2007-11-14 00:00:00

Exercise is Pivotal in Disease Management

Over two-thirds of patients would be more interested in exercising to maintain good health if they received advisement from their doctors and were given additional resources, according to a new study from the American College of Sports Medicine. And while 41 percent of physicians talk about the importance of exercise with their patients, they don???t always offer suggestions on the best ways to be physically active.

Exercise isn’t all about looking great — in fact, the benefits of exercise are far greater than fitting into your favorite pair of jeans. According to the Mayo Clinic, daily exercise can improve one’s mood, help fight chronic diseases, help manage weight, strengthen one’s heart and lungs and more.

However, possibly the hardest partof exercise is sticking with it. Often times people are discouraged when they do not see instant results from their efforts. Here are some tips from the American Heart Association that healthcare providers can suggest to their patients to keep them looking — and more importantly feeling — great!

  • Choose activities that are fun, not exhausting. Add variety. Develop a repertoire of several activities that you can enjoy. That way, exercise will never seem boring or routine.
  • Wear comfortable, properly fitted footwear and comfortable, loose-fitting clothing appropriate for the weather and the activity.
  • Find a convenient time and place to do activities. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work activity into your day another way.
  • Use music to keep you entertained.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people. Decide what kind of support you need. Do you want them to remind you to exercise? Ask about your progress? Participate with you regularly or occasionally? Allow you time to exercise by yourself? Go with you to a special event, such as a 10K walk/run? Be understanding when you get up early to exercise? Spend time with the children while you exercise? Try not to ask you to change your exercise routine? Share your activity time with others. Make a date with a family member, friend or co-worker. Be an active role model for your children.
  • Don’t overdo it. Do low- to moderate-level activities, especially at first. You can slowly increase the duration and intensity of your activities as you become more fit. Over time, work up to exercising on most days of the week for 30-60 minutes.
  • Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success!
  • If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, are overweight, have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see your doctor for a medical evaluation before beginning a physical activity program.
  • Filed under: — @ 2007-11-14 00:00:00
    2007-11-12 00:00:00

    Raking Leaves Without the Back Pain

    What Can You Do?
    The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers the following tips to help prevent the needless pain yard work may cause.

    • Do stretching exercises, without bouncing, for a total of 10 to 15 minutes spread over the course of your work. Do knee-to-chest pulls, trunk rotations, and side bends with hands above your head and fingers locked. Take a short walk to stimulate circulation. When finished with the yard work, repeat the stretching exercises.
    • Stand as straight as possible, and keep your head up as you rake or mow.
    • When it’s still warm outside, avoid the heat. If you’re a morning person, get the work done before 10 a.m. Otherwise, do your chores after 6 p.m.
    • When raking, use a “scissors” stance: right footforward and left foot back for a few minutes, then reverse, putting your left foot forward and right foot back.
    • Bend at the knees, not the waist, as you pick up piles of leaves or grass from the grass catcher. Make the piles small to decrease the possibility of back strain.
    • When mowing, use your whole bodyweight to push the mower, rather than just your arms and back.
    • If your mower has a pull cord, don’t twist at the waist or yank the cord. Instead, bend at the knees and pull in one smooth motion.
    • Drink lots of water, wear a hat, shoes and protective glasses. And, to avoid blisters, try wearing gloves. If your equipment is loud, wear hearing protection. If you have asthma or allergies, wear a mask.
    • Try ergonomic tools, too. They’re engineered to protect you when used properly.
    • If you do feel soreness or stiffness in your back, use ice to soothe the discomfort. If there’s no improvement in two or three days, see your local doctor of chiropractic.
    Filed under: — @ 2007-11-12 00:00:00
    2007-11-12 00:00:00

    Week in Review: Medical Homes and the Medically Homeless

    This week’s Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative summit on the medical home highlighted the healthcare industry’s endorsement and clarification of this model as well as the need for reimbursement reforms to support it. In the meantime, physicians can avail themselves of assessment and implementation tools to help transform their practices into true medical homes. It shouldn’t be long before there are metrics and measurements in place to separate true patient-centered practices from the wannabes. Read the summit highlights in this week’s news as well as in the HIN blog.

