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Patient Care Forum

National Backpack Awareness Day™

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This school year, there are more than 80 million students across the United States back in school.  If you take a close look at some of these students, you will see that many of them are struggling under the weight of their overloaded backpack.  Further, each year more than 22,000 students suffer strains, sprains, dislocations, and fractures from overloaded, incorrectly sized, or improperly worn backpacks. 

Taking a Look at the State of Evidence-based Medicine

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Originally established in the 1970’s, the first published paper coining “Evidence-based Medicine” (EBM)  appeared in 1990.  In its simplest form, Evidence-based Medicine is the utilization of the current, best evidence and statistical analysis in making decisions about the care of individual patients.  The second role that EBM plays in modern healthcare is in the context of medical education.  In recent years, the term “evidence-based” is being applied to a broad range of activities throughout the health care system.

Presidential Campaign Impact on Healthcare: An Update

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Back in June, we examined the healthcare proposals from the presumptive nominees of the Democrat and Republican Party.  Now that the nominating conventions have ended, and the presidential campaign is entering its final 60 days, let’s revisit the proposals of each of the major party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and also include a brief look at the two minor party candidates, Dr. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.   Note: The candidates are not being listed in any order of preference, and the included information has been taken from the official campaign websites.

Healthy Aging Tips for Baby Boomers

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September is Healthy Aging® Month and no American generation is more in tune with that fact than our “Baby Boomers”.  The Baby Boomer generation references people born between 1946 and 1964, with the first boomers now reaching their 70th birthday.  In the United States, there are approximately 76 million baby boomers, a number that includes people who have immigrated to our country and are of the boomer age.   Considering the fact that within the next ten years, more than 1 in 5 Americans will be over age 65, let’s examine ways that baby boomers can stay healthy as they age.

How the Digitization of Healthcare Will Impact You

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Just about every industry imaginable has been impacted by the rapid advancement of technology over the past few decades.  The Healthcare industry is no exception, although it has been a bit slower to embrace the digital revolution than others.  The marriage of innovative technologies and data utilization, with a helping hand from governmental legislation, has created an environment where healthcare providers are all but forced to join the revolution.  This digitization of healthcare is now being labeled as “The Internet of Medical Things”.

Current Status of Electronic Health Records

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In April 2014, this space published an article questioning whether negative factors in Electronic Health Records Systems were outweighing the intended benefits. Now, more than two years later, it is time to revisit the status of Electronic Health Record (EHR) and the impact on medical care.  The HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act of 2009 was intended to promote the adoption of new technologies regarding the compilation and utilization of electronic data.

Latest Updates on Zika Virus

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In June, we published an article outlining The Straight Facts About Zika Virus.  With news reports of the virus’ spread, it is time to revisit the issue and provide you with the latest updates on Zika.  As of August 3rd, the CDC is reporting that there are 1,825 reported Zika cases in the United States.  Six cases have been attributed to locally acquired mosquito bites, while 1,818 are associated with travel to highly infected areas of the world.  In the U.S., New York has the most number of reported cases at 491 and Florida is second with 322 and is also accountable for the six locally acquired cases.  As of this date, all fifty states are reporting at least one Zika virus case.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

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National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is a month-long observance, beginning August 1st, and highlights the importance of vaccinations throughout one’s lifespan.  NIAM events are an opportunity to showcase the positive effects of immunization and encourage people to protect themselves against infectious diseases by staying current with their immunizations.  Last year’s measles outbreak is just one example of how important immunizations are in disease prevention.

Tips for Dealing with the Heat

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We are in the midst of one of the hottest summers on record here in the United States.  As a medical professional, you typically work in an air-conditioned environment, but what about when you are at home with your children and pets.  For those of us that don’t have central air in our house or apartment, let’s take a look at a few simple ways that you can keep yourself and your pets safe from the heat and sizzle of summer.

