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Toxin from tobacco smoke could increase pain in spinal cord injury and worsen multiple sclerosis

Toxin from tobacco smoke could increase pain in spinal cord injury and worsen multiple sclerosis | iMaritha | Scoop.it
A neurotoxin called acrolein found in tobacco smoke that is thought to increase pain in people with spinal cord injury has now been shown to accumulate in mice exposed to the equivalent of 12...

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5 Quick Steps to Market Online and Promote Your Medical Practice

5 Quick Steps to Market Online and Promote Your Medical Practice | iMaritha | Scoop.it

With an increase in competition, insurers that try to dictate coverage, and a decrease in reimbursements, it’s often tough to keep your practice in the black. Every medical practice is looking for new marketing techniques to bring in a steady flow of new patients to boost the bottom line.

If you don’t have a solid online presence, you’re missing out on many patients. Patients now shop for their doctors online, which is why it’s become more important to have a solid online marketing plan. Unfortunately, most practices are failing to harness the power of the web to market their practice.

Why Market Online?

Why should you market your medical practice online? The simple answer – that’s where your patients are. Studies show that nearly 60% of adults within the U.S. head to the web to look up specific health information. Another study done by Compete and Google found that online marketing offers the best channel for reaching patients when they’re trying to find a doctor, dentist, hospital, or other medical facility. Creating an online marketing plan will allow you to reach patients where they are – online. Here are 5 quick steps -

1. Define Your Goals and Budget

The first step to building your online marketing plan is to define your goals and your budget. Do you want to bring more traffic to your practice’s website? Are you trying to increase your Facebook reach? Do you want to turn more website visitors into leads and new appointments? All of your goals should be centered around getting more local patients into your practice. Take a look at your marketing budget, too. Set aside a large portion of that budget to focus on online marketing.

2. Social Media Marketing

With the explosion of social media over the past decade, social media marketing is an essential part of any online marketing plan. What platforms should you market on? It’s tough for a practice to excel at them all, so focus on one or two. Facebook is the one platform nearly everyone should use, since it has more than 2 billion users, and Instagram is another platform to consider, particularly if you want to harness the younger demographics. More and more patients want to engage with their healthcare providers, and using social media allows you to engage with current and prospective patients, building long-lasting patient relationships.

3. Search Engine Optimization

If your website can’t be found with Google, most people won’t know your site exists. When you want to drive more traffic to your website and turn more visitors into patients, you have to make sure your website is visible online. Search engine optimization involves optimizing your website to rank well in search engines. Local SEO is especially important, since your practice wants to bring in local patients. Remember, SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, so results aren’t instant, but when you use it consistently, it pays off big time.

4. Content Marketing

Creating quality content relevant to your practice, services, and expertise is an effective way to bring in new patients and remind your current patients of your value. Using online content marketing offers three unique benefits. It offers continue content to your website, which boosts your SEO efforts. It also helps you create valuable content to be shared on your social media channels. Last, it offers content that readers can digest and then associate with your practice. One of the best forms of content marketing is blogging, focusing on answering questions you commonly get from your patients.

Related Article: 10 Best Tips for Marketing Your Medical Practice

5. Reviews and Reputation Management

Online marketing also involves using reviews and reputation management. Sometimes those reviews can be frustrating because negative reviews usually come from patients who have left your practice upset. Don’t make the mistake of thinking online reviews don’t matter. Patients read reviews and believe what reviews say. A huge percentage of patients look at consumer reviews when consideration a new practice. Begin encouraging current patients to leave a review with you about their experience. If they have a positive review, send them to Healthgrades or Google to share it. Negative reviews can be dealt with by your staff to find the problem and work on it to reach dissatisfied patients while managing what reviews go online.

If you want to take your practice to the next level, bringing in a steady supply of new patients, you need a good online marketing plan. Of course, once you begin bringing in more patients, it’s important to make sure you’re not missing out on money with billing and coding issues. M-Scribe Technologies, LLC can help you with your billing and coding issues so you get the maximum payment for every patient. 


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Cut your calories by 15% to stay young

Cut your calories by 15% to stay young | iMaritha | Scoop.it
Cutting calories by 15% for two years slowed a process that leads to aging and protected against age-related diseases, a new study finds.

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How Often Should My Dental Practice Post on Social Media?

How Often Should My Dental Practice Post on Social Media? | iMaritha | Scoop.it

You’ve set up your Facebook account for your dental practice, landed on a Twitter handle, and maybe even posted on Instagram a few times. Then comes the million dollar question — how often (and what) should you be posting on social media for your practice?

It’s no secret that establishing a social media cadence is key to dental marketing.

Having an active presence attracts new patients, keeps current patients engaged, and drives referrals. But creating accounts and only posting sporadically doesn’t take full advantage of the huge marketing benefits social media provides.

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Contrary to popular paranoia, there really is no such thing as posting too much on social media.

Take Facebook — their News Feed algorithm does a great job at making sure users see a balance of what they care about both as individuals and consumers. This means a lot of content filtering by Facecook.

So while worrying about cluttering your patients’ feeds with posts is kind, remember that it’s highly unlikely they will see every single post of yours.

Posting on social media for your dental practice all comes down to consistency and quality. Creating a regular posting cadence with highly valuable content gives your dental practice dependable visibility on the sites or apps your patients love.

Frequent posting also enables you to accurately test whether or not you’re reaching patients.

Facebook Analytics and Twitter Analytics provide great tools to help you analyze the effect your posts have on engagement, but testing is only accurate with a consistent posting schedule.

Ideally, you want your social media plan to be like your patient schedule — full and organized.

So whether your accounts are set up and a little stagnant, or if you’re just getting started, these tips can help your dental practice up its social media posting game.
 

Facebook

 

How often to post

1-2 posts per day

Having an active and engaged Facebook page is one of the easiest ways to market your dental practice. Odds are, it will be your most effective channel on social media. Therefore, posting at least once a day sets a good foundation for your page.

What to post on Facebook

Your Facebook posts should reflect your dental practice. Be informative, funny, professional, warm, entertaining — be you!

Your Facebook page is like a virtual waiting room for your dental practice. You wouldn’t want to walk into a waiting room that only had the hours and a list of approved insurance providers stapled to the wall.

Engaging dental social media ideasUse or create a hashtag for a weekly post. This is a great way to start building your post schedule. A fun picture of a patient smiling with #sundaysmile, or a quote with the tried-and-true #motivationalmonday, can go a long way while building a content library.Post on national and trending holidays. Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, National Dentist Day, National Brush Your Teeth Day — all carry potential Facebook posts.Repost trending articles or topics. Adding commentary to current dentistry news or new potential services helps build credibility for your practice.Post behind-the-scenes pictures of your office and staff, or host video tours of your office. Photos and videos help create the feeling of a dental community rather than a stark business.

 

Twitter

 

How often to tweet

5+ tweets per day

When it comes to tweeting, the more the better. A tweet’s life cycle is much shorter than a Facebook post, as engagement typically drops off around an hour after tweeting. Shoot for five tweets every day, but don’t hold yourself back.

What to tweet

Keep it short, informative, and use lots of hashtags. Even though last year Twitter doubled the number of characters allowed in a tweet from 140 to 280, brevity is still the soul of wit. Think about what would catch a patient’s eye in their feed.

Follow and share with other dental practices, major businesses, or educational groups in your area. Twitter helps you stay informed and build relationships, but it will also naturally give you endless content to retweet.

