Friday, 22 February 2013

Urgent Care Centers In The Modern Changing Times

In the present environment, the key to success in the healthcare sector is to deliver more value and quality to patients seeking care.  In order to accomplish this task, modern healthcare service providers need novel strategies and practices to cope up with changing trends and challenges.  Yet despite all the feelings of growing excitement and aspirations for a better and disease free future created by health care reforms and the availability of advanced medical treatments, including increased awareness in the prevention of diseases, nothing substantial seems to have been achieved so far when we examine the rising costs of healthcare.  

While there are a few auxiliary healthcare services meant for treating minor and non-life threatening injuries and diseases, urgent care centers seem to have taken a prominent position in this healthcare niche.   In fact, urgent care centers are able to assume a considerable amount of responsibility and take away pressure and burdens from core healthcare services like hospitals and emergency rooms, thereby enabling these essential services to devote more resources to treating serious and life threatening issues.  Without this relief, traditional healthcare services would become overburdened, thus revealing the importance of urgent care centers as an indispensable and necessary part of the healthcare system.

This point can be further proven when we examine the way urgent care centers offer comprehensive medical attention to patients from all different walks of life.  Patients that are leading busy, hectic lives and always seem to be short of time can find the urgent medical treatment they need for their serious but non-life threateninginjuries and diseases at an urgent care center.  Healthcare experts have noted their preparedness and ability to tackle minor issues using minimum resources and manpower.  In comparison to emergency rooms in hospitals, theirs is a small setup, but they still are extremely capable with highly specialized and trained staff consisting of professional and licensed medics.  Unlike emergency rooms which can be staffed with doctors who are stressed and fatigued due to the heavy burden of caring for the sheer number of patients with serious and life-threatening illnesses or injuries, urgent care centers have a workforce that is much more relaxed and focused on the whole of their duties and responsibilities.  These urgent care centers cure a number of ailments, general illnesses, injuries and other diseases. 

It is widely accepted that significant advances in healthcare have resulted from the use of modern science and technology.  Yet at the same time, patients have also noticed a decrease in the amount of human interaction they receive with their doctor.  Emergency rooms and primary care physicians are seeing more and more patients, meaning there is less time for the doctor to spend with each patient.  Urgent care centers are among the few alternatives that still place a premium on the importance of doctor/patient interaction. They understand the emotions, constraints and priorities of their patients and treat them with compassion and the utmost care.  They seem to find a good balance between the need to treat patients as fast as possible, while still maintaining a caring touch in order to lead them back to normalcy and good health.  It is possible only due to their progressive, energetic, efficient and attentive staffs that are always ready to help and serve. 

Urgent care centers are also preferable for a number of other reasons.  They have facilities with modern equipment and electronic machinery similar to many hospitals and can attend to many kinds of non-life threatening emergencies.  These walk in clinics are cheap and affordable in comparison to emergency rooms in hospitals.  They attend to minor issues like a fever, flu, asthma, cuts, wounds, rashes, burns, and other similar injuries.  As already mentioned, their labs are well equipped with the latest technologies in order to conduct tests needed by the patient, such as drug and pregnancy tests.  Modern urgent care centers are self-sufficient, meaning you need not go to other facilities for x-rays, ultrasound, vaccines, or medicines. An urgent care center will be able to provide all of these services in-house.

Due to their nature of their design, quick wait times and preparedness for a multitude of issues, urgent care centers are suitable for a modern busy and working professional.  Since these care centers operate beyond normal working hours, a busy professional can find them very convenient and suitable for their medical needs, no matter when they may strike.  Moreover, you do not need a prior appointment to meet and consult with a doctor at these clinics.  By design, they allow for walk-in appointments whenever needed.   The eager and courteous staffs in the centers are always willing and ready to treat the patient.  Ideally located in the most cities and towns, urgent care centers truly are living up to the trends and requirements of modern times.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Weight Gain during Pregnancy and Diet Programs

If you are a mother you might be aware of the state of anxiety a pregnant mother undergoes from the day she is confirmed of her conception.  It is said anxiety often goes hand-in-hand with depression during pregnancy and postnatal period.  You may have lots of worrying thoughts and imagination if you have pregnancy related anxiety.  However, the reasons for worrying during pregnancy are not far to seek.  Pregnancy itself gives plenty to worry about.  Just think about the physical and emotional changes a pregnant woman typically experiences.  Depression and anxiety are very common among women due to these phenomenal changes.  That is why many seek help and support from the expert medical counseling.

Experts opine that anxiety and depression have some spiraling effects on the body and mind of a pregnant woman.  Due to anxiety, pregnant women experience sleeplessness.   People getting less sleep tend to have many complicacies.  They generally crave for high calorie foods and carbohydrates without having matching metabolic activities which may result in their putting more weight.  People wonder why they eat more when they are anxious or worried.  They think that food comforts them and helps them to forget the situation.  This type of situation is also common among women in pregnancy.

