Three Stories That Show That Healthcare Is Already Smart

Technology is rapidly changing the way the world operates. Industries across the globe have been accepting technological advancements with open arms. The implication of technology has changed the way things worked. Every industry today is largely dependent upon the technological advancements for its operation. Artificial Intelligence and data computing have made things, which once seemed unachievable, simpler, and faster.

Healthcare is one industry which has benefitted by technological advancements in a great way. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that the medical and healthcare industry is the one that paved the way for technological innovations and advancement. From X-Ray machines to online access to medical services, the healthcare industry has come a long way in reaping the fruits of technological advancements.

Today’s era is driven by ‘smart’ working and by smart we mean technologically smart ways of working. Every industry today has adopted smart ways of operating – from collecting and maintaining data to providing online solutions, you name it and you have it.

Is Healthcare Already Smart?

Medical and healthcare industry has been the fastest growing industry to adopt technological changes. Here are three stories that reflect how the healthcare industry has changed over the years:

Getting blood tests done is as easy as ordering a pizza these days

“Getting a blood test had never been this simple. Earlier I had to keep aside an entire day for my mother’s blood tests. Collecting the report required another half day’s time to queue up at the centre. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. Now I book an appointment online and the representative from the lab comes to our home and collects the sample. Reports are now sent directly to the email address. It has become as easy as getting a pizza delivered to your house!’ – Harman Singh, 45 years, MNC employee.

Harman’s mother, aged 68, has been diabetic ever since his birth and getting blood sugar tested has been an arduous task for them. Not only it required a lot of time, but the travelling had also started to add to his aging mother’s health woes. Getting the blood sample collected from the comfort of one’s home and having the test reports delivered via email, has been a blessing for patients like Harman’s mother.

No more waiting at the doctor’s clinic for getting reports checked

Waiting at the doctor’s for a diagnosis isn’t as painful as waiting to get your reports checked.

“I had once waited for two and half hours to get my son’s reports checked while he was home alone with a high fever. Thanks to doctors who are available via emails and WhatsApp, you don’t need to wait up for this anymore.” – Sunita Joshi, 28 years, homemaker.

Sunita is not the only one who has been in such a tricky situation. More often than not, a patient is not in a condition to visit the doctor multiple times and the care-taker ends up doing so at the cost of leaving the patient unattended for hours.

The doctor’s availability on online mediums like emails and WhatsApp has not only helped people like Sunita but has also helped in shortening the queue at the doctor’s clinic.

No more shuffling between doctors with a load of files

Gone are the days when the patient would require visiting different doctors with numerous files encasing their medical history. The online patient record system has been a boon both for doctors as well as patients. It not only lets the doctor refer to the patient’s medical history at just a click of a button but also helps in accurate diagnosis and treatment.

“My brother met with an accident ten years ago and ever since he has undergone multiple surgeries and many treatments. Visiting a new doctor would be a task for us. Carrying so many reports and remembering every small little detail was challenging. Forgetting even the most minute information could prove to be fatal to his health. With the new online patient data system, it has become so much easier. I don’t get anxiety attacks before visiting a doctor anymore.”– Archana Suri, 35 years, Government employee.

It is essential to remember and recall a patient’s medical history when visiting a doctor. Missing out on anything can become a hurdle in proper diagnosis thereby affecting the treatment of the patient. It is difficult to remember every detail about patients with long medical history. The introduction of online patient record system has made it hassle-free for the doctors as well as patients.

These are just some of the stories that reflect that the healthcare system has become smarter in its operation. Owing to these changes, the diagnosis and treatments have become far more accurate. Technology is helping in eliminating judgement of error in several ways.

 

You Have Just Started Working Out – How Should Your Diet Change?

Joining a gym or exercising more often/regularly is the most common New Year’s resolution across the globe. The fitness brands’ sales surge in the last fortnight of December when everyone starts gearing up for the New Year. However, people forget that exercising is not the only way of getting fitter. You need to eat right as well. And, by eating right we don’t mean simply replacing sugar with honey. You need to back your workout regime with a healthy and nutritious diet.

Effect of Food Choices on Your Workout 

The right kinds of food can help you in many ways. Your stamina, weight loss, muscle building et al. depend upon the type of food you eat. There are pre and post workout foods that provide thorough support to your body. Start your day with a food high in protein like nuts and almonds. A handful of it soon after you move out of your bed will keep you energized through the day. Adding healthy foods in the right proportion and consuming them at the right hour of the day can be beneficial.