Engaging dental social media ideasPost daily updates from your practice. Are you offering new treatments? Did it snow and you took an incredible photo from your office?Share user testimonials. Create a hashtag for your office and encourage patients to share their positive experiences on Twitter.Repurpose your Facebook content for tweets.Follow trending dentistry hashtags, as well as national and local topics that are trending.Retweet reputable industry articles or blog posts that your patients would find interesting.

 

Instagram

 

How often to post

1-2 posts per day

When it comes to breaking down barriers and creating a bond with your patients, Instagram is an ideal dental social media channel. However, posting once or twice a day is plenty for your dental practice.

Unlike Twitter, multiple Instagram posts in one day can appear spammy. For more frequent posting, use Instagram Stories. This is a feature that lets you post photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours.

What to post on Instagram

Each post should reflect your practice’s brand. It should also be curated in a style similar to your other social media feeds. Because Instagram is so integrated with Facebook and Twitter, it is an easy way to share pictures on multiple platforms.

Engaging dental social media ideasPictures of your team — Instagram helps build a sense of community with your staff by sharing special office moments.Photos of smiling patentsHigh quality before and after shots of patients’ smiles (emphasis on the high quality)Shots of your practice or any community events

 

LinkedIn

 

How often to post

1-5 posts per week

Let’s get down to business. Literally.

Posting on LinkedIn is decidedly different from other social media platforms. The LinkedIn crowd is looking to network, get professional updates, and endorse service providers — like their favorite dentist!

Posting once a day during business hours is the norm, so set a goal of at least one post per week to stay active.

What to post

Since LinkedIn is more geared toward your peers than your patients, this is a good place to share professional development.

Post an interesting new study or particular article from a medical journal. Dentistry IQ and Dentaltown are always good for content, too!

Beyond networking, LinkedIn is a good place to post any job openings. Since 46% of LinkedIn users are college graduates, it makes for an excellent marketplace for talent.

Engaging dental social media ideasPatient testimonials or referrals — Again, LinkedIn is all about generating endorsements.Photos of happy patientsA blog post you recently wrote for your site or relevant articlesJob postings — An active LinkedIn account helps attract prospective employees.

 

Snapchat

 

How often to post

1-2 snaps per day

A disclaimer: we get it. It’s easy to brush off Snapchat when creating a marketing strategy for your dental practice. However, Snapchat has proved to not just be a passing millennial trend.

Studies report 158 million users last year, and major businesses and brands are jumping on board with great success.

Though the Snapchat audience is younger it still makes dental appointments! This demographic is much more inclined to remember and return if your practice is visible on the social platforms they use (like Snapchat).

Posting a snap to your story once a day, connecting with patients, and engaging with other community groups opens your practice up to a potentially untapped audience that other practices are likely missing out on.

What to post

Using Snapchat gives you a chance to be authentic and fun. Embrace the filters and show your practice’s personality. Be informative while also entertaining your followers!

Engaging dental social media ideasLinks to your website for patients to make appointmentsUpdates from the officeSpecial offer codes — Taking screenshots is a big component of Snapchat, and fun offers (like an extra free toothbrush on your next visit if you take a screenshot) make for great recall incentives.Create a branded GeoFilter for patients to use at your office — These customized filters cost a little bit of money but enable users to access the filter in specified locations, like your waiting room or operatory. Filters are fun for patients and create instant referrals for your practice.
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Social media and plastic surgery: quality over quantity

Social media and plastic surgery: quality over quantity | iMaritha | Scoop.it

here is no shortage of stress factors in anyone’s daily life, but how does the stress of social media effect plastic surgeons who are required each day to bring their A game to every operative procedure they perform? As initially conceived, social media was intended to connect people globally. But now, it’s the cause of the third leading psychological disorder in the United States—social anxiety disorder.

Inherently, people do not like change and often like technology even less. Think back on any groundbreaking innovation and you will likely recall the initial pushback and dissent that happened just before these gadgets and inventions quickly became essential to daily life—and then disappeared for all eternity. If you’re not convinced, try to recall the last time you used a payphone or a VCR.

Social media has had two dramatic effects on the daily life of plastic surgeons: 1) We now communicate in “real time,” and many find it hard to “shut down” for more than just a few minutes each day. With products increasing the mobility of technology, such as the “shower case” that allows you to bring your cell phone into the shower, you never have to log off. 2) The expectation of 24/7 availability causes unavoidable stress. Think about a time before laptops when you left the office (and your computer) and couldn’t work (even if you wanted to) until you returned the next day. Have technology and social media—specifically Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—turned us all into burned-out workaholics?

Physician burnout is not a new phenomenon. An article by Prendergast and colleagues in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal defined burnout as a state of physical and mental exhaustion, the three main components of which are emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. The article references a litany of articles pointing to causes of physician burnout across all specialties. Especially among younger doctors—who check their phones dozens of times daily—maintaining social media profiles and responsiveness can certainly take a toll, reduce time for other, more physical activities, and contribute to added stress and feelings of burnout. In “When Love Is Not Enough”, I suggest this problem begins early and there is a need to address burnout in medical school, not only when surgeons graduate and begin to practice. Following strategies to avoid physician burnout and improve the work-life balance is critical, since 46% of doctors report struggling with burnout.

Have technology and social media—specifically Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—turned us all into burned-out workaholics?

The adoption of social media use by millennials has led to the need for guidelines surrounding ethical use. Recently, plastic surgery residency programs have begun to utilize social media, in particular Instagram, which has shown meteoric growth among residents. A recently accepted article in Aesthetic Surgery Journal by Chandawarkar and colleagues indicates that the use of social media among residents has many benefits and may increase a trainee’s influence. The need for creation and adoption of guidelines speaks to the broader responsibility and need for appropriate social media use in an era where technology is developing rapidly.

Add to this the natural predilections of doctors—a specialty that in some instances mandates how many consecutive hours they’re allowed to work—and you’ll recognize how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole, and how hard it can often be to climb out. You might set out to spend just a few minutes catching up on Facebook or posting on Twitter, only to realize more than an hour has passed. You might also find yourself following hashtags and being heavily (and unduly) influenced by what you read.

I have observed how plastic surgeons engage social media as a marketing tool though some have refined their craft to provide more than just a “sales pitch”—they offer real value, research, and the occasional comic relief to followers. Patients now follow their doctors (or potential doctors) on social media as a mechanism by which to vet them. What do they post? What is their family like? Are they kind-hearted and skilled enough to perform a particular procedure? Are they ego-centric or condescending?

Every post tells a story. And there are many potential interpretations to each story. Someone is always watching and judging.

Finding the appropriate balance in life, as in work, shows the human side of a surgeon’s life and speaks (potentially) to his or her mental health. A negative byproduct of social media is the “compare and despair” factor that leaves some feeling “lesser than” because they don’t have the same capacity to post photos from Greece or Italy or be seen with key opinion leaders in the field. This may add stress or cause negative feelings. The Aesthetic Surgery Journal recently conducted an informal Twitter survey, asking for an opinion about whether technology/social media causes stress. A surprising 76% of respondents said “yes,” 19% said “no,” and 5% weren’t sure.” Just as academics experience pressure to “publish or perish,” plastic surgeons strive for perfection because that is every patient’s expectation. The perfect nose, the perfect augmentation, the perfectly contoured body—the list is long when it comes to surgical procedures. Could this preoccupation with perfection be adding stress to both surgeons and consumers?

On the bright side, social media allows us to share many success stories in the field of plastic surgery and to educate and mentor, which yields far-reaching positive effects. Social media also allows us to promote our specialty and engage with patients in a casual manner that was impossible ten years ago. Plastic surgeons are on social media to promote their practices and gain new patients, who may not have otherwise been interested in a surgical or non-surgical procedure if it were not for their social media profile and connections.

