How to Get the Most Healthcare

Healthcare in the United States is a contentious issue. It seems there isn’t one congressional session or federal/state election that goes by that there isn’t a discussion on healthcare. It is estimated that the American people dole out more than $3,000 for healthcare expenses every year. In total, the U.S. spends roughly 18 percent of its gross domestic product on healthcare costs.

Right now, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise commonly known as Obamacare, is headlining news across the country. Whether it’s the negative reports on Obamacare, the numerous website glitches or the White House promoting the healthcare reform law, the ACA is everywhere.

Despite whatever side of the issue you may be on, the fact is that more Americans have to take charge of their own healthcare needs, whether they have insurance or not. By performing due diligence, Americans can get the best bang for their buck and receive high-quality healthcare from their doctors, specialists and hospitals by being more involved.

Here are five important tips to get the most out of your healthcare:

The Right One
Although it has become difficult over the past few years to have one, selecting a primary care doctor is important to your healthcare needs. It is crucial because the doctor will know about your past, your current state of health and provide future care without having to seek the aid of other doctors.

If you don’t have a primary care physician then opt for a walk-in clinic for your medical care needs. If there is one in your vicinity select that one and go there for most of your healthcare needs.

Information
It’s best to never conceal anything from your doctor that might affect your health. Be honest, open and transparent about what you feel, how you feel about a recommended treatment and any family history of a certain disease or illness. By hiding significant information, it may hurt your overall health.

Insurance
Since Obamacare is composed of a series of mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges to expand coverage and affordability, it’s best to know what your health plan or insurance covers exactly. Relay this information to your doctor or his/her administrative assistants.

Records
In a box, storage container, cabinet or drawer, maintain an extensive health record, such as healthcare benefits, a list of appointments and bills or payment notices from healthcare providers or insurance companies. This way, you will have a lot of documentation in the event of an emergency or mistake.

Lifestyle
If you experience constant heartburn, chest pains, headaches or back spasms, consult your doctor about improving your overall lifestyle – aside from further medications. A medical professional can offer a list of changes to your lifestyle to improve your health, recommend health education classes and provide preventive care services.

You can also perform your own research into this matter by learning what you can do right now to adjust your lifestyle accordingly. The best options to take today would be to maintain a nutritious diet, get plenty of exercise, quit smoking and take charge of your healthcare.

Things to Know About Healthcare Marketing

Marketing in modern day has certainly changed. As technology becomes more and more advanced, marketers needs to move with the times in order to create successful results for their businesses and companies. This has never been truer than it is in regards to healthcare marketing to millennials. As the newest generation lives in a world that is far more technologically advanced than ever before, marketing agencies need to understand how it is that millennials take in information and choose to learn about healthcare. If you’re ready to begin marketing to the younger generation for the first time, keep these 5 helpful tips in mind, and you’ll successfully reach them.

You should know what they want

Answering a few key questions will help you understand how healthcare marketing to millennials can be a successful endeavor.

Where do they consume their information primarily?
What issues are they passionate about?
What are their main concerns about healthcare?
What are the biggest influences in how they choose healthcare?

Finding the answers to these questions will help you understand what outlets you should be using as a platform, which campaigns you need to run, and what information you need to convey to them in order to get them to take action.

They use social media, ratings, and word of mouth for information about healthcare and other important issues

It’s important to know when entering healthcare marketing that millennials use different sources to learn information about healthcare. They often turn to new forms of communication such as social media. Places like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are areas where they choose to find information. In addition to social media, they also use word of mouth to learn about important issues.

They consume information mainly online

In the age of smart phones and tablets, the younger generation is always connected online. This means that they find their information online more than any other outlet. This is especially true during commutes to and from work when most people are actively on their phones or tablets. Even news outlets are making the shift away from paper and actively moving to online platforms to meet the shift.

They’re concerned with healthcare cost

One of the top concerns the younger generation has when it comes to healthcare is the cost of it. Younger employees in the workforce are worried about the prices of healthcare and whether or not they can afford it. This concern is followed closely by quality of care. This is usually where they turn to online news outlets, review sources, social media, and word of mouth to find quality yet affordable healthcare.

