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Bath Salt Abuse

The drugs widely sold as bath salts, and other similar names, are alleged to produce dramatic effects in their users. Perhaps one of the most famous incidents of apparent bath salt abuse involved a spate of horrific attacks, including cannibalism.

These instances were widely reported as being caused by these drugs, but after further information was unveiled, there was no evidence of bath salt abuse found in these cases. As a result, these drugs were widely maligned with little real evidence, and numerous myths have sprung up about their use. The facts about bath salts are disturbing on their own, but further investigation found that there was no evidence they cause “zombie-like” behavior.

bath-salt-abuse

The basis of these drugs lies in the khat plant, a shrub that grows in east Africa and parts of the Arabian peninsula. The plant produces cathinones, which act in a similar way to amphetamines. They act as stimulants on the central nervous system.

Signs and Symptoms

As with most stimulants, bath salt use leads to:

  • Rapid heart rate.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Dilated pupils.

This increases the risk of heart attack and stroke during even short-term use. Bath salts have been associated with headaches and palpitations in a significant number of users. Increased sexual stimulation has been associated with bath salts, potentially leading to risky sexual activities.

Mephedrone (Meow)

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Physical symptoms are not the only signs of bath salt use, however. If a loved one is using bath salts, you might notice that he has lost his appetite and no longer eats as much as he did. If your loved one is at school, you might notice that her grades have dropped and that her sleeping patterns have changed. For those who work, changes in work ethic and serious sleep disturbances might occur. The person might even lose his or her job thanks to erratic behavior.

Effects of Bath Salt Abuse

Long-term abuse of bath salts appears to result in effects similar to amphetamines:

  • Psychosis.
  • Dizziness.
  • Heart problems.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Ulcers.
  • Mood disorders.
  • Total loss of coordination.

Media outlets have reported serious disturbances as being a side effect of bath salt use. The Miami cannibal incident in May 2012 was widely reported as being a bath salts-caused attack, although the investigation could not determine the ultimate cause of the apparent psychosis.

Mental health disorders cover a wide range of issues, including severe depression and attempts at suicide. People might also self-mutilate and become delirious. Death is not uncommon.

Ultimately, the most dangerous side effect of bath salts appears to be addiction, which causes users to lose touch with reality and lose their sense of self-control. While there are few studies on bath salts that show an addictive potential, the stimulation of certain neural pathways indicates that these drugs work in a similar way to amphetamines, creating similar addiction profiles.

Treatment

When a loved one’s bath salts abuse spirals out of control, bath salts rehabis an option. Signs that an addiction has occurred usually involves a pattern of abuse that is destructive and carries on despite negative side effects. Usually, this might involve missing school or work, a failure to follow through with financial obligations, missing family obligations, or recurrent legal issues.

Once an addiction has been identified, it’s best to talk to the person. The key is to persuade your loved one to get help. Aim to understand why the addiction happened and don’t take anything personally; the drugs may well be talking, not the person you love.

Mental Health as A Workplace Asset: Happiness Gives Big Profits

No doubt, sound mental health is an asset for every area of life. This carries a greater importance at the workplace. It is because a healthy mind is a key to enhancing productivity and motivation. Over the years, the perception of mental health issues in the organizations has changed. It is a welcome sign that many of them are now accepting mental disorders as an illness rather than a stigma.

Mental Health Problems inthe US

Mental health problems pose a great threat to Americans. According to a 2012 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about one in five American adults has at least one mental illness every year. Nonetheless, these findings are debatable in the medical community. Many psychiatric statisticians believe the prevalence of mental illnesses in the US is more than this.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its 2011 report estimated that around 25% of Americans had mental health problems at the time of the study. All things considered, it is clear that Americans are struggling with the effects of mental disorders.

Depression, Anxiety And Bipolar Disorder Are The Top Three Mental Health Issues In The U.S.

According to the CDC, the most mental illnesses across the U.S. are:

  • Also called uni polar depression, which means the patient has only depressive symptoms, affected 6.7% of U.S. adults in the last twelve months. Notably, women are at a greater risk, with 11.7% women having a mental illness compared to 5.6 % men.
  • More than 15% of the Americans have at least one type of anxiety disorder. While during the last twelve, more than 10% had anxiety. The common types of anxiety disorder are panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, and separation anxiety disorder.
  • Bipolar disorder. According to The National Comorbidity Study, the lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder is 4%. Meaning, out of hundred Americans, four have bipolar disorder at some point during their lifetime.

