Artificial Care: Is It Safe?

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The world is becoming enamored with the idea that AI may be able to solve many complicated problems. AI is indeed a game-changer when it comes to many things. However, the prospect of artificial care might not be as safe as some would hope. AI is being used in many healthcare circles, but it might not be ready to safely handle the healthcare needs of the masses. 

The Problems with AI

There are various problems with AI that could be dangerous for patients. AI is often used to predict things or come up with the best diagnosis or treatment path based on the analysis of certain data points. The problem is that the AI might not always be reliable. For example, there are instances where AI focused too much on unrelated data points while ignoring crucial pieces of data related to a specific disease. 

Modern-day AI tools might not be accurate enough to help diagnose patients safely. If an AI wrongly predicts something, a patient will be needlessly put at risk. Blindly trusting that AI will make the right decision seems like an irresponsible choice. Most people would not likely be comfortable placing their lives in the hands of a potentially unreliable algorithm. 

Real Doctors Are Needed

AI will not be replacing real doctors anytime soon. It’s true that AI could be very useful when it comes to performing medical research. There might be a day when AI will be able to help diagnose patients, too. However, it’s important to have highly-trained doctors to ensure that patients receive the best care possible. 

Life is too precious to risk by hoping that AI will make accurate predictions. Patients will be much safer when real doctors are working to give them the best treatments. Medical technologies will continue to improve and AI will be part of the conversation. Some people simply put too much stock in AI and its ability to solve the problems of the world. 

Moving forward, it’ll be good to think of AI as a helpful tool and not a deciding factor. It can be a piece of the puzzle that will give doctors information that they might not have had otherwise. If it is used in a support role, it will be much safer for patients. 

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Decoding Immunity

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The human immune system is so complex that it is hard to understand all aspects of it. Scientists and researchers have been working for years to decode the human immune system and they have made significant progress. Even so, it isn’t possible for humans to decode the immune system without the right tools. The immune system is a billion times larger than the human genome, and decoding it will require a sophisticated tool such as artificial intelligence. 

Moving forward, artificial intelligence is going to be important for understanding what the human immune system can do. AI technology has improved so much over the last decade that humanity is finally at a point where decoding the immune system might be possible. AI can be used to explore vast amounts of data while compiling important pieces of information. This could lead to a greater understanding of human immunity and it could also provide medical breakthroughs. 

Research Using AI

Research has typically been done using multiple patients and collecting many data samples. This doesn’t have to be the case now that researchers can make use of AI. One patient or subject can be used to provide millions of data points for researchers to use. AI will be able to analyze these data sets to help researchers understand the human immune system at the molecular level. 

These studies are giving researchers so much data that they can learn many interesting things. AI will be useful for providing new insights into the human immune system that wouldn’t have been possible to obtain a decade ago. Scientists can gain knowledge on topics where there were gaps in human understanding before. This could lead to the creation of new medicines and vaccines sooner rather than later. 

The Future

Looking to the future, it’s easy to see that researchers are optimistic about what can be learned with the help of AI. Decoding the human immune system should help scientists cure many diseases and improve immunotherapy options for cancer. This cutting-edge research is very exciting and it will be intriguing to see the results in a few years. It might take time to make significant discoveries, as scientists are just now starting to use AI in this way, but eventually, it should help scientists develop new ways to fight diseases fast. 

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Solving the Cancer Crisis

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Cancer is one of the biggest problems facing the world today. People want to be able to discover new methods for treating cancer so people can live longer and healthier lives. One of the most promising approaches to cancer treatment involves using people’s own immune systems to help battle the disease. Read on to learn more about this intriguing topic. 

How This Cancer Treatment Works

This cancer treatment works by targeting specific cells within your body. You see, when someone has a cancerous tumor, there are specific T-cells inside that tumor that appear to be immune to the cancer. Scientists have been using methods to teach white blood cells to fight the cancer. This empowers your own immune system to fight off cancer and it can potentially turn things around.

The only issue with this is that only 20% of patients seem to respond well to the treatments. Recently, doctors have discovered that B-cells might play a bigger role in this cancer treatment than they first thought. Those who have had B-cells appear seem to respond better to this immune-boosting treatment and this gives researchers new avenues to explore. It’s possible that they might be able to crack the code and figure out how to get human bodies to reliably fight cancer. 

Looking to the Future

Cancer research like this is very promising and scientists will continue to research these methods. Using what the body has to fight cancer seems like it might be the best route to go. The human immune system is very complex and powerful. If it can be boosted and given the ability to fight cancer, l the average lifespan of humans will more than likely increase in the coming decades. 