They care about health and wellness

Instead of heading to the doctor only when sick, the younger generation cares deeply about health and wellness – both physical wellness and mental wellness. This is important for any marketing agency to know if they are targeting the younger generation and healthcare.

Four Tips for Protecting Your Healthcare

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Think your healthcare information is always confidential? Unfortunately, it ain’t necessarily so.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) introduced some important privacy protections for your personal and healthcare information, which, in HIPAA language, is called Protected Health Information, or PHI.

Among the HIPAA protections is a series of requirements that allow your healthcare providers to share your PHI — without — your authorization. They include all of the following circumstances:

— Uses and disclosures required by law

— Uses and disclosures for public health activities

— Disclosures about victims of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence

— Uses and disclosures for health oversight activities

— Disclosures for law enforcement purposes

— Uses and disclosures for coroners and medical examiners

— Uses and disclosures for cadaveric organ, eye, or tissue donation purposes

— Uses and disclosures for research involving minimal risk

— Uses and disclosures to avert a serious threat to health or safety

— Disclosures for Workers Compensation

Should your healthcare provider disclose your PHI for one of the above reasons, he or she is required to document, or “account” for the disclosure. You have the right to receive that accounting so that you will know to whom, if anyone, your healthcare provider has disclosed your PHI. You can exercise that right any time you want by simply asking your provider for an accounting of the disclosures of your PHI.

However, compliance with disclosure accounting is spotty, at best. Many healthcare staff and providers do not really know or understand how or why they can, or should, disclose your PHI. So, some of them do not account for such disclosures.

You may not necessarily know whether or not your PHI has been disclosed — your authorization is not required for these types of disclosures, and providers’ offices may not be compliant with the disclosure accounting rules.

More important, though, is the fact that once your provider does disclose your PHI, whether they account for the disclosure or not, whoever receives your PHI may or may not be required to comply with the HIPAA privacy rules.

For example, Sue Smith (named changed to protect the individual’s privacy) suffered a death in her family. Because of the circumstances, her family member’s PHI was provided to law enforcement. Fortunately, the healthcare provider followed the HIPAA privacy rules and accounted for the disclosures. But, her family member’s PHI was subsequently released to the press, including Social Security Number, date of birth, and diagnoses.

How the press got the information is a subject for the courts. The point is that the information was not protected once disclosed by the healthcare provider.

Your healthcare information may not be safe once disclosed by your provider, either.

What can you do to help ensure that you and your family’s protected healthcare information really is protected and remains confidential?

First: should you or your family member ever be involved in any circumstance, mentioned above, in which your healthcare provider discloses your PHI, exercise your right for an accounting of the disclosure by your healthcare provider.

Next, if no accounting is provided to you in writing within 30 days, file a complaint with your healthcare provider’s HIPAA Privacy Officer (all healthcare providers are required to have one), and if necessary, file a complaint directly with Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights.

Then, make certain that you follow the chain of custody: who got the information, and what they did with it. Make sure that all of your requests for this information are in writing, and follow-up with phone calls.

Finally, always keep a log of your requests; you may need it.

The HIPAA privacy rules were designed to keep your protected health information confidential while it is in the custody of your healthcare provider. Once it is disclosed to other organizations that are not engaged in healthcare, it is no longer protected by HIPAA. It is up to you to keep track of your PHI, and make sure it is kept as protected and confidential as possible.

Healthcare Resumes

Applying for a job in healthcare is a little different from typical corporate job. One of the reasons for this is that healthcare has its own unique culture and ethos. Therefore, if applying for a position in the industry, you need to take this into account when preparing your resume and cover letter.

Here are some tips for creating a winning resume:

1. Having a good clear Career Objective is particularly important in the healthcare field. You should aim to demonstrate your knowledge of the healthcare industry and that you have a particular career path in mind. You must aim to show that you are qualified for the position that you are seeking – even if you are new to healthcare – for example by pointing to your education and, as applicable, any practical work or previous experience.