    However, until medical homes are available to all, there still will be a significant population of medically underserved. A new complimentary white paper that reports on strategies for connecting with hard-to-reach patients and clients may trigger some new outreach at your organization, as might this week’s profile of a member-centered care management program.

    Filed under: — @ 2007-11-12 00:00:00
    2007-11-08 00:00:00

    Wooing Physicians to Practice Concierge Medicine

    In an EverythingHealth post this week, Dr. Toni Brayer analyzes the growing trend of concierge medicine. The steady stream of invitations she receives sound more like time share pitches than professional recruitment, promising vacations, meals and museum visits for any physician that will entertain the idea of being set up as a concierge, retainer medical practice.

    The invitations are sexy, appealing and seem to be coming at a rapid clip. MDVIP is one of a handful of companies that know primary care physicians are in demand and they know patients are fed up with the long waits, quick visits and difficulty in even seeing the doctor. They know the doctor is burned out, disgusted with the hassles of insurance paperwork and discount rates. The dream of caring for the patient has turned into the nightmare of patient “panels” of 2500 people.

    Is this where physicians will head if the industry doesn’t right itself? It’s very tempting.

    Filed under: — @ 2007-11-08 00:00:00
    2007-11-07 00:00:00

    The Inspirational Power of Movies

    Winters in the Northwest are a great time to break out the video membership card and catch up on your couch time, but who says watching movies has to be a waste of time.

    Movies have an incredible effect on our mood and can used to help provide a little boost of inspiration. If you don’t believe me, start humming the Rocky theme and tell me that you can’t see yourself at the top of the steps throwing your hands in the air. The following is a list of the most inspirational movies of all time, being from Indiana I was disappointed to see that Hoosiers and Breaking Away didn’t make the list.?? Feel free to comment with your own additions.

    1. It’s a Wonderful Life 1947:G
    2. Roots 1977:PG
    3. Chariots of Fire 1981:PG
    4. Gandhi 1982:PG
    5. Rudy 1993:PG
    6. Field ofDreams 1989:PG
    7. Mr. Holland’s Opus 1996:PG
    8. Rocky 1976:PG
    9. The Killing Fields 1984:R
    10. The Sound of Music 1965:G
    11. October Sky 1999:PG
    12. The Shawshank Redemption 1994:R
    13. Brian’s Song 1971:G
    14. Stand and Deliver 1988:PG
    15. Coal Miner’s Daughter 1980:PG
    16. Norma Rae 1979:PG-13
    17. A Beautiful Mind 2002:R
    18. Braveheart 1995:R
    19. Glory 1989:R
    20. Life is Beautiful 1998:PG-13

    Filed under: — @ 2007-11-07 00:00:00
    2007-11-07 00:00:00

    Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative Touts Medical Home

    I spent the better part of today listening in on the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) Summit. Over the course of the conference, physician organizations, health plans and employers described how they are working toward a new model of healthcare delivery focused on the patient centered medical home. We’ve been hearing about this for a while now — when HIN conducted an online survey over a year ago, many healthcare organizations had not heard of the medical home model or confused it with a physical structure.

    Today, however, it seems to be an accepted trend in healthcare, with metrics and measurements for medical homes in development. One presenter said many practices are jumping on the bandwagon and calling themselves medical homes when in fact they are not. While there were many reminders that physicians expect to be reimbursed for embracing this healthcare model with references to a “blended” payments, all agreed that under the auspices of a medical home, access to and quality of care are improved and healthcare costs go down.

    If you access the Presentation Materials link from the PCPCC Web site, you can review some of the pilots already underway. BlueCross Blue Shield, Wellpoint and UnitedHealthcare are just some of the payers with some skin in the game. Also very interesting was a presentation from TransforMED on its national demonstration project, which begins to define what practices need to do to follow the tenets of the medical home model — e.g. the specifics of providing access to care and information. It is clear that IT in general and electronic medical records in particular are vital to the success of medical homes.