Pre and Post Workout Foods

Every food has some nutritious value and it is good to know/learn about it. If you are a novice, don’t rely on anyone but a certified nutritionist. Balancing the nutrient intake is quintessential for the body. Here are some foods that you can include in your routine:

Pre Workout Meal

If you’re starting your day with a workout, never do it on an empty stomach. An empty stomach workout will force your body to store fat to keep itself fed and, in turn, makes you lose lesser calories. Ensure that you have a balanced combination of simple and complex carbs so that the release of energy is slow throughout your workout. You can imbibe these pre-workout meals in your regime and make sure to consume these at least half an hour to forty minutes before hitting the floor.

  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Hardboiled Eggs
  • Nuts and Almonds
  • Yogurt
  • Granola
  • Fibrous Fruits
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Whole wheat toast with sliced bananas
  • Smoothies with berries

Post Workout Meal

After the workout wear and tear, the body needs replenishment. Rather than depending upon artificial foods, consume food that naturally replenishes the body. Get the right nutrients after your exercise to help your body rebuild the muscle proteins and glycogen stores.

  • Muesli
  • Fresh Orange Juice
  • Boiled Eggs or Omelette
  • Paneer in any form
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Fruit Salad
  • Wholegrain Bread
  • Spinach Soup
  • Chocolate milk
  • Sweet potato

Supplements vs. Food

The first and biggest mistake the beginners commit is adding supplements to their routine as soon as they begin working out. Remember, not everyone requires external supplements. If you are working out for 30 minutes to one hour and having a balanced diet, you may not need any external supplements at all. Always consult a certified nutritionist or your physician before adding any supplementary food or drink to your diet.

You can always rely on natural resources for your nutrition requirement and here are some foods to ditch those supplements:

Vitamin C

  • Citrus fruits like orange, mosambi and kiwi
  • Tomatoes
  • Lemon juice
  • Guava
  • Papaya
  • Green and Red pepper

Calcium

  • Chia seeds
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli
  • Watercress
  • Water Chestnut
  • Kale

Vitamin E

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potato
  • Avocado

 Iron

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Cashew
  • Soy

Protein

  • Seafood
  • Whole Eggs
  • Chicken Breast
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney Beans 

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

Shunning out fat completely from your body is not going to help you lose weight, build muscle or stay fitter. For your body to absorb vitamins and nutrients, fat is needed. Not all fat that you consume is harmful for the body. One needs to know the difference between good and bad fat. Imbibe good fat and get rid of bad fat from your diet. Here’s a list of foods with good and bad fat:

Good Fat

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Whole Eggs
  • Full Fat Yogurt
  • Red Meat
  • Ghee
  • Cheese

Bad Fat

  • Butter
  • Beef and Pork
  • Dark Chicken Meat
  • Fried Foods
  • Processed Food
  • Bakery Products like cakes, pastries and cookies

Dietary needs vary for every individual. Each body has a different requirement. No two people can have same or similar results with same dietary habits. Nutrients are essential for a healthy body but overconsumption of anything can have adverse effects on the body. Working out is just the tip of the iceberg. It won’t bear fruits without a healthy and adequate nutrient supply to the body.

Food for Thought – All You MUST Know About Eating Disorders

Did you know? Eating disorder is a psychiatric condition and causes the most deaths, more than any other disorders. When you hear eating disorder, does a stick thin looking figure come to your mind? According to World Health Organization (WHO), the normal Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. However, those suffering from an eating disorder may be on either side of the spectrum, depending on which type of eating disorder they have.

Common Eating Disorders You must know

Anorexia Nervosa: If you imagine the stick thin figures here, then you are correct. A person with this eating disorder restricts intake of food to a large extent and appear underweight. You or your loved one may not even know you have it. This condition is rather common with women than men.

Bulimia Nervosa: You will know you or your loved one has it when they binge food, uncontrollably and then feel guilty about it. They compensate the binge, either with laxatives or by vomiting the food out of their systems. It may or may not be done every day but there are episodes of such behaviour.

Binge Eating: Similar to Bulimia, a person with binge eating disorder may not have control over how much food they eat at a go. The difference is no use of laxatives or vomit. People with this disorder are obese and also, at a serious risk of high cholesterol and diabetes.

Avoidant Disorder: This condition is more common in males than any other condition. Here, the food is restricted in the diet because of a previous negative experience, for instance, choking. This disorder may begin in early childhood and continue in later years too.

Pica: If you see a pregnant woman with weird cravings, it’s one thing. But it’s quite another to see a regular person or child crave for chalks, dirt or hair. This eating disorder is associated with consumption of non-food substances.

It’s Important to recognise the seriousness of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are life-threatening conditions causing malnutrition, organ failure, and even sudden death. However, being a psychiatric condition, 50 percent of eating disorder deaths are from suicide. This was a burgeoning part of the plot in the movie “Black Swan” – have you seen it? The prima ballerina has an overbearing mother with high expectations of her daughter. The lead actor is obsessed with her perception of self-esteem and attractiveness, and the athletic endeavour of ballet only spawns the eating disorder some more, leading the issue of perfection to {Spoiler alert!} her ultimate suicide.

