Tips for Healthcare Workers Wishing to Hone their Fitness

woman exercising By Lucy Peters

Compared to other professions, staff in some healthcare professions (for instance, nurses) have a six times higher prevalence of back pain. Tasks such as transferring patients and operating in awkward postures can cause lumbar tissue damage and back pain, but this is only one of many health risks associated with the health profession. Employees working in healthcare can also face high rates of stress and tiredness owing to factors such as long working hours, shift work, and working in times of risk (as is the case during the global health crisis). How can physical activity help quell stress and pain and reduce injury and how can healthcare workers ensure they get the recommended number of minutes of exercise per week?

Exercise Reduces Pain and Stress

As stated in a study by Ann-Kathrin Otto and colleagues, published in the journal BMJ, the efficiency of ergonomic training and exercise when it comes to reducing pain, is well-documented. Previous studies have shown that moderate exercises (including cardiovascular and stretching exercises) reduce musculoskeletal problems, boost muscular strength, and enhance cardiovascular fitness among nursing staff. Research published by the Mayo Clinic shows that employees in medical centers report high levels of stress. Of the many natural modes of quelling this stress, just a few found to be particularly effective include general physical activity, mindfulness-based activities such as yoga, and time spent in nature.

Exercise and the Immunity

A 2020 study by researchers at the University of Bath found that regular, daily exercise benefits one’s immunity, even during tough times. It helps the immune system “find and deal with pathogens, slowing down changes that happen to the immune system with aging.” Equally important is diet. Certain foods strengthen the immune system. These include healthy Omega-3 fats, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and probiotic and fermented foods. When you eat is equally important; the gut has a memory and when it is expecting food, it ramps up the activity of immune cells to attack incoming ‘bad bacteria’. Sticking to regular meal times ensures these cells are able to exercise their function.

Exercise at Work

Over 50% of employees report that they have little time to exercise because of their busy work and home lives. As stated in a recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, one solution is to include more activity at work. In one study, ‘treadmill workstations’ – in which employees were made to work while walking, significantly increased fitness levels and BMI measurements. Another study assigned participants a mandatory activity of middle-to-high intensity workouts for around 2.5 hours a week during work hours. These incentives clearly need to be offered and organized by work organizations, but what can you do if your place of work does not adopt programs that boost employee fitness?

Individual Efforts

The key to making the most of the little time you may have is to do as much as you can. Did you know that running for just 15 minutes a day can reduce the risk of major depression by 26%? Official recommended guidelines stipulate that all individuals should complete at least half an hour of moderate intensity exercise every day. The good news is that these 30 minutes do not need to be continuous. That is, you can complete 10 minutes on your way to work, 10 minutes at lunchtime, and 10 minutes at the end of the day. You can also embrace activity in small but significant ways – including taking the stairs instead of the lift when you can. For extra health benefits, engage in vigorous activity (think cycling, jogging, or interval training) for half an hour at least three times a week. Vigorous exercise is particularly effective because it improves the efficiency of your heart and lungs, and more oxygen is delivered to your muscles.

Even if you are very inactive, becoming slightly more active can help you reap big benefits in terms of fitness and pain reduction. At the very least, aiming for around 30 minutes of moderate activity per day can help strengthen your cardiovascular system. So, too, can finding practical ways to be more active – including walking while working when possible, stretching throughout the day, and taking advantage of work breaks to be more active instead of taking a sedentary pause.

 

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consultant Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

Why Is Creating An Identifiable, Diverse Brand Key For Healthcare Professionals?

Healthcare workers on a blue backgroundWritten By Lucy Peters

A sound branding strategy is key for businesses in any industry, with statistics compiled by Oberlo showing that around 86% of consumers value authenticity, and 81% feel they need to trust a brand before they support it. When it comes to healthcare branding, these values are of the essence, as is a respect for diversity. Demographic trends show that the US is experiencing a major transformation – so much so that non-Hispanic whites no longer dominate the census. By the year 2045, this group will represent less than 50% of the population, and by 2060, this number will shrink to 43%. Savvy marketers should be in tune to these changes if they wish to survive and thrive in an ever-changing world.