2. Certifications and licenses are crucial in the health field. Be sure to list all that you have, including any continuing education courses that you have, and any government regulations which you are compliant with. As far as licenses are concerned you should list any city, state or federal licenses that you have, including their valid dates.

3. Technical skills are also very important in the health field. This of course includes not only things that are directly related to patient care, but also supporting technologies, including computers and software. Don’t be shying about listing all your technical qualifications and skills, including computer skills.

4. You should also mention any training that you have done, or any courses that you have taken. As with technical skills, you need limit it those that are directly related to patient care. For example, if you have done any training in management, ethics, communication, etc., you should list it on your resume.

5. Where possible you should try to quantify your previous experience. For example, you could mention the number of patients or clients that you took care of at previous job, or if you were in a senior position, the number of people in your team, etc.

6. There is a lot of terminology and jargon that is specific to the health care industry. Where necessary you should use the propre medical terms, rather than trying to substitute common phrases which don’t really fit. That said, you don’t want to use jargon excessively or unnecessarily – it is quite likely that your first contact will be a recruiter, who though perhaps broadly familiar with industry terminology, doesn’t have a detailed knowledge of every last medical term.

The Perfect Storm in the Looming Healthcare

Just as our country has endured an unprecedented economic crisis in the past 24 months, the United States will soon be in an unprecedented healthcare HUMAN CAPITAL crisis that will catch many off guard, just as the economic crisis of 2008 did for so many. There are several factors for this with Healthcare reform setting the stage for the “perfect storm” as the first of the “baby boomers” turns 65 in 2011. Just as government run Fannie and Freddie Mac helped fuel the economic crisis of 2008 – the current environment is ripe for a healthcare human capital crisis. It is no question that reform in healthcare is needed. What type of reform is the ultimate question. In their book, Redefining Health Care, the authors point out the following; “Health care is on a collision course with patient needs and economic reality. In today’s dysfunctional health care competition, players strive not to create value for patients but to capture more revenue, shift costs, and restrict services. To reform health care, we must reform the nature of competition itself.”

The Institute of Medicine in their 2008 report Retooling for an Aging America clearly leads the way when it comes to understanding the significant impact of the aging population which has not been seen before in our history. Here are the facts from the IOM report 2008.

1. Between now and 2030 the number of adults aged 65 or over will double. This dramatic shift will place unseen and accelerating demands on the US healthcare system. The sheer number of older patients will overwhelm the number of physicians and other healthcare professionals unless something is done.
2. Beginning in 2011 – the 1st wave of the baby boom generation will begin to turn 65 – the 78 million baby boomers will tip the population scale growing from 12 to 20% by 2030.
3. Older Americans will consume much more healthcare and this is not built into the $900 billion Healthcare reform estimate. The current 12% of older Americans currently accounts for 26% of all physician visits – by growing to 20% – older Americans will account for more than 50% of healthcare utilization just as these reforms start to take affect.

The recommendations laid out by the IOM report are essential in healthcare reform – but have not been addressed in the current healthcare model. Other demographic factors are at play, such as, the aging healthcare workforce. Leaders in healthcare human capital retention understand that we are in the “eye of the storm” with a false sense of security with the impending wave of baby boomers, the backlog of new grads, and the eventual retirement of veteran nurses. This is especially true in the competition for quality licensed healthcare professionals who drive the revenue and deliver the highest quality in patient care. The reality is that the demand for healthcare is going up and the supply of available licensed professionals is going down. This demand cycle will be good for professionals who will see significant growth in salaries and perks, but it will be a challenge for healthcare organizations wanting to attract and retain their people with the aging population and workforce – added with the new demands of Healthcare reform.

Tips on Healthcare

Getting healthcare consulting for the IT department can prove to be beneficial, as it will assist to improve efficiency, productivity, monetary efficiency, patient and clinical satisfaction, and quality. Some issues which are typically provided by a healthcare consultation services contain strategies to improve revenue, cut back on expenses, accomplish regulatory compliance, enhance company and clinical processes, and optimize the safety of patients.