The Substance Abuse and other Connections

The people with a substance abuse problem, i.e. alcohol or drugs, then they are 5 times more likely to have an eating disorder too. There are studies that indicate girls who develop an eating order in younger ages are more likely to develop a substance abuse problem later on in life. Gay or bisexual boys or men are more likely to develop these disorders too.

So, what are the other causes of this life-threatening physical and psychiatric condition? It’s not just the media and the body image issues, but there are many underlying causes that give birth to an eating disorder for all men, women, and children.

  • Genetics
  • Family distress
  • Sexual abuse
  • Pressure to lose or maintain weight
  • Athletic endeavours

Eating disorders and thought patterns

People coming from a distressed home; have faced the death of a loved one or domestic violence, bullying or a simple case of not fitting in after puberty, etc., are more likely to develop an eating disorder to have a sense of control over their lives. It can be a coping mechanism, to have that sense of control where no one else can decide for them.

An opposite thought pattern is one to excel. If you are a perfectionist then, restricting food in your diet is a source of achievement, you could say no to that chocolate cake, yes, but having an eating disorder can be the wrong marker for achievement.

If you talk to a person with an eating disorder or if you have one, then this is important to know. Your inner critic is dominant and will say things or make you think of things that make you feel not-so-good enough about yourself.

The underlying themes of self-worth

If you wish you could go about without thinking about food, then see a professional, a therapist who can help you cope with this issue. You can also keep a journal as a cathartic exercise or get on a distraction hobby to indulge in, every time you feel the need to binge eat or follow any other forms of eating disorders.

 

10 Things to Help You Improve Your Heart Health

Did you know? One in every third person is killed by a Heart Attack in India. That’s a scary statistic. Here’s another statistic, smoking cigarettes increases your risk to a heart attack by 12 percent! Don’t be a statistic. If you want to lower your risk to heart disease, then here are science-backed ways to improve your heart health.

Listen to Music

Yes! You read that right. Listening to the music you love lowers blood pressure and your heart rate. The tempo matters here so if you are a heavy metal fan that will only increase your blood pressure. Listen to soft, mellow music that relaxes you and calms you down.

Stop Stressing so much

Stress has become the new normal. People easily accept it coming from work, finance, traffic, people relationships. But did you know? All this stress increases your risk of heart disease by 40 percent! If you experience office stress, take the time to reflect on what is causing you stress, identify the triggers and deal with them. You can also reflect on your personal relationships and see if any of those need mending, your love, and support to thrive.

Eat Chocolate

If you are die hard for chocolate, then this must be great news for you! Countless studies reverberate the same notion. Dark chocolate helps you reduce blood pressure. The cocoa in the chocolate is rich in antioxidants and the flavonoid compound helps create more nitric oxide in your body. This element helps your blood walls to relax and open wider. That’s how you lower blood pressure.

Drink Protein Shakes

Whey protein is plant protein and consuming 56gm a day of protein improves our heart health. It reduces the risk of heart attack by 8 percent. Now that’s a good chunk, considering how delicious and healthy your breakfast shakes will be when you add fresh or frozen fruit along with whey in it.

Go Easy on the Salt

If you like salty foods or too much salt in your sabzi then you need to think twice. Excess salt in your blood causes damage to your blood vessels, constricting them this increases the blood pressure, giving you high BP. There is sodium in salt and high sodium consumption is a major red flag for your heart. Ditch processed foods with sodium and eat fresh food sprinkled with natural salt.

Stay Hydrated

When your body is deprived of fluids, especially water, your heart has to work double time to make up for it. Your heart’s job is to pump blood in and out of your blood vessels to remove toxins and purify your blood. You need to stay hydrated by drinking more water every day. If you do workout, then it’s even more important to hydrate. Sip water instead of gulping down water only after meals. Bonus point? Water helps your skin, hair and fights bad breath too. It’s good for you in every other way.

Be Heart Strong with Running

Running is great for your heart health. If you ever thought of running as an exercise, then this is your cue to do it today. When you run, if improves your coronary arteries’ flexibility. This boosts the blood flow. Therefore, no lumps are formed in your arteries. Blocked arteries lead to heart attack. You don’t have to run 20 kilometers every day. Walking is just as good.

Have more Sex!

Sex can tire you out, it can excite you, increase your heart rate and blood pressure, but the great thing about sex is that it reduces the risk of heart disease by 50 percent because of all the happy hormones released by having sex. These hormones help you relax, reduce stress, improve relationships and help you get better sleep.

