Category Archives: Healthcare Technology

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

 

 

8 Tips to Stop and Prevent a Nosebleed

Stop a nosebleed within 20 minutes with these simple tips. Also, learn about how you can prevent future nosebleeds.

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Bleeding from the nose is common and rarely serious. In fact, many adults, and children between the ages 3 to 10 have occasional episodes of nosebleeds. Though a non-serious condition, a nosebleed may seem scary and the sight of blood can be distressing to some individuals.

In this article, you will understand causes of nosebleeds, risk factors, and steps to stop and prevent bleeding.

What is a nosebleed?

In simple terms, a nosebleed is bleeding from either single or both nostrils. Most cases of nosebleeds involve only one nostril and such is generally harmless. However, bleeding from both nostrils can be more serious and cause loss of large amounts of blood.

The inside of the nose is covered by a moist layer which is richly supplied with blood vessels. For this reason, any injury or even a scratch can tear off the small blood vessels leading to bleeding. Blood from the nose can run down the back of the nose into the throat.

Depending on the site of bleeding, nosebleeds may be broadly classified into two types. They are:

  • Anterior nosebleed. In this type, bleeding occurs due to ruptured blood vessels that lie in the front part of the nose.
  • Posterior nosebleed. This type of nosebleed is more serious and involves blood vessels in the back part of the nose.

What are the causes and risk factors of nosebleeds?

In most cases, the common cause of nosebleeds is an injury that disrupts the tiny blood vessels inside the nose. Activities like nose picking and forceful blowing are the most common culprits. However, many other factors can also increase the risk. Risk factors include:

  • Dry air. Continuous exposure to extreme temperatures and dry air can take away moisture from the moist layer that covers the inside of the nose. If you pick or scratch the dry layer, it may cause bleeding.
  • Certain medications, especially cold and flu medications, can also dry out the moist layer and increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Presence of foreign object or irritants in the nose. Exposure to cigarette smoke, sulfuric acid fumes, ammonia, gasoline, or other chemical irritants significantly increases the risk of bleeding.
  • Allergy of the respiratory tract.
  • Repeated sneezing.
  • Cold air. Nosebleeds occur more commonly during seasonal changes when the air is cold and dry.
  • Medications that interfere with blood clotting mechanisms such as aspirin and prescription blood thinners may also cause bleeding.
  • In some individuals, medical conditions like high blood pressure, a bleeding disorder, blood clotting disorder, and cancer can contribute to bleeding.
  • Heavy alcohol consumption. Taking large amounts of alcohol dilates the blood vessels and makes them more prone to bleeding. Moreover, alcohol can also interfere with clotting mechanisms in the body.
  • A deviated septum. The septum is the wall between the two nostrils. If the septum deviates, it affects air flow in the nostrils. Over time, the nostril which gets little air becomes dry and may bleed easily.
  • Dietary supplements like feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginseng and vitamin E can impair proper blood clotting.

Steps to Stop Nosebleeds: Know These Simple Treatment Measures

Most cases of nosebleeds are not serious and you can treat them at home. However, if the bleeding is severe and unresponsive to home remedies, see a doctor right away.

The simple ways to stop nosebleeds are:

  1. Sit up straight and tip your head slightly forward. Make sure not to tilt your head back. Doing so can cause blood to run down the back of your throat. If you swallow the blood, it might cause vomiting. So, if you get blood in your mouth or throat, spit out the blood instead of swallowing.
  2. Pinch the soft part of your nose using your thumb and forefinger. Most nosebleeds occur in the soft part of the nose.
  3. Because cold temperature constricts the blood vessels, you may apply an ice pack to your nose and cheeks.
  4. Continue pinching your nose for at least 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, release the pressure on the nose and check to see if your nose is still bleeding. If the bleeding persists, pinch for another 10 minutes.
  6. Use a water-based nasal gel or an antiseptic nasal cream inside your nose. You may also use saline for this purpose.
  7. Avoid blowing your nose for at least 12 hours after the bleeding has stopped.
  8. Rest for another few hours, avoiding intense physical activity.

