Category Archives: Find a Top Doc

Everything You Need to Know about Breast Cancer

Cancer that affects the cells of the breasts is called breast cancer. In this article, you will learn its types and symptoms, facts, and statistics in the US. Before we dive deeper, let’s have a quick overview of the history of breast cancer.

History of Breast Cancer: A Disease that Attacks the Symbol of Beauty, Fertility, and Femininity

Undoubtedly, female breasts have much more to symbolize other than beauty alone. They are the source of milk which feeds the baby and are very strongly associated with a women’s self-perception of femininity.

No one exactly knows the history of breast cancer. However, there are mentions of this type of cancer in various documents that date back to 3,000–2,500 B.C. Imhotep, the Egyptian physician who lived 27th century BC, is a prominent figure in the history of breast cancer exploration. His documents provide an authentic account of the disease in females.

Ancient Greeks are known to offer donations to the God of Medicine, Asclepius, in an attempt to get relief from the disease. Some prominent figures in the history of breast cancer are

  • In his writing dating back to 400 B.C., the father of medicine notes that the cancer is caused due to an imbalance of humor (blood, phlegm, and yellow and black bile). Moreover, he also describes its stages as progressive disease.
  • Leonides of Alexandria. In first century AD, he gave details of the surgical procedures to remove the tumor. In fact, his approach of cutting open the affected breast and removing the tumor forms the foundation of modern surgical intervention.
  • In 200 A.D., Galen concluded that breast cancer was a systemic disease and believed the accumulation of black bile in the blood as its cause.

Types and Symptoms of Breast Cancer You Should Not Miss

Broadly, breast cancer may be divided into the following types.

  • Non-invasive. Non-invasive breast cancer starts in the breast ducts or glands but does not grow into breast tissues. It is also called carcinoma in situ or pre-cancer. In situ means “in the place where it originated”.
  • An invasive breast cancer is the one which starts either in the breast ducts or glands and then invades the breast tissues. Up to 80% of invasive breast cancers are caused by a type known as invasive ductal carcinoma. The next type, invasive lobular carcinoma, is found in 10% of the cases of invasive breast cancers.
  • As the name suggests, a recurrent breast cancer tends to return back after initial treatment. A small number of cancer cells that survive the treatment multiply to cause recurrent cancer.
  • Metastatic cancer spreads to distant organs beyond its place of origin. As such, metastatic breast cancer can spread to organs like bones, lungs, liver or brain. Usually, metastasis occurs months or years after a treatment is completed.

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

A lump in the breast or armpit can be the first sign that you may have breast cancer. However, it does not mean that every lump in the breast is cancer. As a matter of fact, most lumps are not cancerous. In any case, it is highly recommended that you visit your doctor.

Watch out for the other possible signs that include:

  • A persistent pain in the armpits or breast that is not affected by the menstrual cycles.
  • Formation of pits or red spots on the breast skin that is similar to an orange peel.
  • A rash on one or both nipples.
  • Abnormal discharge from one of the nipples which may also contain blood.
  • A sunken or inverted nipple.
  • Abnormal shape or size of the breast
  • Peeling, flaking, dimpling, or scaling of the skin on the breast or nipple.

10 Facts and Statistics about Breast Cancer

  1. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer. Also, it is the most common invasive cancer that affects women.
  2. The United States is home to as many as 3.1 million breast cancer survivors. At any given time, the chance of death due to breast cancer among women is 2.7 percent.
  3. In 2017, it is expected that about 252,710 new diagnoses will be made. Out of the total cases, 40,610 women are likely to die from the disease.
  4. In 2015, breast cancer accounted for 40,000 deaths in women in the US.
  5. One out of every eight women in the US develops this disease.
  6. Compared to white women, African-American women have significantly lower survival rates.
  7. Death rates are highest in women who are more than 80 years, and lowest in women below 40 years.
  8. Deaths among white women tend to be highest in the North Central, Mid-Atlantic, and Western regions of the US. Among black women, the highest death rates are found in some of the South Central and Mid-Atlantic states, as well as California.
  9. The exact cause of breast cancer is not fully known yet. However, it is thought to occur from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Most importantly, various studies have found that a family history of the disease, can increase your risk by almost two times.
  10. Birth control can increase the risk by a very slight margin while breastfeeding can be protective.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about breast cancer, its treatment options and more, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

 

Advertisements

Health Care for Aging World: 3 Major Problems and Their Solutions

Included in this article are the three major problems of health care for aging world and their potential solutions.

agingworld

No doubt, living a long healthy life tops every individual’s bucket list. With advancement in health technology, we have achieved some degree of success in extending our lives. Well, it’s good news for everyone. But what about the people in low- and middle-income countries who can only dream to leverage the benefits of expensive health innovations? Moreover, problems persist even within high-income countries including the US.

Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%, reports the WHO. According to the UN global demographic statistics, between 2015 and 2030, the number of people in the world aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 56 percent, from 901 million to 1.4 billion, and by 2050, the global population of older persons is projected to more than double its size in 2015, reaching nearly 2.1 billion.

Now, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how the existing healthcare services would perform when the aging population doubles

What is Aging?

Aging is a natural process that results due to thecumulative effect of molecular and cellular damage occurring over a period of time. Simply put, aging causes a decline in both physical and mental ability of an individual and makes them more vulnerable to a number of diseases or health conditions.

As a matter of fact, from a health perspective, aging cannot be associated with a fixed numeric value that clearly defines who is old and who is young. That being said, you can find a 70-year old person who enjoys robust health while you may see a 30-year old struggling with diabetes. Thus, biological aging and number of age are two different things.

The common health conditions that accompany aging are:

  • Hearing impairment.
  • Clouding of thelens (cataract).
  • Vision problems.
  • Problems with movement due to joint problems like arthritis.
  • Respiratory problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Impaired thinking and memory (cognitive decline).
  • Increased susceptibility to infection.

Most notably, more than one problem mentioned above can affect an aged individual at the same time.

What Problems Can Negatively Impact Health Care for the Aging World?

  1. Rising health costs. It’s true that everything comes with a price tag and you can only own a thing after you pay its price. Healthcare is no different. Over the last or so, the price of healthcare has surged alarmingly. No wonder, health care consumed 17.8% of the U.S. gross domestic product in 2015. One of the major reasons for rising health costs is technological advancement. Health economy experts note that medical cost is behind 40-50 percent increase in total healthcare cost every year. While a significant portion of the total cost is paid by the government, Americans still have to spend a hefty sum to make up for the total expenses. The condition is even worse in low- and middle-income countries where there is no provision of government health insurance.
  2. Diverse health conditions among old people. You are wrong if you think two 80-year old people are the same. For example, an 80-year old person can be as healthy as a 20-year old person and a 20-year old person can have health conditions similar to an 80-year old person. That being said, ageneralization of the concept of health and aging makes no sense when you consider an individual example. Thus, this diversity further complicates health care for the aging world.
  3. The misconception about aging and its effects. In most parts of the world, aging is still considered to be a hindrance to social and economic development. Older people are often taken as a burden and rates of discrimination are high. Altogether, such misconceptions about aging lead to a situation where old people are less likely to receive appropriate healthcare services that they deserve.

Finding Solutions to the Problems of Health Care for Aging World: It’s Easier than You Think

  • Use of affordable home healthcare technology.Not every medical technology should eat a large chunk of your paycheck. In fact, simple health technologies such as a blood pressure measurement machine or home blood glucose test kit can go a long way in protecting your health which otherwise could lead to a costly affair. Other affordable medical technologies include home telemonitoring devices, personal emergency response systems, alarm systems, security camera systems.
  • Keep in mind that prevention is better than cure. With an alarming rise in the incidence of chronic illness, the focus of healthcare has shifted to preventing a disease rather than treating it with costly treatment. No doubt, the value of a healthful diet, regular physical activity, stress management and social well-being makes more sense than ever before. Not only these measures help to prevent a chronic disease, they also help to keep the symptoms under control once you have a disease. Remember the value of regular glucose monitoring for a diabetic and how it can help to prevent complications and save you from spending a fortune.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about health care for the aging world, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

 

Staff Engagement in Healthcare: Why It Matters

The warmth of love and hands of care are key to staff engagement in healthcare that results in pleasant patient experience.

happycustomers

Staff engagement, also called employee engagement, accounts for a major portion of customer satisfaction irrespective of the business type. Essentially, the concept of customer and staff engagement in healthcare is a bit different. It is because patients are more than average customers and healthcare service is entirely different from a general service. After all, taking a pill is different from using an iPhone.