Does the use of social media translate to more plastic surgery patients—yielding a good return on investment (ROI)? According to Gould and Nazarian—yes—social media has a relatively high ROI. This is the first study we’ve seen to quantify the ROI of social media in plastic surgery.  In this study, the total revenue return for each month was divided by the invested amount for each source including Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, and RealSelf. The authors recommend social media and branding campaigns for start-up practices, and Instagram for direct-to-consumer marketing followed by Yelp, RealSelf, and Facebook to maintain the practice. They caution that any time or money investment should be closely tracked so ROI can be ascertained over time and to ensure the growth of the practice.

Social media is still in its infancy, and it remains to be seen how the positive and negative exposure will affect our lives in the long-term. If we remind ourselves regularly of the goal to add value to the community and help when we can vs out-posting our connections, the true reward will be found in personal engagements and meaningful contacts as opposed to inflating one’s own ego by outdoing others with quantity over quality.

Featured image credit: “Mobile Phone” by geralt. CC0 via Pixabay.


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How Medical Practices Can Leverage Content Marketing

How Medical Practices Can Leverage Content Marketing | iMaritha | Scoop.it

In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, Group3 Communications is featured as one of the Top Content Marketing Agencies in Raleigh. Check out their profile here.

Ten years ago, medical practices could count on new patients coming from physician referrals and word of mouth marketing. Today, patient acquisition is much more complex and nuanced.

Skyrocketing healthcare costs and high deductible health insurance plans, along with the evolution of technology, are causing the healthcare industry to shift and evolve like never before. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reports that 43% of adults with health insurance have difficulty affording their deductible, and 29% of Americans report problems paying medical bills. As many as 27% who have issues affording healthcare have delayed or skipped care due to costs in the past year.

These financial realities have reshaped the way Americans perceive healthcare and led them to become consumers of the industry.

Why Online Matters

At the same time, the use of technology has grown exponentially. As of November 2016, 69% of Americans used social media vs. the 5% in 2005 according to Pew Research Center. In fact, 75% of users check their social media outlet at least once a day, and a 2013 study discovered that seven in 10 internet users look online for answers to health questions. Furthermore, Google conducted a survey that found 94% of patients believe reputation is crucial in selecting a healthcare facility and that the majority of patients go online to research facilities.


As competition among practices intensifies and patients become more reliant on online sources, medical practices and providers have an excellent opportunity to modernize marketing efforts like other industries. A quality content experience can help increase referrals and patient retention while driving patient engagement in meaningful ways.

Here’s how to get launch a successful content marketing campaign for your practice:

#1) Understand Your Patients

A medical practice must first understand its patient base or ideal patient base and align its marketing with patients’ needs before it can build a successful strategy.


Medical practices can use a strategic matrix to track specific audiences and customized messaging.

Take a big picture view of your patients, and consider the different elements of their background such as age, conditions, socioeconomic status, location and other relevant demographics. Determine what information or specific needs these patients want from a practice, and personalize quality content that will appeal to them. Be sure to document your strategy, so your practice’s leadership and marketing will be informed on the target audiences and customized messaging. See table above.

#2) Set Goals and the Metrics of Success for Your Practice

Whether you’re a new solo-practice or a large practice with multiple offices, it’s important to set specific goals that will inform your content strategy and establish how your success will be determined. For instance, a practice focusing on brand awareness will have much different approach than a practice focusing solely on increasing appointments.

Determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) are important. For instance, the practice focusing on brand awareness would value page views, Facebook likes and follows and other similar data points. The practice focusing on increasing appointments would mainly look to website conversions for appointment requests as its main metric for success.


Blog post for an orthopedic practice.

#3) Build Useful and Informative Content

Medical practices have a chance to really shine when it comes to customized content. Primary care and specialty practices already know the common questions and conditions of the patients they see. Use your own knowledge base to create blog articles, videos or social media posts. It’s likely that others are seeking the same information, so your site will build authority and trust over time by tackling subjects that patients want to know. For instance, this orthopaedic practice created a blog post with a list of physician-approved foods that would help reduce joint pain – a subject that resonated well with its audiences and is one of it’s top performing posts.

Other solid assets may be sitting right beside you – physicians and staff! Share profiles and personal stories, so patients can get to know the practice better.

#4) Format Posts for Easy Reading

The most successful and shareable articles and blog posts present information in an easy-to-read format. Keep your paragraphs short and try not to exceed four lines for each one. Break up text with headings, bulleted or numbered lists, links or images.

Ensure that your website is optimized for mobile use as well. It’s essential that you use a framework that encourages users to easily move on to other areas of your site, so users won’t immediately click the back button.

#5) Collaborate

When you collaborate with others to contribute to your content marketing initiatives, you’re proactively putting your content on the path to success. Patients, colleagues, universities, community organizations and a multitude of other people and businesses will want to share your content if they were involved in its creation or have a vested interest.

For example, say a patient leaves an extremely positive testimonial on your Facebook page, it’s a great idea to reach out to that person and ask if you can share his or her story on your blog. If they agree, it’s original content with a personal success story from a patient. It gives you credibility and an enhanced relationship with the patient – plus they will share it within their social circles.

#6) Make Data-Driven Decisions Using Analytics

A healthcare practice is a business where data matters, just like any other industry. Capture web traffic on your website with Google Analytics or another measuring mechanism, and keep track of your social media efforts via native analytics or a social analytics tool such as Sprout Social.

Using the KPIs that you chose at the start of your campaign, gauge your success and adjust your content as needed.


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HIMSS18 – What, Where and How HealthIT can impact healthcare1

HIMSS18 – What, Where and How HealthIT can impact healthcare1 | iMaritha | Scoop.it

With the annual #HIMSS18 conference just a few weeks away, most of the industry’s attention is turning to matters relating to technology, cyber security and the regulations around HealthIT. We thought it would be fitting, therefore, to team up with the wonderful folks at @HIMSS for a tweetchat focused on technology and healthcare.

 

I am a fan of artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality (even though I cannot physically use VR for more than 2 minutes at a time). However, the technology that I’m most intrigued by is 3D printing – specifically the 3D printing of organs and organic material.

 

First, there is the impact this technology could have on solving hunger and nutrition. Imagine if we could “print” healthy food in places where growing it is difficult or where shipping it is cost-prohibitive. Imagine also if we could print foods that are personalized to each person’s unique metabolism and dietary needs. The impact on public health would be significant and worldwide.

 

A long time ago I read a science fiction novel that talked about the advent of this type of technology: Gateway by Fredrick Pohl. The novel made frequent mention of something called CHON-food. Pohl imagined a world where CHON machines were able to replicate food by combining four key elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. The advent of these machines helped to solve world hunger and ended many of the wars for water and food that that plagued the Earth. I hope we are at the start of CHON revolution.

 

Second, there is the impact of 3D printing on surgery and transplants. Researchers are very close to being able to print human skin using organic printers that can be used in reconstructive surgeries. The impact this technology could have on burn patients would be incredible. So too could the impact on patients that need a transplant. According to UNOS, every ten minutes someone is added to the national transplant waiting list and on average 20 people die each day while waiting for a transplant. With organ-printing technology these premature deaths might be prevented. Using tissue samples, organs can be printed to exactly match the patient’s physiology. Bonus: no more worries about organ rejection.

 

I’ve got my eye on 3D printing and over the next few years I expect it to have an impact beyond technologies like AI, machine learning and analytics. However, it’s going to take time for this technology to mature. In the meantime, there are certain areas of healthcare that can use a little boost TODAY.

