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The Issue of Online Medical (Mis)Information

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Mar 8, 2019 6:45:00 AM

The internet seems to be a place where people think they can diagnose themselves instead of going to a healthcare professional. The biggest issue here is that if you look up "Why does my head hurt?" on google, you can end up with an answer like, "you may have a brain tumor." Nothing is going to stop this mass of people who use the internet. So, what should be done? More health care professionals need to establish online presence. Doing so would help create better responses and less havoc for people using the internet for medical knowledge.

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Topics: Prevention, Ask the Doctor, Patient Education, Doctor-Patient Relationships

A Closer Look at "Surprise Billing"

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Mar 1, 2019 6:45:00 AM

As the dilemma of "surprise billing" at hospitals around the nation gains scrutiny from the White House and Congress, many major hospital groups indicated they want a hand in shaping the conversation. In a letter sent to the Congressional leaders, from the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals, laid out principles they want legislators to consider as they seek to address the problem. Their solutions aimed at policies for health payers and asked for protection for the patients. Notably, however, they also opposed the controversial practice of balance billing by providers.

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Topics: News, Medical Law

Five Tips for Child Health From a Pediatrician

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Feb 22, 2019 6:45:00 AM

Making sure your child is healthy in adulthood begins when he or she is young and full of life. Kids today have created bad habits for themselves that could lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity in their future. However, this can be stopped by parents who are aware of the potential disasters their kids could be facing. Parents need to be good role models and exhibit better habits. Which in return would make the children follow suit.

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Topics: Prevention, Ask the Doctor, Patient Education

Another Falsified EHR Vendor Identified

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Feb 15, 2019 5:45:00 AM

Greenway Health, A Tampa-based electronic health record (EHR) company has falsely obtained EHR certification and incentivized clients in exchange for promoting or recommending its products to prospective new customers, and because of this act, the company will be dishing out $57.25 million.

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Topics: News, Medical Law

The "War on Opioids" Needs to End

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Feb 8, 2019 6:00:00 AM

"With the first cut of the scalpel, excruciating pain exploded in my foot, and I was shocked speechless. I froze, paralyzed, terrified that any movement would jostle that knife digging into my flesh." Angelika Byczkowski, a patient suffering from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) has felt multiple surgeries through anesthetics.

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Topics: Insider, Treatment, Opioids, Medical Law, Doctor-Patient Relationships

Big Hospitals Sue HHS

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Feb 1, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Hospitals are beginning to follow in the footsteps of the American Hospital Association and are suing the Trump Administration for its decision to institute site-neutral payments.

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Topics: News, Insider, Group Health Plan, Medical Law, Medicare, Doctor-Patient Relationships, Affordable Healthcare

Walgreens Becoming the New Leader in the Consumer Health Market

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Jan 25, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Walgreens and Microsoft are teaming up to become the most efficient consumer health market available. The two powerhouse companies are going to bring new technology and retail innovations to alter the healthcare delivery space. This multi-year agreement is being aimed to lower the costs of medical supplies and improve patients’ wellbeing. Walgreens has been making impressive partnerships with companies over the last few months to bring their customers the best experience possible. Walgreens has also made agreements with Silicon Valley, Verily, Alphabet Inc. and LabCorp to bring both new technology and more effective healthcare resources to consumers.

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Topics: News

The Improvement of AI’s Application in Healthcare

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Jan 18, 2019 9:32:34 AM
Artificial intelligence beat out a professional looking for precancerous changes in the cervix. The National Cancer Institute designed the AI's algorithm for low-resource areas. The machine was given around 60,000 images from a study done in the 1990s in Costa Rica. These images then helped accurately identify cervical cancer. When the AI was then tested, it overperformed from its human counterparts.
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Topics: News

Government Shutdown & Healthcare

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Jan 11, 2019 7:00:00 AM
The government shutdown between President Trump’s administration and congressional Democrats regarding funding of the “border wall” leaves many with questions regarding its immediate impact on changing current healthcare systems. While the ongoing partial government shutdown leaves the majority of the federal government’s public health programs unaffected, the lack of funding to specific departments has the potential to alter some important health-related initiatives.

Due to the passing of five major appropriation bills by Congress, the funding of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs has remained. This funding dampens immediate large-scale negative impacts because many government healthcare programs such as Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid are insulated and funded through September. Additionally, two other critical unaffected departments are the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, allowing for the continuation of public health surveillance and significant biomedical research respectively. Unfortunately, other government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration are greatly affected. Due to the Department of Agriculture being completely shut down, the FDA is currently only operating at 60% of regular employees leading to potential problems regarding regulations and mandatory recalls of possible harmful goods.

Another detrimental effect of the government shutdown is an impact on the Indian Health Service (IHS). The IHS receives all of its funding from the recently shut down Department of the Interior, which has had widespread consequences to Native American tribes. The only services that can continue in these areas are “immediate needs of the patients, medical staff and medical facilities” and this lack of funding has been extended to suspending grants and other IHS health programs.

Well-known departments and agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs and the Environmental Protection Agency have already been displaying negative aftermath of the government shutdown with all signs pointing to large detrimental effects if this continues for an extended period. Health inspectors at the United States borders and the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office have already faced setbacks causing increased concern regarding possible decreased safety of US citizens. Furthermore, even the National Park Service has ceased all restroom maintenance and trash service due to funding leading to closures of popular parks such as Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Park due to unsanitary conditions.
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Topics: News, Medicare, Affordable Healthcare

Social Determinants of Health Influence in 2018

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Jan 4, 2019 7:00:00 AM
Social determinants of health (SDOH) started becoming more mainstream of a concern for the greater healthcare system in 2018. An individual's socioeconomic status can put their health at risk. Locally, this has become even more apparent since Hurricane Michael hit the panhandle last October. SDOH is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.” These conditions can determine the health of people.

People have been living in unimaginable conditions since Hurricane Michael hit on October 10th, 2018. We are now in 2019, and many are still unable to live in their homes. Without proper housing and the many hazardous conditions around the panhandle that extend farther than just at home, there has been an increased rate of injury and illness. This hurricane has provided us with a prime example of social determinants impacting health.

The healthcare system has avoided addressing the issue of social determinants for a long time. In 2018, newly launched initiatives, as well as studies showing the need for these initiatives, have caused the healthcare system to take a new look at social determinants and how to address them.

Factors such as housing, transportation, food assistance, and personal finances have been taken into account to begin the process of reassessing healthcare's take on social determinants. People with limited access to transportation and housing are at a higher risk of injury or illness, especially when they have limited ways to get to a physician. Medicaid plans on helping to offer affordable housing to those who need it. Patients without transportation often forego making an appointment or miss them when they do have them. Uber recently launched a “health dashboard” to provide free rides for those unable to get to a doctor when they need to.

In addition to this, Geisinger Health System started “Fresh Food Farmacy,” which cut costs among diabetic patients from anywhere between $48,000 to $240,000 per member. This caused the risk of serious complications or death for people with diabetes to drop to 40%, a great win for those working with diabetics. Cigna is also planning on offering financial planning services for their group members, as announced in December 2018. Financial stress can take a significant toll on a person’s physical and mental health.

With many physicians claiming social determinants “aren’t their problem,” there is still a long way to go with maintaining equity among Americans. However, now that the panhandle is experiencing even more of these social determinants than usual, we have been provided a new chance to tackle these determinants and make the panhandle a healthier place for everyone. These social determinants will continue to play a significant role in local health for everyone involved with the hurricane, but choosing to see the positive side of this great opportunity is best for our county's health.
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Topics: News, Prevention, Medicare, Doctor-Patient Relationships, Affordable Healthcare

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