It is estimated that one in five of us will experience mental health challenges during any given year. One such challenge is depression, which is a widespread and diagnosable condition that has a negative impact on how we feel, think, and act.
Clinical depression, for example, is a mental health illness characterized by a persistently low mood or loss of interest in activities that significantly impairs daily living, whereas persistent depressive disorder is a mild form of depression that lasts for an extended period. To take care of ourselves, we must be aware of the symptoms of depression, have a few tricks up our sleeves for when we are down, and understand how to support someone we care about who is feeling depressed.
Depression symptoms can range from moderate to severe, but they must persist for at least two weeks and lead to a change in how well we are functioning in our everyday lives for us to bediagnosed with depression. Some of these symptoms include:
Sadness or a depressed mood.
Loss of interest or pleasure in formerly enjoyed activities
Appetite changes leading to weight loss or gain unrelated to diets
Sleeping difficulties or excessive sleep
Energy loss or increased fatigue
Increased purposeless physical activity (e.g., difficulty sitting still, pacing, handwringing) or slower movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
Feeling worthless or guilty
Problems thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
Healthcare is one of the most used and needed industries. At some point during our existence, we will likely require the support, treatments, and services of those working in healthcare.
The global healthcare market is predicted to reach an eye-watering $665.37 billion by 2028. The US spent almost 17% of gross domestic product (GDP) in just one year on healthcare.
Much of the spending in healthcare goes towards investing in newer technologies. These investments are worthwhile as they have led to countless medical breakthroughs and life-saving treatments and operations. These are just some ways technology has transformed the healthcare industry today.
Detailed Images of Vital Organs
One of the greatest technological advancements has been the introduction of MRI and CT scans. It has helped to detect early signs of different health issues for countless individuals. Spotting and identifying these issues have meant people could seek treatment sooner and reduce the chances of the health problem intensifying or spreading.
For example, a cardiac CT scan provides medical professionals with a detailed image of the health of an individual’s heart. Some medical providers use a cardiac CT scan to give those they treat valuable information regarding their health, especially about their heart and the steps to take. With each passing year, the improvement in image quality becomes more noticeable. Today, medical professionals can use CT or MRI scans to see the damage a heart attack has caused to a person’s heart.
Improved Results Time
Receiving a medical test’s results took weeks, sometimes even months. Today, results can be obtained not long after the labs have finished testing the collected samples. Of course, if the results show something of concern, a person’s doctor will likely ask them to visit the clinic for an in-person meeting. However, if the results show no concerning issues or do not highlight anything unusual, medical professionals will not ask for a person to come in to discuss their results. Instead, they might send a letter, inform them on the phone or post the results on their web portals for their patients.
While its climate change provisions captured top billing, the IRA is also arguably the most impactful health legislation since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Hospitals and health systems have long advocated for lower prescription drug prices. In March, in a statement to the Senate Finance Committee, the American Hospital Association contended that prescription drug price inflation constituted “an urgent need to lower drug prices in Medicare.” The AHA statement advocated for increased competition and innovation, greater drug pricing transparency, inflation-based rebates for Medicare drugs, and protection of the 340B Drug Pricing Program. However, the hospital association stopped short of advocating for Medicare negotiation of prescription prices.
Details about Medicare negotiation of prescription drug prices
As the centerpiece of the IRA’s various drug pricing reforms, Medicare is allowed to “negotiate” what it will pay for many single-source branded drugs that account for the highest total expenditures for Medicare. In practice, Medicare will be able to dictate those prices. Starting next year, Medicare will negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies to set the maximum fair price (MFP) for certain prescription drugs, with application of the negotiated prices starting in 2026 for 10 negotiation-eligible drugs from Part D.
As we all know, the feet are the body’s foundation and play a vital role in one’s overall health. Our feet’ health largely depends on the quality of our shoes and the support they provide. One of the most important components of a good shoe is the insole.
An insole is a removable insert that provides additional cushioning and support for the foot. They are often used to correct foot problems or to provide extra comfort. There are a variety of different types of insoles available on the market, so it is important to choose the right one for your needs.
There are many factors to consider when purchasing new insoles for your shoes. This guide will help you choose the right insoles based on your needs and where to buy shoe inserts. First, consider the type of shoes you will be wearing the insoles with.
This will help you determine the size and shape of the insoles you need. Next, think about the activities you will engage in while wearing these insoles. This will help you choose the right material and thickness for the insoles. Finally, consider your budget when choosing insoles. This will help you narrow down your options to find the right insoles for you. Your local drugstore is a good place to start. Many stores sell a variety of inserts, and you can usually find them in the foot care aisle. You can also buy shoe inserts online. There are a number of websites that sell inserts, and you can often find good deals on inserts if you shop around.
While many people get health insurance to help deal with emergencies, the truth is that we can’t be sure of when life will throw us a curveball that lands us in the hospital. This means that every day that you wait to do something to improve your physical and mental health, you’re potentially increasing your chances of having poor health at some point in the future. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of getting sick before you take care of your own health and wellness—follow these five ways to prioritize your healthcare now and keep yourself healthy for years to come.
