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Walgreens Steps Foot into the Telehealth Sector

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Walgreens now provides easier access to your local healthcare providers through their new telehealth application: Find Care Now. This digital health service eases patients with busy schedules by connecting to a live provider from anyplace a patient wishes to connect.

The starting cost begins at $59 without insurance, and already 5 million active members have been introduced with this new link to healthcare services. After hearing about Amazon’s initiative to push into the healthcare industry with their small retail pharmacy called  PillPack, Walgreens partnered with other health care providers to introduce their new mobile health system.

The future of the drugstore industry has shifted with the increasing availability of selling and delivering prescription drugs online. The mobile app has been launched, and currently, Walgreen’s company officials are adding more features to their application and working with 17 other participating providers.

Soon enough, the digital marketplace will reach every household and has the potential to transform the healthcare platform significantly. Patients and physician will both benefit from having the opportunity to communicate with the convenience of being in separate locations.

A predicted number of 7 million Americans will be utilizing the telehealth platform in 2018. It targets underserved populations to provide primary care services for people, with or without insurance. The future of telemedicine is continuing to push boundaries and consumers are anticipating the next biggest technology these companies will soon establish.

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Interviews and Stories

Meet Jody Margolis M.S., R.D.

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Jody Margolis is a registered dietician at the University of California, Irvine who is passionate about health, wellness, and food. She has been working in the field of nutrition for over 20 years and strives to educate college students on weight management, wellness, nutrition, and meal prep techniques. Here is the interview that Margolis did with Word of Health in which she discusses her profession, influences, and beliefs about the field of nutrition.

  1. Can you tell me a little about yourself and why you are interested in the field of nutrition?
    • I was a biology major at UC San Diego on the pre-med track. I took a nutrition course in the biology department and fell in love with that subject. I decided to investigate the field of nutrition and shadowed a registered dietician. After UCSD, I went on to get my Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Metabolism. Growing up I was a dancer; I was always conscientious of what I put into my body. Healthy eating and general wellness was always important to me, and learning how nutrition impacts so much of our physical and mental health made nutrition a match. I knew I wanted to be a healthcare provider, but nutrition is what really aligned with my passions.
  2. What are your past work experiences and how did you get into dietetics?
    • I went to Boston University to get my graduate degree and did my internship that is required to be a dietician. I then worked on the clinical side in a hospital, and I loved being in that hospital setting. When I moved back to California, I moved to outpatient community setting, and I worked as a specialist in HIV medicine for 8 to 10 years. At the time, the AIDS epidemic was really bad, and doctors had not discovered medications that are as effective as they are today.  I worked in side-effect management, as these medications caused a lot of gastrointestinal side effects. A lot of people had wasting syndrome and lost quite a bit of muscle mass and body fat. I helped provide education on basic food safety and the importance of food nutrition throughout the HIV disease process. I then decided to make a change and moved over to treat childhood obesity and received a certificate in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management. I then transitioned into adult weight management and now I am in collegiate health.
  3. What is your greatest professional achievement?
    • I have received a Prevention Award from the Irvine Prevention Coalition and last year I was interviewed in OC Parents Magazine. The highlight for me was to spread the message of the importance of a healthy, balanced diet to kids and their families. This is the community I live and work in, and to know that I have an impact within that community is rewarding.
  4. What or who is the greatest influence in your life?
    • My parents always taught me the importance of eating together as a family and preparing fresh homemade food. At the same time, however, I saw people in my life who mattered struggle with being overweight and dealing with heart disease. I always wanted to help them and understand why some people struggle with their weight more than others and their relationship with food.
  5. What is your most and least favorite thing about your job?
    • My favorite thing about my job is being able to connect with people and feel like you have helped them to learn about their relationship with food and how they can improve their eating habits to make them feel better. The biggest challenge is that sometimes you can put tools in someone’s toolbox and they are just not quite ready to use them. I can educate and motivate them but sometimes they are just not in a place of readiness to make the change. And sometimes that is okay. In college, students are alone and learning how to be independent. I want to be an ear to listen to them, and help them with adulthood through cooking and meal-prepping skills. I also educate students about stress eating and disordered eating. I also give them a safe space to talk about depression and anxiety and how it may be affecting their diet and refer them to a therapist. Being that listening ear to students is extremely rewarding.
  6. What is your favorite go-to recipe to share with students?
    • I try to teach students how to make different Chipotle-like bowls at home. It can be the Mexican style bowl, but it can also adapt to different cuisines. For example, you could swap out the beans and Mexican vegetables for tomatoes, cucumber, and hummus to make a Mediterranean style bowl. Or you can do an Asian Buddha bowl and add tofu, edamame, and other spices. It is really about finding where students spend a lot of time and money—at Panda Express and Chipotle. You can make that cheaper and healthier at home. You can change the flavor through the seasoning but keep the key elements the same with meat, legume, grain, and vegetable.
  7. What are your thoughts about health policies regarding nutrition?
    • The US lags behind Europe in specific policies, especially through marketing unhealthy food to children in commercials. We think about Happy Meals or things with high sugars in breakfast cereals. Europe has been much stricter in marketing things that are unhealthy. We have a long way to go in constructing policies to prevent the obesity epidemic.  It is a free society and people want to have choices, but at the same time, our nation has an obesity epidemic, so we need more public health policies to support nutritional health.
  8. What are some misconceptions that patients may have about nutrition/diet in general?
    • It is so important to know that nutrition is evidence-based. Many people get misinformation from the internet, and getting information from a website that is full of testimonials but not backed by science can be harmful and can lead to following fad diets, disordered eating, etc.  I try to teach students where to get the right information. At the same time, I make sure I stay up to date on the latest developments in my field via conferences, webinars, scientific journals, etc.
    • Coconut water and gluten-free products are things that I have seen rise in popularity. For the most part, I remind people that food companies are in business to make money and it is important to be an educated consumer. I also worry about fad diets on the internet, which are not scientifically backed.
  9.  What are your thoughts on nutrition and wellness?
    • Being a more mindful eater is extremely important in terms of thinking about how sustainable a food product is and how it impacts the environment. We can make changes for ourselves, but that can create a ripple effect when that change is made by others.
  10.  What are some of your additional hobbies and how does that connect to your profession?
    • I love to travel, and I have traveled to 5 of the 7 continents. I also love to hike and do yoga. Connecting to nature is how I connect my hobbies to my passion for nutrition, and I think that shows through my cooking, as I try to focus more on plant-based food. With traveling, you learn from new cultures. It exposes you to the differences and similarities in humanity. For so many people, food is a celebration, culture, and traditions. The food might vary, but we all like to honor different moments of our lives in similar ways. It makes you realize that we are not all that different from one another.