Key Components Of Successful Healthcare Branding

Branding strategies for the healthcare sector should contain various targets – including showing a brand’s value; building a good relationship with suppliers, peers and patients; providing patients with personalized, speedy and effective treatment; attracting top professionals to join one’s team; and boosting brand awareness. Your brand logo, website, social media channels, blogs, and other forms of media should focus on your target clients’ needs, with a view to building authentic connections based on shared values. Simplicity, emotion and continuity are additional values that should be expressed in your logo and communications. Branding in healthcare comprises everything from selecting colors for your logo or website that express trust and experience, to providing patients with feedback and good customer service, so that public reviews of your business are mainly positive.

Diversity Is Not Optional

The increasingly diverse nature of patients in America means that healthcare companies wishing to stay at the top of their game need to ensure that racial, ethnic, and other minorities are listened to. The Pew Research Center found that over 52% of American adults feel that brands should address concerns such as racism in society, and that they should actively find ways to be inclusive and avoid unconscious racism and exclusion of minorities in branding, product promotion, and all areas of business. Digital communications catering to diverse audiences should be prioritized, with areas such as language, imagery and topics being chosen in line with the needs of diverse audiences. Current advertising is increasingly representing people from various genders and cultures, as well as those with diverse body types. Authentic diversity should be more than tokenism: in order to truly work, it should arise from diverse teams that understand the needs and wishes of minority and diverse groups.

Total Market Infusion

David Maricich, President of Maricich Health in California, recently published an article on the importance of “looking at diverse communities for what they have in common, then fine-tuning the messaging by tailoring to their respective nuances.” This approach is known as ‘total market infusion’. It takes into account that various ethnic groups and other minorities have different ideas about healthcare, disparate abilities to access food, and different attitudes towards health itself. Marketing messages sent to different groups must contain essential truth, without skimping on “additional educational and grassroots awareness efforts” aimed at specific populations.

Building a reputation for trust, authenticity and continuity is vital in any sector, but arguably more so in the healthcare sector – since life and wellness depend on healthcare services in many cases. Marketing within this sector should be patient-based as well as diverse, bearing in mind the rapidly changing demographics of the nation. In order to authentically speak to various minority and diverse groups, marketing teams should themselves be diverse in order to build the additional awareness that is necessary for effective communication.

 

 

 

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Healthcare Manager Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a Healthcare Manager Program

 

Pushing The Limits Of Visual Impairment: How Professionals Are Building A Career In The Medical Field

Doctor holding a clipboardWritten by Lucy Peters

Up until the 1950s, living with a disability was considered incompatible with continued medical practice. Yet nearly 50% of Americans with visual impairments are still not in the labor force today, according to the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. But with major advancements in medical technology, patient care has reached a point where physicians can now consult a patient and prescribe medications online, without the need for physical interaction. As a result, this helps professionals gain the advantage of erasing the stigma of individuals with visual disabilities and build their careers.

Physicians With Visual Impairment 

There have been cases of doctors having a visual impairment and still managing to achieve their dreams of becoming certified physicians. One example is David Hartman, who was diagnosed with retinal detachment and glaucoma in childhood. Through perseverance, he graduated from medical school and became a board-certified psychiatrist. His work on the addiction recovery field was rewarded in 2019 at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders. Although he faced numerous difficulties in building his career, he developed certain programs for patients as the chief of adult outpatient psychiatry in Carillon Clinic in Virginia. His work has inspired movies and literature that proves that blindness and other disabilities cannot stop someone from building a promising career.

Different Paths In The Medical Field

There are numerous programs and specializations that can be accessed by individuals with visual impairment. If one decides to pursue a career in medicine, specializations in psychiatry and psychology are the most suitable due to a reliance on speech and understanding rather than a keen eye for physical symptoms and immediate action in emergencies. This is heavily advantageous for the physician, as the patient is not made aware of the disabilities they may have, prompting them to return and not be worried to seek counsel.

Understanding The Potential Risks

These are trying times for those with blindness or visual impairment who have frequently relied on the sense of touch. With the recent coronavirus compromising the sense of mobility and independence for many, those living with blindness are at a higher risk of infection. Healthcare employees must follow extra safety measures to protect against diseases, such as keeping your body and daily eye care items sanitized at all times.

Perseverance Is Key

Each step will be difficult when it comes to achieving your goals and dealing with visual impairment. But this shouldn’t discourage anyone from building a promising medical career. Having a stable support system and a workplace that is strictly against discrimination is also important in defining one’s career, as there will always be challenges for those living with a disability.