However, one of the marked behavioral differences noticed among the pregnant women is the change in their eating habits.  It is natural that you may need to eat more to support and supplement the requirement of your growing baby in the womb.  But, as old habits die hard, you may find it difficult to give up your preference for fast or junk foods from your daily menu and you may be eating more than the prescribed lot without your realization.  As such, it is all the more important not to give in to the temptation, instead, to start a liking for healthy choices such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains etc. to fight against overweight during pregnancy

As expected, this is not the only reason for weight gain among pregnant women.  We have heard doctors’ and the elderly advising the new would be moms to take enough rest.  I could remember how my mother-in-law cautioning me against doing certain type of tasks when I was expecting my first child.  How easy it is to get pampered due to spontaneous outpour of over attention, comfort and kindness one receives from the entire household.  But, take heed to yourself and keep your soul diligent and vigilant.  It is wise to spare time for brisk walking and mild exercising suitable for women in pregnancy.  Instead of lying and musing on the bed about the good times ahead, it is better to move and stay fit in body, mind and spirit. 

There are several reasons for a pregnant woman to gain weight beyond the desired level.  There may be some medical conditions like postpartum inflammation of the thyroid gland that can be responsible for undue weight gain.  But, in most other cases it is the lifestyle diseases that ensnare people especially the women folk who have little patience if anything goes wrong against their shape, size and appearance.   They will be ready to do anything to reinstate and regain their old glory.  However, like their counterparts, they also take shortcuts and join cheap quick weightloss programs which most often fail them miserably leaving them blame themselves for the hard lessons.

Though fasting, dieting and vigorous exercises are not advisable for pregnant women, there are certain diet programs which are specifically prepared and designed for pregnant women taking into account all their nutritional requirements during that period.  It is to remember that the diet you must follow during the pregnancy must be varied and complete and invariably include fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, lean meat, and fish.  The Medifast diet is one such diet programs which cater to all the dietary requirements of a woman.  The diet program works well for women.  It mainly consists of five meals and also includes self cooked foods such as lean meat, fish, salads and raw vegetables with low carbohydrates contents.  Nevertheless, it is not suitable for a pregnant woman.  It is wise to consult your doctor before going for any diet program.  

Friday, 15 February 2013

Digital Culture and Urgent Care Centers

It seems that recently there has been a massive rise in diseases, such as infectious diseases, contagious diseases, food-borne illnesses, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, airborne diseases, lifestyle diseases, mental disorders, organic diseases and so on.  Among the major and critical types of diseases that the world now suffers from include cancers, viral infections, bacterial infections, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, digestive diseases, thyroid diseases, blood diseases, nurodegenerative diseases, sexually transmitted diseases and so many more the list can seem endless.  When looking at the present state of the healthcare industry, comprising of the whole community of providers and professionals along with the corresponding infrastructure, it appears that it will have trouble when facing the challenges presented by these diseases and trying to meet the ever increasing demand for healthcare services as a result.  As the methods and techniques used for diagnosis and treatment of all diseases are quite different and varied, simply managing the ever increasing amount of information pertaining to treatments would have been nearly impossible in years past.  Fortunately, the healthcare industry has been taking advantage of the advancements in computers and information technology.

The changes taking place in the Healthcare Sector

In a sign of progress, like any other successful modern and futuristic sector of economy, the healthcare industry has also taken the right steps and has adapted to the changing environment of today’s digital culture and new technology.  Thanks to powerful computer software especially designed for healthcare management, it has become easy, simple and extremely fast to access, retrieve and manage any information pertaining to the healthcare industry. Consequently, every segment of the healthcare industry, including the government, policy makers, health professionals, health workforce, hospitals, clinics, health departments, health insurance agencies and many more now can have access to systems that maintain every sort of record, report, file, information or data necessary and thus ensuring better care for patients.  With these solutions, the industry always has up to date information, which can prove critical in prescribing the right treatments.  Because of this, it is well prepared and ready to deliver its best ever level of service to sick patients by utilizing the strengths of the various systems. Healthcare information management systems have made it possible for a patient to receive efficient, timely and quality healthcare at affordable prices.   As a result, both the patient and the healthcare system have greatly benefited from the massive changes taking place in the healthcare industry as a whole due to digitization of information.

Urgent Care Centers to benefit from the New Environment

We always consider the treatment of a patient to be important, but the management of information in a medical facility like an urgent care center is equally important.  The benefits of the management of this information are quite numerous.  In order to ensure quality and efficient patient-care service, it is vital to maintain records relating to patients history; diseases, diagnosis, tests, reports etc. for routine as well as future use.  Urgent care centers or walk in clinics which are patient satisfaction oriented, aim to provide fast and quick delivery of care.   For this, they need a way to facilitate the easy and ready retrieval of information pertaining to any particular case.  If no proper recording and storing of information has been done well in advance, it would be quite impossible to find the data needed for an urgent case.  Even with the old paper filing system, it was very easy to misplace or lose a record, leading to countless situations where doctors needed to access required information on a patient and were unable to do so.  It would be nearly impossible to overcome this sort of situation and retain a patient.

