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The Rising Demand of Telehealth Services and How It Could Benefit You

You can’t live in the western world and not be exposed to technology on a near constant basis. It feeds into and informs every part of our lives; from shopping to interior design, fitness, music, art, and more. Now, technology – and specifically mobile apps – are revolutionizing the medical industry too. With the rise of ‘telehealth’ services increasing at a rapid rate, it is clear that this trend is one that cannot be ignored.

So, what is telehealth? And, how is it changing the way that we access medical advice and information? Well, the term itself is a kind of a catch-all for any kind of service that involves a computer or a smartphone device. It may include, but it certainly not limited to, online support networks, self-diagnosis tools, digital health information, instant links to medical professionals, and remote recording software.

Essentially, it is a way to have a mobile doctor in your pocket, at all times. The mobile medical app, Doctor Me, is a great example of a telehealth service because it is designed to provide instant healthcare. Instead of booking an appointment and, potentially, having to wait days to see a doctor in person, users can contact a fully qualified medical professional in seconds, over the phone.

If the problem is not serious and has a common solution, the doctor can prescribe the necessary medications without the need for face to face contact. This is very important because it frees up time and resources for those who really need them. Plus, it substantially reduces waiting times for patients, because they’re not booking appointments, only to be given information that isn’t GP-specific.

Keep reading to find out some of the ways that telehealth services could benefit you in the future.

 

Remote Consultations

With the support of a mobile medical app like Dr Me, patients can request remote consultations, rather than heading into a clinic for a face to face appointment. This change is set to have a huge impact on the healthcare industry because it is really the first time that it has acknowledged the idea that direct contact should be prioritized for serious cases.

It also means that medical advice isn’t reserved for those who find it easy to get out to clinics. There are all kinds of reasons why a person might find it tough to get to the doctor. They could have mobility problems, an extremely busy schedule, or just live in an area with poor transportation links. If this sounds like you, telehealth services could just change your life.

 

Personal Health Records

As patients, we’re not used to being able to easily access our own medical records. Even though we all have the right to do so, few take advantage of it, because there is this age-old belief that the ‘doctor knows best.’ Surely, if a patient were to need their healthcare records for any reason, the doctor would inform them, right? In reality, there are all kinds of reasons why it is a good idea to have instant access to essential personal data.

In an emergency situation – after an accident or other medical event – being able to give first responders and hospital staff the right information could literally save your life. Having the facts at hand is also a good way to get involved in your own healthcare. While it is the responsibility of GPs to make the right decisions on your behalf, there could come a time when you know that a prescription or treatment plan isn’t working and you want to suggest a change.

 

Why Telehealth Services Are the Future of Healthcare

At this point, it is undeniable that telehealth services will play a big part in the future of our healthcare industries. All around the world, hospitals, surgeries, and clinics are investing in mobile technologies and responsive, digital communication tools. Control is, gradually, being transferred to the patient, so that medical professionals can streamline their resources. If healthcare becomes targeted and personalised, it will inevitably increase in quality.

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3 Cost Effective Ways to Get Fit

With the New Year almost here, many of will be looking for ways to work on their fitness. There are lots of ways to get fit and improve our health, and what works for some doesn’t always work for others. Gym memberships remain very popular, but they can also be quite expensive and if you don’t have the time or dedication to go regularly than you end up paying through the nose for something you barely use. There are plenty of cost-effective ways to get fit, enabling you to save money while working on your health. Here are just some of the ways that you can get fit without spending too much money in 2016.

Change the Commute

Think about your daily routine and see if there are any changes you can make for the benefit of your fitness. For example, do you drive to work? If you do, then it may be worth considering changing your mode of transport and cycling to work instead. This can apply to other parts of your life as well; for instance, if you’re going to drive somewhere but you could walk, take the second option.
It costs nothing to make little changes like this and the benefits are worth it.

Apps and Trackers

There are all kinds of fitness apps out there designed to help you monitor your progress and keep you motivated. Rather than going to a gym or hiring a personal trainer, all you need to do is download one of these apps (many of which are free), and plug yourself in. The variety on offer is amazing, offering you fun and entertaining ways to stay healthy. For example, there is an app that turns your jog into an epic escape from Zombies, and free apps from companies like Superbody can help you keep an eye on your progress and give you the motivation you need to stay fit and healthy.

Fitness Videos Online

The internet is a fantastic resource, and there are hundreds if not thousands of fitness videos on You Tube that you can follow, offering everything from aerobics to toning up muscles. Many of these videos are presented by qualified professionals and experienced fitness enthusiasts, so you don’t have to worry that you won’t be getting the most out of your workout.
Thanks to the rise of You Tube, you can get follow a high-quality workout session from the comfort of your home and at no extra cost.

