2006-09-30 00:00:00

The Big Apple to Ban Trans Fats

Three years ago, NYC banned smoking in restaurants and now there is talk of banning a substance some feel is just as harmful…trans fats.

According to Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard University School of Public Health, “Artificial trans fats are very toxic, and they almost surely causes tens of thousands of premature deaths each year,” he said. “The federal government should have done this long ago.”

What exactly is this toxic substance??? Basically, trans fat is made when manufacturersadd hydrogen to vegetable oil–a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats.? Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils.

That doesn’t sound so bad, a little extra hydrogen never killed anyone…right?? Researchers at Harvard’s School of Public Health think so.

“By our most conservative estimate, replacement of partially hydrogenated fat in U.S. diet with natural unhydrogenated vegetable oils would prevent approximately 30,000 premature coronary deaths per year, and epidemiologic evidence suggests this number is closer to 100,000 premature deaths annually.”

Recently there has been a movement to remove Trans fat by a few large companies.? Wendy’s announced in August that it had switched to a new cooking oil that contains no trans fatty acids. Crisco now sells a shortening that contains zero trans fats. Frito-Lay removed trans fats from its Doritos and Cheetos. Kraft’s took trans fats out of Oreos.? McDonald’s switched to a Trans fat free cooking oil in Denmark following a nationwide ban of the substance.

Removing the Trans fat from all our foods might seem like a daunting task, but so did removing cigarette smoke from restaurants.? In this day and age it is hard to imagine someone smoking at the table next to you or the desk next to you at work.? This was a reality not long ago.

These changes require education and active participation.? Groups like Ban Trans Fats have provided on online resource for those interested in becoming more knowledgeable regarding Trans Fats.

The information is out there and the studies have been done.? It is obvious that this substance is detrimental to our already fragile health.? Start with you own diet and then help to educate other about the dangers of Trans Fat.

More at CNN.com

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-30 00:00:00
2006-09-27 00:00:00

Top 10 Antioxidant Fruits

Summer is coming to an end in the Pacific Northwest, or at least it looked that way until this week.? With the changing of the seasons comes “cold season.”? You don’t have to look far to find a sore throat or a runny nose this time of year.

Why do we get colds?? Do we get colds because we come in contact with a virus?? If all that it took was coming in contact with a virus, we would always be sick.? Bugs are everywhere, no matter how hard we try, we could never avoid them in our daily life.

Bacteria and viruses are similar to seeds.? If you plana seed on concrete it is unlikely that it will grow, but if you take that same seed and give it the proper environment, it could grow to be a giant redwood.

When the proper environment is set for a bacteria or virus, the bug will flourish causing a cold.? So, why does this happen more during the cold months?? Typically people slow down in the cold months, spend more time inside, get less exercise, have more stress and eat poorly.? All of these factors contribute to providing the proper environment for bacteria and viruses.

The foods we eat are very important in warding off foreign invaders.? Foods that are high in antioxidants have been shown to support the immune system which is responsible for protecting us.

The following is a list of 10 fruits that are high in antioxidants. Always buy organic when you can. For more information on foods that you should always buy organic, see my post ?Top 12 pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables.?

1.Wild blueberries
2.Cranberries
3.Blackberries
4.Prunes
5.Raspberries
6.Strawberries
7.Red Delicious apples
8.Granny Smith apples
9.Sweet cherries
10.Black plums

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-27 00:00:00
2006-09-26 00:00:00

Why Users Don’t Upgrade

Kathy Sierra ponders why it’s so hard to get users to upgrade. If you’re in the software business upgrades mean income and Kathy’s posting is a good summary on what it might take to get users to upgrade.

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-26 00:00:00
2006-09-26 00:00:00

Review of SEIPS Course on HFE and Patient Safety

This summer I wrote about the SEIPS Course on HFE and Patient Safety and that I thought it would be a useful. I was unable to attend it but one of my readers, Satish, did attend it and he was gracious enough to provide a review for us. Satish Duryodhan works as Assoc. VP at Hexaware Technologies Limited and leads Hexaware???s Healthcare Practice. I met Satish during my recent trip to India. He was one of the “bright guys” I talked about. Hexaware is working with Providers and Payers and providing some pretty nice healthcare focused IT-BPO solutions that are worth checking out. I worked with them on SOA, legacy technology management, Independent Testing and BPO at a recent engagement and they seem to know their stuff. Enough on introductions — In this guest posting Satish provides an overview of the course he and several others from Hexaware attended in July. If you attended as well, please drop some comments here and share your thoughts with us as well.