Managing Records has become Easy and Simple

Let us recall the traditional paper based health record management system and the difficulties experienced in maintaining, storing, keeping and regaining records when required.  Thanks to information technology, the task of processing and managing health records in hospitals, primary care centers, clinics, urgent care centers has become very simple and efficient.  Specifically, urgent care centers, which attend to a large number of serious but not life-threatening ailments and injuries, and which are also considered the best option for fast and cost effective treatment of any common ailment like fever, cough and cold etc., can reap significant benefits through the use of information technology.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Healthcare Scenarios and Affordability

It is a generally accepted fact that health care costs have been rising for several years and that these costs greatly affect American families.  Interestingly US Census Bureau records show that on an inflation adjusted basis, the mean household income has stayed relatively stagnant for over a decade.  With rising health care costs, this has left families even more strained to manage the rest of their other increasing expenses with the same relative level of income.  If you look at the spending on health care by a family, it becomes quite apparent how big an impact expenses like health insurance premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, federal and state taxes for government health care programs etc., can have on a family’s income.  Stagnant incomes and rising health care costs have complicated the healthcare system.  In the United States, it is one of the most complex and ever changing issues facing the country, which necessitates a better and more efficient method of management. 


Healthcare Elements

Implementing any new improvements is not an easy job as the system is made up of numerous basic service elements or components which affect everybody from parents who wonder about the healthcare of their children, to policy makers and the government who deal with funding and the allocating of scarce resources.   
Each service component in turn is affected by numerous other factors like finance, culture, geography, and other influences that assist in determining the availability and effectiveness of those services.  What is more, the healthcare system itself ranges from care for simple uncomplicated issues like a cold and cough that require relatively low levels of technology, personnel and facilities, such as urgent care centers or walk in clinics, to emergency rooms in hospitals which have specialized personnel equipped to handle complex and serious issues. 


Micro Healthcare Components

The basic service components of the health care system are made up of elements like; health advancement and disease prevention services, emergency medical services, ambulatory care for simple or complex conditions, ambulatory care for complex continuing conditions, inpatient care for limited or long term care, services for social and psychological conditions, rehabilitation services and pharmaceutical services etc.  These are the healthcare services available to the general public and they must choose which service will best suit their needs and provide them the best treatment. 


Factors that influence

Several factors influence the decision on which facility a patient should go to for treatment.  Some depend on their own personal intuition and belief.  Others may select a hospital or urgent care center taking into account their previous experiences and current circumstances.  Rising out of pocket costs can force people to choose a particular healthcare service which accepts their form of insurance.  When trying to evaluate individual healthcare providers, patients may look at incentives being offered and consider any referrals.  In the overall healthcare system, there are also contractual arrangements and legal considerations to take into account.  One of the biggest factors that will continue to become a greater problem in the future is the influx of patients in emergency rooms and primary health centers, causing even greater strain on an already stretched system.


Interdependency in the Healthcare System

If you look deep into the workings of the entire healthcare system, you will find that no one system or area works alone; in fact, they depend and assist each other to provide treatment to patients.  While patients depend on the healthcare providers for their care, the providers depend on systems for managing payments and health records.  It is evident that a doctor alone is not sufficient for a patient to get the care they need; the support systems for the doctor must also be in place.  These support systems are a critical piece of our health care system and require the appropriate personnel and technology in order to ensure they function smoothly.


Urgent Care Centers – the best alternative

In healthcare reform there is a constant debate about how to save money.  With the dramatic rise in the number of people needing care, we need more funding to cover hospital costs.  As individuals and families, we need to carefully take into consideration the severity and urgency of the disease and decide whether to go to an emergency room, which are meant for serious and life threatening conditions but cost more, or to go to one of the thousands of urgent care centers, which are best suited for minor but urgent issues and cost less.  For a minor ailment like a cold or cough, there is no point going to emergency rooms which are overcrowded and wasting the scarce resources meant for treating serious and life-threatening diseases.  The cost of treatment in urgent care centers is significantly less and therefore more affordable so that even an uninsured patient can find the expenses to be reasonable.   Urgent care centers are also conveniently located and they typically operate beyond normal business hours so that a busy professional can save time and money when they need to seek care.  Unlike emergency rooms in the hospitals, patient scan visit an urgent care center for treatment at their own convenience as they do not need a prior appointment.  Taking into account all of these factors urgent care centers represent an increasingly attractive alternative in the present health care environment.