In the very near future, Electronic Medical Records will bring patient data to the cloud. New provisions inspired by the Health information Technology Act will make sweeping adjustments to how hospitals handle data, and what information is available to doctors and patients.

Anytime there is a user base that grows large enough to get some notoriety, that database is at risk of data breaches. Hackers target these large databases looking for information about a person that can be sold, like user credentials to a bank account or a user’s credit score and other identifying information. Patient privacy is a huge concern going into the healthcare debate, and as records transition to digital, this expectation of privacy will only grow. Though the usage of EMRs is expected to impact the quality of health care over the coming years, new practices in security will be required to keep the machine running in peak form.

What is EMR?

Health records are currently recorded by hand, and usually in some rudimentary digital form. A hospital or a doctor’s office might maintain a patient spreadsheet with history of treatment, or a word doc with summaries of each visit. This data is digital, but not freely available to the healthcare community. EMR programs are designed with hospital staff in mind. The programs help staff identify and tag patient ailments through codes, helping to minimize keystrokes and cut down on human error when entering new information.

Under new changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act, all of that patient data will move to cloud storage. IT staff will help build a network large enough to support this data exchange, and staff is being trained on its usage. There are several advantages to both patients and doctors with this new system:

·  Doctors can see a patient’s history quickly, without bothering other practices.

·  Patients enjoy better services, including faster prescriptions and more access to health data.

Poor Antivirus Software

Like any terminal, this system is vulnerable to viral infections. Careless browsing habits, malicious downloads and hardware factors all pose a risk to patient data. Viral security that relies on heuristics can help secure a system. Heuristics identify suspicious files as they are encountered, checking the files on a user’s machine against a database of viral definitions. Once a match is found, the virus is dealt with according to the methods of disposal.

A comprehensive anti-viral suite like Trend Micro Internet security works by establishing a baseline for performance. When anomalies cause that threshold to go below the baseline, the software kicks into action and reviews the most recently downloaded files. The ability to detect and protect against viral infections is extremely important, as one malicious download can have legal consequences for a hospital.

Infected Devices from Outside

STUXNET was a viral infection that was shown to destabilize Iran’s nuclear reactors, causing irreparable harm to Iran’s nuclear program. The method of transfer involved a clever usage of hardware. By infecting an employee’s home computer, the hackers were able to proxy a viral infection into the place they really wanted to strike. Third party hardware, like flash drives, may need regulation as EMRs find widespread adoption. 

Hardware and software hacks make a network equally vulnerable. Hospitals will need to create a protocol for what devices can be used on the network, and carefully restrict access to employees. Any IT professional will tell you that the lowest point of access is just as dangerous to your network as a high-level terminal with admin access.

 


Characterized by chronic mood swings and other symptoms, bipolar disorder can be an intense, overwhelming condition. Also known as manic/depressive disorder, this illness is associated with extreme emotional highs and lows, and can affect virtually every aspect of health and well-being.

Thankfully, in addition to seeking professional help, there are several ways patients can manage symptoms and improve their quality of life. Keep reading to discover how you too can cope with the effects of bipolar disorder, simply, safely and effectively.

Follow Doctor’s Orders

Bipolar disorder can be serious in nature. Failure to follow doctor’s orders can lead to a variety of complications, including a worsening of symptoms and other disruptions to your daily life. To keep symptoms in check, medications should always be taken properly, i.e., on time and in the correct dosages. Plus, in addition to medications, psychological therapy can help patients gain a better understanding of the disease, as well as learn to pinpoint and modify unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.

It’s important to note that, while medication can be an extremely effective tool in managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder, some drugs are associated with a number of risks and side effects. To protect yourself against the harmful effects of certain psychiatric medications, be sure to discuss your concerns with your doctor. It’s also important to be completely honest when it comes to factors like alcohol and drug use, medical history and bipolar symptoms.

By fully understanding your unique circumstances, a doctor is better equipped to administer the proper medications, thus reducing the risks of unwanted side effects. If you do experience troubling side effects, continue taking your medication, but contact your doctor immediately.

Identify Your Triggers

In individuals with bipolar disorder, identifying and avoiding triggers can help keep mood swings under control. And since triggers can vary wildly from person to person, the best way to identify your own is through close monitoring of your thoughts and behaviors. A great way to do this is by keeping a journal of events, stresses, the amount of sleep you get, your medication dosages, side effects of medication, etc. Over time, you may begin to see patterns in your moods and behaviors, which can help you learn to identify and avoid symptom triggers.

Also, while triggers vary, many patients experience an onset of symptoms as a result of stress, disturbances in sleep patterns, deviations from normal routines and major life changes like divorce, changing career paths, moving, etc.

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Making the right lifestyle choices is essential in dealing with bipolar disorder. Diet and exercise, for example, can be extremely effective in managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life. Regular physical activity boosts the body’s production of mood-stabilizing chemicals, thus promoting feelings of well-being and enhancing overall quality of life. When it comes to nutrition, fresh, nutrient-rich foods can help combat symptoms like fatigue, mental sluggishness and more.

Avoid Self-Medication

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for patients with bipolar disorder to use drugs and alcohol as a means of self-medicating symptoms. And while, in the short term, alcohol and illicit drugs may help ease depression and other effects, the long-term complications of self-medication can be devastating to recovery. Using addictive substances often results in physical and psychological dependence, which can hinder treatment in a number of ways. What’s more, substance abuse contributes to depression and mood swings, and, in patients taking prescription medications, can also lead to life-threatening drug interactions.