Vision loss can be extremely frustrating to come to terms with, but it does not make a person incapable of doing the same things as their non-visually impaired peers. Having a successful medical career while living with a visual impairment is always possible when you have the proper mindset to overcome any obstacles along the way.

 

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Health Care Life Coaching Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a Health Care Life Coaching Program

 

Putting A Stop To High Diabetes Rates Among Health Care Workers

Blocks that spell out the word diabetes with fruit and vegetables around it. Written by Lucy Peters

There is a significantly high risk of diabetes among health care workers, with numerous studies postulating three main reasons why: unhealthy lifestyles, obesity, and physical inactivity. Current times are indicative of the importance of maintaining optimal health in this sector, since diabetes can pose a risk for worse outcomes in viral and other infections. Doctors, nurses, and other professionals often face high levels of psychosocial strain, and can be called upon to complete long work shifts – all of which can also contribute to the adoption of unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as the consumption of an unhealthy diet and sedentarism. As stated in a study by M Belingheri and colleagues, the problem is exacerbated when health care workers have other conditions such as hypertension, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease, all of which can worsen outcomes for various diseases and conditions.

Diabetes And Work Performance

Embracing a healthy lifestyle and receiving early diagnosis for conditions like hypertension is vital for health care workers. Not only does diabetes post a risk of worse outcomes, but it also carries symptoms that can make work in a healthcare setting difficult. For instance, people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can have a type of nerve damage called diabetic neuropathy. The legs and feet are mostly affected, with symptoms including pain and numbness. Diabetic neuropathy actually affects up to 50% of people with diabetes, and when it is severe, it can interfere greatly with one’s ability to work and complete daily tasks.

Fighting Type 2 Diabetes Through A Healthy Diet

A study by O A Busari and colleagues shows that health care workers can have a significantly higher chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. In order to fight this tendency, a proactive approach that embraces a preventive lifestyle needs to be adopted. This should begin with the adoption of a Mediterranean-type diet, which comprises lean proteins, grains, healthy Omega-3 fats, and plenty of fiber from fruits and vegetables. Specific foods can help health workers achieve their goals. A study undertaken at the Chalmers Institute of Technology, for instance, has found that whole grains (be they rye, oats or wheat) have a vital role in preventing Type 2 diabetes. The researchers recommended switching white flour foods for wholegrain foods, and avoiding foods like red meat and coffee. Women should aim to consume around 70g of wholegrain foods, and men around 90g. These can be sourced from foods such as rye bread, oatmeal porridge, and crispbread.

Embracing An Active Lifestyle

A 2018 study undertaken at the University of Birmingham has shown that regular physical activity reduces the risk of diabetes. Walking, jogging and running are all linked to lower diabetes rates, but any cardiovascular workout can be equally beneficial. “About one fifth of the observed diabetes cases which developed could have been avoided if inactive individuals had engaged in World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended levels of exercise,” said researchers. Despite this fact, research by H Blake and colleagues (Predictors of physical activity and barriers to exercise in nursing and medical students, Journal of Advanced Nursing), shows that health care professionals on the whole have low levels of physical activity, with barriers including a lack of time and inconvenient schedules. Health organizations should take this matter seriously, making key changes to schedules and encouraging involvement in fitness programs by workers.

Health care workers often fail to meet exercise requirements and consume a healthy diet, which ups their risk for diabetes. Conditions such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension can worsen outcomes for workers with diabetes. A preventive stance should be taken to remove the main barriers to healthier lifestyles. These are simply a lack of time, and schedules that are unconducive to regular exercise.

 

 

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Health Care Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

7 reasons why healthcare professionals should achieve certification

CERTIFICATION CONCEPTWritten By Miranda Booher

Hypnosis. Legal case management. Grief counseling. Stress management. Meditation. Spiritual counseling. There are many different areas of specialization when it comes to the vast realms of the healthcare industry.

Some allied health professional jobs require specific certification and others do not. However, if you happen to work in one of those positions that do not require specialized certification, do you really need it? 

You are the only one who can make that decision for your career, but we are going to present you seven reasons why healthcare clinicians should achieve certification.

1. Gain advanced knowledge and skills in a healthcare sub-specialty

Physicians, nurses, and other allied healthcare professionals often get into the field because they have a passion or interest in a certain field of healthcare. Perhaps you are a nurse who has always been interested in the area of spirituality. Even if you are not currently practicing as a nurse in this field, you can increase your knowledge and skills to learn more just for curiosity’s sake, or to set yourself up for an opportunity to work in that specialty in the future. 