Moreover, health is a sensitive issue which outweighs every other aspect of life. Included in this article are the benefits of staff engagement in healthcare to both the patients and healthcare service provider’s organization.

What is Staff Engagement in Healthcare? Know the Basics

In common uses, staff engagement is the practice of how a manager manages their subordinates in a way that helps to achieve the organizational goal. That being said, the staff manager takes care of every process and members that work in a specific department or the organization as a whole. In addition, it also sets standards for responsibilities and liabilities for every member. When the concept of staff engagement is applied to the healthcare sector, it is known as staff engagement in healthcare.

The two basic components that determine staff engagement are:

  • Human resource management

Any activity in an organization that involves proper utilization of the abilities of employees in an organization is called human resource management (HRM). The basic elements of HRM are employee selection, recruitment, training and development, and retention. Some organizations hire a human resource manager in order to look after the productivity of their employees.

  • Line management

Line management follows a chain of command on the basis of the organizational hierarchy. For example, a staff manager supervises and oversees the activities of the subordinates in his/her department. Likewise, the CEO (chief executive officer) who holds the highest position in an organization oversees the activities of every other member of the organization.

3 Ways Staff Engagement in Healthcare is Different from Other Sectors

  1. Health is a sensitive issue. Well, it doesn’t take a great mind to understand that health is wealth. Any minor error in medication can be fatal at times. It is therefore critically important to separate health service from any other service.
  2. Patients and the average customer are different. Before we explore, let’s keep in mind the difference between a customer and consumer. A customer is an individual who buys a product or uses a service. On the other hand, a consumer is the one who exclusively uses a service. Simply put, consumers are a subset of customers. For this reason, patients are consumers rather than customers.
  3. Healthcare regulation is more stringent than other sectors. Because public health is a sensitive issue, healthcare watchdogs require healthcare providers to work in a more restricted regulatory framework. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates medication, veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices but stays a bit relaxed when it comes to dietary supplements.  Similarly, hospitals need to follow a well-defined set of standards in order to ensure the safety of patient health and efficacy of the services they provide.

Know the Benefits of Proper Staff Engagement in Healthcare

Proper staff management in healthcare offers a myriad of benefits to the patients and service providers. In fact, the benefits are both tangible and intangible.

  • Tangible benefits of proper staff engagement in healthcare. If you consider healthcare service as a business practice, the tangible benefits are those that can be measured in monetary terms. With proper staff management, the providers can achieve increased revenues and profits. Consequently, you can expect to get high-quality service in an organization that spends a major portion of its revenues in research, purchase of quality equipment, and recruitment of qualified staff.
  • Intangible benefits of proper staff engagement in healthcare. The intangible benefits cannot be measured directly in monetary terms but have a profound impact on how a patient feels about the services they use. Enhanced patient experience is the most valuable benefit of proper staff engagement in healthcare. As a matter of fact, happy customers are those who feel great about the services they use.

Key Takeaways

  • Staff engagement is key to enhanced patient experience and greater revenues for the healthcare provider.
  • In order to ensure proper staff engagement, the providers need to ensure that their human resource management and line management function optimally.
  • Some large healthcare organizations have a separate department and team of qualified staff for achieving their target revenues through increased patient experience.
  • Statistics suggest that a high level of staff engagement leads to patient-centered care, patient safety culture and employees’ positive assessments of the quality of care or services provided by their team.
  • In addition to fulfilling one’s on-job responsibilities, staff engagement in healthcare is an emotional journey.
  • When you visit a hospital or any other healthcare institution as a patient, watch for the following signs that indicate how the engaged hospital worker takes care of your health.
  1. The engaged hospital worker makes eye contact and responds positively to the patient’s as well as visitor’s inquiries.
  2. They help to escort the family members of the patient to their destination.
  3. Check IV lines and other medical devices at regular intervals to make sure the devices are functioning as intended.
  4. Listen to your problems and suggest the best ways to tackle them.
  5. Maintain a peaceful and friendly environment in the working area.

staff-engagement-leadership-in-action-feb-2015

Want To Know More?

