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Participatory Health: A New Paradigm Centered Around the Patient

participatory health

The National Council on Aging reports that one third of all chronically ill people say they leave a doctor's office or hospital feeling confused about what they should do to continue their care; 44 percent of people (aged 44 and older) with chronic conditions want their doctors to spend more time talking with them; and 57 percent report that their healthcare providers have not asked whether they have help to manage their conditions at home.

Most of these concerns arise from the fragmented nature of health care delivery in America and the fact that there's often a gap, a disconnect in the amount of digital health information and the exchange of data among providers, patients and caregivers. How often do patients go in for routine tests but never receive a call about their results, good or bad? Why do some patients wait hours to see a physician, only to spend 15 minutes in the exam room and not have all of their concerns heard or addressed?

The healthcare system today is so taxed that physicians often feel pressure to see as many patients as possible, in the shortest amount of time. Though it's a sad state of affairs, the impact can be minimized through today's increasing reliance by society on mobile devices, which can lead to better patient-provider interactions. mHealth, participatory health and participatory medicine are just a few terms that address this new area of healthcare but what do they all mean?

Understanding mHealth

According to the mHealth Initiative, only one year ago, many people didn’t know the meaning of the term "mHealth." Now more and more individuals are familiar with the term (also written as m-health or sometimes mobile health), a recent moniker for medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices.

With the lofty, ambitious and admirable goal of connecting providers, patients, payers, and others came a complement to this endeavor, the idea of better communication in healthcare through participatory health.

Defining Participatory Health

Most experts define participatory health as a partnership between patients and providers and trusted experts, one in which participation is enabled and enhanced by technology such as the Internet and mobile health platforms.

Participatory health is also sometimes referred to as participatory medicine, a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their own health, and in which providers encourage and value them as full partners, according to the Society for Participatory Medicine.

The Need for Participatory Health

In a September 2009 report prepared for the California Healthcare Foundation, "Participatory Health: Online and Mobile Tools Help Chronically Ill Manage Their Care," Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, M.A., M.H.S.A, Think-Health, includes the following quote that speaks volumes about the state of healthcare today and the need for participatory health:

"In our country, patients are the most under-utilized resource, and they have the most at stake. They want to be involved and they can be involved. Their participation will lead to better medical outcomes at lower costs with dramatically higher patient/customer satisfaction." - Charles Safran, M.D., President, American Medical Informatics Association in testimony before the Subcommittee on Health of the House Committee On Ways and Means, June 17, 2004

To this end, companies like Healthetreatment strive to enable individuals to share health and wellness knowledge so that others diagnosed with the same or similar conditions can learn from their experiences. Simply put, the site is creating a catalog of health conditions, symptoms and treatments compiled by real people.

According to Mike Bennett, the founder of Healthetreatment, user-generated health information is more robust and more current than existing medical resources. The key to being current and comprehensive, in his view, is to keep people coming to the website to provide the latest information on their condition.

Achieving the Best Potential Health Outcomes

By linking the patient back to his or her physician or healthcare provider, the m-health and participatory medicine movements will go a long way toward ensuring that patients receive the best possible care and that they play a critical, central role in their own health and well-being. As the e-patient movement gains momentum, the power of the online crowd will grow, allowing for improved medical outcomes and quality of life through better healthcare communication.

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Toradol Pain Medicine

Toradol is commonly prescribed after surgery. It is also sold under the generic name of Ketorolac. It helps reduce hormones in your body that cause inflammation and pain. It is available as an IV additive, injection, and as a tablet form. Tablets should only be used if you have already received the injectable form first. Toradol is not indicated for mild or ongoing pain.

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Important Facts Regarding Toradol

Toradol is used short-term (five days or less) due to the increased risk of serious side effects on your stomach and intestines. Serious life threatening gastrointestinal effects can occur while taking Toradol. Toradol can also increase your risk of life-threatening circulation and heart problems, such as stroke and heart attack. Risks increase with longer use of Toradol. Seek medical care immediately if you experience chest pain, weakness, slurred speech, shortness of breath, vision or balance problems, black or bloody stools, tarry stools, or if you are coughing up blood or vomit that appears to look like coffee grounds.

Reasons Not to Take Toradol

You should not take Toradol if you are allergic to ketorolac, aspirin, or other NSAIDs. People should not take Toradol if they have severe kidney disease, a closed head injury, bleeding in the brain, bleeding or blood clot disorder, stomach ulcer, history of stomach or intestinal bleeding, or if you are breast-feeding an infant. This medication should not be used on anyone under the age of 18 years old.

Administration of Toradol

Toradol should be taken exactly as prescribed. Never take larger amounts of this medicine and never take it for longer than recommended by your physician. Toradol is generally given first as an injection. If you are given a prescription for the tablet form, take the tablet with a full glass of water. Toradol taken long-term can lead to damage of your kidneys and or cause bleeding.

Side Effects of Toradol

Common side effects of Toradol can include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, mild heartburn, stomach pain, sweating, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, and ringing in your ears.

Seek emergency care immediately if your experience an allergic reaction such as hives, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, and or difficulty breathing.

Contact your physician at once and stop taking Toradol if you experience chest pain, weakness, black, bloody, or tarry stools, swelling or rapid weight gain, shortness of breath, slurred speech, fever, sore throat, mouth sores, skin rash, neck stiffness, chills, increased sensitivity to light, purple spots on your skin, or seizures.

Drug Interactions with Toradol

Taking certain anti-depressant medications with Toradol can cause you to bruise and bleed easily. Inform your doctor if you are taking any blood thinners, lithium, alprazolam, thiothixene, methotrexate, diuretics, muscle relaxers, steroids, seizure medications, heart or blood pressure medicines, aspirin or other forms of NSAIDs, and ACE inhibitors. Other medications not listed may interact with this medicine. Always discuss all prescription, over-the-counter medications, supplements, and herbal medications with your physician. Serious drug interactions can occur.

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