    Also presenting from the employer perspective were two pharmaceutical companies (Walgreens and Medco) and MinuteClinic. (It was pointed out that Walgreens and Medco probably fill about half of the prescriptions in the country and will be part of the data sharing that is essential to this model’s success.) While the retail clinic player MinuteClinic doesn’t aspire to become a medical home, it does refer patients to medical homes and forwards outcome data and patient information to its’ clients’ medical homes if they have them.

    As metrics and measurements for the establishment of medical homes crystalize, it will be interesting to see how this initative reshapes primary care, physician practices and traditional reimbursement models.

    The New York Times also analyzes the Summit’s intention to present new options for providers that expand traditional models of patient care.

    Filed under: — @ 2007-11-07 00:00:00
    2007-11-06 00:00:00

    Millions of Americans Affected by Arthritis

  • More than two million Americans live with Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Osteoarthritis affects 21 million Americans.
  • Over 300,000 children have some form of juvenile arthritis.
  • If these facts are a little alarming, consider this: 19 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis, whether they fall into the categories above, or another form of the disease.

    In the “Rheumatoid Arthritis - Causes and Treatment” blog, blogger Franchis Adam offers up some alternatives to traditional arthritis pain relievers with these intriguing home remedies.

    Filed under: — @ 2007-11-06 00:00:00
    2007-11-05 00:00:00

    Social Networks: A “Second Life” for the Healthcare Industry?

    Facebook. MySpace. Friendster…and Social MD?

    Today, social networking is everywhere, and the healthcare arena is no exception. Whether you are a student, a patient, a doctor or otherwise, somewhere on the Information Superhighway there is a network for you.

    Social networking Web sites are now available to healthcare professionals. Social MD is a network open to med students, residents, fellows and physicians and is geared toward facilitating the free-flow of information between these participants.

    And they’re not the only ones jumping on this virtual bandwagon. Stanford University is becoming a part of the social networking craze by offering its 30,000students, faculty and staff members an online community that aims to promote healthy living.

    The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are putting an interesting twist on another popular virtual reality site, Second Life, by “renting” virtual “land” on the site on which to open a “virtual office” to host events and businesses. ACS raised $40,000 for its Relay for Life event through this virtual office. The CDC has also hosted some virtual events via Second Life.

    And the social network bug has also bitten patients. The Wellness Community (TWC) brings social networking to teens with cancer through Group Loop, a site providing online support for these teens as well as their parents.

    Visit HIN’s bookstore and check out NOT ur parents’ healthcare anymore: The 411 on selling health via new media, our special report in which three healthcare marketers divulge how novel marketing and product development tactics are grabbing the attention of Generation X and Generation Y who are becoming less responsive to traditional healthcare and health insurance products.

    Filed under: — @ 2007-11-05 00:00:00
    2007-11-05 00:00:00

    Week in Review: MRSA’s Mini-Lesson in Crisis Management

    Our local schools are scrubbing and sanitizing facilities in the wake of several cases of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus - known as MRSA - in the student population. From our school Web site, parents can access a Public Health MRSA Fact Sheet and two separate communications on this issue. How is your organization responding to MRSA, and what steps are you taking to educate your population and prevent new cases? Take the survey on MRSA Prevention and Education by November 30 and you’ll receive a free e-summary of the results.

    And while final results are pending, your responses to the October healthcare trends e-survey indicate that wellness is both a huge challenge and an opportunity to launch some of your most successful programs. Wellness experts are often asked whether employees’ spouses should be included in corporate wellness initiatives. In this week’s news, IBM has gone a step further and unveiled its Children’s Health Rebate to encourage the development of healthy habits in employees’ children. This is a great step toward stemming rising obesity rates in children.

    Filed under: — @ 2007-11-05 00:00:00
    2007-11-02 00:00:00

    Healthcare Decision Support Tools–For Presidential Candidates, Not Physicians or Health Plans

    Was reading some recent postings in Healthcare Blawg and came across a mention of a decision support tool to evaluate presidential candidates’ healthcare platforms and more. This is available from the the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health08.org site.

    Health Blawg’s Davd Harlow describes health08.org:

    Among other things, you can build a side-by-side comparison of the candidates’ health care plans, with links to source materials, and check out webcasts (live and archived) of candidate forums on their health plans.

    Filed under: — @ 2007-11-02 00:00:00
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