How to Prevent Nosebleeds

Once you have stopped a nosebleed, make sure to reduce the chances of future events of bleeding by:

  • Avoiding forceful nose-blowing.
  • Not picking your nose.
  • Avoiding heavy lifting or other stressful activities quickly after a nosebleed.
  • Sleeping in a position that elevates your head. Use a high pillow.
  • Keeping your nostrils moist by applying a thin layer of a saline- or water-based nasal gel.
  • Avoiding aspirin or other painkillers for at least 3 to 4 days after a nosebleed. Instead, you may use Acetaminophen to relieve pain.
  • Not taking non-prescription allergy medications and decongestants immediately following a nosebleed.
  • Quitting smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.

Key Takeaways

  • Nosebleeds are common and rarely fatal or life-threatening.
  • Most nosebleeds stop after 20 minutes of applying pressure.
  • If nosebleeds start occurring frequently, talk to your doctor as they could be indicative of some serious underlying causes such as bleeding disorders or even cancer.
  • If the nosebleed is due to injury to the nose caused by a fall or road traffic accident, seek immediate medical attention.

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Want To Know More?

To learn more about the tips to stop and prevent nosebleeds, 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.

6 Reasons for Rising Healthcare Cost Problems in the US

The problems with rising healthcare cost in the US can be partly attributed to an aging population that has been struggling with the wrath of chronic diseases. Another thing to worry about at this moment is that the GDP growth rate is lagging behind healthcare spending.

u.s. healthcareAccording to a CMS report, healthcare cost will eat up a major share of the GDP at nearly 20% by 2025. In 2015, the amount spent was $3.2 trillion. This is equal to $9,990 per person and 17.8% of the GDP. An increasing overall spending on health and related services is making us poorer but nowhere has it seemed to slow down even after a decade.

In this article, you will learn about 6 major problems that are fueling healthcare cost and their potential solutions. Before we move forward, let’s have a quick look at the projected capital spending on health and related services through 2016-2025.

  • Over the 2016-2025 period, total healthcare spending is expected to outpace the GDP growth rate. Going by the numbers, health spending is projected to grow 1.2 percentage points faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year over the 2016-25 period. As a result, the health share of GDP is expected to witness a jump from 17.8 percent in 2015 to 19.9 percent by 2025.
  • Presuming the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will last until 2025, the percentage of Americans getting insured is projected to increase from 90.9 percent in 2015 to 91.5 percent in 2025.
  • Interestingly, health spending saw a decline from 5.8 percent in 2015 to 4.8 percent in 2016. The major reason being a temporary setback on the expansion of the Affordable Care Act. In the same period, Medicaid spending growth slowed down from 9.7 percent to 3.7 percent. Likewise, private health insurance spending growth was down to 5.9 percent in 2016 from 7.2 percent in 2015.
  • In 2017, overall spending on health is expected to grow by 5.4 percent. The major driver of this growth is an increased spending in Medicare and private health insurance.

(Source: National Health Expenditure Fact Sheet, CMS.gov)