These sorts of consulting services can be especially useful for IT departments that may be searching into alternatives for new wellness details systems, assessing the readiness of the infrastructure for wellness records, or implementing a lot more advanced clinical applications. So if you are in charge of a healthcare organization which is going to be making modifications and you want it to go smoothly, contemplate it.

Those which are in charge of running healthcare organizations comprehend how hard it could be to implement alterations within the data technology department. Since so much relies on the electronic infrastructure operating smoothly, it is not genuinely an option to have down time. These kinds of challenges can be met and overcome with appropriate Healthcare Consulting.

Getting consulting for the IT staff will give them the training and info they have to deal with any compliance implementations that your organization is faced with. They’ll also discover ways to enhance the system, permitting them to boost revenue and lower high-priced. They’ll be able to assist streamline clinical processes and even enhance the general safety and well being of patients.

Have you ever regarded as whether or not or not your organization could benefit from Healthcare Consulting? Even though you might have a especially talented information technology staff, it may be hard to remain on top of compliance laws and regulations although managing to streamline enterprise and boost revenue. Nonetheless, a consultation can help with those things.

Healthcare organizations that invest in consultations for their IT staff make a wise investment. They’ll probably recognize gains in revenue while simultaneously studying how to cut expenses. Surprisingly, with the correct details this is achievable while increasing the safety of patients. Consider investing in consultation services for the staff today.

Anybody inside the healthcare industry is conscious of how tough it could be to generally stay compliant while still generating revenue and keeping the safety and satisfaction of patients. Naturally, there are likely methods that every single organization could improve in, but finding those weak points is difficult, especially when they are in the information technology sector.

Even so, it’s achievable and suggested that organizations invest in Healthcare Consulting, which helps IT staffs to simply remain compliant although advancing care via the adoption of EMR/EHR. Quite a few organizations that have been looking into selections for various healthcare info systems have discovered these sorts of consultation services to be specifically helpful. Since the services will also aid the IT staff to increase revenue, it really is a great return on investment.

Tips a Fortune 500 Company Used to Cut Healthcare

A fortune 500 client (who will remain anonymous) is a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality foods and simple meals including soup, baked snacks, and healthy beverages. This company employs over 8000 workers and provides employee benefits. This company, like many other employers was struggling with healthcare costs and related medical quality issues linked to employee lifestyle. Many employees have recently been diagnosed with high cholesterol and blood pressure. Many of these diagnoses have been linked to obesity.

Business Challenges
The challenge this company is facing is that three percent of the employee population drove over 50% of healthcare costs. A key strategic decision was made to actively involve consumers through their medical decision making process.

A Strategic Approach
The challenge of informing employees about their medical decision making has now been outlined. A strategic approach is to be initiated to reach these goals. The following tips outline was used in consideration when approaching the goal.

• Employees must trust the source in order to be successful.
• Target the top 21 expensive and complicated conditions, mostly heart disease related.
• Employees must have access to medical products and research information specific to their diagnosis.
• Phone and internet service that provides comprehensive decision support.

* These tips were formulated for this company however they can be used for all companies looking to save money in health care costs.

Health Care Saving Conclusion
After initiating these tips for a successful strategic approach, this fortune 500 client was able to achieve a $3:1 ROI in healthcare costs saving. This fortune 500 company also saw that 88% of its employees became more involved in decision making, 76% improved communication with doctors, 85% improved peace of mind as a result of the new information gathered. Finally and most importantly, 93% of employees indicated that requesting this information saved them time in researching their illness.

Tips to Successfully Engage Patients in Their Own Care

You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. I am sure that many of you are familiar with this old saying, but how can it apply to healthcare. Perhaps you can guess; maybe not. I am thinking about getting patients to follow our directions for care, whether it is for an acute incident, chronic care or some other area of care. As the saying indicates, it can be very difficult to get some patients to follow directions.

Getting patients more involved in their own care is becoming more important in healthcare today. It has always been necessary, but now and in the foreseeable future patient involvement will become more important as physicians and healthcare organizations financial success will depend more on patient involvement. For instance, the patient-centered medical home involves the patient at many levels and Medicare and private payers will be rewarding primary care physicians and organizations for the level of involvement of clients in their own care.