How Will Robotics Impact Jobs in the Healthcare Industry

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Alarmists have predicted that nearly 50% of all jobs will be lost to automation and robotics in the coming decades.  While it is true that robotics will have some measure of impact on jobs across all sectors, including healthcare, analysts are publishing reports now that are more balanced regarding jobs lost versus jobs created.  For example, Forrester Research published a report in August of 2015, titled “Robots Will Not Steal All Our Jobs”.

Nurses Role in the Opioid Epidemic

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The raw numbers are staggering.  Each day, 78 Americans die from an opioid overdose.  Heroin-related overdose deaths have more than tripled in the past six years, with a 39% increase between 2012 and 2013 alone.  Nearly half of all opioid overdoses involve a prescribed medicine, while sales of prescription opioids in the U.S. have quadrupled between 1999 and 2014.  Clearly, there is an opioid crisis in our country and it has reached epidemic proportions.  Let’s examine the role that nursing professionals can play in addressing this opioid epidemic.

How the 2016 Presidential Election Will Impact Healthcare

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The 2016 presidential election is still over five months away, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t dominating the 24-hour news cycle.  For simplicity sake, we are going to examine the positions of the two presumptive nominees for the Democrat and Republican Party.  Unless something other-worldly occurs, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump will be the respective party nominees so let’s take a look at their healthcare policy statements.  NOTE: The information used for this comparison has been published by both campaigns, and neither candidate is being endorsed through this writing.

Nurses Role in Skin Cancer Prevention

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Thus far, the spring and early summer of 2016 have been hot; we’ve had a steady dose of sun and higher temperatures across much of North America.  Weather patterns like this are a perfect reminder of the dangers of excessive exposure to the sun and skin cancer.  Each year in the U.S. alone there is more than 5 million reported cases of non-melanoma skin cancer, and another 5 million cases of other forms of skin cancer.

Disaster Preparedness: How Nurses Can Stay Prepared

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In every 24-hour news cycle, there is typically one or more stories about a man-made or natural disaster occurring somewhere within the United States. These disasters can include any number of victims from 5 to 10 to 50 or more and as a medical professional, nurses have to be prepared for that unwanted call at any time. The American Red Cross recommends that every family should talk about and prepare a plan for how they will react to a local disaster.

Straight Facts About Zika Virus

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As concern over Zika virus grows, it is important to sort out the growing amount of misinformation and false information about the outbreak.  The following are the straight facts about Zika virus culled directly from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

How to Spot a Nurse on Vacation

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Now that summer has finally arrived, people from every corner of America are venturing out on their annual family vacation.  Whether out on the road, at the beach, amusement park, or camping grounds, vacationers are going to cross paths with dozens of people they have never met.  Some may strike up a friendship, while others will just be casual observations.  Out of all of the people you will meet this summer, will you be able to spot the nurse on vacation?  By the time you have finished this article, it is a safe bet that you will be able to spot the nursing professional in any crowd.

6 Reasons Men Avoid the Doctor

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We get it; men are supposed to be tough.  Men are wired to be the fixers of problems and pain is “only temporary”.  While more fiction than fact, those statements do have some truth to them, but what about when it comes to healthcare.  Surveys show that more than 50% of men avoid going to see their physician and most claim that they only visit their doctor when really sick.

The Latest Technology for SLP Professionals

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May is Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM).  An annual series of events designated to raising awareness about communication disorders and highlighting the Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) and Audiologist professionals who are dedicated to providing treatment.  The theme for 2016 is “Communication Takes Care”, with the focus being how today’s personal technology and its overuse can be harmful to the long-term development of communication skills.

How Hospitals are Benefiting by Using Travel Nurse Staffing

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Hospitals and other facilities rely on travel nurses for a variety of reasons, including providing coverage while the full-time staff is being recruited and hired, coverage for long-term absences, and support during busier seasons of the year.  Let’s take a look at other ways that Hospitals are benefiting through of use of Travel nurse professionals.

5 Nursing Technologies Improving Patient Care

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In the past, part of the appeal for science fiction movies was imagining how life would be if some of the wondrous technologies being portrayed on the big screen became a reality.  Today, if we sat down and watched some of those science fiction movies from the 1970’s, we would probably chuckle at the technologies that we thought were unattainable back then.