The 2006 Systems Engineering Initiative in Patient Safety (SEIPS) Course on Human Factors Engineering (HFE) and Patient Safety was organized on August 14-18, 2006 at The Pyle Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Course was jointly sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement (CQPI) and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Office of Continuing Professional Development in Medicine and Public Health. The program was organized in two parts:

Part I The Basics of HFE & Patient Safety ??? August 14-16

Part II HFE and Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) ??? August 16-18

The course was attended by over 30 professionals including Physicians, Senior Nursing staff, Pharmacists, patient safety officers and IT professionals etc.

The five day course for professionals was conducted by nationally recognized speakers discussing a variety of Patient Safety topics and Human Factors Engineering(HFE) including:

  • Human Factors Engineering                                                   
  • Design of the Physical Environment and Ergonomics
  • Cognitive Ergonomics 
  • Job and organizational Issues
  • Technology Design and Usability
  • HFE principles of HIT design
  • Usability of CPOE Technology
  • Impact of HIT on Patient Care Process
  • A Provider???s Conversion Experience

The course was designed to provide an understanding of human factors and systems engineering and how this approach to patient safety can improve performance, prevent harm when error does occur, help systems recover from error, and mitigate further harm.

The Key principles of HFE and patient safety were extremely well presented through over 20 sessions covered by different speakers, case studies, group exercises and group presentations. The course was very interactive with participants sharing their experiences and examining how each principle presented would be relevant in their work environment.

The Part I course started with clarifications on misconceptions about HFE and clearly laying out HFE principles from the perspective of Patient safety. Scope of HFE involves Different levels of study and intervention:

- Human: Information Display

??? Human: Machine

??? Human: Environment

??? Human: Job

??? Human: Organization

??? Human: Community

Each of these interactions was analyzed in detail from conceptual and practical perspective. For example the ???Human: Environment??? was presented through research findings that relate improved physical environment (Light, Sound, Climate, Arrangement of space etc) to patient and staff in four areas:

1. Reduce staff stress and fatigue and increase effectiveness in delivering care

2. Improve patient safety

3. Reduce stress and improve outcomes

4. Improve overall healthcare quality

A model for analyzing organizational accident causation was presented.

Similarly cognitive (e.g., attention, memory) factors affect the way people process information and make decisions, therefore affecting their cognitive performance (e.g., errors, safety). Models and principles for improved cognitive performance were presented.

The course presented the Donabedian???s framework (for assessing the quality of health care),and the ???work system model??? (how an individual performs a range of tasks using various tools and technologies). Assessing patient safety can be accomplished by integrating Donabedian???s Structure-Process-Outcome framework and the work system model. Several case studies were presented to illustrate how these frameworks can be effectively utilized for improved patient safety. This part also focused on HFE method of usability testing and how it fits in proactive risk assessment.

This course also presented Rasmussen???s dynamic model of risk and safety to illustrate how it can used to understanding current conditions in modern healthcare delivery and the way these conditions may lead to accidents.

The course enabled participants to acquire skills in the HFE method of usability testing and pro-active risk assessment and developing decision making strategies to determine when to use usability testing for patient safety activities.

The part II presented several topics related to HFE in HIT (Healthcare Information Technology):

?? A holistic model of Information System Architecture for Healthcare System

?? Overview of systems such as Hospital information system, Electronic Health records, EHealth Portals, CPOE and context of patient care in implementing these systems

?? A very interesting case study on how HFE was used to improve usability of CPOE technology.

?? Analysis model for assessing impact of HIT on patient care processes and tasks. The group exercise focusing on applying on these principles in live environment provided a great leering value.

Throughout the course many practical exercises were provides including:

?? The classic practical model to illustrate that a practical process is extremely complex to document completely with no ambiguity.

?? Usability testing using usability principles of AlarisTM system

?? Usability testing with Fat measurement meter

?? Usability of injection system under panic situation

Overall the course environment was kept informal and participative. This provided great learning value not only from the sessions conducted by various experts but also from interaction among participants.

– written by Satish Duryodhan, Assoc. VP at Hexaware Technologies Limited

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-26 00:00:00
2006-09-26 00:00:00

Why Users Don’t Upgrade

Kathy Sierra ponders why it’s so hard to get users to upgrade. If you’re in the software business upgrades mean income and Kathy’s posting is a good summary on what it might take to get users to upgrade.