Work and Mental Health: Exploring The “On” And “Off” Relationship

The relationship between work and mental health is often ambiguous. As a matter of fact, workplace distress could lead to depressive symptoms. By the same token, depression could significantly cut down the productivity at work.

One trend that has been grabbing attention is disclosure of the mental illness at the workplace. While positive perception by colleagues can go a long way in the recovery process, a negative attitude can add further woes.

Also, the stigmatization of mental health problems at the workplace may keep the patient from disclosing problems or denying treatment. At the worst, negatives attitudes about mental health issues can cause the loss of employment. This, in turn, causes more distress and financial problems to the patients. The negative experience of a mental illness may continue long after the recovery.

Many organizations lack proper monitoring systems to detect a mental health issue among their employees. Thus, treatment may be delayed further.

What Employers Can Do To Address Mental Health Issues

First, the employers should make provisions for identifying and addressing the mental health problems among their employees. In essence, they should create a workplace where every member knows the value of mental health. This may be achieved through a regular mental health awareness program. There, the employees with a problem can disclose how they feel living and working with the illness. Likewise, the healthy peers can extend their support by accepting the problem and comforting those having the problems. The workplace should support the disclosure and work to reduce its stigmatization.

The employers should encourage their employees to indulge in healthy activities. In fact, they can avail facilities like gym, fitness centers, and regular meditation sessions.

What Employees Can Do To Resolve Mental Health Issues

The first thing that employees can do is to disclose their mental health problems in front of the managers. Such practice may help the human resource manager to know if any unfavorable workplace environment or policy is boosting the prevalence. Besides, this will allow the managers to transfer the workload to other healthy employees.

Happy Employees Make Happy Managers: Why Is Mental Health A Workplace Asset?

According to a 2009/2010 report, an effective health program at the workplace resulted in increased revenues, lowered medical expenses and reduced loss of workdays.

A 2016 Forbes article suggests the return on investment for every dollar spent in treating anxiety and depression is four folds. Thus, a company with great health policies for their employees is sure to make some great profits.

Key Takeaways

  • Mental health and workplace share a very close link as the employees spend most of their productive time at the office.
  • An unhealthy workforce is a major reason for an organization’s loss or poor performance. Likewise, the inability of the organization to provide a supportive environment to their (healthy and ill) employees further worsens the condition.
  • Mental health is also a key to an employee’s professional growth as it boosts their productivity and performance at the office.
  • Companies that spend for the programs to enhance their employee’s mental health tend to have greater revenues.
  • Organizational stigmatization and employee’s negative experience with a mental illness are the main reasons why both the parties suffer. To avoid such experience, the employers should make sure they respect the value of their employee’s health. Also, anyone who has gone through the stigma of mental illness at the workplace should not anticipate the same when they switch to another organization.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about mental health at workplace, visit 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.

Super Foods: What Are They? Know Their Health Benefits

Super foods, in general, are plant-derived foods that contain very high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Nonetheless, some fish and dairy products also make their way to the list. Nutritionists say super foods could be one of the ways to ward off cancer, maintain heart health and possibly prevent diabetes. This, in no sense, implies that super foods are a replacement for a healthy diet or compensation for a bad diet and unhealthy lifestyle choices. After all, there is unequivocal evidence that your health relies greatly on a healthy diet comprising the right amounts of a variety of nutrients.

Super foods: What to Eat and What Health Benefits They Offer

Here are the top three super foods with their evidence-based health benefits.

  1. Blueberries

These sweet berries with blue hues are rich in vitamins, (folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K) and have high amounts of dietary fiber. Also, they are loaded with health-promoting antioxidants. The role of fruits and vegetables in maintaining health and preventing diseases is undebatable.

A large number of studies have suggested a strong link between an increased consumption of blueberries and decreased risk of lifestyle disorders. For example, obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. In fact, many health benefits of blueberries come from the antioxidant flavonoids Anthocyanins. Moreover, recent studies suggest blueberries could be a perfect super food to fight cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and wrinkles.

The best ways to eat blueberries

Here are some simple ways you can include blueberries in your meals.

