2008-02-29 00:00:00

Employee Health Promotion No Headache for this Manufacturer

In a recent discussion about the importance of creating a workplace culture of health, David Sensibaugh, Eastman Chemical Company’s director of Integrated Health, described how his organization addressed the indirect impact of workers’ headaches and migraines on the safety of a manufacturing environment:

It is important to note that whenever we have accidents, like most manufacturing companies will tend to do on occasion, we review the cause, the results and the factors around the accident. We have found that in addition to unsafe behavior, health is a contributing factor to accidents on the job. Of the different types of health factors, a migraine is one of those.

We also participated in a health and productivity questionnaire survey that did much to help us understand the indirect cost of poor health within our population. A subset of that is the migraine element, which showed that about 28 percent of our employees suffered from migraines or headaches, and that the cost of that to our population is over $4 million annually.

That led us to participate in a headache education project. It was a joint effort between Eastman Integrated Health, HealthFitness and Johnson & Johnson Health Care. We had a company-wide marketing effort and employee information sessions, some which were held byan outside migraine expert from Vanderbilt Medical Center. The expert also held a physician dinner to help people in our community understand why this was an important issue and what we were trying to do with it here. Then we allowed people to voluntarily participate in this migraine study.

The study began with a pre-survey to help get an assessment of people???s headaches, their headache status, the severity of their headaches, their knowledge of headaches and headache treatment and so forth. Then we followed that up for period of about three months with educational materials provided by Johnson and Johnson. There was a small incentive to complete this study, a $25 gift card. After those three months of education and study there was a follow-up survey that was sent out, and then we had a headache severity survey that is currently being completed. Over 500 employees voluntarily participated in this study. The results of that will be forthcoming.

Filed under: — @ 2008-02-29 00:00:00
2008-02-28 00:00:00

Childhood Obesity Increasing at Alarming Rates

According to the American Heart Association, 9 million children and adolescents between 6 and 19 years old are considered overweight, and the prevalence of overweight among this age range has increased more than 10 percent between 1971 to 1974 and 2001 to 2004. If that isn’t enough, nearly 14 percent of preschool children are overweight as well. These statistics paint a grim picture for many children, as overweight adolescents have a 70 percent to 80 percent chance of becoming overweight adults. As of 2006, 142 million American adults are overweight or obese.

This week’s Disease Management Update looks at studies involving obesity in children as well as in adult males and the not-so-obvious side effects this condition can have.

Filed under: — @ 2008-02-28 00:00:00
2008-02-27 00:00:00

What Doctors Think — useful Physician surveys

A friend of mine sent out this link to WhatDoctorsThink.com, which “provides survey results as a public service to the medical community to stimulate innovation and improve the quality and economics of healthcare.”

The one I found most useful, since I’m a tech guy, was the EMR and HealthVault (PHR) Survey Results. Interesting bedtime reading.

Filed under: — @ 2008-02-27 00:00:00
2008-02-27 00:00:00

100 Search Engines and Tools for Medical Self-Diagnosis

Amy Quinn just pointed me to e-Second Opinions: 100 Search Engines and Tools for Medical Self-Diagnosis. Very nice list of tools and worth checking out. Thanks, Amy.

Filed under: — @ 2008-02-27 00:00:00
2008-02-27 00:00:00

CCHIT info and Free Software Advice for Medical/Health industry

I just ran across the Medical Software Advice, which bills itself as a free resource that helps physicians find the right EMR, medical billing and practice management software for their practices.

They have a nice article, “Should CCHIT Influence Your EHR Selection,” that I think everyone looking at CCHIT certification should read about. Very timely and useful advice.

Filed under: — @ 2008-02-27 00:00:00
2008-02-27 00:00:00

Web 2.0 in a Nutshell: Learn, Find, Share.

Blogs. Podcasts. Wikis.

MySpace. Facebook. YouTube.

New media is everywhere, and the healthcare industry is no exception. A growing number of healthcare organizations are using such Web 2.0 technologies to advertise their services and provide healthcare consumers with access to more interactive health education.