To learn more about the role of staff engagement in healthcare, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

 

US Mental Health Facts: What’s Wrong with Our Mind?

US mental health facts are serious enough to warrant immediate remedial action. Or else, we will never be the same again.

mental-health-facts3

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. Likewise, nearly 50 percent of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. In essence, the statistics on mental health in the US are scary. But the big question at the moment is how far the health care system has gone to address the problems with mental health facts? Well, the answer is not exciting in any way.

Take an example, according to a study, just 41% of US adults with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Even worse, half of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

In this article, you will learn the major causes behind these scary mental health facts in the US and remedial measures to consider.

Top 10 Mental Health Facts in the US You Need to Know

US mental health facts are nothing short of a nightmare. Let’s explore more.

  1. In a given year, nearly 4 percent of US adults, 9.8 million, experience a serious mental illness. As a result, their quality of life is seriously challenged.
  2. During their lifetime, 21.4% of youth aged 13-18 struggle with a severe form of mental illness. The prevalence rate in children aged 8–15 is a bit lower at 13%.
  3. The common mental illnesses that affect Americans are schizophrenia (1.1% of adults), bipolar disorder (2.6% of adults), severe depression (6.9% of adults) and anxiety disorder (18.1% of adults). Not to forget that more than 50 percent of US adults having substance abuse problems have a co-occurring mental illness. Keep in mind that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines drug abuse as a chronic brain disorder.
  4. A quarter of homeless US adults live with at least one serious mental illness.
  5. Suicide ranks in the 10th position in the list of leading causes of death in the U.S.Among people aged 15-24, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death.
  6. More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
  7. Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.
  8. Poor mental health causes the highest dropout rate among students aged 14-21 and older.
  9. Most hospitalizations due to mental illness are caused by mood disorders such as major depression, chronic depression and bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder).
  10. Each year, America loses $193.2 billion due to the loss of work days caused by mental disorders.

US Mental Health Facts: What are the Possible Causes of Degrading Mental Health Condition in Americans?

No one exactly knows why some people have mental illnesses while their counterparts with similar physiology and socio-economic environment stay disease-free. However, most health professionals agree that mental illnesses result due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

That being said, a person who is genetically more vulnerable might develop a full-blown mental illness when triggered by external risk factors such as financial problems, lower social status, loss of job or relationships and others.

The external factors that might contribute to an increasing incidence of mental illness in Americans are:

  • Lack of access to care. Rising cost of medical treatments and financial barriers are two most common causes of limited access to care. Another major contributing factor is insurance coverage. It is commonly seen that people with mental illness are less likely to have health insurance compared to those who have no mental illness. Even those people who are insured may also not get all the services depending on the type of the service and severity of illness. Medicaid provides acertain degree of protection against financial barriers to health care for low-income adults and disabled patients.
  • Shortage of providers. It might come as a surprise for many of us that the largest economy in the world is unable to provide sufficient care to its ailing people. According to a Forbes report, the US healthcare system has ashortage of psychiatrists to treat an increasing number of patients. In the part, this shortage is fueled by the expanded mental health coverage where more and more patients are seeking mental health service. However, it should be noted that an increasing number of mental health patients is surely another major cause of the shortage. Some experts argue that in the coming years, the shortage will get worse in the coming two or three years. Interestingly, psychiatristscome second only to family physicians in terms of recruitment.
  • The public stigma of mental illness. Public stigma is the most pervasive barrier that keeps mental health patients and their families from seeking treatment. Stigmatization is a major cause of poor treatment outcomes. In addition to directly affecting a person’s self and social identity, public stigma is also known to negatively impact the patient’s employment and housing opportunities. Overall, stigmatization leads to compromised financial autonomy, limited opportunities, and reduced independence.

 

Want To Know More?

To learn more about US mental health facts, statistics, and solutions, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

Health Insurance and Benefits: Know the Challenges and Solutions

The challenges of health insurance and benefits are rising alarmingly. However, with proper solutions, we can expect a healthier and happier America.

Health insurance benefits (1)

Health insurance in the US includes any program that bears the cost of medical expenses. The medical expenses may be paid through privately purchased insurance, social insurance, or government-funded social welfare program. No doubt, health insurance and benefits are synonymous with each other. However, there is still a wide gap in the access to quality healthcare. In this article, you will understand the challenges that are contributing to the gap, what statistics suggest and the potential solutions.