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-26 00:00:00
2006-09-26 00:00:00

Review of SEIPS Course on HFE and Patient Safety

This summer I wrote about the SEIPS Course on HFE and Patient Safety and that I thought it would be a useful. I was unable to attend it but one of my readers, Satish, did attend it and he was gracious enough to provide a review for us. Satish Duryodhan works as Assoc. VP at Hexaware Technologies Limited and leads Hexaware???s Healthcare Practice. I met Satish during my recent trip to India. He was one of the “bright guys” I talked about. Hexaware is working with Providers and Payers and providing some pretty nice healthcare focused IT-BPO solutions that are worth checking out. I worked with them on SOA, legacy technology management, Independent Testing and BPO at a recent engagement and they seem to know their stuff. Enough on introductions — In this guest posting Satish provides an overview of the course he and several others from Hexaware attended in July. If you attended as well, please drop some comments here and share your thoughts with us as well.

The 2006 Systems Engineering Initiative in Patient Safety (SEIPS) Course on Human Factors Engineering (HFE) and Patient Safety was organized on August 14-18, 2006 at The Pyle Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Course was jointly sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement (CQPI) and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Office of Continuing Professional Development in Medicine and Public Health. The program was organized in two parts:

Part I The Basics of HFE & Patient Safety ??? August 14-16

Part II HFE and Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) ??? August 16-18

The course was attended by over 30 professionals including Physicians, Senior Nursing staff, Pharmacists, patient safety officers and IT professionals etc.

The five day course for professionals was conducted by nationally recognized speakers discussing a variety of Patient Safety topics and Human Factors Engineering(HFE) including:

  • Human Factors Engineering                                                   
  • Design of the Physical Environment and Ergonomics
  • Cognitive Ergonomics 
  • Job and organizational Issues
  • Technology Design and Usability
  • HFE principles of HIT design
  • Usability of CPOE Technology
  • Impact of HIT on Patient Care Process
  • A Provider???s Conversion Experience

The course was designed to provide an understanding of human factors and systems engineering and how this approach to patient safety can improve performance, prevent harm when error does occur, help systems recover from error, and mitigate further harm.

The Key principles of HFE and patient safety were extremely well presented through over 20 sessions covered by different speakers, case studies, group exercises and group presentations. The course was very interactive with participants sharing their experiences and examining how each principle presented would be relevant in their work environment.

The Part I course started with clarifications on misconceptions about HFE and clearly laying out HFE principles from the perspective of Patient safety. Scope of HFE involves Different levels of study and intervention:

- Human: Information Display

??? Human: Machine

??? Human: Environment

??? Human: Job

??? Human: Organization

??? Human: Community

Each of these interactions was analyzed in detail from conceptual and practical perspective. For example the ???Human: Environment??? was presented through research findings that relate improved physical environment (Light, Sound, Climate, Arrangement of space etc) to patient and staff in four areas:

1. Reduce staff stress and fatigue and increase effectiveness in delivering care

2. Improve patient safety

3. Reduce stress and improve outcomes

4. Improve overall healthcare quality

A model for analyzing organizational accident causation was presented.

Similarly cognitive (e.g., attention, memory) factors affect the way people process information and make decisions, therefore affecting their cognitive performance (e.g., errors, safety). Models and principles for improved cognitive performance were presented.

The course presented the Donabedian???s framework (for assessing the quality of health care),and the ???work system model??? (how an individual performs a range of tasks using various tools and technologies). Assessing patient safety can be accomplished by integrating Donabedian???s Structure-Process-Outcome framework and the work system model. Several case studies were presented to illustrate how these frameworks can be effectively utilized for improved patient safety. This part also focused on HFE method of usability testing and how it fits in proactive risk assessment.

This course also presented Rasmussen???s dynamic model of risk and safety to illustrate how it can used to understanding current conditions in modern healthcare delivery and the way these conditions may lead to accidents.

The course enabled participants to acquire skills in the HFE method of usability testing and pro-active risk assessment and developing decision making strategies to determine when to use usability testing for patient safety activities.

The part II presented several topics related to HFE in HIT (Healthcare Information Technology):

?? A holistic model of Information System Architecture for Healthcare System

?? Overview of systems such as Hospital information system, Electronic Health records, EHealth Portals, CPOE and context of patient care in implementing these systems

?? A very interesting case study on how HFE was used to improve usability of CPOE technology.

?? Analysis model for assessing impact of HIT on patient care processes and tasks. The group exercise focusing on applying on these principles in live environment provided a great leering value.