During this webinar, John Sharp, project manager forIT Web services with the Cleveland Clinic, sheds some light on Web 2.0 and all it encompasses — and what it means to healthcare.

???It’s about participation, usability and design. The core principles that define Web 2.0 are Web-based and easily accessible. One of the most important principles is that you control your own data, whereas in what is called Web 1.0, information was controlled by the Web site owner. Web 2.0 Web sites are open to complete participation by users.

Health 2.0 is a newer concept that takes the Web 2.0 technologies and imports them into healthcare. For instance, social networking is now available for patients, healthcare consumers or providers. Podcasts are available for medical and patient education and other uses in healthcare, wellness for instance. Wikis are available for medical references. Blogs are written by physicians and other medical experts. Tagging of medical topics, photos and videos is happening all over the Web.???

But even as a comparatively new form of media, Web 2.0 is already evolving into something bigger and better, says Dave Bennett, director ofWeb resource services at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

???A lot of people are talking about Web 2.0, and I am often asked when we are going to reach Web 3.0. We’re moving in that direction with many of the new technologies that we see online. With Web 2.0, we move away from static content to dynamic content in the forms of video and audio.”

University of Alabama Health System???s Internet Marketing Manager Susan Reid notes that engaging your audience is essential to Web 2.0 success.

???The difference between Web 2.0 [and Web 1.0] is now you have to engage the audience where they are. There are many ways to do that: email, social networks, blogs bulletin boards, Wikis, video and audio, RSS feeds, mobile phones. The key is going out and engaging them where they are.???

Filed under: — @ 2008-02-27 00:00:00
2008-02-26 00:00:00

HITCHtv Beta - health IT TV land

HITCHtv is a new site with healthcare IT videos and multimedia. Worth checking out.

Filed under: — @ 2008-02-26 00:00:00
2008-02-26 00:00:00

Depressed Teens Respond Well to Combination Therapy

More than half of teenagers with the most debilitating forms of depression that do not respond to treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) show improvement after switching to a different medication combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and their colleagues in a multicenter study have found. The 334 study participants, ranging in age from 12 to 18 and coming from six sites across the country, suffered from depression on average for about two years. The teenagers, who were evaluated between 2000 and 2006, exhibited moderate to severe major depressive disorder, many with suicidal ideation.

  • Nearly 55 percent of teenagers who failed to respond to a class of antidepressant medications known as SSRIs, responded when they switched to a different antidepressant and participated in cognitive behavioral therapy, which examines thinking patterns to modify behavior.
  • About 41 percent of participants responded after switching to either a different SSRI or to venlafaxine, a different kind of depression medication.

Filed under: — @ 2008-02-26 00:00:00
2008-02-26 00:00:00

Baby Boomers Confused About Medicare

According to new research from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), many baby boomers are confused about their post-retirement health insurance options, including their Medicare eligibility. The first waves of baby boomers turn 62 this year and begin claiming Social Security benefits.


  • Only 36 percent correctly knew that Medicare eligibility begins at age 65. Twenty-one percent thought Medicare coverage began at age 62; 9 percent said age 67; 6 percent said age 59??; and 28 percent said they were unsure of the age.
  • A large majority of baby boomers ??? 84 percent ??? said that access to health insurance was important when choosing a retirement date. However, only 43 percent said that Medicare eligibility was an important factor in determining when they would retire.

Filed under: — @ 2008-02-26 00:00:00
2008-02-25 00:00:00

HL7 Primer for non-techies

One of my readers wrote me today:

Shahid, I’ve been following your blog for a few months. I was wondering if you know of a HL7 primer for beginners (non-technologists)?

I figured others would want an answer to this question, so I decided to reply publicly. A very good “starter kit” for HL7 are Neotool’s Whitepapers like Why Do I Need an HL7 Interface Engine?. Definitely register for their free HL7 Reference Guide, too. When you’re ready to dive in deeper, check out their “Fast15″ set of webinars that give quick guidance on various integration subjects.

If anyone else has any other guidance, please drop a comment here.

Filed under: — @ 2008-02-25 00:00:00
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