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A-Z

Common Signs of Low-Grade Inflammation and Why You Should Care

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What is inflammation? Inflammation is defined as a biological response to remove dangerous stimuli and begin the healing process as fast as possible. Inflammation, in its acute form such as injury and infection, is quite noticeable. However, low-grade inflammation is crucial to watch out for. Low-grade inflammation can manifest itself through chronic pain. Even if there are smaller signs of low-grade inflammation, treating these symptoms will secure your body from confronting the long-term and harmful effects of this health problem. Here are a few signs of low-grade inflammation that you may want to watch out for.

1. You Notice Swelling

If you feel swelling after some injury or for no particular reason, then this is an alarming situation. This is important to consider even if you feel minimal swelling. People generally acknowledge this symptom when some part of body is extremely swollen or sore. However, medical advice says that it is important to check up even the most minute swellings to prevent problems in the long run.

2. You Feel Tired Without any Reason

Low-grade chronic inflammation can make you tired even if there is no physical activity. Although, this particular symptom might not jump out to you instantly, it is necessary to watch if it continues on for long. Moreover, if you have iron deficiency or constant fatigue, then this may be pointing out a sign of mild inflammation.

3. You Have Unexplained Pains and Aches

Another highly vague, yet common symptom of low-grade inflammation is pains and aches. If you are not doing any hectic or stressful activity and your body hurts, then it shows that there is something that needs serious attention.

4. You Have A Very Low Mood

A possible cause for depression or mood swings can indeed be be inflammation. The way in which inflammation affects brain function can result in depressive brain episodes. Appropriate care by doctors, nurses, and therapists should be administered if this continues to happen for a long period of time.

5. You Feel Foggy

Inflammation also causes the problem of brain fog. This is a genuine medical issue that is confronted by people who have chronic health conditions. Brain fog can result in cognitive impairment, depression, anhedonia, fatigue, and fever.

6. Your Joints Feel Tender

Long-term low-grade inflammation can cause severe damage to tissues of your body. So, if you feel that your joints are getting tender or raw, then this is a condition that needs serious attention by a medical professional.

Even if the aforementioned symptoms are not bothering you much at start, they should be treated sooner so that they do not become extremely serious. Since the symptoms of low-grade inflammation are extremely widespread, it may require hard work to diagnose the root cause of such health issues.

Sources:

  1. https://www.bustle.com/p/7-signs-you-have-low-grade-inflammation-why-you-should-pay-attention-to-it-16102033
  2. https://bodyinmind.org/low-grade-inflammation-brain/
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php

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Digital Health

The Connection between Smartphones and Atrial Fibrillation Detection

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After seven years of extensive research and development, a new app created at Turku University, Finland recently revealed that it could detect atrial fibrillation without the use of additional equipment. The phone application has the possibility to save lives across the globe because timely diagnosis of the atrial fibrillation is vital in stroke prevention. This joint research of Turku University & the Turku Heart Centre has studied 300 patients having heart-related issues; half of them were having atrial fibrillation. And, the researchers also identified the patients having atrial fibrillation from another group with the smart mobile. The phone app, which was designed at Turku University, had detected which group members had  atrial fibrillation, that too with a 96% accuracy with few false positives.

Members of the study included those who had ventricular extrasystole, heart failure, and coronary disease. With a wide spectrum of heart conditions, the research at the University of Turku was conducted as blind research, meaning that the hospital sent measurements of data for conducting analysis even without any additional information of specific patient conditions. The complete analyses were then sent back to the University of Turku hospital to further examine the reliability.

Is Atrial Fibrillation always Detected at the Doctor’s Office?

No, atrial fibrillation is not always detected at the doctors office, even if it is in its intermittent stages. Proper detection of atrial fibrillation has been a pertinent challenge in medicine due to its affordability constraints.

During the seven year period, the researchers decided to check whether it’s possible for them to detect the atrial fibrillation from micro movements in the chest along with accelerometers.  In the year 2017 when the research was completed, they ascertained that it is quite possible. This means that everyone who owns smartphones has the potential to detect atrial fibrillation, as most smartphones have an accelerometer.

Therefore, this mobile application not only can direct patients straight to doctors without any further delay but can also lead to significant economic savings.

When will we see the App in the Market?

The researchers aim to make this app available for everyone relatively soon and believe that the app can spread to the world market. The commercialization of this app is quickly advancing. Currently, the researchers have applied for patent protection regarding all the new techniques which are at the initial stages of the research.

Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180316100609.htm

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