2.  Healthcare employers require certification more frequently

Healthcare facilities’, hospitals’, and other companies’ policies about continuing education requirements are constantly evolving. Some employers who never required a certification for their employees in the past have changed their practices and now make certification mandatory for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, there can also be laws made at the state level meant to keep the public safe that require allied health professionals to obtain and hold certain credentials. 

3. Advance or expand your healthcare practice

Maybe you are a physician who wants to expand your current general practice roster of patients. Perhaps you want to offer specialized services to a certain segment of the population. Certification opens up doors as a healthcare provider to expand your practice and services to meet a wider range of patients and treat specific conditions and ailments. 

4. Gain a competitive edge and increase your marketability

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons healthcare professionals obtain a certification is to increase their employability and gain a competitive edge in the industry. Having the certification itself does not guarantee job placement, however it can definitely give you an advantage when you apply for a job in the medical industry. Even if the particular job you are applying for does not require certification, having one related to the healthcare sub-specialty, i.e. intensive care unit (ICU), geriatrics, etc., shows your dedication and demonstrates your level of expertise.

5. Be viewed as a credentialed expert in your practice specialty

Certification in a certain area exerts yourself as an expert in the field. When you are nationally-recognized for the attainment of knowledge and skills by meeting specific predetermined criteria, it demonstrates your competency as an allied healthcare professional. This recognition may help you personally or professionally, it just depends on whether it means something to you to be viewed as an expert, or if you plan on taking that position to advance your healthcare career. It can also be a combination of both. You might also use this recognition to become a part of a professional group or network with other certified healthcare specialists that practice in your specialty.

6. Show employers you stay up-to-date

By its intrinsic nature, the medical field is an industry that is constantly changing. In fact, all of the changes that have been ushered in since the beginning of this pandemic are testament to this very fact. In order to stay on your toes, it’s important to keep up with all the changes the best you possibly can. Healthcare certification is the perfect way to do just that. Most certifications not only require the base of knowledge and skills to obtain the credential, but they also include a certain number of continuing education hours annually in order to renew it. This demonstrates to employers that you are a healthcare professional who cares about continuing education and keeping up with the best practices in the industry. If you were the employer, would you not prefer to hire someone who has proven expertise in the field?

7. It speaks to who you are as a clinician

Certification in healthcare is so much more than a piece of paper. It demonstrates who you are as a person and an allied healthcare professional. It shows that you are committed to the practice, your career, and to providing the very best patient care possible. Employers look for those qualities when they are considering hiring anyone in the healthcare industry. 

Want to learn more about healthcare certification?

The American Institute of Healthcare Professionals is committed to providing opportunities for clinicians to expand their skills and knowledge base to advance their career in healthcare. You can learn more about each of the different types of certifications they provide by clicking on one of the links below. 

 

How has COVID-19 changed the grieving process

Woman in mourning arranging flowers and candles on the gravestoneWritten By Miranda Booher

Many people have lost their lives to this pandemic which leaves behind many loved ones to mourn. These people who have died from COVID-19, often do so under sad and isolated circumstances.

How has COVID-19 changed the way people grieve the death of loved ones? Keep reading to learn what COVID-19 means for the grieving process and how technology is adapting to the changes.

Losing a loved one in a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic

Visitors to all hospitals and healthcare facilities have been greatly restricted due to COVID-19 in accordance with the recommendations that were set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

As such, since the start of this pandemic, people who end up dying in the hospital often find themselves dying alone. They tell their loved ones final goodbyes on the cellphones of busy nurses who barely have the time to be in the patients’ room making the phone calls possible. One nurse name Heather who works in the emergency room of a community hospital in Northwest, Ohio said:

¨I am helping patients in the emergency room talk to their loved ones on Facetime to tell them their goodbyes. It’s drastically different from how it worked pre-COVID-19. The worst part to me is that we are actually seeing very few cases of COVID-19 in the hospital setting, but they are taking extra precautions, which has prohibited guests of any kind from visiting. I fear that the mental health effects of the lockdown will be worst than those of the actual disease itself.¨

Every hospital and healthcare facility will vary a bit when it comes to the exact policies regarding visitation. However, it’s pretty universally accepted that if the patient is positive for COVID-19, then they are allowed to have no visitors at all. It’s also the case in vast the majority of hospitals that visitors of any kind are restricted or only allowed to visit in specific circumstances.