 

Patient engagement and behavior change is an area of healthcare I hope #HealthIT will be able to help. Patients are the most untapped resource available to healthcare. Despite all the trackers, portals and video tutorials, health literacy remains extremely low. Some would argue that the widespread adoption of EHRs had even contributed to patient dis-engagement as doctors and nurses spend more time staring at screens rather than speaking to patients about their health. I see a golden opportunity in healthcare for patient engagement technology.

 

In the early 90s, the field of behavioral economics took shape. Richard Thaler, the University of Chicago professor who recently won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, began publishing a series of papers that combined psychology and economics. His work led many to begin studying the ways that human behavior influences financial decisions. We need to apply those same theories to healthcare and design #HealthIT systems that nudge patients (and clinicians) into healthier behaviors.

I am incredibly excited about the future of healthcare. I am certain we are making progress towards a brighter day for patients, doctors, nurses, family caregivers and administrators. As I walk the #HIMSS18 exhibit hall I will be on the hunt for companies that share this outlook and whose products show clear signs of patient/provider design input.


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FDA Regulation Defines Business Strategy in Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing – Biotech Connection Bay Area

FDA Regulation Defines Business Strategy in Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing – Biotech Connection Bay Area | iMaritha | Scoop.it

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Advances in Treatment of Stage IV Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: The Role of Anti-Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Monoclonal Antibodies and Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors

Advances in Treatment of Stage IV Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: The Role of Anti-Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Monoclonal Antibodies and Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors | iMaritha | Scoop.it
We summarize the landmark studies over the past two decades that established the roles of anti-EGFR antibodies and TK inhibitors in Stage IV metastatic NSCLC.

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Ecchymotic angioedema in paediatric systemic lupus erythematosus

Ecchymotic angioedema in paediatric systemic lupus erythematosus | iMaritha | Scoop.it
A 14-year-old girl, with systemic lupus erythematosus, with positive antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and anti-DNA, low C3 (60 mg/dL, normal value 90–177 mg/dL) and C4 (5.5 mg/dL, normal value 15–45 mg/dL), presented with a malar rash, knee arthritis and urticarial skin lesions, compatible with an urticarial vasculitis. She was treated with prednisone, mycophenolate mofetil, chloroquine and antihistamine. She opted out of follow-up …

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Near-Infrared Photoactivatable Oxygenation Catalysts of Amyloid Peptide

Near-Infrared Photoactivatable Oxygenation Catalysts of Amyloid Peptide | iMaritha | Scoop.it
A biocompatible photooxygenation catalyst that can selectively oxygenate and degrade
the pathogenic aggregation of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-related amyloid-β peptide (Aβ)
under near-infrared light irradiation has been developed. The catalyst oxygenates
Aβ embedded under the skin of a living mouse and diminishes the intact Aβ level in
an AD-model mouse brain. The new catalyst is potentially applicable for the treatment
of peripheral amyloid diseases and AD.

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7 Low-Cost Ways to Promote Your Medical Practice

7 Low-Cost Ways to Promote Your Medical Practice | iMaritha | Scoop.it

Healthcare marketers understand just how crucial it is to market their private practice in order to gain online visibility and reach their target audience. Marketing is an important way for you to show your skills to your target audiences. As you establish yourself as a healthcare expert, it becomes imperative to build a level of trust between your practice and your patients. Through your various marketing efforts, you can demonstrate your commitment as well as your passion for serving the community.

Like all other businesses, private medical practices must implement effective marketing strategies for accomplishing their business goals. Healthcare marketing requires inventing innovative strategies that are cost-effective, yet results-oriented, and help the marketers connect with their target audiences, increase the bottom line, get an edge over competitors, improve online reputation, promote services and increase their market share.

While there are a bunch of successful digital strategies to market your private practice, nothing can compete with a long-term approach to improving your online reputation. Most successful practices rely on word-of-mouth referrals as their biggest and most efficient source of acquiring new patients. This means, if your existing patients are satisfied with your service, they are more likely to the spread the good word about your practice and refer family and friends to you. However, in the absence of a recommendation, most potential patients turn to online reviews to find the best medical practice in their area. Ensuring your practice is listed on relevant online forums, online directories and review sites is key to driving more traffic to your practice.

With the wide variety of healthcare marketing strategies to choose from, it is normal to feel confused. Keeping this in mind, we have compiled some of the most cost-effective yet efficient marketing tricks for your private medical practice.

Highly effective healthcare marketing strategies that do not cost a fortune

1. Email marketing is one of the best choices for personalized communication. It is cheap, easy and quick. You can use it to stay in touch with your existing and potential patients. According to research by Marketing Sherpa, nearly 60 percent of respondents chose email as the preferred way to receive promotions and updates from companies with which they are interested in doing business.

Email marketing continues to be one of the most cost-efficient healthcare marketing strategies, with some sources claiming an ROI of 400 percent or more. As long as you have an excellent patient database and a steady stream of email blasts, you will be able to see a significant ROI sooner rather than later. A survey by the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric of marketers revealed that in 2016, email marketing generated an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent, which is up from $38 in 2015.
You can send personalized newsletters and e-mailers to targeted groups and individual patients. Email marketing has also proven to be perfect for sending appointment reminders and follow-up emails to ensure your patients do not miss their checkups. Through personalized emails, you can also educate your patients about general healthcare tips, offers and discounts and updates about your staff. It is surprisingly easy to kick-start your email marketing and start attracting more patients.


2. Social media has exploded over the past decade, making it a compelling marketing channel. You can use simple tricks to boost your social media presence, such as adding social media icons to your website and offering incentives to your patients to Like and Share your social posts.

You can start by establishing profiles for your practice on popular social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Keep your profiles updated with fresh content that your target audience would like. Sharing good-quality content about your service offerings is an effective way of marketing your practice. Rich and relevant content will add value to your brand name. Good-quality content plays an important role in search engine ranking.

However, it is important to select your social networks wisely and make sure to dedicate time and effort to promote your practice the right way. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer various advertising options, and most of them are cost-effective. Having an active social media presence is an excellent way to stand out from the competition and build a loyal brand following.

3. A responsive website will not only add to your patients’ experience when they use your website, it will also provide SEO benefits as Google prefers responsive websites over standard websites. A website is an extension of your medical practice and a reflection of the care and expertise you provide to patients. It is important to have a website, and it is equally important to make sure that it looks welcoming and informative.

According to a study by Pew Research Center, nearly 72 percent of U.S. adults search for health-related information online. Therefore, if you want to promote your medical practice online, you will have to maintain a robust online presence. Moreover, if you are using several ways to market your practice online, all of your efforts must point to one central location – your website.

According to a Google survey, nearly 61 percent of people will leave a website if it is not mobile-friendly. So if your website is not responsive, you must upgrade it. Non-responsive websites are not likely to rank well in search engine results. In addition, do not ignore the page load speed of your website. This is because slow-loading websites are abandoned by visitors, which means lost prospects and lost revenue.

4. Patient referrals are worth their weight in gold and will go a long way for your practice marketing. If you did a great job handling a new patient’s health issue and that patient goes on to recommend your practice to his or her friends and family, you are very likely to acquire a new patient. Consider the fact that people are four times more likely to try a new brand or business when it is referred to them by a friend. So why not give your existing patients some added motivation to refer to your practice by offering an incentive?

Establishing a patient referral program does not cost much, and depending on how you plan it, might be free. You could offer your current patients a discount on their treatment in exchange for referring a new patient, or a free consultation if you are really interested in this strategy. For local practices promoting their service on a shoestring budget, an active patient referral program is the best strategy for maximum ROI and practice growth.

5. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the backbone of your digital marketing strategy. It is critical for medical practices to invest in SEO activities because ranking has become very competitive. When a new patient looks up medical practices online, you want to be one of the first names that pop up. So if you plan on expanding your online outreach, be sure to invest effort and resources into effective SEO techniques.

SEO is one of the most efficient techniques for practices trying to gain an edge over their competitors. Regardless of the size of your practice, SEO can help you attract more targeted patients and boost your search engine rankings. Patients are most likely to learn about your services through your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

In addition, relevant content plays an important role in search engine ranking as Google promotes websites that publish original and useful content on a regular basis. Search engines are intelligent enough to understand whether or not you are providing the relevant information. Therefore, stuffing your website with popular keywords may not work for long. Instead, when you invest your time and effort in creating genuine content, search engines will spot it and reward you with a higher ranking.

6. Superior patient experience is an indicator of how well the patient is being treated at your medical practice. Improving patient experiences can lead to an almost 50 percent increase in net margins, regardless of the size and type of your medical practice, revealed Accenture Consulting. With today’s patients actively shopping for healthcare services, patient experience plays an integral role in the growth and profitability of your practice.

Attracting new patients is important, but your marketing efforts should also involve retaining your existing patient base. After all, it is far less expensive to engage existing patients than to acquire new ones. This is why is it critical to establish strong relationships with your patients. One of the ways you can engage your patients is by keeping in touch through emails, newsletters and social networks. You can use personalized emails and social media posts to stay engaged with your patients. The more appreciated your patients feel, the more likely they are to return to your practice and recommend you to their family and friends.

It is also a good idea to follow up with new patients regularly through emails to ensure they are satisfied with your service, and if you sense a problem, take every measure possible to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Sometimes the best healthcare marketing strategies are not strategies at all. If you can create strong relationships with your patients and reward their loyalty, they may become your greatest advocates. Patient referrals are powerful, but many practices neglect to even ask their patients for referrals. Make a point of requesting your patients to recommend your practice to their family and friends.


7. Video content marketing is gaining importance in the healthcare marketing plans of most medical practices, regardless of their size and marketing budget. Most healthcare marketers use video content to engage their potential patients and convert them into regular patients. This is because users are more likely to watch and share video content than other forms of content. The video is an excellent tool for healthcare marketers to showcase their vision, products, services and announcements for maximum online outreach.

Brand building and video marketing go hand in hand. If you are looking to improve your brand image, you need to create compelling video content that resonates with your target audience. Your video should tell your story and maximize your outreach. However, with hundreds and thousands of practices spawning every day, it is getting harder to cut through the noise and convey your message to the target audience. According to healthcare marketing experts, 2018 is the year when private practices should explore video content types to acquire new patients and improve their reputation.

Wrapping Up

The competition among private medical practices is fierce. Online marketing campaigns and paid promotions have become vital functioning limbs in the healthcare business. Before the Internet, private practices only had a few ways to market their services cost-effectively, through printing out fliers or sponsoring local events. However, now there are all kinds of opportunities out there on the Web – you just need to know where to look. So if you find yourself struggling with your revenue and budget, do not resort to cutting marketing out of the equation. Instead, find creative ways to build your brand image that do not require significant investment.


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Are patients using social media to attack physicians?

Are patients using social media to attack physicians? | iMaritha | Scoop.it

I have a colleague who is a pediatrician in private practice in the suburbs. He has a great practice and loves his patients. One day, he walked in 15 minutes late to a 7:00 a.m. meeting we both attend. “Moms are calling early today.” Parents in his practice have learned to bypass their elaborate phone triage system. They have learned that if you press “1” for emergency, an actual doctor will call you back within 15 minutes, regardless of whether an actual emergency exists. When I asked what can be done to curb such behavior, he shrugged and replied, “We’ve tried a few things, but then we just get slammed on Facebook … and that’s bad for the practice.”

Another physician friend provided factual and evidence-based testimony as an expert witness during a legal proceeding. When the proceedings did not go in favor of the plaintiff, they took it upon themselves to post slanderous comments about this physician (not their own personal physician, mind you) on various online forums, including comment sections on advocacy group websites.

Anyone who uses social media knows the vitriol that spills forth should anyone dare make a public statement about topics such as vaccines, essential oils, or GMOs. But this is different. Physicians who are active on social media, which I fully support for many reasons, know going in that they can become a target. It’s part of the job description. In fact, you know you’re actually starting to make a difference once the hateful Tweets start flying.

But what about those physicians or practices that become unwilling targets on social media? What recourse do they have? What can be done? Unfortunately, not much. We are simply playing by a different set of rules. Physicians need to always be mindful of HIPAA laws and patient privacy. If a patient is unhappy with their physician and takes to Twitter or Facebook to post hateful comments, that physician cannot publicly defend themselves. They can’t even acknowledge that they know the patient or that the visit took place as that violates HIPAA. They have to sit back and take their medicine.

 

This type of patient behavior is inappropriate on many levels. Social media affords anyone a platform and ability to type whatever they wish, regardless of merit or truth. Anonymous accounts are the worst offenders, offering strong opinions with no repercussion aside from a suspension of their social media account should enough people complain. What happened to accountability for one’s words or actions?

 

It is important to acknowledge that patients are wronged every day. Some physicians offer poor care to their patients. Personalities may not match, and patients may not feel like their concerns are being heard. There absolutely must be a mechanism for patients to voice their complaints, and there are numerous ways this can occur. But this cannot occur through public-facing social media accounts, and needs to go through the proper channels.  Patients can speak with an ombudsman if their physician works at a hospital or file a complaint with the State medical board. Written documentation is necessary to communicate concerns and also formulate a record that protects the patient and affords the physician an opportunity to discuss their interpretation of events. A third party can then remediate, and disciplinary action can take place when warranted.

In the meantime, physicians need to be aware that this behavior is occurring. They also need to be trained on how to handle these situations. Physicians are not allowed to address any public comments, acknowledge that they know any patient, and especially cannot fight back with negative comments of their own. Hospitals and medical practices can start addressing this by clearly posting information about the process involved for patients who have a complaint. They also need to monitor social media outlets and take these interactions offline as soon as possible. It will take time to see where all of this leads but a collective effort will be necessary to help the medical community respond appropriately.

David R. Stukus is a pediatric allergist and can be reached on Twitter @AllergyKidsDoc.

 

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

 
 

 

 

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Andrea Walker's comment, March 20, 9:22 PM
You can’t control it! People will and should have their say wherever they want to.
Jammal Jones's curator insight, May 10, 11:04 AM

The voice of the displeased!

 

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Passive Detection of Atrial Fibrillation Using a Commercially Available Smartwatch-JAMA Cardiology

Passive Detection of Atrial Fibrillation Using a Commercially Available Smartwatch-JAMA Cardiology | iMaritha | Scoop.it
Abstract:

Importance  Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects 34 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of stroke. A readily accessible means to continuously monitor for AF could prevent large numbers of strokes and death.

Objective  To develop and validate a deep neural network to detect AF using smartwatch data.

Design, Setting, and Participants  In this multinational cardiovascular remote cohort study coordinated at the University of California, San Francisco, smartwatches were used to obtain heart rate and step count data for algorithm development. A total of 9750 participants enrolled in the Health eHeart Study and 51 patients undergoing cardioversion at the University of California, San Francisco, were enrolled between February 2016 and March 2017. A deep neural network was trained using a method called heuristic pretraining in which the network approximated representations of the R-R interval (ie, time between heartbeats) without manual labeling of training data. Validation was performed against the reference standard 12-lead electrocardiography (ECG) in a separate cohort of patients undergoing cardioversion. A second exploratory validation was performed using smartwatch data from ambulatory individuals against the reference standard of self-reported history of persistent AF. Data were analyzed from March 2017 to September 2017.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The sensitivity, specificity, and receiver operating characteristic C statistic for the algorithm to detect AF were generated based on the reference standard of 12-lead ECG–diagnosed AF.