Research into a complicated topic like this takes time, but there is hope for people who are looking for solutions. Hopefully, the next several years will shed more light on this topic. Cancer research is an important area of focus for many of the world’s greatest minds. This could be the method that will finally solve the cancer crisis. 

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Providing Compassionate Care

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It’s important for healthcare workers to be able to provide the best care possible to their patients. Compassionate care is the ideal, and many healthcare facilities need to think about training their workers to do a better job of this. Patients often consider how empathetic and compassionate doctors are when they’re evaluating the quality of the care they receive. If a doctor doesn’t do a good job with this, then their ratings are going to be understandably low. 

Doctors spend a lot of time learning how to treat patients, but many don’t spend as much time learning how to provide compassionate care. Good doctors might struggle with issues like this, and it can put them in a tough position. It is important to emphasize compassionate care so the industry starts to rethink the way people are trained to care for patients. Compassionate care needs to be put at the forefront instead of being viewed as an afterthought. 

The Benefits of Compassionate Care 

The benefits of compassionate care are very clear when you look at the statistics. Doctors who provide the most empathetic and compassionate care will have much better relationships with their patients. Patients will keep appointments more often and they will better adhere to the treatments that are being suggested by the doctors too. This can lead to better results and patients will get better over time. 

Empathy can go a long way toward fixing problems that might occur, too. For example, a medical error or a scheduling issue could provoke a negative response from a patient. However, if the doctor is nice and provides compassionate care regularly, patients will be more willing to forgive slip-ups. The patients who have a good relationship with their doctor will be much more amicable than those who have very cold and procedural relationships with their doctor. 

Developing Social Skills

This is really all about developing social skills, and doctors need to work on being better at relating to people. If a doctor can speak to others properly and understand where they’re coming from, it’ll be easier to build rapport. Small talk and genuine compassion really matter in the healthcare industry. If you want to provide the best care to your patients, learning to be a better conversationalist and learning to listen to patients is a smart move. 

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Cultural Competency

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Many schools are starting to offer programs that allow students to travel abroad. These programs give students the ability to live in other countries for certain periods of time while studying. It can provide students with a unique perspective on the world that will change them. Cultural competency is becoming more important than ever in this ever-shrinking world, and cultural exchanges could be an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to empowering the next generation. 

The World Is Changing

The world is changing substantially and it’s getting harder to look at things from the perspective of just one nation. The youngest generations are facing real global problems that concern the entirety of humanity. It’s important for the world to be able to come together, and for this to happen, people need to be able to understand other cultures. The world is shrinking because countries are connected now in ways that people didn’t think possible mere decades ago. 

Solving problems such as climate change will involve the people of the world working together. Students who have cultural exchange experience will be well-suited to work with people from other countries. They will have perspectives that are different from the typical American one. It gives them a chance to relate to others in different ways while thinking about the world differently. 

Cultural Competency Is Valuable in the Business World

It’s also important to note that cultural competency is valuable in the business world as well. As the economies of the world continue to become more and more linked, companies are starting to work on global strategies. It’s imperative for companies to find individuals who can work with people of other nations. This means that people who speak different languages and those who understand the customs of other countries will be especially valuable. 

These cultural exchange programs might be more valuable than many people realize. They can provide students with the power to overcome the challenges the world is facing while also giving them the tools to succeed in the business world. As more companies expand business relationships with countries such as China, it makes sense that having cultural knowledge of these lands would raise someone’s stock within an organization.

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Medical Devices for Appearance Vs. Health and the Impact on Your Wallet

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When it comes to medical devices, articles that impact the function or structure of the human body, how much the patient pays depends on who is paying the bill. If the implementation of such a device is considered medically warranted and is covered in part or in full by the patient’s health insurance, it will cost one price. If the implementation of the device is the patient’s choice, for cosmetic reasons and not covered by the patient’s health insurance in such a case, the same item may cost substantially less.

Breast augmentation provides a good example. A woman receiving a breast implant following a mastectomy, with proper health insurance, will have the entire procedure including implant covered by her plan. On her bill, it wouldn’t be unusual to see the breast implant billed at up to $3,500. A young woman with uneven breasts seeking an implant to give herself uniformity will pay on average, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, $3,718 for the implant and the procedure including the surgeon’s fee. That would suggest she paid much less for the implant than the patient in the first example.

Another example of medical device price discrepancy are knee and hip implants. A 2017 JAMA study showed that insurance companies were billed double the amount paid to the manufacturers for the implants by the hospital.