It’s hard not being able to say your goodbyes in person

A lot of people find solace and closure in the final conversations they are able to have with a loved one right before they die. The distancing and isolation circumstances, whether that is at home or hospital, make it harder for people to get that same kind of closure when their loved one is dying.

Nurses and doctors are the ones who hold the hands of strangers as they conduct virtual meetings with the family and friends of dying patients who are not able to visit their loved ones in person. Clinicians who are suddenly thrusted into these positions are left to carry burdens of stress and sadness, even though they may not have any training in grief counseling.

Healthcare professionals who are adequately trained in end-of-life care, such as hospice and palliative care teams, are feeling overstretched beyond their capacity at the moment because of the rising need. The shortage is compounded by the fact that hospice nurses are already in short supply, as it takes a special kind of person to work in this field of nursing.

Loved ones actually begin the grieving process by being present with the person who they know is going to soon die. Many people use this time period to resolve any issues or messy emotions, such as feelings of denial and guilt, which are common. People who have been robbed of these quality moments before the end of life may feel a lack of closure.

Funeral bans make it hard to gather in tribute for the deceased

Funerals are also banned. Small gatherings are illegal in many states. For more information on the restrictions on small gatherings and funerals, you can see this list of coronavirus restrictions in every state from AARP.

The ban on gatherings and funerals means that many of the rituals associated with this level of the grieving process are being missed, such as:

  • Watching the casket be lowered into the ground
  • Holding a wake or sitting shiva
  • Having people visit your home and share memories about the departed

All of these therapeutic steps are being bypassed, and because of COVID-19, people need to learn new ways to mourn from home.

Creative technology solutions for social distance mourning

New ways of connecting with the community when a loved one dies are beginning to emerge as a result of the situation. Heart in Diamond is a company who allows people to send in some cremated ashes or hair from a loved one, and have it turned into a diamond. Creative memorials such as this help people who missed a funeral or other memorial pay tribute to their loved one.

We grieve together as we move into the future

All of us are grieving as we make it through this pandemic. Even those of us who have not and will not lose a friend or family member, we still experience the grief of losses. Whether it’s the loss of a job, the predictability of life day to day, or even the toilet paper, we grieve the life we once knew and hoped to live. We must be kind to ourselves and to others and recognize where these feelings of depression, rage, anxiety, and hopelessness are coming from.

There is no crystal ball that can show you how your journey with grief is going to be, but perhaps some of these new digital solutions can help us deal with death during COVID-19 and share memories in a new way

 

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s  Grief Counseling Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a Grief Counseling Program

Working From Home: Is It Possible For Healthcare Professionals? 

laptop with smart phone on wood tableWritten by Lucy Peters

More employees are working from home today than ever before — as many as 9.8 million Americans worked remotely in 2019 before the pandemic hit, Pew Research reveals. When it doesn’t compromise patient care, healthcare organizations can benefit from implementing work-from-home programs, which reduce staff burnout, improve care coordination, and boost patient revenue. Some healthcare roles can be successfully performed from home, however, healthcare organizations must take care to establish clear guidelines and provide the necessary equipment and technology.

Incorporating work-from-home programs

Telehealth is a relatively new service replacing in-person appointments; it allows healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat patients effectively via virtual appointments. Video chat software is all that’s required to facilitate telehealth. Physicians therefore only need to appear in-office for the most acute patients. Staff who support patients without dealing with them directly — in the fields of marketing, claims management, medical records management, and patient intake, for example — can also work from home efficiently. Healthcare organizations will generally find some tasks need to be performed in person while others more flexible can be done remotely. Most simply, this could mean sharing office spaces on set days to treat patients, while staff then work from home on the other days of the week.

Secure technology and HIPAA compliance

Remote workers must continue to be HIPAA compliant and protect the organization’s network, sensitive data, and electronic personal health information (ePHI). Workers who handle electronic health records will need to use VPNs (virtual private networks) to access them at home. Devices and apps should be encrypted and password protected (two-factor authentication provides maximum security). Additionally, any devices used to view ePHI should always have up-to-date security software installed. Cloud-based communication systems allow workers to collaborate remotely, however any systems used should be third-party certified for security standards (the HITRUST CSF certification is most widely used in the healthcare industry).

