Common Obstacles to Accessing Health Care Records — And How to Deal With Them

From medical malpractice cases to sheer curiosity, a variety of situations and circumstances may prompt you to seek access to critical health care records. Unfortunately, these can prove surprisingly difficult to obtain — even when the need for access is urgent. Below, we highlight a few obstacles you may face along the way, as well as viable solutions: Noncompliance With HIPAA And Other Regulations A variety of rules and regulations promise to improve patient access to medical records, but far too many hospitals and clinics remain noncompliant. Many patients are never informed of their rights under the Health Insurance Portability…

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Dealing With Health Anxiety After a Bad Experience With a Doctor Or Nurse

Visiting the doctor may not be a delightful experience, but it should, at minimum, be tolerable. If you’re like many patients, however, you dread annual physicals and other necessary appointments. This fear may stem from negative past experiences, which likely have left you feeling anxious about return trips. Outright avoidance is not a viable solution, however. Visiting the doctor is akin to maintenance on your vehicle; by stopping by regularly, you can avoid greater problems down the road. For the sake of your health, it is critical that you address your medical anxiety as soon as possible. These suggestions should…

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Practicing Medicine While Distracted: How Ubiquitous Cell Phone Use Impacts Health Practitioners And Places You at Risk — Part 2

Distraction is a big deal in the health care industry. In the first portion of this two-part series, we delved into the many ways in which constant technological distractions can impact doctors, nurses, and other health care workers — and how patients are negatively impacted by this problem. Now, we highlight potential solutions capable of mitigating the constant sense of distraction pervading the health care industry. Switching to Job-Exclusive Devices Mobile devices provide considerable value throughout the medical field. Simply abandoning them is not a realistic option. That being said, many steps can be taken to reduce associated distractions. Sticking…

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Practicing Medicine While Distracted: How Ubiquitous Cell Phone Use Impacts Health Practitioners And Places You at Risk — Part 1

Mobile devices are increasingly prominent in health care settings, where doctors and nurses increasingly use iPads to update patient information or access critical records. But while mobile devices can dramatically improve health care efficiency, they hold several notable drawbacks. Chief among these? Distraction. In this two-part series, we will explore the alarming role distraction and cell phone use play in the modern health care industry — and how this issue can be addressed. Health Care Workers Are Vulnerable to Distraction It’s no secret that distraction impacts our performance in a variety of arenas. On the road, for example, cell phone…

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When Do Doctors Make More Medical Errors?

Medical errors are a serious issue in our country. They are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer, which is why the healthcare industry is trying to reduce these errors. However, a new study may be refocusing that effort as it exposes when doctors are more likely to make a life-threatening mistake. When Are Doctors Most Likely to Make a Medical Error? For many years, the healthcare industry has been trying to reduce medical errors by changing the environment in facilities. These efforts have included the use of checklists, expansions of technology and equalizing hierarchies between…

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What Is the Gut Microbiome — And Why Does It Require Protection?

The gut is a buzz word in modern health and wellness circles, with many insisting that the microbes found in our gut influence nearly every aspect of our health. This topic has prompted significant confusion, but preliminary research indicates that the gut microbiome has an important role to play. Below, we separate fact from fiction with a detailed explanation of the gut microbiome — and why it’s worth protecting. What Is the Gut Microbiome? Sometimes referred to as the gut flora, the gut microbiome or microbiota consists of the many microorganisms that reside in our digestive tracts. These microbes can…

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Keeping Track of Your Medications When You Have More Than One Illness Or Condition

Today’s Americans take more medications, vitamins, and supplements than past generations. A Consumer Reports survey reveals that the average American who uses prescription drugs takes four each day. If taken at the wrong time or under the wrong circumstances, however, these medications can prove dangerous. Thankfully, a variety of new apps and devices ease the hassle of managing multiple prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs. Top options are highlighted below: Make the Most of Your Mobile Device Set alarms on your phone to remind you when to take various medications throughout the day. Better yet, download a medication management app. These offer…

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How the Graying of the Baby Boom Generation Will Strain Our Health Care Infrastructure

Millennials may be poised to overtake Baby Boomers in terms of population. Even as they age, however, the Boomers’ influence cannot be denied. This is unfortunately most true in terms of health care, with many Boomers beginning to suffer the chronic and acute health conditions that naturally accompany old age. The health care industry is poorly equipped to take on increases in Boomer visits — and the increase in the condition severity underlying such visits. Below, we highlight a few of the ways in which the graying of the Baby Boomer generation is already starting to strain the health care…

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How Virtual Reality Is Already Changing Health Care

New technologies such as 3D imaging and robot-assisted surgery have dramatically altered the health care industry in the last few years. Further changes are on the horizon, with some holding the potential to completely transform every aspect of the patient experience. Virtual reality, in particular, is poised to revolutionize how we interact with health care professionals. Below, we highlight a few of the areas in which VR is already making a difference: Promoting Relaxation Patient anxiety can have a decidedly negative impact on long-term outcomes, leaving many to avoid checkups and necessary hospital visits altogether. VR can provide considerable relief…

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How to Know Whether Your Hospital Is Great, Bad, or Somewhere In Between

United States hospitals vary dramatically in quality. Some maintain an exceptional standard of care, while others exhibit shocking negligence on a daily basis. Don’t assume that your hospital is the former. The following suggestions will help you determine whether you should continue with the status quo or find a new facility: Take Advantage of Hospital Ratings Numerous scales are available to help you determine how your hospital stacks up compared to other options. Each rating scale holds different criteria; examine several to get a well-rounded take on your hospital. Top options include: Leapfrog Medicare’s Hospital Compare Hospital Safety Grade Hospital…

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