1) Know your numbers
Knowing your numbers is the first step towards taking care of your health. Blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar are all important numbers that will be measured during a routine checkup. The goal is to keep these numbers as close to normal as possible so you can avoid serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure later on. This includes getting your annual flu shot!
2) Track your symptoms
It is best to be proactive when it comes to your health and not wait until you are sick. Track your symptoms so that if you start feeling worse, you can share them with a doctor who will have a better understanding of your medical history. To track your symptoms, keep a journal where you list all of the things that make you feel bad, and put notes next to those entries about what was going on at the time.
By Adam Steinberg, EVP client experience, Experity.
The popularity of urgent care has grown continuously over the past several decades, but in just the last few years, the U.S. market has exploded as more and more patients look for nonemergent care options that are more affordable, accessible and convenient.
For many patients, urgent care offers more flexible hours than traditional physician offices and provides care that is both faster and less costly than a visit to the emergency room. The benefits of urgent care were further accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as clinics across the country swiftly adapted to meet the evolving needs of patients and proved that healthcare can be high-velocity, high-quality and accessible to the masses.
Urgent care clinics served a crucial role in providing accessible testing and vaccination for the COVID-19 virus. As a result of urgent care’s impressive response to this demand, its status in the broader healthcare continuum has elevated it to the care site of choice for millions of patients, leading to a significant rise in daily patient visit volumes and expanded expectations for clinics nationwide.
While patient demand and visit volumes continue increasing for U.S. urgent cares, as do staffing shortages. Keeping clinics fully staffed and ensuring staff satisfaction is a top priority for clinic leaders and owners to continue meeting growing patient demand. To better understand the industry’s most pressing growth and retention challenges, and to provide urgent care leaders with actionable insights to support staff satisfaction at their own practices, urgent care leaders across the country were surveyed in the spring of 2022 to reveal beneficial strategies to boost success in these areas and fundamental changes necessary for urgent care clinics to retain and attract talent.
Keeping Staff Satisfied by Meeting Their Top Needs
As demands on clinic staff increase, meeting and prioritizing employee needs is essential for retention. According to the responses from urgent care leaders surveyed about key initiatives they’ve implemented at their own clinics to keep staff happy on the job, the top two initiatives for increasing job satisfaction and retention were offering flexible scheduling and financial incentives.
Clinicians, radiologists, and front desk staff are some of the most difficult positions to fill at clinics right now, all of which are essential to a clinic’s day-to-day operations. Providing the desired incentives for clinic staff will help retain the current workforce and entice new talent to join the team – helping to maintain a fully staffed clinic that delivers on the promise to provide quality, accessible, on-demand care.
Health systems continue to prioritize lowering the cost of care as the waves of rising labor costs, volume volatility, and supply chain challenges persist. This time, hospital executives are coming to realize that establishing a continuous cost improvement program is key to improving margins for their organizations, but the question is how to integrate that broadly across an entire health system.
Cost reduction has gained a negative reputation within healthcare since it is often associated with staff cuts. Although cutting staff can provide temporal relief to an organizations’ bottom line, it rarely provides sustainable results and introduces new challenges when there are not enough bodies to complete the work that needs to be done, especially in an industry where lives are at risk. Shifting healthcare professionals’ perspective to view cost reduction as an ongoing opportunity to identify areas for improvement through collaboration with operational and clinical leaders will shift the stigma and allow for constructive efforts to take place that will benefit the organization in the long run.
Cost-saving programs can no longer be the sole responsibility of the finance team – they need to incorporate the individual operating departments and service lines. Historical messaging that implied each leader must take their fair share of a global labor reduction plan will not work, particularly with staffing shortages lingering in the industry. To be effective, the perception of the program must shift from one of top-down enforcement to bottom-up empowerment. Luckily, there are many hospital functions that can play an integral role in helping improve an organization’s margins.
The best way for an organization to approach its financial journey is to understand that cost improvement is not a one-time fix, but an ongoing process that must be ingrained in its DNA. Support from the CEO, along with the rest of the leadership team, is crucial to integrate financial enhancement programs. Without senior leadership on board, the efforts will fizzle out, and no one will be held accountable. A holistic approach to cost improvement involves the entire organization and allows for clear visibility and maximum savings potential.
Areas of opportunity
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) recently conducted a survey with Strata Decision Technology that polled 185 healthcare finance, accounting, and revenue cycle executives. The survey revealed that although nearly 89 percent of participating healthcare organizations have some type of cost reduction program in place, only 6% characterize their program as extremely effective. The good news is that there’s a commonality among programs that reported successful cost improvement initiatives – a formal and ongoing process that is applied across the health system. When a system has the correct process in place, financial decisions become easier because advanced planning helps to avoid any major surprises down the road.
One of the keys to developing this kind of program is implementing technology that can help supply insight into an organization’s financial health. Technology gives organizational leaders the ability to unlock the lakes of healthcare data that previously had little to no functionality, as many organizations have both the clinical and financial data they need to improve operations, but they have yet to integrate the IT systems that allow them to do so. Standardizing existing data and using it to perform analyses allows for comparison and identifying opportunities for improvement. This kind of operational benchmarking is a defining factor in cost reduction strategies because it allows healthcare organizations to reflect internally, as well as benchmark their performance against others.