  • Use blueberries toppings on oatmeal, waffles, pancakes and yogurt.
  • Prepare a smoothie by mixing frozen berries, low-fat milk and yogurt.
  • Try some easy-to-prepare blueberry recipes. For example, blueberry almond bread and blueberry chia smoothies.
  1. Whole Grains And Beans

Whole grains and beans are a great way to add more fiber and proteins in your diet. They are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Note that a typical American diet contains aninsufficient quantity of a mineral manganese. When you prefer whole grains over the processed grains, you can reap many health benefits. For example, lowered blood cholesterol and risk of heart diseases, improved bowel habits and sugar control, and possible weight control. Also, the beans could be a safer and less expensive alternative to meat.

The best way to eat whole grains and beans

  • Eat whole grain bread or oatmeal for breakfast.
  • Prefer whole grains over processed grains wherever you can.
  1. Oily Fish

Oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines may help to prevent heart diseases, prostate cancer, and vision loss due to aging and dementia. They contain healthy amounts of protein, vitamin D, protein, vitamin B, and selenium. Moreover, the oily fish is enriched with a healthy fat called omega-3 fatty acids. Notably, salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Studies suggest eating oily fish at least once a week may help to prevent heart diseases. The minerals and heart-healthy omega-3-fatty acids in oily fish can lower blood pressure and prevent fat accumulation in the arterial walls. Likewise, omega-3-fatty acids may also help to prevent memory problems in the later years of life.

The best ways to eat oily fish

  • Eat it with a toast and a side salad for a nutritious meal or roast with cruciferous vegetables.

The Top Three Foods you Should Avoid

In contrast to super foods, some foods are so bad that you should avoid them. If you cannot, consume them in a very little quantity and less often. Here some foods to avoid if you are aiming for a healthy life.

  • Added sugar does more harm than just bad teeth and added pounds. It is a well-established fact that excess sugar makes you fatter. But do you know it also increases the risk of other serious illnesses like diabetes and heart diseases? So, next time you order a smoothie, think again. Also, make sure to read the label on your favorite snacks. Stop drinking sweetened beverages and opt for unsweetened waters, teas, and sparkling beverages instead.
  • Potato chips. No doubt, the potato is a rich source of many nutrients. But products like chips or French fries are on the opposite side. The harms of these calorie-dense foods arise from different sources. For example, trans fats, cancer-causing chemicals, and high salt content. Instead, prepare boiled salted potatoes in place of the chips.
  • Processed meat. There is no denying that meat is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. In essence, meat is a nutritious food. However, the WHO classifies processed meat at number one in the list of cancer-causing substances (carcinogens). Meaning, daily consumption could put you at a high risk for cancer. Note that other carcinogens like tobacco and alcohol also fall in the same group. What can you do? Eat fresh meat instead of processed.

The Bottom Line

No doubt, super foods are a great way to potentially prevent or manage some common health problems. Yet, they cannot replace a balanced diet. You should consider super foods as a part of a healthy diet, not an entire diet in itself.

Moreover, not each super food is good for everyone. For this reason, try one at a time and observe the benefits. If you feel that the results are good, include them in your diet.

Also, consult your doctor if you:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Have a chronic illness and take prescription medication to treat it. Remember some foods or super foods may interact with the medications you take.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about the health benefits of super foods, visit 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.

Healthcare Data Breaches: Are Hackers the Only Reason?

yay-5256236Healthcare data breaches in 2016 have surely raised the eyebrows of everyone in healthcare. In addition to being a nightmare for insurance providers, it is also nothing less than that for patients.

In fact, it could be an early sign of a looming danger. The consequences of failing health information security could do harm that is beyond the realm of imagination.

To put it simply, hackers hack for money, fame, or both. They are the first to cross our minds when we hear news of data security breach. But are they the sole cause of the sheer data loss in recent years?

In this article, we take a closer look at the stats of healthcare data breaches in 2016. Furthermore, we will take a deeper dive to explore the reasons for a security breach.

2016 US Healthcare Data Breaches: A Forgettable Year but An Unforgettable Experience

According to HIPAA Journal, Banner Health, Newkirk Products, Inc., and 21st Century Oncology lost a cumulative of more than 9 million patient records in 2016. This accounted for 33% of the total data loss. While the loss was far lower than that in the earlier year, the incidence of breaches almost doubled.