Facts about Health insurance and Healthcare Spending in the US

The US government spends trillions of dollars annually on its healthcare system. In fact, the enormity of the expense can be gauged by the fact that in 2012, US healthcare spending was 17% of its GDP. Interestingly, this amount is more than the entire GDP of the UK.

Among the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, per capita healthcare expenditure of the US is the highest. However, even such huge investment does not seem to improve health conditions for many Americans. Regrettably, statistics suggest that the US has poorer health conditions compared to other high-income countries. According to a WHO report, at least 18% of US residents younger than 65 years had no any form of insurance till 2014.

The major drivers of poor health outcomes in the US are gaps in health coverage, unhealthy lifestyle and lack of appropriate access to health care.

Currently, in the US, public payers are the biggest contributor accounting for 48% of total healthcare expenditure. Likewise, 40% comes from private payers and 12% from the patients as out-of-pocket payments. Almost 30% of the total population is covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

What are Health Insurance Exchanges?

Also called Obamacare’s insurance marketplaces, the exchanges are the websites that help you buy health insurance coverage. In some cases, you can also get financial aid from the federal government.

The basic idea behind creating the exchanges is to facilitate shopping for coverage. The exchanges provide a one-stop solution where you can compare different insurance policies
Typically, an exchange helps to compare a number of insurance plans that have common components such as premiums quality rating of plans, enforcement of insurance mandates, compensation payments to insurers with high-cost enrollees and regulatory oversight.

What Challenges are Affecting Health Insurance and Benefits?

According to a WHO report, the major challenges that the US healthcare system is currently facing are:
Challenges in Health insurance coverage

When Obamacare was first introduced, it was believed to cover nearly all Americans. However, the current situation is nowhere near. Unfortunately, an estimated 35 million Americans have no health insurance. Even worse, many more are underinsured.

It is a positive thing that more than half of private-sector workers have two or more health insurance options. Also, Medicare offers veterans to choose from traditional coverage or other Medicare-approved plans from private insurers (Medicare Advantage). But the choice of the most appropriate health insurance plan is often marred by insurance illiteracy and lack of information. Consequently, they end up paying for what they actually may not need.

Challenges in expenditures

Well, it might sound like we are repeating the same thing time and again. But, yes, the US government is spending far more than what it should spend. Regrettably, the results are not something anyone proud of. Looking at the current trend in healthcare expenditure, it seems quite unlikely that any change in the expenditure will occur if no reform in the policy takes effect shortly.

The major driver of rising healthcare expenditure is theadoption of new medical technologies. For instance, if a new blockbuster drug enters the market, it will surely push the cost-curve upwards. In some cases, the benefits of any of these technologies fall well below the amount you pay for them. Moreover, overspending on ineffective new technologies can affect spending on necessary things. For example, preventive care, health education, and others.

Health Insurance and Benefits: What Measures Can maximize the Outcomes?

The most critical factor to address the current crisis in US healthcare system is a reform which can include:

  • Personal health insurance. It should always be the individual’s authority to choose which insurance policy they like. But in a system where the employer chooses your policy, it is very less likely that the selected insurance will solve all your ailments. Moreover, if you leave the job, your insurance coverage might go off the air as well.
  • More competitive insurance market. More competition means the consumers can expect to have more choices and most probably pay less for their choice. As a matter of fact, the insurance market is dominated by a handful of companies that drive the fate of the market. If it was possible for the consumer to choose from a number of options, it would have been a different scenario now.
  • A wider range of practice authority to non-physician medical professionals. Like in the insurance market, competition is a good thing even when among the healthcare professionals. All non-physician professionals such as Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, naturopaths, and chiropractors should have a greater flexibility in practicing what they have learned.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about health insurance and benefits, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

 

When to Go to the ER: Know When to Go and When Not To

Questioning when to go to the ER can be scary. As a matter of fact, we would not want, even in the distant dream, you to go to ER. But certain conditions warrant an ER visit. By not doing so, you could be putting the health of yourself or a loved one at stake.