Results  Of the 9750 participants enrolled in the remote cohort, including 347 participants with AF, 6143 (63.0%) were male, and the mean (SD) age was 42 (12) years. There were more than 139 million heart rate measurements on which the deep neural network was trained. The deep neural network exhibited a C statistic of 0.97 (95% CI, 0.94-1.00; P < .001) to detect AF against the reference standard 12-lead ECG–diagnosed AF in the external validation cohort of 51 patients undergoing cardioversion; sensitivity was 98.0% and specificity was 90.2%. In an exploratory analysis relying on self-report of persistent AF in ambulatory participants, the C statistic was 0.72 (95% CI, 0.64-0.78); sensitivity was 67.7% and specificity was 67.6%.

Conclusions and Relevance  This proof-of-concept study found that smartwatch photoplethysmography coupled with a deep neural network can passively detect AF but with some loss of sensitivity and specificity against a criterion-standard ECG. Further studies will help identify the optimal role for smartwatch-guided rhythm assessment.


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Is Your Hospital Technology Killing Time And Productivity?

Is Your Hospital Technology Killing Time And Productivity? | iMaritha | Scoop.it

For community hospitals with small operating margins, clinician time and productivity are at a premium.

Yet, today, clinicians still lose an average of 78 minutes per day to ineffective technology use.

 

If your hospital's information technology hurts time and productivity, here’s some more bad news: Your patient care and revenue suffer, too.

 

But, don’t despair. We’re here to help you spot troublesome IT symptoms in your organization, diagnose the problems and, most importantly, treat them.

Symptoms: Signs Of Poor IT

If your hospital’s clinicians are raising the hue and cry over your IT, you already know there’s trouble afoot.

But, to restore lost productivity (and profitability), you must take stock of your surroundings and see exactly where your technology and processes are falling short.

Here’s a short list of things to look for:

Paper still dominates. Paper-intensive processes dictate most of your workflow after EHR implementation is complete.Manual processes abound. Users don’t trust your systems and resort to manual data entry where automation exists, costing you considerable time.Duplicate or missing data. Patient, medication and billing information is inaccurate or incomplete, leading to mistakes in patient care and/or billing delays.CPOE delegation is the norm. Physicians routinely delegate CPOE to nurses or other staff, slowing down the entry processes and increasing the risk of error.Workarounds are commonplace. In general, users are going around your technology and completing tasks based on preference, not protocol.

Do any of these situations sound familiar? If so, your hospital’s technology is likely creating productivity, care and revenue barriers.

Diagnosis: Who (Or What) Is To Blame?

In most cases, these issues can be traced back to people, processes and technology.

People. Frequently, the source of your IT woes isn’t the technology itself, but rather the people using it. If an anti-IT mentality pervades your hospital, the shiniest, most expensive HCIS in the world won’t deliver value. User workarounds are the most common culprit behind poor data and operational delays.

 

Processes. If your infrastructure and applications don’t align with required workflow, users will find other ways to complete their tasks. Implementing an EHR or any other HCIS for a single purpose – such as meeting compliance requirements or acquiring a new system version – inevitably leads to incongruity between your technology and workflow.

 

Technology. Sometimes, your technology is actually to blame. If your organization has implemented IT best practices and disciplines but still grapples with slow systems or downtime, your technology might not be performing. Certain vendors may be slow to provide critical updates and fixes, further exasperating the issue.

Treatment: Make Your Technology Valuable

It’s time to reclaim your hospital’s productivity, time and profitability.

First, implement effective hospital IT governance and make it the driver for any IT-related decision moving forward. Effective governance looks like this:

A leadership team committed to the use of IT as a care and business facilitatorTechnology purchasing and implementation based on a long-term strategy that’s aligned with patient care and business valueEndorsement of best practices and user adoption at all levels of the organization

Working with an experienced, qualified healthcare technology consultant is the best way to create effective governance and align people, processes and technology with business goals. A non-biased third party can be useful for assessing your IT budget against business needs and making strategic recommendations.

Once you’ve established strong governance, align your technology and workflow by surveying day-to-day operations and eliminating obstacles wherever possible.

 

By following a physician as he or she works, you’ll learn volumes about the impediments, large and small, that impact productivity and time. Then, you can use IT to drive positive change, producing tangible benefits for clinicians and staff.

Triage Your IT Now

If you recognize red flags and think your hospital’s technology is directly impacting productivity and time, don’t wait until the consequences show up on your balance sheet. Take action today and help your clinicians deliver the best care possible.


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Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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Carbon ion grid therapy spares healthy tissue

Carbon ion grid therapy spares healthy tissue | iMaritha | Scoop.it

Delivering radiation in comb-like arrays of beamlets rather than a solid beam, grid-based radiotherapy exploits the dose-volume effect to spare healthy tissue in the beam's path. Successfully realised, the approach could enable repeat treatments and is a potential strategy for increasingly popular hypofractionated treatments that deliver larger, and potentially more harmful, doses per fraction.

While the bulk of grid therapy research has focused on X-rays, in new work, the tissue sparing potential of carbon ions has been demonstrated by a Japanese-Swedish collaboration, using simulations. In a methodological advance, first author Toshiro Tsubouchi of Osaka University and colleagues also devised "goodness" criteria, enabling quantitative comparisons of different grid setups (Med. Phys. 45 1210).

The researchers had the particular goal of sparing tissue near deep-seated tumours. "It's in these [organs] in which the most severe side effects appear after radiotherapy and radiosurgery … where the high dose volumes spread out from the target," said Albert Siegbahn, senior author and physicist at Stockholm University.

Dosimetrically, carbon ions are a promising candidate, as a significantly lower beam divergence than photons or protons helps preserve the dose valleys between beamlets at depth. In the current study, for example, a nominal 3 mm wide beamlet was 3.3 mm wide at a depth of 9 cm.

Additionally, while beamlets less than a millimetre wide have dominated research to date, carbon ion beamlets of millimetres wide have two key advantages. They can be generated with existing clinical spot-scanning technology and are more robust to geometric uncertainties such as organ motion. A drawback, however, is a significant drop in normal tissue tolerance as beamlet width increases. Consequently, Tsubouchi and his collaborators examined grids using both a 0.5 mm wide beamlet and a 3 mm wide beamlet.

The researchers framed their investigation as an optimization problem, seeking the beamlet separation that minimized the valley-peak dose ratio (VPDR) 5 mm from the target. Simultaneously, two further criteria stipulated that the target dose should be uniform and higher than the entrance dose.

Grid arrangements

The team carried out Monte Carlo simulations for a 2-cm cubic target located in the centre of a 20-cm cubic water phantom. The target was irradiated with spread-out Bragg peaks with four different grid arrangements, ranging from a single grid to an orthogonal "crossfiring" of two pairs of opposed, interlaced grids.

Using a single grid, the researchers found that spacings of 1.0 mm (0.5 mm beamlet) and 3.2 mm (3 mm beamlet) that achieved uniform target coverage provided minimal dose sparing close to the target. For example, 5 mm from the target, VPDR values exceeded 0.9.