Notably, data breaches in healthcare totaled over 112 million records in 2015. Provider Anthem was the top target with the loss of 80 million records. This dramatic drop in the number of the lost records in no way indicates any improvement in health information security. In fact, what is of greater concern is the twofold increase in the occurrence of breaches.

If we put aside Anthem’s lost data, there is not much difference in the number of the breaches. Mathematically, it is (112-80=42 million) in 2015 and 27 million in 2016. Healthcare data breaches cost theUS economy an estimated $6 billion per year.

Considering widespread use of internet-connected healthcare devices, the trend of loss can only surge. This is when we do not implement preventive security measures.

FindaTopDoc is an innovation in the healthcare sector. It is the product of experienced digital marketer Anthony Casimano. It contains routinely updated articles, drug libraries, and other health contents. To make their readers more knowledgeable, they convert every complex medical information into user-friendly content. All the benefits are free of any cost.

Hackers Are Not Only the Reason for Ailing Healthcare Security

When you hear of a cyber attack in any sector, it is very normal for most of us to blame the hackers. Understandably, they are the most obvious scapegoat for the faults that can have devastating results.

Understandably, healthcare fraud and identity theft are the two most lucrative reasons why the hackers are demolishing the walls of health information security.

Let’s look at the different side of the story.

According to a report by Protenus, almost 90% of the total events resulted due to human error. This leaves the space for wrongdoings at a mere 10%.

It’s high time we ask ourselves a few questions of paramount importance.

How have the security officials played their part? 

Is there a role of human error?

How have patients assured they are safe?

Are we properly trained to implement the software updates?

How do intentional wrongdoing affect the numbers? 

If you know someone is eyeing your data, what steps would you take to keep them safe?

Obviously, to answer these questions, it takes a lot of courage. Also, it takes some time to realize that health information security is everyone’s concern. We can expect a safer haven when each link in the chain is strong.

Once we have a clear understanding of our weaknesses, we can formulate strategies to safeguard ourselves. After all, ensuring safety is arguably the best preventive approach.

A Glance atthe Role Of HIPAA

HIPAA, an acronym for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, has set the standard for health information security. Nonetheless, its role as a guardian of PHI (Personal Health Information) comes under frequent criticism. Critics say HIPAA activities are too weak to control the many problems in health information security.

For this reason, many experts call it a toothless tiger. Well, it might be too early or not the best idea to address a national level watchdog.

One way HIPAA could make its efforts more noticeable is to include more stringent criteria for the certification. In addition, wider coverage of HIPAA training could provide much more enhanced safety within all types of healthcare environments.

The Solution

Healthcare cyber security is more than just protection of information. It is also about how we can protect patients from the loss of privacy. The future of healthcare relies largely on how we respond to the increasing events of breaches. Experts believe the rising amount of healthcare security breaches is awake-up call for the entire industry.

The events of healthcare data breaches have unearthed the value of training the patients on how to adopt the safety measures. As a matter of fact, strong security systems alone will not guarantee a total protection. Patients should also learn about how to keep their information as secure as possible.

Explore the vulnerabilities and weak links in the system to ensure vital patient information is not lost at the hands of hackers or insiders. Next is to anticipate an attack before it actually happens.

Finally, encrypting patient health information is the key to preventing loss of health information.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about everything healthcare, visit 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 allowvisitors 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.

Hospital of Tomorrow

Blurred doctors surgery corridorWhat will hospitals be like in 2035? Given the rate at which technology is revolutionizing the healthcare sector, says Mitch Morris, MD, an American oncologist with experience in healthcare administration, physicians today would barely recognize a hospital if they took a trip through time to 2035, just as healthcare professionals 20 or so years ago would if they walked into a hospital today.

As a result of many healthcare innovations over recent years, hospitals have been modernized to such an extent that pioneering new products and digital advances are helping to improve people’s lives far beyond what many had anticipated.With these next-generation advances in healthcare innovation, however, hospital efficiency becomes even more important. Applied technology that is caring, impactful and delivers meaningful benefits must both make a difference to people’s lives and work in tandem with budgetary concerns. That is the essence of a healthcare revolution.

The big challenge, therefore, is to meet the growing demands of and for care, and still keep health services solvent. One approach seeks to move away from silo models of service provision towards the development of well-integrated healthcare services. Sceptics, however, have observed that up to now efforts to do this have really involved little more than the transfer of resources from one silo to another.

