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The Opioid Crisis and the American Workplace

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When someone is suffering from addiction, their first instinct is to hide it. Addiction should be treated as the medical issue that it is, but unfortunately it is often treated as a criminal matter best suited to punishment. This causes unintended problems in the workplace, where people who may have developed an addiction to opioid pain medications in particular find that it’s easier to perpetuate their addictions than to seek help. It’s easier to get opioids, after all, than it is to keep your job so you can keep your health insurance so you can pay for addiction treatment that you have to take time off to receive. What if there were a better way?

Making it part of your normal HR training to ensure that anyone dealing with the medical problem of addiction has a path not only to recovery but also back into the workplace is the best way to treat addiction in the workplace. Outline processes and expectations for recovery so that people know they won’t be losing a job and potentially ending up homeless because of a medical condition. Ensure there’s a path back to their job that includes mentoring to help keep them on the right path.

Learn more about fighting opioid addictions in the workplace from the infographic below.

Infographic by US Drug Test Centers

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Excessive Training Can Hinder Athletes’ Brains

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Researchers discovered that after multiple weeks of overtraining, the brain demonstrated decreased activity in areas about decision-making. Overworked athletes were found to be less willing to exert themselves for long-term rewards. This finding could potentially shed some perspective on diminished athlete performance when overworked, which is a phenomenon known as overtraining syndrome

The research study involved 37 male triathletes who participated in a training program. Half of the athletes continued with their original workouts, and the other half increased their training by 40%. Participants had their brains scanned, which revealed that there is less brain activity near the prefrontal cortex. They were also asked a series of questions regarding choosing instant gratification or a long-term reward. The researchers determined that overtrained athletes’ responses indicated a desire for instant gratification.

As an athlete increases his or her training, the brain reassesses goals and starts to prioritize them differently. When fatigue increases, the brain shifts from one goal to another as part of a built-in-mechanism. This could mean achieving a goal that will help the athlete recover rather than win. 

What do you think of overtraining, and have you experienced any cognitive deficits with it? Let us know in the comments below. 

Source: 

  1. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/09/26/764604968/too-much-training-can-tax-athletes-brains

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Remote Monitoring of Medical Condition can Enhance Patient Care

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The University of Manchester’s Connected Health team recently developed a smartphone app that would allow rheumatoid arthritis patients to input their symptoms. The data is embedded with the EHR and the results are presented graphically. Researchers discovered that when patients input their data on an app, they can see short and long term trends. Clinicians can then see flares in symptoms that may have been previously overlooked. They can then make more informed, data-driven decisions about the best course of treatment for patients. Mobile app platforms can also further support evidenced-based provider and patient communication.

What do you think the role of technology will be in patient care? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think. 

Source: 

  1. https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/europe/daily-remote-monitoring-rheumatoid-arthritis-patients-can-improve-doctor-consultations

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Pfizer Introduces Robot to Better Analyze Patient Responses

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Pfizer has recently announced that it will begin a one-year pilot program with a robotics company called Catalia Health. Catalia Health has created a home-robot called Mabu. Mabu will help patients maintain their health and educate them about the use of their prescription drugs. The main goal of the one-year program is to help patients adjust to any significant health issue and to allow them to take their medication appropriately. 

Conversational AI allows Mabu to utilize voice interactions. This feature can help reveal a patient’s mood, treat symptoms, and record meaningful data. The information can then be related to medical staff who can assist the patient accordingly. Also, Mabu can predict a patient’s emotional state and deliver a personal response by using affective computing

After initial trials with Kaiser Permanente, 84% of patients are more likely to manage disease symptoms more effectively when they maintain regular interactions with the robot.

To learn more about this topic, please visit https://venturebeat.com/2019/09/12/pfizer-launches-pilot-with-home-robot-mabu-to-study-patient-response-to-ai/ 

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