Chronic disease remains a leading cause of disability and death in America. With 40% of adults experiencing two or more chronic conditions, the clinical and financial burden of these conditions are widespread and accounts for reduced life expectancy and $4.1 trillion in annual health care costs.
Hypertension in particular is a widespread public health concern given its clear linkage with cardiovascular and kidney disease. The CDC estimates that nearly half of U.S. adults – 116 million people – have hypertension, contributing to hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths from cardiovascular disease each year.
The cost of hypertension for employers and employees
Employers can expect to have large numbers of individuals with hypertension, with some portion experiencing major complications such as heart attacks and strokes every year. In addition to the human toll taken by uncontrolled blood pressure, hypertension-related employee absenteeism costs employers roughly $10.3 billion annually. Not only are employees with high blood pressure four times more likely to die from a stroke, but it puts them at significant risk for developing cardiovascular diseases, leading to $1,100 in lost productivity annually.
When an employee suffers from hypertension, the medical costs are up to $2,500 higher annually than those who do not. Additionally, about $29 billion is spent yearly on blood pressure prescriptions, including $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket spending. Managing conditions like hypertension can be costly and extremely difficult – especially in conjunction with intersectional diseases and symptoms.
But the time and money spent by each party do not have to be significant. By driving sustainable lifestyle modifications, ensuring medication adherence, and offering accessible and continuous care, digital solutions can help address gaps in hypertension care by meeting the diverse needs of both employers and employees.
Over the past few years, and specifically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and medical industry had to rely on technology to help with patient access, diagnosis, and treatment. The huge successes of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) enabled the expansion of Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM) designed for physical and occupational therapists to collect patient physical data and measure adherence. With RTM technology providers can have a significant reach to patients beyond the walls of the medical facility, doctor’s office, or hospital.
The key differentiator between RTM platforms is whether the patients need to wear sensors and/or wearables or if the technology is so advanced that the technology can track the patients’ movements without wearables simply through a smart device or computer.
What is RTM and how does it work?
The innovation of Remote Therapeutic Monitoring came from allowing patients at health care practices to receive care and achieve optimal physical results from MSK (musculoskeletal) disorders while enabling the professionals to have direct observation of the patients beyond the walls of a medical facility. What differentiates RTM solutions, is how the technology works and if it can track the patient’s movement and provide feedback in real-time. Real-time is key to this equation as it allows the patient to know if they are doing the exercise correctly for optimal healing and results.
This type of therapy also allows therapists to monitor patients and screen for deterioration or improvements. Clinical study results have shown an improved outcome in 5 out of 6 patients and increased patient engagement rates by close to 80% with the use of technology that meets the criteria discussed above. Patients are more compliant in their treatments versus the normal industry rate. Many patients, specifically the elderly, those in rural communities, and the underserved are now able to get the prescribed program to address their MSK concerns, and from the comfort of their own homes.
Amid widespread staffing shortages across the healthcare sector, the need for IoT-enabled digital transformation in hospitals and patient care facilities is increasingly clear. For the first time since 2004, a lack of staffing has overtaken financial volatility as the No. 1 concern among healthcare CEOs in the American College of Healthcare Executives’ annual survey.
Meanwhile, from canceled appointments to delayed surgeries, more than half of all U.S. patients report reductions in care quality due to personnel shortages. The problem is even further magnified in rural areas, with rural-based primary healthcare professionals ranking care quality as a greater concern than access to care within their communities.
With that said, healthcare providers should get proactive about leveraging digital adoption to “do more with less” and ensure quality care despite their staffing challenges. There’s no better place to start than with IoT Sensing-as-a-Service. Beyond supporting product efficacy and asset protection, the IoT SaaS framework can be a critical workforce empowerment tool that helps improve therapeutic outcomes for patients. Why? Because in addition to eliminating elongated and error-prone manual compliance procedures, it also provides digital task management capabilities with automated prescriptive insights that enable healthcare employees to streamline workflows and enhance operational efficiency.
What Exactly is IoT Sensing as a Service??
IoT SaaS is the interconnected use of remote IoT sensing and monitoring tools with AI-powered prescriptive analytics – essentially an enhanced version of traditional IoT sensing and monitoring technology that empowers healthcare facilities to collect, analyze and act on inventory performance data for compliance and patient safety. The IoT sensors are placed on medical assets, as well as inside of freezers and refrigerators where vaccines and medications are stored, and perform real-time monitoring of those assets to track and trace location and confirm compliance. Fully operable with Bluetooth, the sensors do not need to be added to the hospital’s IT infrastructure. These easy to deploy sensors can sense anything from CO2, O2 levels, humidity and temperature to current consumption and noise.
Furthermore, the sensors measure asset performance, automating the detection and prediction of maintenance issues that could lead to a future excursion. The raw data collected by each sensor flows through a continuous feedback loop via the prescriptive analytics system, which provides actionable insights to operations teams so they can take the necessary steps to ensure all assets are fully functional and in good condition.