In contrast, the four-grid arrangement resulted in significantly lower doses outside the target. Here, uniform target coverage was achievable using greater spacings of 2.4 and 6.4 mm, for the 0.5 and 3 mm beamlets respectively. They resulted in VPDR values of 0.22-0.24 near the target.

Based on their findings, Tsubouchi and his collaborators are developing the technique further. "From a theoretical point of view, we are pretty confident," said Alexander Valdman, co-author and radiation oncologist at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm. "We know that we can deliver a safe dose to the target while maintaining the grid pattern down to the target and preserving the tissue."

In the first instance, the authors see brain tumour cases not cured by conventional radiotherapy as the cohort most likely to benefit from a clinical trial. Here, critical structures in the brain are likely to have already received a significant dose, contra-indicating additional, conventional treatment. Fixed intracranial anatomy and immobilization that minimize geometric uncertainties would also make accurate grid placement less challenging. "This is where grid therapy could really shine," said Siegbahn.

In ongoing work, the authors are investigating the physical implementation of carbon ion grid therapy in experiments. The researchers are also developing ways to evaluate and compare carbon ion grid therapy with conventional treatments.

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Autoimmunity in Reproductive Health and Pregnancy

Autoimmunity in Reproductive Health and Pregnancy | iMaritha | Scoop.it
Journal of Immunology Research is a peer-reviewed, Open Access journal that provides a platform for scientists and clinicians working in different areas of immunology and therapy. The journal publishes research articles, review articles, as well as clinical studies related to classical immunology, molecular immunology, clinical immunology, cancer immunology, transplantation immunology, immune pathology, immunodeficiency, autoimmune diseases, immune disorders, and immunotherapy.

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Comparative analysis for renal stereotactic body radiotherapy using Cyberknife, VMAT and proton therapy based treatment planning

Comparative analysis for renal stereotactic body radiotherapy using Cyberknife, VMAT and proton therapy based treatment planning | iMaritha | Scoop.it
Atallah Baydoun, Neha Vapiwala, Lee E. Ponsky, Musaddiq Awan, Ali Kassaee, David Sutton, Tarun K. Podder, Yuxia Zhang,Donald Dobbins,  Raymond F. Muzic Jr., Bryan Traughber,  Mitchell Machtay, Rodney Ellis


Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics, 14 March 2018


DOI: 10.1002/acm2.12308

Purpose

We conducted this dosimetric analysis to evaluate the feasibility of a multi‐center stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) trial for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) using different SBRT platforms.


Materials/methods

The computed tomography (CT) simulation images of 10 patients with unilateral RCC previously treated on a Phase 1 trial at Institution 1 were anonymized and shared with Institution 2 after IRB approval. Treatment planning was generated through five different platforms aiming a total dose of 48 Gy in three fractions. These platforms included: Cyberknife and volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) at institution 1, and Cyberknife, VMAT, and pencil beam scanning (PBS) Proton Therapy at institution 2. Dose constraints were based on the Phase 1 approved trial.


Results

Compared to Cyberknife, VMAT and PBS plans provided overall an equivalent or superior coverage to the target volume, while limiting dose to the remaining kidney, contralateral kidney, liver, spinal cord, and bowel.


Conclusion

This dosimetric study supports the feasibility of a multi‐center trial for renal SBRT using PBS, VMAT and Cyberknife.

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5 Benefits of Social Media in Healthcare

5 Benefits of Social Media in Healthcare | iMaritha | Scoop.it

Technology, media and the internet has been having a huge impact in our lives since a long time now. But the sudden rise in social media usage has brought in much better and more advanced opportunities to business, marketing and general public awareness. The popularity of social media continues to increase and demographics show that the most growing users of social media are individuals aged 45-54.

Gone are the days when healthcare could only be provided through a practitioner by seeing them face-to-face. Physicians and health care practitioners can utilize social media to provide surplus information to other professionals in the industry in the form of research and awareness, as well as to patients who are seeking medical help.

Social media offers medical practitioners with tools to share more information, to discuss health care policies, to promote health awareness, to communicate with the public and to connect with patients, caregivers, students, and colleagues.

Patients can also rely on social media for moral and financial support from throughout the world in difficult times and can access information related to their health problems and learn about other patient experiences. In short, social media can serve as an effective means of communication for healthcare providers and patients.

Here are a few ways social media can prove to be beneficial in healthcare:

Crisis Situations

Social media has proved to be an extremely effective tool in times of crisis by providing information to consumers instantly. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations can easily update on hospital capacity, operation statuses and emergency room access through social media networks during natural disasters or disease outbreaks. A great example would be the time when a natural disaster had hit Japan in 2011. Twitter was actively utilized by doctors to update ill patients. Also, in 2009, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used social media networks to educate people about the H1N1 virus.

In addition to this, social media also lets healthcare professionals pass along information released by organizations such as the Red Cross, WHO, CDC or maybe even interact with television channels.

A recent Zika virus outbreak that originated from Central and South America and the Caribbean, is a mosquito transmitted virus that posed a huge challenge to health care providers in minimizing its spread. Healthcare organizations and practitioners faced a set of unique challenges as this was a lesser known disease.

It was vital to build awareness and preventive knowledge among health care practitioners and to the general public, including civilians residing in rural and remote areas. They needed to reduce the spread of misinformation related to treatment, risk factors and prevention.

Major health care authorities like CDC and WHO turned to social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to confront these challenges. They succeeded in rapidly communicating accurate health information to both the health care community and the public in general.

General Awareness and Medical Information

People have started using the internet as a means to diagnose themselves and seek help. While all the available information might not always be authentic, most of it still provides awareness to health problems because of which people rush to seek treatment before it’s too late.

Social media provides a prodigious opportunity for healthcare organizations to raise awareness about most sought-after health problems like diabetes, cardiac diseases, allergies and geriatric medicine. By broadcasting information that is fact-based and applicable, healthcare organizations can upgrade general health and well-being by providing effective precautionary measures and better lifestyle choices.

Patients who are looking for healthcare can search on social media for information on doctors, hospitals and specialists. Previous patients can provide reviews about their experiences and services on social media. All this knowledge can help you choose the right provider and care location.

Extensive reach by the practitioner

Social media is a great tool to widen your reach and expand your practice as a health care practitioner. A local doctor in a remote rural area may come across a patient with an unusual set of symptoms and may require the opinion of a specialist as soon as possible. Social media can serve as an effective way to communicate for physicians not only to expand their knowledge but also their professional medical network beyond geographical borders.

Doctors can share their researches and experiences and work collectively by accessing medical journals and scholarly articles through social media. It all comes down to making patient care more efficient.

An important thing to keep in mind is that if social media is not used with good judgment and under legal considerations, it can turn out to be a great threat to the practitioners credibility. The physician needs to be aware of their establishments rules for social media and also the current legal regulations before posting anything.

Peer Support

The whole idea of social media is to connect with people. When someone is going through a difficult time of disease, just knowing that there are a lot of people out there who have gone through the same or are experiencing the same problems, provides emotional support to the patient. Social support has been known to show positive health outcomes, with some studies showing that patient’s compliance and general health is enhanced when they get support from family and peers.

Social media networks offers forums for users to help clarify doubts and questions that are answered to them by peers or professionals. Many online campaigns have risen through social media and proven to be a huge success. Issues like smoking cessation and weight loss journeys have motivated people across the world through social media platforms to better lifestyle choices.

In addition to that, hashtag campaigns on twitter and facebook for organ donations and fund raisings have helped people go through treatments that wouldn’t have been possible without social media networks.

Furthermore, social media helps in opening conversations about mental health issues and sexually transmitted diseases which help to reduce the stigma of suffering from such medical conditions, as people with such diseases are usually driven out of fear and left to isolation.