Keep Moving

Try to find ways to keep moving throughout the day and it won’t be long before you notice the difference. Many of us work in offices or need to spend a lot of time sat down in front of a computer, which can lead to weight gain and other health issues. It’s extremely cost-effective to simply find new ways to keep moving. Move away from your desk and go for a walk around the office, take a few minutes here and there to stretch and move about, and you’ll soon feel the benefits.

What cost-effective fitness methods have worked for you?

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Australian Red Cross Hopes Portable Non-invasive Infra-red Technology will Increase Blood Donations

The Australian Red Cross is testing a new device that may help bring in squeamish blood donors who get tired of hearing, “you have tiny veins.” A new infrared tool is being used to locate veins, making them literally appear before the phlebotomist’s eyes.

As someone with the dreaded tiny vein syndrome, I know the frustration of having nurses poke and pinch my skin and being told to “squeeze the rubber ball” a little faster in hopes that a vein would suddenly rise to the top like a juicy worm, or having a technician dive in for a vein only to have it “roll away” from the needle. Ouch! Although the new device being tested by the Australian Red Cross doesn’t have a specific name, it is said to be similar to the AccuVein technology that is currently being used in hospitals across the United States.

How does it work?

The hemoglobin found in veins tends to absorb nearby infrared light. This allows the new gadget to create a “map” of sorts. Dr. Dan Waller, a senior researcher at the Austrailian Red Cross Blood Service is excited for the possibilities in terms of gaining new blood donors saying, “This could make it easier for people who want to give blood but have had bad experiences with health care workers trying to find their veins.”

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Christopher Reeve’s Son Announces New Breakthrough in Treatment of Paralysis

This week, Matthew Reeve, son of the late actor, Christopher Reeve announced a “huge breakthrough” in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. Epidural stimulation is giving four paralyzed men the chance to reclaim their mobility and independence.

Christopher Reeve Matthew ReeveIn 1995, Christopher Reeve was paralyzed during a horseback riding accident. At the time of the incident, the 35 year old star of Superman was fit, healthy and in the prime of his life. After the accident, he not only found the will to maintain a positive attitude, he also became a tireless activist for research.

This week, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation announced that a recent trial with epidural stimulation has given four paralyzed men the ability to voluntarily move their legs and bear weight.

As the 10th anniversary of Reeve’s death approaches, his son told People Magazine that he can’t help but wonder how thrilled his father would be to hear the news. “My father dreamed of a world with empty wheelchairs and gave hope to a whole community,” Mathew said. “This is a key new step in that hope becoming realized.”

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Successful Womb Transplant and Birth Gives Hope to Mothers With Infertility

swedish transplant womb

Thanks to the first successful womb transplant, women who suffer from certain infertility problems now have another viable option to achieve pregnancy and birth.

The 36-year-old mother gave birth to a son who was delivered eight weeks premature due to pre-eclampsia. He was delivered by caesarian section. The baby was carried to term (almost) in a womb that was transplanted from a 61-year-old friend of the recipient. The mother suffers from Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuester-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, in which women are born without part or all of their womb or vagina.

The woman was part of a study conducted by professors at the University of Gothenburg who originally transplanted nine uteri into women from Sweden with MRKH syndrome or those who had previously undergone hysterectomies. Initially the study showed great promise with some women beginning to menstruate within 2-3 months. In other cases, the body either rejected the donated wombs or infection forced hysterectomy of the new uteri.

Even the mother who recently gave birth had a few setbacks when her body tried to reject the new womb three times. She was treated effectively with corticosteroid drug therapy. One year after the 10 hour surgery to transplant the uterus, an IVF embryo was inserted into the new womb.

Professor Matts Brännström, who spearheaded the research with his colleagues, spoke about the transplants in The Lancet saying, “Our success is based on more than 10 years of intensive animal research and surgical training by our team and opens up the possibility of treating many young females worldwide that suffer from uterine infertility.”

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29-Year-Old Brittany Maynard Pursues Right to Die in Light of Terminal Brain Cancer

By Brooke Randolph, LMHC

Brittany Maynard is facing a medical prognosis that no one wants to face — brain cancer. Specifically, glioblastoma multiforme, the most lethal form of brain cancer. The otherwise vibrant 29-year-old was given months to live and the likelihood of a difficult decline and “terrible, terrible way to die.” She is still traveling and spending time with loved ones, but she is also dedicating her time to advocate for those in similar situations who want to die with dignity. Brittany makes it clear that she is not suicidal, she wants to live, but facing this future, she is choosing to die with the help of physician prescribed medication. She wants more people to be able to make the same choice.