In the Institute of Medicine’s Crossing the Quality Chasm several of the ten recommendations for modern healthcare call for more patient input. For instance, under customization based on patient needs and values, the IOM recommends that the system of care should meet the most common types of needs, but have the capability to respond to individual patient choices and preferences. Under patient as the source of control, it recommends that patients should be given the necessary information and the opportunity to exercise the degree of control they choose over health care decisions that affect them.

The patient-centered medical home, a new concept in primary care growing out of the IOM’s recommendations, further details the level of involvement of patients, especially in the area of chronic care. In its guide for becoming a NCQA accredited patient-centered medical home the NCQA makes these recommendations:

• Writing individualized care plans

• Writing individualized treatment goals

• Reviewing self-monitoring results and incorporating them into the medical record at each visit

Obviously, the patient has a major role in his/her own care in this model.

If you accept that a patient must become more involved in her own care, then you probably also realize that the involvement of the patient becomes more complex as the patient’s disease becomes more complex. For instance, the involvement of a patient with a simple broken finger isn’t very complex. A few simple instructions will suffice. The involvement of a patient who is pregnant is much more complex. Not only is the physician directly involved, but there are also classes that the patient needs to attend so that she can better care for herself and the fetus. Yet, this prenatal care has a definite beginning and ending, a successful one, we hope. The involvement of a patient with a chronic disease is much deeper and more complex. In fact, because patients with chronic diseases often need to make significant life style changes, the planning of care and execution of the plan require a delicate orchestration of activities, including a major part for the patient himself.

Now that I have made my point that patients need to be more involved in their own care in order to insure positive health outcomes and also to help physicians to meet performance goals, I must ask again, “How do you get the horse to drink?” The answer can be complex.

Perhaps we can borrow from examples of other businesses or services that are successful with their customers or clients. I don’t think that a business which provides a physical product would be of much use, as there is not a lot of direct communication between the business and customer usually. For instance, I don’t go on at length with a salesperson from J.C. Penny about a shirt that I buy. Too, a model based upon purchase of a service usually doesn’t require a lot of interaction between business and client. I certainly don’t need a lot of instruction from the person who cuts my lawn. The best model that I can think of is that of teacher and student. In both healthcare and schooling there is a lot of trust between those with the knowledge-teacher or healthcare provider-and the recipient of the application of the knowledge-student or patient. Too, the student and patient should be very involved. The best students and patients follow the directions of teacher and doctor closely. Of course, there are those who aren’t as successful. For these, the outcomes are not always so good.

If you accept that the teacher-student model is a good one to use for techniques in involving patients, what are some of the things that good teachers do? Having been a teacher myself, I think that I can confidently comment on this. First, be clear what you expect of the patient-that she follow your directions explicitly if she is to expect positive outcomes. You as the healthcare provider should set your expectations high and let the patient know that. Of course this means that you deeply care what happens to the patient. It has been shown in many studies that patients respond better to physicians who demonstrate that they care what happens to them.

Be sure that the patient understands your directions and is able to carry them out. That is, you should assess the patients understanding and capabilities. Teachers do this all the time. Assessment by the teacher is not only to find out what the student knows but also how well the teacher has taught the lesson. I suggest that after a patient is given directions for self-care, that you ask the patient to explain to you the directions. For instance, if you are providing a pregnant woman directions for her diet, you might ask her what meals she would plan for her next week to see if they fit the guidelines.

For patients who have a complex diagnosis, such as a chronic condition, the healthcare provider and patient and, perhaps, family members, should design a care program that fits the needs of the patient, provider and family. For instance, if the patient needs physical therapy, the plan should include how often the patient should go to the physical therapy site, how the patient gets to the site, how progress is reported to the primary care physician and the capacity of the patient to pay for the services. There may be other factors in this plan; it depends upon those involved in the process.

