Adoption of Technology by Clinics and Small Hospitals – Why and How?

New technologies and innovation are being adopted in all sectors nowadays. The healthcare industry is catching up with this trend too. The growth of technology is enabling faster and efficient diagnosis and treatments for the patients. This means major competition for the smaller players such as clinics and small hospitals. If they still want to be a part of the growing market and retain their businesses, they need to become a part of the technological whirlwind too. Digitisation on small or big levels will help them retain their customers and provide better patient care, quality, and value.

Let us look at the various problems faced by small and medium-sized hospitals –

Limited Infrastructure and Resources:
Small hospitals face a lot of ground level problems. They function with limited resources. Their small budgets allow them to hire only a certain number of doctors, paramedical staff, and technicians. A lot of times, individuals need to take care of multiple roles to share the burden of work. The infrastructure at smaller clinics and hospitals is set up on a very basic level. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), out of the 57 countries facing the crisis of limited resources in the health sector, India’s rank is 52nd. In another 100-bed hospital at Jhansi, after 4 pm there was only one nurse to cater to all the 100 patients. The impact of deficiency or lack of efficient resources is seen to affect the overall functioning of any hospital. It puts the personnel under pressure, affects the morale of the health workers, and also affects the overall quality of care.

Unavailability or Ignorance of Information:
With the increasing demand for modern healthcare services, it is vital for doctors and physicians in both big and small hospitals to be able to provide high-level consultation and medication to their patients. In smaller hospitals, this is missing due to their ignorance towards professionalism or the lack of information. Poorly functioning sub-centres, PHCs and CHCs result in people having to depend on the bigger hospitals. Overcrowding in hospitals, lack of outreach, unavailability of standards and norms are some of the other problems that give patients no choice but to not trust their services.

Lack of Organisation:
Larger brands of hospitals are more organised and function uniformly across all departments since they make use of high-quality techniques, equipment, and technology. They avoid paperwork by making use of Hospital Management Systems so that all the relevant information is backed up in a single place. They avoid hard copies of all reports and rely on a single online source of information for faster and timely access. All such things are missing in small hospitals because they, in most cases, do not leverage technology to increase their operational efficacy.

What do hospitals need?
So what can help the small and medium-sized hospitals to change the way they have been functioning? They need to adopt a technological system which can help solve these problems.

  • An easy to use Hospital Management System (HMS) can be implemented so that all the people involved in the hospital, including physicians, doctors, nurses, caretakers, laboratory personnel, pathological department, etc. can understand it and make good use of it.
  • The HMS should be capable of providing the schedules and availability of the physicians within the hospital.
  • The HMS should have scalable architecture and configurable workflows so that tasks such as admissions, bed management, nurse management, insurance management, transfers, returns, eligibility, etc. can be undertaken systematically while ensuring that a record of each of them is maintained.
  • There should also be an option of maintaining a detailed medical history of every patient, which can be available whenever required. This would also help doctors make broad or specific reports for the patients and also use them for decision-making. Doctors will not have to spend hours going through paperwork since all the information will be readily available. Integrated functioning of this HMS will help segregate all the data together in one place.

MARS Plus is one such Healthcare Management Systems, which has been created considering the specific needs of Indian Healthcare system. The interface is designed such that it can be setup quickly depending on the size and requirement of the hospital or clinic. It allows a lot of customisations to help the hospital gain maximum benefit out of it even at low costs.

With digitisation and modernisation, inculcating the smartphone for keeping health records, communication between doctors and patients and sharing of data can help. A lot of apps available in the market today provide options to doctors and physicians to manage their lists of patients, appointments, records, files, budgets, and finances. This can help them save time, become more efficient in terms of data storage, improve their performance and, thereby, have a positive impact on the hospitals as well as the patients they are dealing with. The key is to try to integrate all the aspects of health care management using a single solution to meet all needs.