ER

Included in this article are the conditions or symptoms that answer your “when to go to ER” question. Also, you will know when to take your infant to ER, take your child to ER, and the need of ER for adults.

Do You Need to Visit the ER For Common Symptoms?

Well, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this common question. For example, a dull pain near your navel may seem like something that you could get away without any treatment. But do you know the same pain could be indicative of appendicitis? Evidently, no symptom can be considered as each of them could be indicative of some serious underlying conditions.

In fact, there are many instances when serious conditions start with seemingly milder symptoms. These include headache, pain in the jaw, chest pain, shortness of breath, and finally a feeling that something is not right inside your body.

Moreover, ER visits are not limited to the disease conditions only. Injury, choking, burns, electrocution, and long-lasting seizures also require an ER visit.

So, is there any way that can tell you when to go to ER? There is and there is not. That being said, severe injuries, especially to the head and spine, and burns invariably require you to go to ER. This is easier than finding out if you should go to ER if you have a headache or chest pain.

For the physical symptoms, it is always a good idea to keep note of their frequency, severity and your gut feeling.

Given below are some conditions/symptoms that warrant an ER trip for any age group:

  • Choking
  • Disturbed breathing
  • Head injury with loss of consciousness, vomiting episodes, or mental confusion
  • Injury to neck or spine. Think of going to the ER if you or your loved one experiences a lack of emotion or loses theability to move after the injury.
  • Electric shock or lightning strike
  • Severe burn
  • Severe chest pain
  • Seizure attacks for more than 3 minutes.

Rush to the ER if you or a loved one is experiencing:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Loss of consciousness for longer durations
  • Chest pain that radiates to the left shoulder and jaw
  • A sudden episode of bad headache, something you have not experienced before.
  • Sudden problems with vision, speech or movement.
  • Sudden weakness on one side of the body
  • Persistent dizziness
  • Inhaled poisonous fumes
  • Heavy loss of blood
  • Signs that your bone is possibly broken. For example, severe swelling on the affected part, loss of movement, and extreme
  • Severe burn
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unbearable pain in any part of the body with or without an obvious reason
  • Symptoms of severe allergic reaction such as breathing difficulties, swelling, hives, and rashes on the skin
  • High fever accompanied by headache and stiffness in the neck
  • A fever that does not improve even after taking medicine
  • Severe loss of fluid due to diarrhea or vomiting
  • Accidentally taken a poison
  • Persistent thoughts of harming yourself or others
  • Long-lasting seizures
  • Overdosing on drug or alcohol
  • Attempting suicide

When to Take Your Infant to ER

The decision to take your infant to ER solely depends on your own assessment of the infant’s symptoms. This is because the infants and kids cannot directly tell how they are feeling. Take note of the following warning signs and symptoms.

  • Refusing food and drink consistently or vomiting up foods or liquids
  • Fever above 100.4 that lasts for longer durations
  • Crying persistently
  • Vomiting and frequent passage of loose or watery stool
  • Labored breathing, wheezing or high-pitched noise when breathing
  • Visible injury after a fall or accident like a bump on the head

When to Take Your Child to ER

If it’s the first time that you are parenting a child, it is critically essential that you identify the conditions when you should take your child to the ER. However, this, in no way, means that you can stay relaxed when something wrong happens to your second child or the first child the second time. In essence, experience and instinct are great assets that help you determine when you should take your child to ER.

Look out for the following symptoms in your child and rush them to ER if anything does not feel right.

  • Choking
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin
  • Persistent high-grade fever that does not improve with common medicines
  • Frequent or heavy bleeding, especially following an injury
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea characterized by sunken eyes, low urine output, excessive skin dryness, etc.

When to Go to the ER: Not for These Conditions in Most Cases

Not All Conditions Require an ER Visit. Know the Bad Reasons to Visit ER

If you visit ER with minor symptoms of a cold, you are definitely wasting your time and money, as well your doctor’s time. That being said, many conditions are not severe enough to warrant an ER visit. Instead, you can get relief by visiting your personal physician.

These conditions include:

  • Sore throat
  • Minor cough
  • Non-severe allergic reactions that can go away with OTC medications
  • Occasional headache
  • Minor wound or bleeding from superficial cuts
  • Sprains and strains without the signs of broken bones

Want To Know More?