These Factors are Fueling Healthcare Cost Growth in the US

  1. Uncoordinated healthcare system. In fact, our healthcare system is much unorganized. As a result, overtreatment of a health condition has become a common thing. Take an example, if you have a health condition that requires a medical test, there is a chance that you may have to take the same test several times. Obviously, this is going to create a hole in your pocket. In order to address the problem of overtreatment (or more precisely unnecessary treatment), doctors and medical systems are welcoming electronic health records in their practice, which is a positive sign.
  2. An aging population and burden of chronic illnesses. It is natural that old people are more likely to require frequent healthcare services. But what’s not natural is that many of them are obese and have more than one chronic illness. In fact, about 50 percent of US population has one or more chronic conditions. Most notably, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes. Obesity which affects two-thirds of adults is a key risk factor for all these health conditions. What’s the solution? Shed some pounds, watch your diet and engage in suitable physical activity regularly.
  3. Rising cost of new drugs, technologies, and services. With the advancement of health science, many new drugs, technologies, and services are making their way into the healthcare system. While this is a good thing from most perspectives, you have to pay a hefty amount to leverage the benefits. In order to streamline the cost, you should assess a new treatment’s benefits against the cost. It is necessary because many new treatments are comparable or even less efficient than the existing treatments.
  4. Limited resources to facilitate the choice of medical care. We have a number of choices when it comes to selecting a health service or treatment. Unfortunately, we lack sufficient information that helps us make a better decision while choosing a medical care. In fact, there is no standard source that informs patients about the cost-effectiveness of a medical service and available options. Consequently, patients often end up paying more for a service which they could have used for a lesser amount.
  5. The monopoly of hospitals and providers. Big hospitals and medical insurers command a high level of authority when serving the patients. Mergers and acquisitions in thehealthcare industry are, no doubt, a good thing if you consider increased efficiency and better care. But the increasing control of big organizations can backfire as well. As a result, they have a tighter control over the healthcare cost and patients are left with fewer options.
  6. Uncertainty about the illness. Many illnesses that have vague symptoms or long-lasting nature are yet another reason why the healthcare cost is skyrocketing. If you and your doctor are not sure about the illness, you will have to take multiple tests and procedures that will ultimately add numbers to the bill. In another common practice called defensive medicine, doctors order multiple tests in an attempt to protect themselves from possible legal problems.

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Want To Know More?

To learn more about therising healthcare cost problem in the US, 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.

 

3 Ways Propolis Boosts Health

Propolis, famously known as “bee glue,” is a sticky, waxy substance made by bees said to contain anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. It is abundant in amino acids, antioxidants known as bioflavonoids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Propolis has been used for centuries to enhance the immune system, treat various skin conditions, aid in preventing cancer and treat viral infections such as genital herpes. Propolis can be found in capsule, oral rinse, lozenge, liquid, ointment and cream form.

propolis

Immunity Booster

Bee propolis is thought to contain anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that have the ability to enhance and improve the immune system. In a study published in the August 2010 issue of “Phytotherapy Research,” scientists found propolis can alter or regulate the immune system. During this study, subjects who were given bee propolis showed higher levels of proteins and compounds that play a central role in regulating the immune system.

Anti-Cancer Agent

Bee propolis may have anti-tumor capabilities, making it an alternative treatment or preventative measure for cancer. In a study published in the February 2004 issue of the “American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology,” clinicians found that propolis killed the human breast carcinoma cell known as MCF-7. After participants were given a propolis extract, in just 24 hours, 13 percent of the cancer cells were obliterated. In another study five years later, published in the November issue of “BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine,” researchers found that red bee propolis significantly suppressed the vascular endothelial growth factor, which is often responsible for cancer. Therefore, researchers concluded that bee propolis contains therapeutic compounds that have the potential to prevent and help treat angiogenesis-related human diseases such as cancer.

Natural Antiseptic

Bee propolis, with its active ingredients including flavonoids, phenolic acids, terpenes, amino acids and vitamins, has been used as antiseptic topical ointment for centuries, dating back to the ancient Egyptians. It is proposed that propolis speeds up the healing process and tissue repair of wounds such as cuts, bruises, scrapes and sores. During a study that was published in the September/October 2009 issue of “Wound Repair and Regeneration,” researchers found that in animal testing, a single application of propolis on an epithelial closure speeded up healing.

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Of course, there are very different grades of bee propolis, and it is necessary to select your source with some care. We need to ensure enzyme activity along with nutritionally active vitamins and minerals, for the power of propolis to be useful to us in a potential medicinal sense. A nutritionally ‘dead’ product may have some benefit when applied to the skin topically, but as an immune support agent it provides very little. The integrity of the collected substance must maintain flavonoids in their original combination for it to provide some benefits.

Propolis supplements are available in capsule form in health stores and online. Experts advise that you can also purchase propolis as an ointment to treat wounds and infections. Research is still in the preliminary stage, but propolis is emerging as one of the superstar players in a new era of natural and effective cancer cures.