketing where you create content, add links that redirect to your website, and have them post in high authority websites. It helps you gain direct traffic and make more and more people know what you do.

9.    Set up Google Adwords

You might not become a marketing genius, but you will gradually make an impact. Google Adwords helps you monetize your online presence and use the right tools to make you rank high. This is another aspect that an SEO company will cover for you, but you need to know what you gain from it.

Integrating Adwords lets you make use of Call Extension, link social media pages, and much more. It is a smart way of having an alternate income while promoting your website.

10.    Add content

A website needs blogs and content to improve their rank and tell people more about what they do. Healthcare sector is the most searched niche on Google so that you will have an added advantage anyway.

Strong content not only makes people rely more on you, but they also let you monetize from it with the help of Adwords.

11.    Build email subscribers

Once people take your services and you have access to their email ID, you can use it for email marketing. It is an effective way to ensure people open their inbox and check what you’ve sent. It is also a great way to update them about offers, facilities, and more. Since people have the option of opting out, it is harmless on both ends.

12.    Integrate social media

Now every business has pages or profiles on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. You need to have these to grow your business and build a large community of your own. These are interactive ways to keep in touch with people, educate them about health and fitness, and make yourself seem more reliable to potential clients.

Final thoughts

You’d surely agree to the fact that digital marketing is essential and a credible way to leave an impact. If you want to grow your base and take your healthcare initiative to another level, you must consider ways an SEO agency can help you.