Adopting technology will provide great scope to small hospitals and clinics to come at par with what rest of the players in the health sector are doing. It will bring about a change in the way they have the functioning and allow faster facilitation of processes and treatments.

Financial Anxiety Is Real – How to Cope?

It’s been a month now that Sheela hasn’t slept well. Almost every day, she wakes up in the middle of the night and her mind veers to the long list of bills she needs to pay for the month, concerns about sudden illness, accidents etc. Before she knows it, she gets into a panic mode with a sick feeling in the stomach and racing heart and ends up staying awake all night without accomplishing anything out of it. She is going through financial anxiety. Just like Sheela, there are many who stress about money management on a daily basis. According to the American Psychological Association, 80 percent of people go through stress due to a financial crisis. The reasons for suffering from financial disability could be many. Maybe you have a loan that you need to pay off, maybe you are in the middle of shifting jobs or maybe you just end up spending all your money by the end of the month without any savings. Instability regarding money matters can lead to a lot of stress. And this, in turn, can affect your body and lead to the beginning of other health problems. In the times when the economy was unraveling, it is obvious to be a bit concerned about one’s financial well-being. However, it should not hamper your overall well-being. Hence, it is very important that you take a step back, address the issues at hand and find out ways and means to cope with them.

Here are some ways in which you can keep your financial anxiety under control and manage the stress –

1) Make notes about your monthly spends:
A lot of times, you may keep a certain budget for every month stating the overall amount you are planning to spend. However, all of the life’s expenses are barely constant and it is obvious that the expenses can fluctuate. Hence, be sure to make a note about the money you spend along with the date and what you spent it for. Go over your bills and ensure that the numbers are accurate. While you are at it, set aside some money to an emergency fund. This can be useful in times when you have a health situation, a car repair, a sudden vacation or any other unpredictable events.

2) Stop comparing yourself to others:
As human beings, the idea of comparison has been rooted in us. But with money matters, the lesser you compare the better you will feel about what you own. While a friend may seem to be enjoying life to the fullest, you do not know what is in his bank account. You are not aware of all the facts as you use what they showcase on channels such as Facebook and Instagram to get an idea about their lifestyle and how they live. Any such comparison is very unhealthy and may instigate you to spend more money just because someone else is.

3) Don’t be embarrassed:
If you have less money or are saving up most of your salary for a secure future, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. You may have less money to spend today but you are avoiding suffering from a crisis situation later. At times, a past occurrence of financial mismanagement, incorrect budgeting or ignorance may lead to shame and can initiate a cycle of anxiety and future problems. This may even lead to money avoidance and the unwillingness to deal with money matters.

4) Be more informed:
Money is a constant need in all phases of your life. And the more informed you are about the ways in which you can save it, the happier you will be. If you want to save money for retirement or for your child’s future, research the options and accumulate all the information together. Choose the one that is going to yield the best results and start investing every month. Signing up for a course or taking advice from a friend or relative can also help. When you have all the information at hand, you will feel much more confident about your future.

5) Approach an advisor:
Getting professional help from advisors can definitely help you calm down your worries since they can tell you whether you are following the right path or not. They can also give you suggestions for newer saving schemes or policies which you may not be aware of. Tax reduction is another benefit that you can get by planning your investments. Financial advisors can make their way around loopholes to provide you with the best possible means of availing tax benefits. Just be clear about your goals and your current situation with the advisors and they can take care of the rest.

Financial anxiety is a problem that cannot be solved by taking any medicines or undergoing a surgery. To get yourself together, you need to be mentally strong, calm your worries and feel confident about your financial choices. That is the only way you will be able to avoid the anxious feeling and look forward to a brighter future!