To learn more about when to go to the ER, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

 

 

5 Ways to Repair a Broken Healthcare Referral Process

In this article, you will understand what factors are contributing to a broken referral process and what remedial measures can help.

Effective coordination between primary care physicians and specialists is key to enhanced patient satisfaction and high-quality health care. Unfortunately, US healthcare is currently struggling with the problem of abroken referral process.

healthcare-referral system

It is not a new thing that the US healthcare system is one of the most complicated in the world. Everyday, hundreds of thousands of physicians, dentists, hospitals, and laboratories exchange a huge amount of data. In most cases, health information travels from one professional to another in the form of paper records. Yes, this is exactly when the risk of data loss and corruption peaks.

Let’s look at the factors that are fueling the broken referral process.

  • Communication gap. The absence of effective communication between primary care physicians and specialists is by far the most influential driver of broken healthcare referral in the US. This broken link in the chain causes significant problems to the patients as well the physicians. According to statistics in a 2012 report by hitconsultant.net, 25% of primary care physicians do not receive timely information from specialists post-referral. Even worse, 68% of specialists have no idea about patients being referred to them.
  • Paper vs patient. Because referrals are yet to transform fully into electronic forms, paper records are still the most preferred medium for referral communication. As a result, EHR is also not entirely free from paper. What happens next? Thousands of patients who cannot make sense of a doctor’s handwriting make wrong choices. Unfortunately, many of them die due to preventable medical errors.
  • HIPAA violations. The HIPAA law (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) requires every covered entity and its business associate to take appropriate measures to ensure privacy and security of sensitive health information. That being said, organizations using electronic referral system must comply with HIPAA. Regrettably, many organizations lack proper infrastructure and manpower to handle and back up referral data. This makes them vulnerable to data theft and loss leading to HIPAA violations and possible penalties.

What Organizations Can Do to Repair a Broken Healthcare Referral Process

In order to bridge the gap between primary care physicians and specialists, and ensure data safety, organizations can implement the following measures.

  1. Assess the loopholes and take preventive action. The first step in addressing the problem of broken healthcare referral is to identify the underlying causes. For example, if broken communication is the reason, the organization should work to enhance communication by utilizing patient referral forms. The form contains all essential information such as date, referring physician’s name, name of the specialist, and urgency of referral. Then, the referral coordinator should talk with the patient to schedule an appointment based on patient preference and specialist availability.
  2. Keeping a track of the referral process. There is an ongoing wrong concept that the role of primary care physician finishes once the appointment has been scheduled. However, this is not what actually happens or should happen. The primary care physician should know if the patienthas visited the specialist. In fact, they should also receive a notification about the visit. If the practice uses an EHR system with tracking features, the tracking process becomes easier. If that’s not the case, the referral coordinator can use a simple spreadsheet to track the process. The spreadsheet should contain at least the following essential information: patient name, physician or clinic referred to, diagnosis, and date of referral request
  3. Routine assessment of key information regarding the referral process. The key information that defines the quality of a referral process are:
  • The time required for scheduling or confirming an appointment with a given specialist;
  • The period for which a patient has to wait for actually meeting a specialist after an appointment is set up.
  • The number of times a patient misses an appointment;
  • The time it takes for a primary care physician to receive a post-appointment letter from the specialist regarding a given patient.
  1. Using HIPAA-compliant electronic referral systems. In order to protect sensitive health data and prevent their loss, it is critically important that the organizations use HIPAA-compliant referral systems. In case any data loss or theft occurs, the organizations should employ a proper reporting system. Note that those organizations that fail to report a health data breach to regulatory authorities and affected patients are liable for punishment under the HIPAA law.
  2. Take feedback from patients. Patient satisfaction is central to defining the quality of any healthcare service. For this reason, it is always a wise decision to ask the patients about their experience with the referral process. In fact, organizations should conduct routine surveys that measure the patient satisfaction. The patient feedback is a useful tool to take further actions to improve the quality of the service.

Key Takeaways

Broken healthcare referral in the US is rising despite growing implementation of EHR. Thousands of deaths occur annually due to problems with the healthcare referral process. One of the first things to address this issue is to ensure a proper communication among all the members in the chain, the primary care physicians, the patients, and the specialists.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about ways to repair broken healthcare referral process, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.