Get Adequate ZZZZs

Sleep deprivation contributes to high blood pressure, and that contributes to increased risk of heart disease too. You can stay active all day and go to sleep at least by 10.15 pm to get a full night’s rest. Improve our sleeping environment by dimming the lights, keeping away from smart devices and installing heavy curtains to block out external heat and light.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure

The wearable revolution has made this so easy for you. Check it as often as you can remember and see if it goes above 120/80. After the age of 35, you have to schedule and learn your numbers with a full physical checkup. This should raise a flag and you must go see your doctor to discuss your options.

 

5 Technologies That Are Finding Their Home In Modern Clinics

In a doctor’s overscheduled life, the one thing that has elevated premium is ‘time’. Hospital visits, clinics, surgeries, and paperwork are just a few of the things that fill up a doctor’s day. With little or no time left in hand after doing the most important thing that they do, that is to look after their patients, managing a doctor’s diary is no mean feat. However, given the time that we are in, technology is making itself quite comfortable in the doctor’s clinic and helping that ecosystem become more organised, sorted and productive, which, at the end of the day, is making the life of the doctor easier to manage. In this blog, we take a look at five technologies that are making their home in modern day clinics and helping them function better, smarter and with greater efficiency

Appointment Management System

Managing multiple calendars for appointment management is a time-consuming task, one that is prone to the errors of overscheduling which leads to poor time management. Modern day clinics are leveraging appointment management applications that give them a bird’s eye view of the doctor’s schedule and helps them plan, schedule and organise patient appointment better and avoid overlaps. Since most doctors usually have more than one clinic to run, with the help of such a system scheduling and re-scheduling of appointments can be done with greater efficiency and each clinic can keep track of the daily appointment schedule without the burden of unnecessary overlaps.

Patient Data Management

In order to enhance the quality of care and improve patient outcomes, patient data management systems are being leveraged not only by large hospitals but smaller clinics as well. Having a central data repository that contains all the relevant patient information can be a huge boon for the doctors. There are so many times that the doctor and patient’s time is rendered unproductive because the patient is not able to provide some relevant report or health-related information at the time of the appointment. Having a record of all reports, x-rays, blood work, scans, lab reports, and other such test results and patient history etc. in one central database that can be accessed anytime, anywhere ensures that the time spent with the patient is productive and constructive and unnecessary delays are avoided at all costs.

Smartphones aka mHealth

Since smartphones today are being used for everything from managing your banking and finance activities to shopping, why should healthcare be left behind? Doctors today are using their smartphone for a lot more activities than just checking their emails. Healthcare applications that allow them to manage their practice, access patient data and health records, check their clinic’s finances, referrals and resource utilisation etc. are witnessing increased adoption. With the help of technologies such as the cloud, all the information that a doctor could want to ensure that his/her practice is running smoothly is now readily accessible at their fingertips through their smartphone. Utilising such integrated healthcare management applications is helping doctors manage their time better as they can access any piece of information that they want, when they want, irrespective of where they are.

Big Data Analytics

Big Data has generated a lot of hype and the healthcare industry is no stranger to this technology. While for a decade or so, big data adoption was done primarily by larger medical outfits and pharma companies to improve their outcomes, accelerate innovation and drive research, big data analytics is now making its home in modern day clinics as well. Such clinics are utilising data analytics to meet their analytics and reporting needs and improve patient outcomes. For example, with the help of big data analytics, clinics dig deep into patient data and lab results to identify trends in a year when a particular ailment strikes more viciously than others. It can also help them identify patients who are ‘at-risk’ for these ailments and help them take preventive action. Data analytics is also being used in clinics to analyse the relationships between treatment plans and diagnostics, identify potential treatment plans, establish benchmarks for quality, optimise operational workflow management and also create data-driven patient population lists.

AI Diagnostics

While computers and Artificial Intelligence cannot replace doctors, they most certainly can help the doctors by providing them with clinically relevant data in real-time to better patient outcomes. Diagnostic AI systems are already in use in some modern day clinics and use biometric data clubbed with the patients’ health data to assess the conversation between the doctor and patient and make notes and suggest treatment plans. AI systems also send pop-up notifications to the doctor’s phones when they see that a particular medication might not work for a person for some reason such as a genetic trait. This allows the doctor to change the prescribed medication quickly. These systems can also help doctors identify which patients are more likely to require certain medications in the future and assess the risks associated with alternate medications etc.

Just like hospital management systems have made hospital operations better and have significantly helped in improving patient outcomes, adopting technology in the modern day clinic is only going to improve efficiencies, help doctors win the race against time, and enable them to keep their focus on the singularly most important facet of the entire healthcare ecosystem – the patient.