Understanding Blood Pressure and Keeping It Normal

Having a normal blood pressure is very important to lead a healthy life. Without the right pressure, which ensures that our blood flows around your circulatory system, the oxygen and nutrients do not get delivered through the arteries to the tissues and organs. The pressure also helps your body’s immunity since it is responsible for delivering white blood cells, antibodies and hormones like insulin. Your body is accustomed to having a certain amount of pressure which is called as the healthy blood pressure level. If this pressure balance gets messed up, you suffer from high or low blood pressure. This causes different effects on your body. A severe change in the numbers can lead to extreme effects. Senior Surgeon Dr. Ramakanta Panda predicts that by the year, 2020, almost one-third of our Indian population will be suffering from high blood pressure.

For a normal reading, the top number needs to be between 90 and 120, and the bottom number needs to be between 60 and 80. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), when your numbers fall between these ranges, it is considered to be normal blood pressure.  So what do these numbers mean? The first number is the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart muscles contract. This is referred to as systolic pressure. The bottom number is your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between heart beats. This is termed as diastolic pressure. Both numbers are important in determining the state of your heart.

To get an idea about the stage of blood pressure, you need to know the different categories. Here’s how you can differentiate them:

Normal:
Systolic mm Hg (upper number) – less than 120
Diastolic mm Hg (lower number) – less than 80

Prehypertension:
Systolic mm Hg (upper number) – 120-139
Diastolic mm Hg (lower number) – 80-89

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) – Stage 1:
Systolic mm Hg (upper number) – 140-159
Diastolic mm Hg (lower number) – 90-99

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) – Stage 2:
Systolic mm Hg (upper number) – 160 or higher
Diastolic mm Hg (lower number) – 100 or higher

Hypertensive Crisis (emergency case):
Systolic mm Hg (upper number) – higher than 180
Diastolic mm Hg (lower number) – higher than 110

In the case of low blood pressure, there are no specific numbers for reference. This is because even if your numbers are low, as long as you are not experiencing any symptoms, there is no need for concern. Your doctor can tell you more about your low blood pressure condition depending on the symptoms you are facing.

Causes:

With regards to high blood pressure, there are higher chances of it occurring in patient’s going through pregnancy, thyroid, diabetes, low blood sugar, depression, Parkinson’s disease, heart problems, widening of the blood vessels, heat exhaustion or liver diseases.

Also termed as hypotension, low blood pressure may be the sign of an underlying problem, especially in the elderly. It causes inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs. Postural hypotension can happen to someone who is rising from a lying down or sitting position. This is considered to be a failure of the cardiovascular system and can lead the nervous system to react inappropriately. The effects of low blood pressure become more intense and evident when it occurs in people belonging to older age groups.

Diagnosis:

Blood pressure is measured with a device known as a sphygmomanometer, consisting of a stethoscope, arm cuff, dial, pump and valve. The pressure reading numbers may increase or decrease depending on factors such as your age, heart condition, activity, emotions, and medicines. One high reading does not mean that you need to worry. To be extremely sure about the diagnosis, you need to be comfortably resting and take readings at least three different times.

For low blood pressure, you may feel symptoms such as dizziness or lightheadedness. Few other underlying conditions could also be the cause. To avail the appropriate treatment, identifying the cause of the low blood pressure is very important. Factors such as medical history, specific symptoms and age will help the doctor perform an efficient evaluation of the system.

Treatment:

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, the first thing you need to do is to adopt healthier lifestyle choices. Maintain a healthy diet and reduce your sodium intake. Ideally, one should not consume more than 2300 mg per day. Have a limited amount of processed foods because these are high in sodium content and have low nutritional value. Reduce your caffeine intake as it plays a sensitive role in your blood pressure readings. Exercise regularly – Even 30 minutes a day can help you maintain a healthy weight and feel good about your body. Indulge in yoga and meditation sessions, these will help you reduce stress after long work days. Keep your alcohol intake under control and quit smoking.

Keep track of the numbers by checking them frequently. Adopting different measures to be absolutely sure. In the case of very high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend certain medication. ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers to relax your blood vessels, alpha-blockers to decrease arterial resistance, beta-blockers to decrease heart rate, and diuretics to decrease the amount of fluid in your body are some kinds of medications that usually help but you should not take these without a doctor’s advice. If you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, visual changes, chest pain, loss of muscle control, blood in the urine or dizziness, that means you are in the danger zone and require immediate treatment.