Injury and worker’s rights

Remote workers can still be prone to workplace injuries — slips, trips, and falls being some of the most common. Poor home-office setups can also increase risk of objects falling from shelves, burns from hot drinks, or ankle sprains from going up or down the stairs. In fact, healthcare organizations may ask employees to perform a risk evaluation of their home office space; this can be used to identify and eliminate potential issues that may cause injuries. Injuries sustained by remote workers are covered by workers’ compensation law as long as they occurred during completion of a work-related task during work hours. Healthcare professionals can strengthen their chances of receiving compensation if their employer specifically instructed them to work remotely and provided necessary equipment to perform their duties.

It’s possible for many healthcare professionals today to work from home while continuing to provide excellent patient care and service and adhere to industry regulations. Healthcare organizations should always provide workers with the equipment and technology needed to fulfil their roles safely and efficiently.

 

 

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Legal Nurse Consulting Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a Legal Nurse Consulting Program

Healing The Healers: Different Ways Healthcare Professionals Can Manage Their Chronic Pain 

Tablet with the text Pain Management on the displayWritten By Lucy Peters

Around 30% of physicians experience chronic physical illness and pain, with 82% experiencing concomitant chronic mental concerns, according to a study of 248 physicians conducted by the University of Ottawa. As such, there needs to be some changes occurring in the field of medicine — especially when it comes to the concept of chronic pain management. So, to this end, what are a few different ways that healthcare professionals can manage chronic pain?

Chronic Pain-Specific Medication

A study conducted by the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine found that healthcare practitioners limit or avoid controlled pain medications due to their practice guidelines and regulations. Despite this, the discomfort that comes with chronic pain can become so debilitating that they achieve relief through chronic pain-specific medication that’s over the counter or prescribed, such as Oxycodone, Ibuprofen and Morphine. But for doctors who are not comfortable relying on medication, thankfully, there are other options to pursue.

Alternative Care

Chronic pain affects a substantial number of nurses. A study by Gaziantep University found that 84.2% of nurses experience chronic lower back pain of moderate severity. Instead of using any medication, they have found that turning to alternative care like chiropractic adjustment and acupuncture provide relief. Those that undergo chiropractic adjustments reported in a JAMA Open Network’s published study that after six sessions, they have less pain intensity, higher satisfaction in their care, less disability, and more mobility.

Physical Therapy And Exercise

Medical professionals are constantly in motion, and chronic pain hinders this. The pain may also cause a lack of physical activity that opens the gates to other health issues. As such, physical activity is necessary. Aerobic exercises are an effective way to treat chronic pain, according to a study conducted by the Thurston Arthritis Research Center. They found that walking or stationary cycling are moderate impact activities that relieve pain.

Psychiatric Support

Chronic pain is an emotional and mental battle, according to Linda Girgis, MD. She shared her story of being a practicing doctor that got into an accident that left her with a displaced, comminuted proximal humerus fracture. This event effectively made her a chronic pain patient for the rest of her natural life. She soon realized that chronic pain takes a rather strong emotional and mental toll, as the pain made her normal activities no longer possible, and her patients did not care about her pain — only the inconvenience her condition had caused them.

This is precisely why the study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry of George Washington University found that psychological interventions for chronic pain are necessary. Psychiatric support for medical professionals that suffer from chronic pain can help them recalibrate their perspectives and process their pain in a safe and healthy environment.

Living with chronic pain can feel like a continuous battle—especially for the very professionals that are tasked with looking after the health of others. This is why there need to be further studies on managing pain and improving the way the topic of chronic pain in healthcare professionals is addressed. As soon as there is an established way to fully heal the healers from their chronic pain, the better the field of healthcare will be as a whole.

 

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Health Care Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

What are the Biggest Data Security Risks in the Healthcare Industry?

Padlock and keyhole in a printed circuit. Digital illustration.Written By Lucy Peters

The current global health crisis is doing more than wreaking physical havoc; it is also affecting data security, exposing potentially sensitive patient data and putting the efficient functioning of healthcare organizations at risk. In some parts of the world, there has been a 150% increase in cyber attacks in recent months, with the stress of the pandemic causing many organizations to lose sight of cyber security at a time in which it is most under threat from new advancements in AI and other technologies that make attacks swifter and wider in scope. What are the main threats to data security in the healthcare sector and what steps can be taken to reduce them?