But things are changing for the better and healthcare innovations that focuses on costs and efficiency have the ability to revolutionize the system.
For many years, acute care hospitals have struggled to keep up with the explosion in healthcare innovations and the data they carry. While some healthcare providers have leapfrogged using information and communications technology (ICT) to manage and monitor clinical data, they have been the exceptions rather than the rule. Within a decade such limitations based on ICT access will be distant memories.

Furthermore, the effective and efficient use of this data will help to reduce costs of service provision, to break down barriers between clinical specialties and service providers, to improve transparency for patients, and to deliver a more holistic patient experience. Inevitably, the slowest part of this change will be cultural. Despite the rapid pace of clinical advances, traditional clinical structures have been slow to evolve, but driven by the stick of budgetary expediency and the enticing carrot of exciting new ways of delivering improved services, healthcare innovation can inspire change.

If big data and cheaper ICT are going to be the engines of change, how will this be experienced on the ground, within hospitals? How will patients’ benefit and hospital efficiency be transformed? A number of trends are already emerging that will enable real-time collaboration between clinicians and patients to improve outcomes while at the same time lowering costs.
For instance, using high-tech procedures that integrate multiple tools and technologies, clinicians will treat complex problems in patient-oriented ways that reduce “competition” between existing clinical disciplines—for example, between cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists.

Healthcare innovations for telehealth capabilities will enable hospitals to discharge more patients, more quickly and to support recuperation in other settings, including their own homes. Active monitoring will ensure timely interventions, should they be necessary.
Using data to refine their focus, clinicians will be able to move away from an excessive “erring on the side of caution” in diagnosis and treatment towards a targeted approach. This will encompass everything from radiation exposure for imaging to minimally-invasive procedures.

Global Health Protection: Dream of A Healthy and Safe World

iStock_000007298729LargeWhat Is Global Health Protection?

Global health protection refers to a range of activities that aim to ensure the people’s right to health is not violated at any cost. Essentially, it is a subset of public health function. Unlike a single nation’s health policies, it is a broad concept that encompasses all the preventive and remedial actions that are taken globally. This is in contrast to international health which restricts its activities to the developing nations only.

The primary goals of public health protection are:
● Enhancing public health capabilities
● Responding to global emergencies or disease outbreaks anywhere in the world in an effective manner. Think of the Ebola or Bird flu outbreak.
● Extend global life expectancy
● Increase the quality of life

Apart from these, it also works to address growing health security concerns. For example:Health during a crisis, and the effects of both infectious and non-communicable diseases. Additionally, it covers child and maternal health, health costs, and violence against women (VAW).
WhyGlobal Health Protection Should Be Every Nation’s Concern: Problems Now and Ahead

The use of advanced transportation systems and intercultural links have blurred boundaries. In fact, we are closer to each other than ever before.

“Boundary separates us but humanity connects us in the best possible way.”

How would you feel if your friend in South Asia is struggling with the effects of a major earthquake? Surely, you would call him/her or have a video chat (if technology allows!).

Similarly, what would you do if anyone you love is traveling to a nation marred by Ebola?

Would you worry about a French friend who is mourning the deaths of his countrymen in a terrorist attack?

These questions are just a few examples of how we have shifted from a nation’s citizen to a global citizen. Understandably, the same applies for global health too.

Now, let’s have a closer look at the stats and the current and future problems that global health protection initiatives have to face.

According to a 2014 report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), a whopping 80% of the population across 44 countries are devoid of global health protection. Especially, a number of West African and South Asian countries are facing this dire situation.

The access to primary healthcare services is largely hindered by the level of poverty in these countries. What’s more frightening is they have to pay for the healthcare services on their own. That being said, out-of-pocket payment (OPP) is one of the main reasons for an increasing rate of impoverishment. Thus, the vicious cycle of poverty and ill-health does not seem to end anytime soon.

Another contributing factor is insufficient healthcare manpower. Regrettably, thousands of people have to rely on a single healthcare worker to meet their needs. Basic services such as identifying diseases and getting the primary treatment are often out of reach for a large fraction of the population.

The effects of civil war and violence on public health leave us wondering if humanity still exists. In fact, war-torn nations are examples of how low we can slump.