Why the price discrepancy?

Not all hospitals are non-profit and in those cases, it’s a business. But that business can have grave consequences for some.

One study in 2015 by Health Affairs stated “Collectively, this system [of giving hospitals free rein to mark up their costs] has the effect of charging the highest prices to the most vulnerable patients and those with the least market power.”

The vulnerable they reference would be those who don’t have medical insurance or don’t have enough insurance. If they should become ill, they are responsible for paying whatever the hospital wishes to charge, even if it sends them to bankruptcy court when they can’t pay.

The Health Affairs study found many of the hospitals with high-markups to be in the south. Of the top 50 such hospitals, 20 are located in Florida which offers a friendly environment for for-profit hospitals.

For patients without proper insurance, one course of action would be to determine which hospitals local to them are non-profit and which are for-profit. The for-profit hospitals tend to have higher markups. As long as the ACA exists, it requires non-profit hospitals to give discounts to uninsured patients that meet eligibility requirements.

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Millennials Are the Driving Force Behind the Rise in Urgent Care Facilities

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Convenience is key for millennials seeking health care. Like every other product or service they consume, millennials look for speed of delivery, ease of access, and simplicity of service. While doctors’ offices are making use of technology to improve the customer experience, urgent care centers are the clear winners when it comes to finding cheaper, faster, and easier to obtain health care services.

Urgent Care Industry: $18 Billion and Growing

Here are some statistics about the urgent care industry that may be surprising. According to Medical Economics,

• In 2015, there were 6,946 urgent care clinics in the U.S. By mid-2018, that number grew to 8,258.
• Industry experts expect that number to grow by 5% to 6% by year end.
• Each year, 89 million people receive care at urgent care clinics.
• 29% of all primary care visits are at an urgent care facility.
• 15% of all outpatient care is handled in an urgent care clinic.

What do millennials want most from their healthcare providers and medical facilities?

When it comes to obtaining health care, millennials value convenient healthcare more than anything else.

Today’s patients are consumers, and that goes for non-millennial patients as well. They don’t want to wait weeks or even months to see a doctor for a simple evaluation, treatment, or prescription. Urgent care clinics provide conveniences that some traditional doctor’s offices still lack. These include same day or walk-in appointments, easily accessible, ground floor offices in retail locations, and on-site diagnostic equipment.

What are the real benefits of choosing an urgent care clinic?

1. Reduced costs. The average cost of an emergency room visit can exceed $2,000. For those with no insurance, or must pay a deductible or copay, this can be cost prohibitive. Urgent care visits, by contrast, can cost less than $200 depending on the services needed.
2. Less waiting time. People spend several hours in an emergency department to be evaluated for pain, flu, and other conditions or to be treated for simple fractures and wounds. Much of that time is spent waiting for diagnostic imaging and interpretation by a radiologist. Urgent care centers reduce that time and can provide diagnosis and treatment almost immediately.
3. Easier to access. Urgent care clinics are found in many residential and retail areas that are more accessible than hospital campuses. Parking is often available at the door at no cost in a retail area parking lot.

Consumers of Medical Care Have More Choice

There will always be a need for emergency rooms, hospital campuses, and traditional doctors’ offices. Trauma centers and surgical units are still the best place for major medical issues like cardiovascular emergencies. But for minor emergencies and everyday care such as wellness visits, work and sports physicals, evaluations and prescriptions, urgent care facilities provide people with a quick and inexpensive alternative for medical treatment.

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Precision Medicine Advancements

Precision Medicine

Sema4 is a patient-centered health company that has begun looking at a new paradigm for healthcare. By using data from medical records, researchers can look at the underlying causes of disease, and develop accurate diagnostics identifying for identifying and preventing them as well giving individualized treatment for patients. Sema4 states that the current healthcare system for large hospitals and physician networks cannot provide this type of patient treatment yet. But, over the last few years Mount Sinai Health System in New York, has founded several groups that are advancing this field of precision medicine. The Institute for Next Generation Healthcare, Lab100 and Sema4 are among the groups started by Mount Sinai to research in this new field of medicine. By accessing new capabilities in gene sequencing, bioinformatics, pharmacogenetics, and RNA analysis, researchers at Mount Sinai are working with different groups and departments to bring healthcare into the future.