Throughout the course many practical exercises were provides including:

?? The classic practical model to illustrate that a practical process is extremely complex to document completely with no ambiguity.

?? Usability testing using usability principles of AlarisTM system

?? Usability testing with Fat measurement meter

?? Usability of injection system under panic situation

Overall the course environment was kept informal and participative. This provided great learning value not only from the sessions conducted by various experts but also from interaction among participants.

– written by Satish Duryodhan, Assoc. VP at Hexaware Technologies Limited

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-26 00:00:00
2006-09-19 00:00:00

Asthma Drugs Increase Death Risks

Popular and long-acting asthma medicines such as Advair and Serevent pose a substantially increased risk of hospitalization and death to users compared with placebos, according to a new analysis of 19 studies on the subject.

“The use of long-acting [bronchodilators] could be associated with a clinically significant number of unnecessary hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and deaths each year,” according to Stanford researchers.

The Food and Drug Administration has voiced concerns about the widely used medicines, and last fallit required drug makers to prepare stiff new warnings to the package label. But the new analysis, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, raises the possibility that the drug should be taken off the market if it continues to be so widely used.

Each day we learn of the harmful and potentially fatal side effects associated with many of the medications that are being consumed each day.? Complimentary and alternative medicine techniques have been shown to treat conditions such as asthma with little or no side effects.? Often asthma is triggered by a long acting food allergy or pressure on a never that controls the lungs.

Alternative medicine is not the answer in every case, but you owe it to yourself and your children to try a gentler healing method before resulting to medication.

Full Article: www.Washingtonpost.com?

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-19 00:00:00
2006-09-19 00:00:00

A New Type of Massage - The Bowen Technique

I recently had the pleasure of experiencing a different type of massage from a therapist in the neighborhood. Her name is Andrea Burnett LMT and she practices the Bowen Technique. I asked her to write an article explaining the technique.

The following was written by Andrea Burnett LMT about the Bowen Technique:

Who would have thought after 18 years as a massage therapist that I would come across a technique that would completely change the way I practice Massage. In June of 2006 I took levels 1 and 2.of the Bowen Technique.
This light touch therapy is a powerful yet gentle modality . It has been practiced in Australia for over 30 years and is in 16 countries. I like it that I can use this technique on people who do not want to disrobe.

The approach is to gently slack the skin over the specific area to be addressed, challenge the muscle and roll gently but firmly over it. The theory is that by doing so, you trigger a mechanism within the tendon of the muscle that sends a message to the brain to reset the resting rate of the muscle. The implications of that are wonderful. Since once a muscle is traumatized, either by physical, emotional or repetitive stress, it tightens up, then other muscles tighten up to support it. and others do the same , and so on. You then have a negative domino effect. Imagine reversing that process by resetting one muscle and a whole group end up relaxing. No matter what the theory, I have had profound results with many of my clients in two or three sessions. I feel blessed to find such a wonderful way to help others at this time in my career.

To learn more about the Bowen Technique contact Andrea Burnett at 503.289.4519 or by email acallieb@msn.com. You can also visit www.bowenwork.com for more information.

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-19 00:00:00
2006-09-17 00:00:00

Consumer and practitioner-friendly Healthcare Search Engine upgraded

Healia, which I wrote about a few months back, is a consumer-focused health search engine which makes it easier to find healthcare-specific information. A new version of the software is being introduced, with the following added features:

  • Enhanced the accuracy and performance of the filtering algorithms
  • Additional filters to allow people to filter by the topic of the document when they submit a disease or drug-related search
  • New ???Suggested Result??? feature from a reference site for disease and drug-related searches
  • Detection of expanded equivalents to common medical abbreviations and acronyms (try searching on ACL or CVD for example)

It’s nice to see search engines like this which take into account the complexity of healthcare information structure and sources.

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-17 00:00:00
2006-09-17 00:00:00

Consumer and practitioner-friendly Healthcare Search Engine upgraded

Healia, which I wrote about a few months back, is a consumer-focused health search engine which makes it easier to find healthcare-specific information. A new version of the software is being introduced, with the following added features:

  • Enhanced the accuracy and performance of the filtering algorithms
  • Additional filters to allow people to filter by the topic of the document when they submit a disease or drug-related search
  • New ???Suggested Result??? feature from a reference site for disease and drug-related searches
  • Detection of expanded equivalents to common medical abbreviations and acronyms (try searching on ACL or CVD for example)

It’s nice to see search engines like this which take into account the complexity of healthcare information structure and sources.

Filed under: — @ 2006-09-17 00:00:00
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