Cost Effective

Social media sites can be effectively used for medical marketing and as a promotional platform at a lesser cost compared to other forms of media. They give a cost effective opportunity for monitoring and dispensing healthcare services.

Studies reveal that social media influences the image and visibility of a medical organization or hospital. A study showed that 57% of consumers were influenced by hospital’s social media presence and chose those organizations to receive health care. The strong social media image of the hospital appealed to 81% of consumers as as organization that offers cutting-edge technologies.


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Arming the regulators — new strategies to treat autoimmunity

Arming the regulators — new strategies to treat autoimmunity | iMaritha | Scoop.it
News & Views

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Immunotherapy Collection Year in Review 2017

Immunotherapy Collection Year in Review 2017 | iMaritha | Scoop.it
Year in Review 2017

 

This Collection from Nature Reviews Immunology presents a series of specially commissioned ‘Year in Review’ articles that highlight the key advances in hot topics in immunology in 2017. Leading experts in the fields of immunometabolism, neuroimmunology, myeloid cells, cancer immunotherapy and vaccines describe their pick of top papers published in 2017, outlining the impact and implications of the research. Also provided are related Review articles that set these advances in context and provide further information.


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Google launches Cloud Healthcare API to address interoperability

Google launches Cloud Healthcare API to address interoperability | iMaritha | Scoop.it

Google has launch an open-source cloud API to help address interoperability challenges in the healthcare industry, and enable organisations to run machine learning an analytics on clinical data.


Cloud Healthcare API is an open-source tool designed to enable healthcare providers to collect and manage various types of medical data via the cloud, including DICOM, HL7 and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards.

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Exome-wide association study reveals novel psoriasis susceptibility locus at TNFSF15 and rare protective alleles in genes contributing to type I IFN signalling | Human Molecular Genetics | Oxford A...

Exome-wide association study reveals novel psoriasis susceptibility locus at TNFSF15 and rare protective alleles in genes contributing to type I IFN signalling | Human Molecular Genetics | Oxford A... | iMaritha | Scoop.it
Abstract. Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disorder for which multiple genetic susceptibility loci have been identified, but few resolved to specific fu

Via Krishan Maggon
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Preparing Health IT Infrastructure for Artificial Intelligence

Preparing Health IT Infrastructure for Artificial Intelligence | iMaritha | Scoop.it
Artificial intelligence requires much health IT infrastructure planning to support the storage and computing power needed for a successful solution.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been working itself into health IT infrastructure as organizations need more advanced technology to handle the growing amount of healthcare data.

 

As AI becomes more of a reality, organizations have to realistically work AI solutions into their IT infrastructure. This can be a challenging process because AI requires a significant amount of computing power and skills to manage the new layers of technology.

 

Organizations are finding that it’s challenging to integrate AI into their operational processes, according to a recent Tractica report.

Dig DeeperHow Artificial Intelligence Can Shape Health IT InfrastructureArtificial Intelligence Uses EHRs as Smart Analytics ToolsArtificial Intelligence Adds Pressure to Health IT Networks

AI was created to emulate the human mind and working processes, and can independently solve problems without needing to be programmed to do so. AI can accept new information and learn from it without human intervention.

 

The computing power behind AI allows it to process information exponentially faster than a human could, fixing problems or drawing conclusions that the human mind would never be able to achieve.

 

“Enabling AI at the enterprise scale is not a plug-and-play proposition,” Tractica Principal Analyst Keith Kirkpatrick said in a statement. “Significant time, resources, and capital must be deployed, and in most cases, internal company teams are not experienced enough with AI, nor do they have the cutting-edge data science skills to adequately embark upon a truly transformational AI implementation.”

 

Entities need to decide how they’re going to handle the infrastructure changes needed to process and store data. Organizations must also find the staff needed to manage and monitor the AI solution.

 

AI is one of the more robust technologies that’s part of the digital transformation, and can be applied to analytics and cybersecurity.

Healthcare entities having a broad surface area is one of the biggest IT infrastructure security challenges facing organizations today. The wider surface area means there are more potentially vulnerable places cyberattackers can take advantage of.

 

With more ground to cover, IT security staff can be stretched thin and legacy network security systems might not be able to catch evolving security attacks.

 

Applying AI to cybersecurity solutions will help organizations find gaps in their security infrastructure and prevent future attacks.

AI is also used heavily in healthcare analytics. A computer with AI can look at an image of a healthy brain scan and an image of a brain scan with tumors. The device could then recognize the difference between the two images by breaking them down into machine-readable patterns.

 

The machine can remember and reference these patterns, then apply them to future images to determine which patterns indicate that a brain tumor is present.

 

Most healthcare organizations cannot afford to deploy an AI solution on-premises or have the space to accommodate the required hardware.

 

Cloud-based AI solutions and cloud storage are good options for healthcare organizations.

 

Cloud-based storage is a flexible storage solution, and often provides healthcare organizations with a more cost-effective storage strategy over traditional on-premise deployments.

When organizations begin to consider the future costs of scaling up based on the increased amount of data, budget concerns come to the forefront of the decision-making process.

 

On-premise storage solutions require organizations to purchase hardware and only offer a finite amount of space available before additional hardware needs to be added. Cloud services act as a utility with organizations paying monthly or yearly fees based on what they are using.

 

As organizations need more space, they scale up their cloud service requirements and increase payments accordingly.

AI is still a young technology when it comes to enterprise IT infrastructure implementation, but it is expected grow significantly worldwide over the next several years.

 

As healthcare organizations look to implement an AI solution in the near future, ensuring the organization’s health IT infrastructure can support it is key to deploying a successful AI analytics solution.


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Proposed guidelines aim for safe, effective mobile health apps

Proposed guidelines aim for safe, effective mobile health apps | iMaritha | Scoop.it

A nonprofit founded by the AMA and other major players in health care and technology is seeking comments on an early set of guidelines that aim to assess the quality, safety and effectiveness of mHealth apps in the key areas of operability, privacy, security and content.

The American Heart Association, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and digital health nonprofit DHX Group are the other founders of the guideline-writing nonprofit, which is called Xcertia. More than 30 organizations have joined the effort with the shared goal of assuring physicians, clinicians and patients that mHealth apps that meet the Xcertia guidelines will deliver value to users. And in late 2017, several prominent leaders in medicine, connected health and the app industry joined the Xcertia board of directors.

“One year since Xcertia announced its formation, the collaboration is releasing initial mobile health apps guidelines as a starting point to build on,” said Michael Hodgkins, MD, chair of Xcertia’s board of directors. “Cooperative input on the guidelines from consumers, developers, payers, clinicians, academia and other motivated stakeholders will provide Xcertia with guidance on where it needs to focus its efforts in 2018 to positively impact the trajectory of the mobile health app industry.”

The proposed guidelines, available to registered users, call for assessment in four vital areas:

Operability—whether a mobile health app installs, loads and runs in a manner that provides a reasonable user experience.Privacy—whether the app protects the user’s information, including protected health information, in full compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.Security—whether the application is protected from external threats.Content—whether the information provided in the mobile health app is current and accurate.

Xcertia continues to seek public comments about mHealth apps. The deadline to provide feedback on the guidelines is Jan. 31.

Apps aplenty, but quality a question mark

In 2016, the AMA adopted a wide-ranging set of policies designed to help integrate the burgeoning field of mHealth into clinical practice. As of a November 2017 report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, formerly IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, there were an estimated 318,000 mHealth apps available to patients with more than 200 added each day. Amid that cornucopia have arisen concerns about quality.


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