As you age, prevention becomes more important, especially when it comes to this kind of health problems. The American Health Association says that your systolic pressure tends to rise up once you are cross the age of 50. Take regular health check-ups and keep your doctor informed about the smallest of symptoms because the faster you know the better your will be able to take care of your health and keep the numbers under control. As far as you follow a healthy lifestyle, eat proper food and take regular medication, blood pressure is not a fatal disease.

The Dangers of Self-Medication

Nowadays, everyone feels like they have the qualities of a doctor. And hence, they often resort to self-medication. ‘Bad stomach? I know the pill for it!’ ‘Pain in the abdomen? It’s probably just acidity!’ While health issues like cough, cold, and fever can be treated at home, at times, the health issue at hand may be much bigger for which, visiting a doctor is an absolute must. The doctor is the only one who can give you a complete diagnosis of your situation and provide you with guidance regarding the steps you can take going forward, to enhance the healing process.

Self-medication is harmful due to a number of reasons. A study by Psychology Today explains that individuals tend to act as their own physicians in an attempt to handle the symptoms of the physical or mental health concern involved with it. A lot of times they want to hide their condition since going to the doctor may come across as a sign of weakness. Sometimes, they are scared or embarrassed, and at times, they simply want to avoid the expenses of getting the diagnosis of the problem from a professional. Truth is, self-medication can ruin a person’s life, the lives of others around him/her and can end up making the original situation much worse than it was.

Some of the important dangers of self-medication are:

Wrong Drug Dosage

When you decide to prescribe drugs for yourself, there is no one to tell you the right dosage for the pills you are using. Even if you have got the drug right, factors such as the dosage of the drug, how it needs to be taken, its composition and its side-effects or reactions, if any, also need to be considered. Ignorance and lack of awareness when it comes to these things can cause serious problems and can also lead to a fatality. According to a study by the non-profit group, Trust for America’s Health, nearly 52% of deaths were related to prescription drug overdoses where the patients did not even know that they have taken an overdose.

Side-effects

Many medicines tend to have side effects on your body. When you go to a physician, he gives you appropriate drugs to counter those effects and stabilize your body. He prescribes medicines keeping in mind your body type, your diet, your daily routine, etc. Self-medication, on the other hand, can lead to severe side effects such as allergic reactions, loose stools, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

Wrong Diagnosis

One of the major things that can go wrong when you resort to self-medication is the wrong diagnosis of the disease at hand. You may be suffering from some specific symptoms and will link those to a disease that you know of. You will end up taking the medicines for it but that probably will not work. This can complicate simple situations and also make it difficult for the doctor to correctly diagnose and treat your situation at later stages.

Self-medication for Pregnant Women

This one could probably be the most dangerous kind of self-medication. Wrong moves or intake of unfamiliar drugs could cause birth defects and congenital anomalies in the child. What the mother consumes during the pregnancy stage directly affects the child so it is very important that they find out all the information about the particular drug that they are consuming. Visiting a physician and taking his recommendations for the medicines would be the best way to go about it.

Addiction to the Wrong Drug

A lot of times, there are cases wherein a patient is taking a wrong drug and gets addicted to it. This is especially true in the case of medical conditions such as depression where the doses of the drug are very high and cause severe effects. If you are following self-medication, there is no one who can reassess the prescription for you. Strong pills and their overdose can lead to severe problems or even death. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 33,175 people died in 2012 due to an unintentional drug overdose.

Masking the Symptoms of a Serious Condition

The route of self-medication may also cause the patients to overlook the symptoms of a serious condition that they may be suffering from. For example, a patient may be suffering from a condition such as pneumonia but may pass it off as a case of the flu. At times, people tend to take this route to save themselves the embarrassment of being the victim of a serious disease. However, this is very harmful and the most inappropriate way of dealing with the problem.