All things considered, we are decades away from healthcare equity on a global level. For this reason, we all need to work together to bridge the gap. To start, a more focused and integrated approach towards catering to the basic healthcare needs would be the best.

Which Organizations Are Involved in Global Health Protection Initiatives?
World Health Organization (WHO) plays a central role in widening global health protection coverage. In addition, UNICEF, World Food Program, and the World Bank are other major organizations that are working for the same purpose.

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a separate division that looks after the global health protection issues. It works in a close association with WHO, U.S. government agencies, and health ministries of the partner countries.

Together, they aim to help each other develop and utilize the resources to counter the effects of looming health problems.
What’s the Solution?
The solutions are simple, at least on paper. In most cases, it is the implementation part which takes a toll on the outcomes of any health policy. Nonetheless, we should be optimistic about the future and dream of a better world.

Here are some probable solutions that will surely improve the situation.

● Increased government spending on health systems to build a stronger healthcare team.

● Policies to cut down OPP. As a result, the rate of impoverishment will fall.

● An effective provision to track health system performance, and monitor progress toward health goals.

● Capacity building to control HIV/AIDS.

● Dissemination of health information and awareness on both short-term as well as long-term health threats.

● Decentralization of healthcare reform.

Key Takeaways
Every country should make sure that each of its citizens has an easy access to the healthcare. Additionally, they should also work to bridge the gap between the rich and poor when it comes to health access.

The efforts of the organizations like WHO and UNICEF will not suffice if the local governments do not lend their helping hands.

Therefore, it is imperative that all the countries put aside their interests for a bigger cause which is global health protection.

Want to Know More?
To learn more about everything healthcare, visit 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.

Digital Healthcare Investment

Digital health investments are on track to hit an all-time record in 2016, according to Katya Hancock, director of strategic partnerships at StartUp Health, who spoke at the Digital Healthcare Innovation Summit.Year-to-date for 2016, digital health companies have raised over $6.5 billion in investments, already surpassing the $6.1 billion that was invested in the space last year.The sector set a record in the third quarter when companies raised $2.37 billion, the most raised in a single quarter.

Total investments in digital health since 2010 have amounted to $20 billion. According to Hancock, the general consensus at StartUp Health is that digital health is still only in its early stages, and that we are far from a market bubble.Currently, StartUp Health has 170 companies, across 26 countries, in its portfolio. The firm has an ambitious mission, “to improve the health and well-being of everyone in the world,” and aims to do this by supporting and investing in entrepreneurs who hope to reinvent and transform health care.StartUp has recently outlined 10 major moonshots that it feels will have the greatest impact on health: improving access to health care, decreasing health care costs, curing diseases, cancer, women’s health, children’s health, nutrition, brain health, mental health, and longevity. In addition, StartUp Health actively tracks 7,500 companies outside its portfolio to gain market insights into the digital health space.

Through its market research, the company has identified a number of latest deals in 2016 in the digital health market that are worth noting:

US and Global Growth: As mentioned previously, digital health investments are growing with year-over-year increases. In addition, international investments are increasing rapidly. Some of the largest deals are in fact happening abroad, in particular in China. Two of the largest investments, in fact, have been in China, with a seed-stage investment of $500 million in start-up Ping an Good Doctor and $448 million in Baby Tree, both based in China.

Digital Health’s “First Wave”: Digital health is still in its “first wave,” with early investments in sensors and wearables still in early stages and not yet realizing returns. A second wave is expected that may include more sophisticated sensors, which are likely to offer deeper insights and improved solutions.

An Active Investor Ecosystem: The digital health investor ecosystem is extremely diverse, with over 500 unique investors in the space, with over 140 making multiple deals in 2016.

Unique Collaborations: Stakeholders with specialized expertise are coming together for unique partner collaborations. One example is the large $500 million investment by Google and Sanofi into diabetes start-up Onduo. We can expect more of these unique partnerships going forward, aiming to bring together parties with different skillsets to tackle difficult health care challenges.

The Rise of the Rest: Finally, there is a rise of new innovation centers and hubs away from the prominent East and West Coasts to include other sites in the US and internationally. New ecosystems are attracting investors to locales previously undeserved by digital health.

Digital health funding has high potential for improving health outcomes, and it is expected that investments will continue to grow in the US and internationally going forward. As it is still a young market, only time will tell if returns are realized on this potential.