‘We are on a collision course’: As virtual care booms, experts call for new health data privacy protections

A drop in your daily step count. A missed period. A loss of hearing. If it’s collected by a smartwatch or wearable, that health data isn’t protected the same way your medical records are.And as wearables like smartwatches and headphones sweep up an increasing amount of health data — flagging potential medical issues that could be used for ad targeting or to discriminate against someone — some lawmakers and researchers are calling for a reconsideration of the current approach.In a sign of the increasing urgency of the problem during the current virtual care boom, U.S. senators last month reintroduced a bill that would make it illegal for companies like Apple, Amazon, or Google to sell or share the data collected by wearables. Violations of the act would be enforced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the same manner it enforces the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.Legal experts consider the move a step in the right direction, but caution t...

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VR and AR Simulation Medical Training Can Reduce Medical Errors

by Adam Dougherty, MD, MPH Chief Medical Officer, SimXHuman error is an inevitable event in the practice of any trade, including healthcare and medicine. The errors made in medicine can have many negative effects for patients and healthcare providers. A study out of Johns Hopkins in 2016 found that medical errors accounted for over 250,000 deaths annually in the United States – making it the third leading cause of death in the country (Makary 2016). Research has shown that most medical errors occur during the administration and prescribing stages of healthcare (Durham 2008). Many errors can be reduced in frequency with training, education, and practice. This makes the use of medical simulation-based training a valuable tool.Perhaps one of the first industries to demonstrate that simulation training can reduce error was the aviation industry. The first aviation simulator was purchased and implemented by the Army in the 1930s following some fatal accidents during training. This revolutio...

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Prescription Stimulant Education

If you’re a caregiver — perhaps a parent or family member — of someone who has been prescribed a stimulant medication to help manage their ADHD symptoms, these education modules will help you understand the medication, and how you can support your loved one’s proper use of it.

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Prescription Opioid Education

Opioids are a class of drugs related to opium, and are often prescribed to manage pain because they contain chemicals that help mask pain sensations and block pain signals. However, opioid medication addiction is becoming a national epidemic, with two out of three drug overdose deaths in the US involving an opioid. In this series of modules, you’ll learn essential information about opioids, including types of opioids (illegal and legal), prescription use, the dangers of misuse, and how to recognize Opioid Use Disorder.

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Managing Mental Health Challenges

Mental well-being is knowing and doing the things that make you happy, living a life that aligns with your personal values, and engaging in meaningful relationships with others. Maintaining healthy mental well-being also means knowing how to manage challenges effectively so we can live more fulfilled lives. Using self-management techniques may be an important part of a treatment plan developed with your provider, and for some types of mental health challenges, these techniques may have as positive an impact on mental health as professional treatment. In the upcoming activities, you’ll learn about mental health challenges and practical strategies to help support your mental well-being. Let’s take a closer look.

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Mental Well-Being Basics

Mental well-being is knowing and doing the things that may make you happy, living a life that aligns with your personal values, and engaging in meaningful relationships with others.It also means understanding yourself and your personal needs, and seeking out help if you may be experiencing challenges to your mental health.In the upcoming activities, you’ll explore and learn more about mental well-being, common mental health challenges, and how to seek help for yourself and others. Let’s take a closer look.

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These were the specialties that used telehealth the most in 2020: study

by Robert KingEndocrinologists and gastroenterologists were the specialty clinicians that used telemedicine the most last year during the onset of the pandemic, a new study found.The study, released Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, gives a look at who flocked to telemedicine from January to June 2020 and what types of patients employed the technology. The COVID-19 pandemic and new flexibility from the federal government led to massive increases in telemedicine use across the healthcare industry.“Telemedicine use during COVID-19 varied across different clinical settings and patient populations, with lower use found among insurance enrollees in disadvantaged areas,” the study said.Before COVID-19 hit the U.S., fewer than 2% of clinicians in each of the specialties examined used telemedicine. There was an exception among mental health clinicians like psychologists (4.4%) and psychiatrists (5.5%).Researchers analyzed outpatient visit volume for telehealth from Jan. 1 to March 17 and ...

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