Phishing Attacks

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations – including the Oregon Department of Human (ODHS) Services – fell prey to phishing attacks. Indeed, the latter suffered a breach affecting some 645,000 patients, compromising over two million emails after just nine employees responded to a phishing email. In order to counter this threat, organizations need to rely on technology such as multi-factor authentication to prevent malicious emails from making it to employees’ inboxes. Employee training is equally important in preventing cyber attacks; in some organizations, simulated phishing software is being used to train and test employees’ abilities to respond to such a threat. Investing in training is a highly efficient way to combat a problem that is costing companies hundreds of billions of dollars every year.

Insider Breaches

Research by Egress has found that about 63% of healthcare data breaches are caused by human error, while around 20% are caused by sending information to the wrong recipient. The famous UW Medicine breach (which exposed the data of around 947,000 patients) was caused by a misconfigured server that made private documents accessible to the public. Healthcare organizations should set up identity access management rules to be followed strictly by staff. They should also implement controls covering the printing of sensitive documents. New content aware print management tech tracks information on who printed a document, where it was printed, and the contents of a document. This can boost compliance and minimize security breaches.

Cloud Security

Research by MarketsandMarkets indicates that the cloud model is increasingly appealing for healthcare decision makers, as most organizations need solutions to deal with an exponential growth of patient data. The benefits of the cloud are indubitable, yet alongside them comes a host of new threats — including malware and ransom attacks. Solutions to the problem include performing regular backups (these should be stored offline or in a separate network from the main one), encryption, and the conduction of a full cyber risk assessment on all third party vendors and contractors.

The healthcare industry is increasingly relying on digital sources for the storing of sensitive data. Some of the main threats it faces include phishing, insider breaches, and cloud security issues. These can be tackled both through education of personnel and through the adoption of effective solutions such as efficient IT management services, a regular backup system, encryption, and the reliance on a professional IT team that is on the beat when it comes to new developments in cybersecurity threats – including AI-based threats.

 

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Case Management program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a Case Management Program

Encouraging Isolated Patients to Spend Time Outdoors

Woman Walking Along Path In Autumn WoodlandWritten By Lucy Peters

The average American is believed to spend nearly 90% of their life indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This equates to being outdoors for a total of one half of one day per week.  Patients who are in isolation due to being immunocompromised or testing positive for a contagious disease may spend even less time outdoors. This can result in increased anxiety, a compromised circadian rhythm, and even an increasingly suppressed immune system. Thankfully, there are a number of ways in which a healthcare professional can help an isolated patient spend time outdoors.

Highlight the benefits of spending time outside

A patient is more likely to make an effort to spend time outside if they are aware of the benefits they may enjoy. There are a number of science-backed benefits that can be highlighted. Spending time outside can reduce cortisol levels which will boost your overall mood according to a Japanese nature therapy study. Spending time outdoors can also help accelerate healing according to the University of Pittsburgh while a Harvard Medical School publication concurs that outdoor time will boost Vitamin D levels significantly. Spending time outdoors can also aid in reducing the mental fatigue that often presents itself during periods of illness.

Suggest simple yet beneficial outdoor activities

Although structured outdoor therapy sessions may yield impressive results, it is not always a viable option. Healthcare professionals are in a good position to suggest simple yet beneficial ways that will increase the time an isolated patient spends outdoors. Going for a walk, even if just around the garden, will yield benefits both associated with being outside as well as physical activity. Patients can also be encouraged to conduct a range of everyday activities, such as reading and catching up on social media, outside. While a deck or porch is ideal places for these, finding a sunny spot near an open window will also suffice.

What if going outdoors isn’t an option?

For some isolated patients, going outside isn’t an option due to a variety of reasons. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, simply viewing natural settings can boost physiological well-being considerably. These findings can be supported in a number of ways. By encouraging patients to open windows to allow fresh air in, placing indoor plants or cut flowers in the home, or looking out into the garden, they may become privy to benefits typically associated with outdoor time.  Apart from noticing a reduction in anxiety and stress, cognitive function may also be improved.

Spending time outdoors is of pertinent importance to isolated patients. Although different strategies may need to be employed for each, there are many ways these patients can be exposed to the outdoors and reap the subsequent benefits.

 

 

Please also review AIHCP’s  Health Care Life Coach Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a health care life coach program