Bringing together scientists, data engineers, and clinicians, Sema4 is working to refine precision medicine. In 2015, researchers there carried out the first study to sequence the human diploid genome using sequencing technologies. They also developed one of the first holistic molecular models for Alzheimer’s disease, demonstrating the interactions of genes and environmental factors and giving insight into possible gene therapies for the disease. In August 2018, a different group at Sema4 developed two new reproductive testes using the Sema4 Health Intelligence Platform ( SHIP). These noninvasive prenatal tests can screen for genetic disorders that can cause developmental delays, like Prader-Willi and Angelman syndromes, and detecting rates for such genes as CYP21A2( which causes adrenal disorders) and GBA ( mutations which cause liver disorders, bone pain, and anemia).

Doctors and researchers know that an inter-disciplinary approach is what will be needed across the seven Mount Sinai hospitals and the Icahn School of Medicine. Creating such things as DAPHNE, a software program that can decipher the RNA of multiple myeloma cancer cells, and developing machine learning algorithms that analyze large-scale molecular datasets, these groups are heading for the new frontier of healthcare. It is a future that will depend on accessing genetic and personalized information. With this information on a patient’s genes, environmental factors and medical history, generational healthcare can be developed for a patient and their children, and their future family.

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The Dangers of Physician Burnout

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Physicians oftentimes face burnout in their jobs. Whether they are working longer hours than they need to they have to constantly deal with difficult patients, their overall well-being can become worn down. What’s worse is that doctors who experience burnout and continue working are a liability to patients and themselves. Let’s take a look at physician burnout and how it is affecting the medical industry as a whole.

What Causes Burnout?

Though we gave some examples of burnout causes above, there is actually a more prevalent reason that causes burnout. More than half of physicians stated that bureaucratic tasks are the leading cause of their burnout. Medical boards and administration can lead them to feel overwhelmed and less appreciated in their jobs. However, a close second would be overworking themselves. Doctors oftentimes work in 12-hour shifts for many consecutive days in a row. They oftentimes do not get a chance to take a break and unwind from these stresses. These constant ailments can lead to them experiencing fatigue, mental fog, and other medical problems.

Balance is the Key

To ensure that they do not experience burnout, some physicians are taking a stand to prevent this condition from happening. Many doctors are beginning to say no whenever they are offered more shifts at their medical center. Doctors by nature allow themselves to pile up their workload without thinking about it. Their time in residency is an example of this as there is little time for mistakes. However, once they have begun working in the medical field they forget they have a choice to take breaks. Stepping away from everything for short amounts of time can help keep doctors fresh. It will reduce the possibility of burnout and allow them to come back to work reinvigorated.

Physician Burnout is a Real Problem

The medical industry is booming now more than ever. There are a record amount of sick patients who receive treatment every day. The demand for doctors to help take care of these patients is astounding. Many doctors cannot resist the call of duty to help others. However, they must learn that they have to take care of themselves at the end of the day. Failure to do so will hinder their ability to ultimately provide medical care for those who need it the most.

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How to Network if You are a Nurse

Networking

 

Being certified as a nurse simply isn’t enough when it comes to landing the job that you have always wanted. Networking is a skill that you need to develop over time. It will allow you to branch out and find other like-minded medical professionals. However, many nurses simply do not like to network. It can seem intimidating and awkward if you don’t know what you’re doing. Fortunately, we have a guide for you that will help boost your networking skill to help you find your dream medical job.

Social Media

The importance of keeping a good reputation on social media is imperative. Facebook alone can provide plenty of networking opportunities if you know where to find them. Even utilizing twitter can be a great way to get seen. Using the right hashtags will give you an edge in being found in the online sea of competing nurses. It really is about who you know at the end of the day.

Become an Influencer

This is a step that many nurses do not consider. Becoming an influencer in your field will give you credibility to your name. There are various YouTube channels and blogs that are dedicated to nursing and all of their owners are reputable. Creating your own source of content creation in nursing is a great way to get seen and potentially hired by elite medical teams.

Volunteering

One of the best ways to be seen in a positive light and meet new people is volunteering. There are many volunteer events that could use the help from a qualified nurse. You’re more than likely to meet other nurses as well. Word travels fast about job-openings in hospitals. Making the right connection at an unexpected place could be the thing you need to amp up your career.

Networking Events

Many people will oftentimes avoid this option. However, it is an incredibly important one since an impression made in person is better than one online. Going to networking events and mixers will allow you to meet industry professionals and make solid connections. These events are oftentimes business-casual in theme and will empower you to put your best foot forward. Don’t worry too much if you’re awkward! Take a chance and shake the hand of a person that can potentially enhance your nursing career!

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