I believe that it makes good sense for patients to be very involved in their own care. A variety of payers will be rewarding providers for more involvement of patients and health outcomes will generally be better. A recent article in the Grand Rapids, Michigan newspaper illustrated just these improved outcomes for a diabetic whose care was provided by a physician whose office used the patient-centered model. Adapting the NCQA’s guidelines for the patient-centered medical home for your healthcare site and borrowing from the principles of good teaching will help you reach your goals for being more patient-centered.

Tips to Get Great Healthcare

Along with the high cost of healthcare today, there are many people who are not able to afford the health insurance and they should try to navigate healthcare system on their own. Actually, there are so many different alternatives that can help you to afford the healthcare that you need which includes the community resources or the other programs for helping you to subsidize your healthcare. However, there are also several ways to save your healthcare costs without having to sign up for the pricey insurance plan. At this time, this article is going to give you several tips that will guide you to get great healthcare without insurance. Just take a look.

Firstly, you should find local healthcare centers or walk-in clinics. If you have something like a cold or if you need a prescription refill, these can be great alternative to go to a hospital emergency room or private doctor’s office since these are commonly less expensive and also can meet these types of needs.

Secondly, you need to consider about the different types of the alternative therapies. Some of the things like chiropractic therapy, massage, and acupuncture, can safely help you to alleviate back pain and the other stress related illnesses.

Thirdly, you can try the different types of healthcare providers like nurse practitioners. The studies indicate that the nurse practitioners are usually lower in cost, do as good a job and spend more time with the patients when diagnosing any problems than the full-fledged doctor would.

Fourthly, you should make a research about the new trend of the medical tourism. This is certainly an option to the high priced medical care for the things like cosmetic surgery for the fraction of the cost. In addition, many of these facilities are similar to the spas that offering recuperative therapies as well.

Fifthly, you can try to volunteer to be a patient for the medical schools. It is required to have a patience to wait for the appointments and the time for sitting while your care is discussed with the whole barrage of students. So, this type of medical care is considered to be high quality healthcare and low or no cost.

Lastly, you need to apply for the prescription medication coverage through the programs or by making a contact with individual pharmaceutical companies which make the medications that you take. Many of these can give you low cost medications or in some cases will provide you with free medications if you qualify.

The Most Out Of Your Healthcare Career

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When you have a career in the healthcare field, there are always going to be opportunities for you to advance and to make changes in your career. In some cases, it is going to be a matter of you moving up in your position while maintaining the same basic career choice. In other cases, however, there may be other choices that are appealing to you and you may be able to move into those positions if you have the right education. Here are some tips that can help you to make the most out of your health career that you should consider before making your choice and, even after making your choice.

Perhaps the most important thing for you to consider in the healthcare tips field is the fact that you need to love your job. Although this may seem rather obvious, there are many people that seem to be stuck in jobs that they hate and that can really be a miserable position. To be certain, there are always going to be opportunities that are available for you to advance or to make changes if you are good at what you do. Loving your job will make it easier for you to excel in your career and it certainly can make you a happier person, overall.

If you find that you’re not happy in your current position, it may be necessary for you to choose another career within the healthcare industry. Choosing one of the surgical technician programs or radiology schools that may be offered in your area can have obvious benefits in this regard. You do need to give some consideration as to the type of career that you want for the rest of your life before choosing one of these programs. By making the right choice now, it will help you to be happy with your choice for the long term.

Many people are surprised with how important networking is within the healthcare industry. You can network with individuals that you interact with on a daily basis and you can even use social media and other Internet outlets to further your networking reach. You might be surprised with the opportunities that are open to you when you are able to network in such a way. It can give you those opportunities but it can also make a difference in your current assignment. Of course, you would want to choose the networking that you do very carefully so that you get the most out of the overall experience.

As a final tip that can help you with your healthcare career, it would be to evaluate what you are doing on a regular basis and to make any changes that are necessary. It is important for you to do this, not only to stay where you want to be but also because of changes that may be taking place within the healthcare industry itself. You would want to ensure that you are keeping up with the latest and giving yourself the best opportunity to continue in this field.