Seek and Accept Support

Living with bipolar disorder is not easy. Dealing with mood swings and other symptoms can leave many patients feeling alienated from friends and family members, which only exacerbates symptoms and leads to feelings of isolation and depression. Instead of withdrawing, let your loved ones know what you’re going through, and ask for their support and understanding. Odds are, by keeping your friends, family members and coworkers informed of your situation, they’ll make an effort to be supportive and empathetic.

 


Dear readers,

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is becoming more apparent in women since the year 2000. New studies find that, of those diagnosed, 58% are women. This disease of the lungs makes breathing difficult. The two main conditions that fall under COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Coming down with a cold or being subjected to harmful air toxins can worsen COPD symptoms. There are resources, such as the American Lung Association and pulmonary rehabilitation clinics, which offer support. The Lung Association is continuing efforts to prevent onset of lung disease and support those currently diagnosed.

There is growing evidence that women are biologically more prone to lung disease caused by pollutants in the air and second hand smoke exposure. It is with great importance that policies are implemented that lower the risk of exposure to second hand smoke, and bring about services for people who smoke who have a desire to quit smoking.

The effect of living with COPD is tremendous. It is expensive for the individual due to healthcare costs and a reduced ability to earn an income. It is also expensive for the community due to lost productivity, disability and uninsured hospitalizations. Also, many patients with COPD have other comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease or depression. It can be tricky managing more than one condition at a time.

Disparities in diagnosis and disease management contribute to poor outcomes for women with COPD. It is important to talk to your doctor about treatment plans. Although there is no cure for COPD, there are ways to provide relief to make the symptoms manageable. Maintaining lung health is important, it is essential to get regular checkups with a provider to improve health outcomes.

It is imperative that health equity be reached among those with COPD, a disease that is mostly overlooked in the public health field. It is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. Advocating for COPD awareness will help make the disease a priority. To learn more, visit www.lung.org/copdinwomen.


Trying to find the right career path can be exceptionally difficult. It’s something that many people believe will work out on its own over time, but this is not the right approach to take. Proper (and early) planning is the best way to get yourself on a path towards a solid career, especially if you have somewhat of an idea of what you’d like to do for a living. It can’t hurt to look towards industries that are looking to have a bright future, either, and the medical industry is certainly near the top of the list in the UK. 

It may seem as if working towards a career in the medical industry would require a lot of hard work and schooling, but this isn’t always the case. There are certainly scenarios in which you’ll need to put a lot of effort into gaining employment, however, which is why it’s best to take a complete approach and start planting the seeds for a successful career. 

Here are just a few things that can help you to work towards a career in the healthcare industry, all of which are worth considering.

Apply to the Right University Programs

If you’re still in the midst of applying to schools, you’re actually in the perfect spot to start building a career in the healthcare industry. The best thing you can do for yourself when applying to schools is to take a very close look at each program you’re considering. Think about the school’s reputation, but also be sure to look into the details of the program. Does it sound like something you’d be interested in? Is the learning curve potentially too high to handle right off the bat? These questions and more will help to guide you when choosing a university program.

As degrees become more and more pertinent in the professional world, the importance of where you graduate from is only going to increase, and this is especially true in the world of healthcare. Some universities – Cambridge and Oxford, for example – have excellent reputations as being leaders in the medical field, and holding a degree from one of these programs will give you quite a boost when it comes to finally trying to land that first job out of university. Keep this in mind, as you should always strive to gain acceptance at your top school or schools if at all possible. 

Consider Your Options for Employment

Not everyone who wishes to gain employment in the field of healthcare wants to be a doctor or a surgeon. There are so many different types of jobs in this field that it can be head-spinning, and what’s important to remember is that there is truly something for everyone. Those who tend to excel at organisation, for example, would most likely find their niche in healthcare administration. Have a strong interest and working knowledge in technology? Medical billing and coding might be the right fit for you. The latter career not only offers flexible hours, but typically comes along with a high rate of pay (visit http://online.bryantstratton.edu/medical-reimbursement-coding/ for more information). The UK is rife with opportunity and jobs in the medical sector at the moment, many of which offer a substantial rate of pay.  

You don’t need to make any final decisions when choosing a career path to work towards, but having at least a general idea of what you’d like to do will help you to streamline your approach. Take the time to shadow someone if at all possible, as this will help you to gain a better understanding of day-to-day operations in whatever type of job it is that you’re interested in.

Take Advantage of Whatever Opportunities Present Themselves

As you go through your time at university, you’ll no doubt come upon opportunities that can help you to better prepare for a carer in the healthcare industry. It could be a guest lecture, a chance to shadow someone in a professional setting or even a volunteer opportunity. Schooling can be a stressful and difficult time, but you should do whatever possible to incorporate these opportunities into your education. After all, there’s no better way to learn than in a real-world setting, no matter how many textbooks you might have sitting on your shelves. 

Sometimes sitting and waiting for these opportunities to pop up simply isn’t enough. You might find that you need to keep an open set of ears and eyes during your time at university, always looking for opportunities that can help push you towards securing employment upon graduating. Don’t hesitate to branch out and visit other leaders in the field, too. After all, there are 32 medical schools in the UK that have recognition from the General Medical Council – there’s a lot of knowledge to be had. 

Securing a good career in healthcare is certainly not something that happens overnight, but it can be made much easier if you take the time to go above and beyond.