Alternately, there are times when people tend to adopt the route of telemedicine. A lot of times, this may prove to be fruitful since it reduces the hassle of visiting the doctor in person and thus saves time and money. But where does the credibility come in? With so many portals offering medical advice, there are a lot of cases of spam and frauds. The advising authority may not have the right knowledge or skills to guide you with the best possible treatment. Carelessness and lack of precision from their end could lead to devastating results and also a case of fatality. When you are looking for doctors offering telemedicine, look for the credibility of the doctors and the portals which offer this service.

Don’t take your health very lightly. Always remember, Google is not your doctor – avoid self-medication. Always consult a doctor for the smallest of health issue. After all, the preservation of health is always easier than a cure of the disease.

 

Why A Fad Diet Is the Worst Solution to Lose Weight

If you’re looking to lose weight, you know that your mind is generally open to all kinds of things so as to strike a chord with that one remedy that will work. “Have hot water, lemon and honey in the morning. Okay, I’ll do it.” “Avoid carbs in my diet? Okay, that can be done!” And while you’re in the midst of dreaming about that perfect body, one thing that is most tempting is that awesome diet which has worked for that celebrity from Hollywood. Fad diets promise you a lot of things which sound great for your body. The fact that it is a trend that celebrities follow makes you believe in its effects because the results are right in front of your eyes. But in reality, fad diets can be extremely harmful to your body. The weight loss is very momentary and your body will end up gaining more kilos once you stop following the diet.

Some of the popular fad diets are Cabbage Fruit Diet, 3 Day Diet, 5 Bite Diet, Liquid Diet. Low-Carb Diet, Low-Fat Diet and Zone Diet. Most of these diets work in terms of helping you shed kilos quickly but they have a lot of negative effects on your body too. Let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages of the fad diets:

Hair and Muscle Loss
When you are depriving your body of the regular foods, what you are losing is muscle weight and not the fat on your body. The result? You have a body which makes you thinner and fitter on the outside but is very weak on the inside. The reduction of muscles in your body reduces your strength and lowers your energy levels. Lack of enough nutrients may also cause hair loss. Proteins make your hair stronger and shinier and the lack of it will lead to your hair to become scanty and weak.

Weight Gain
This is ironical because you have decided to follow the diet primarily to lose weight. While it does help during the days that you are following the diet, but the moment you decide to end the diet and get back to your normal routine, your body starts gaining weight. You may also weigh more than you were before the diet. This happens because you tend to consume more unhealthy food because of the restrictions you put on your body while you were on the diet.

Nutritional Deficiencies
Fad diets consist of very specific foods and hence tend to deprive your body of some of the vital proteins, vitamins and minerals it needs for normal functioning. The lack of nutrients affects your body in several ways. Your hair starts falling, skin looks pale, nails become brittle, and you may even start getting dark circles under your eyes.

Alteration in Metabolism:
When you have multiple normal meals during the day, your body is used to a particular pattern and acclimatises itself to it. It can adjust if you happen to skip a meal at times or happen to overeat at a particular occasion. But with the diet, your eating pattern suddenly changes and this has adverse effects on your metabolism. Thus, your body may not be able to digest food properly during the diet and the effects may also last after the diet.

Dehydration
A lot of diets compel you to survive on liquids that help you get rid of all the water weight in your body. This means that you are not exactly losing the fat in your body. Losing water weight is easy but the moment you start eating solid foods, your body will gain all the weight back. And that’s not all. This causes your body to get severely dehydrated leading to feelings of fatigue, nausea, and dizziness.

So what’s the best way to lose weight? You can go on a diet but ensure that it is designed to provide enough nutrition to your body. And exercise! Even a daily walk on half an hour or a quick swim in the pool will help and will give you far better effects than following a fad diet.