For Brittany to even have this choice, she had to move her entire family from California to Oregon, establish a new medical treatment team, and find a doctor willing to write the prescription. In California, and many states, this was not an option for her. In fact, it is only legal in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, and New Mexico currently. continue reading »

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Joan Lunden Reminds Breast Cancer Patients They Can Still Feel Empowered During Treatment

In the United States, October is hailed as Breast Cancer Awareness month . According to statistics from Breast Cancer.Org, it’s estimated that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and over 300,000 new cases have already been diagnosed in 2014 alone.

Joan Lunden people 350This week, ABC correspondent, Joan Lunden has been visiting the set of the Today Show for their #pinkpower series. Joan, who is fighting her own battle with breast cancer, also appeared on the cover of People magazine without her wig. Her message to other patients, “Be empowered. Be your own best advocate.”

The diagnosis of breast cancer affects people in different ways. Joan says she didn’t cry when she received the news because she immediately went into what she calls, warrior mode. “You have to take care of yourself and believe you’re going to be okay in the end,” she said. “It’s better for me to stay in the thought process that I will beat this no matter what.”

Many people talk about the fight against breast cancer, but for women who have already been diagnosed, the fight through it, becomes top priority. Though patients may feel a loss of control during their treatment, it’s important for them to focus on all the mental and physical things they can still do to maintain a sense of empowerment.

  • Be Involved – There are decisions that patients will need to make about surgery and other courses of treatment. Listen to the options, ask questions, consult with your support system and then meet with your treatment team.
  • Establish a Support System – Try to take at least one person with you during doctors visits. Have that person be in charge of writing down the information that was discussed, and remind you of any questions you wanted to ask.

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Ebola in the U.S.: 5 Ebola Facts to Know Before You Panic

ebola

The first case of Ebola has been found in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed on Tuesday. A man who took a commercial flight from Liberia to Dallas and landed on September 20 was officially diagnosed with the disease 10 days later.

The man was visiting relatives in the United States when he started to display symptoms. Because he did not show symptoms on the flight, and in fact passed an Ebola screening before boarding, no one else on the flight is at risk of contracting the disease.

Director of the disease centers, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said at a press conference there is “zero chance” that anyone on the flight was infected. continue reading »

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Hookah Smoking is Not a Safe Alternative to Cigarettes

HOOKAH SMOKING

Many teens and young adults have traded their cigarette habit for the hookah pipe because they believe it to be less addictive and harmful. On the contrary, studies show this new trend is just a more flavorful route to lung problems and heart disease.

With restaurants, bars, and even outdoor venues continuing to banish cigarette smokers further and further to the outskirts, the hookah pipe has emerged without stigma and remains a popular social trend. This prolonged exposure is just one of many concerns that experts have with hookah smoking. In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that during an hour long hookah session, a person could inhale as much smoke as a cigarette smoker would consume in 100 cigarettes.

A hookah is a water pipe that originated in the Middle East. Special tobacco often mixed with fruit (shisha) is heated, then it passes through water before a person inhales the smoke through a tube and mouthpiece. Flavors like chocolate, mint, cherry, watermelon and more are common additives. Inhaling cherry-flavored smoke may seem like harmless fun, but the primary ingredient is still toxic. Contrary to popular belief, the carcinogens in tobacco are not filtered out when they pass through the water of a hookah.

Trading One Toxin For Another

A study published in Nursing Research notes that the majority of adults who smoke hookah (18-30) think it’s safe. This false assumption may come from studies that show hookah smoking contains less nicotine than cigarettes. While that may true, for some blends, researchers at the University of California found that carbon monoxide levels were 2.5 times higher in participants who smoked hookah pipes than those who smoked cigarettes. In addition, researchers found increased levels of benzene, which could put hookah smokers at an increased risk for leukemia.

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Hyperemesis Gravidarum: The Extreme Illness Affecting Princess Kate and 60,000 Other Pregnant Women

hyperemesis gravidarum

Earlier this week, Britain’s Prince William reported that Princess Kate would be cancelling a much-anticipated trip to Malta (a group of seven islands in the Mediterranean sea) due to intense morning sickness. During her first pregnancy, Kate also experienced extreme nausea, and was eventually diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare condition that strikes pregnant women and can often be debilitating.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, 70-80 percent of pregnant women experience some type of morning/evening sickness but up to 60,000 cases are so severe they fit into the category of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). While some women finally see relief by week 20 (halfway through their pregnancy) others battle symptoms until their due date. The illness is believed to be caused by a rise in levels of the hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) though doctors still don’t know for sure. Unfortunately, there is no known preventative measure for HG.

Some experts believe the number of women suffering with HG could be higher than 60,000 because some women never go to the hospital, and are able to manage their symptoms at home. While some women experience what they consider to be extreme morning sickness, there are a few clear indicators of hyperemesis gravidarum.

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