MDK’s Deliver Better and Quicker Health Care
Medical personnel and government officials want people taking more personal responsibility for their health care. Digital age technology is making that possible with wearables and self-testing diagnostic kits.
The digital age and growing consumer health-care self-awareness are spurring the plethora of medical diagnostic testing kits (MDKs). The market for MDKs is $30 billion worldwide. Their benefits include the following:
* Results are often available within thirty minutes compared to twenty-four to thirty-six hours from laboratories
* Consumers can go to a doctor if they suspect they are pregnant or have a MDK-diagnosed illness for treatment and early intervention
* Rapid MDKs cost a small percentage of the fees charged by labs
* MDKs provide privacy to consumers who can use them at home
* Doctors using MDKs in their offices substantiate a diagnosis, order more sophisticated testing if necessary, and begin treatments sooner than if they had waited for patients to present with advanced conditions
E-Cigs: Lesser Public Health Threat than Smoking
“Drugs Harm Reduction” was coined in the 1980s UK. It signifies a harmonious gesture that united politicians and public health officials to give away clean needles and syringes to injecting drug users in their battle to stem the epidemic of HIV infection. Needle exchange programs are now the cornerstone of public health programs in many countries. The harm reduction reasoning is applied to e-cigarettes as a lesser threat to public health than tobacco smoking.
E-cigs are battery-powered devices simulating tobacco smoke, flavor, and nicotine rush. A heating element atomizer vaporizes a liquid solution powering e-cigs, depending on varying patents. The UK Office for National Statistics reports by 2015 nearly a million e-cig users switched away from tobacco cigarettes and cigars. Another three-quarters of a million former smokers quit altogether after switching to e-cigs.
Costs of Geriatric Care are Stressing Resources
Most countries face shortages of residential-care facilities, geriatric specialists, home health-care caregivers, medical facilities, and doctors trained to treat the elderly. The world population is aging rapidly: In Japan, 26.3 percent of citizens are over 65 years old. The over-65 population of Italy is 22.4 percent, followed closely by Greece, Germany, Portugal, Finland, and Sweden. In the young country of Israel, the elderly approach 15 percent of the population.
Vitamins and Health Supplements are Not Necessarily Healthful
In the height of my middle-age years, a good friend implored me to start taking 400mg Vitamin E supplement daily. He argued that Vitamin E cuts the toxins lurking in my body, prevents free radical damage, cataracts, and diabetes related to aging. Its greatest benefit is as a preventive “medicine” against forgetfulness and Alzheimer’s disease.
Years later, I researched the topic, after my wife became captivated by the plethora of articles in women’s magazines and health newsletters touting how taking supplements can make a woman’s skin less wrinkled, her hair more rich and manageable, and lead to other attractive conditions. Her physician recommended a few, like Vitamin C for battling colds and flu, and Vitamin D to improve her absorption of calcium for keeping bones strong and to prevent bone loss. Then I heard a physician’s dismissive response to a question about Americans taking supplements, saying that our diet is so rich in vitamins and nutrients that supplements are unnecessary.
Many Strategies to Reverse Childhood Obesity Have Been Unsuccessful
A couple of pediatricians were asked how they know when a child is obese. Do they measure weight-to-height according to body mass index (BMI) standards? They both shrugged, and one said, “You know it when you see it.”
These doctors treat, and a plethora of studies confirm, the negative health effects from childhood obesity: emotional and psychological stress and depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and liver disease, sleep problems, cancer, early onset of puberty, skin infections, asthma, and early mortality linked to carotid arteries in adulthood. Lifetime medical costs for obese ten-year-olds is about $14 billion; unobservable costs include government disability payments.
Maintaining Standards in Biomedical Animal Testing is Crucial
My Life or the Mouse’s: No Contest
Testing of drug therapies and performance of biomedical experiments on animals are givens in the worlds of scientific and medical research. Public outcry and violent attacks compel the enactment of laws and regulations defining limits and appropriateness in biomedical animal testing and experimentation. Nevertheless, the work continues in corporation and university laboratories across the world because the public highly values relief from pain and suffering and saving human lives more than it values animal welfare. Still, scientists and members of the public who are sensitive to the ethical and humane treatment of animals are uneasy about animal research.
Pharmaceutical companies, government health agencies, commercial medical businesses, and military defense agencies, among others, fund animal testing and experiments. If their labs do not set and maintain standards of animal testing, they risk sanctions, plus public outcry, that can damage company reputations. Because this issue affects sales and marketing, handling it requires thoughtful strategizing.
Hospital Food Needs an Upgrade
Anybody spending days in a hospital knows mealtime is a highlight, but the hospital food is the low point of the experience. Hospital food is no laughing matter; it has become a meme in patient lore.
A good appetite is a sign of recovery. Eating nutritious, tasty, satisfying food aids in the healing process. Good food perks up the patient, contributing to a better attitude, while poorly prepared and unappetizingly presented food exacerbates patient depression, retards the pace of healing, and sometimes sparks violent outbursts.
The work of staff nutritionists and food preparation workers is just as important to recovery as that of physical therapists, respiratory specialists, and the aftercare from physicians and nurses. Food quality at hospitals, nursing centers, and rehabilitation facilities qualifies as a public health problem.
3D Printers are Changing Patients’ Lives
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), involves processing layers of material by computer control to create an object of almost any shape. There are 3D scanners that can make virtually any object from modeling software. Futurists call it the next stage of the industrial revolution.
Customized 3D printing is already transforming healthcare. Here are two examples:
* In 2015, doctors at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center implanted a titanium lower jawbone 3D printed by a dental implant company for a Syrian refugee whose injuries prevented him from speaking and eating; he was doing both one day after the implant.
* In 2016, a 64-year-old Israeli was one of the first cancer patients in the world to receive a 3D printed custom-made jaw necessitated by a metastatic tumor. Doctors made an exact replica by size and shape of his original jaw and printed the new one for a perfect fit, so he was able to eat the day after the surgery!
Medical Tourism is Becoming Commonplace
Medical care in many countries is not affordable. Government and third-party insurers do not cover the costs of many procedures, choosing to tag them electives, so that patients must pay out of pocket. Additionally, high-quality medical care and special procedures are not available in many developing countries.
Medical tourism is the appellation for people traveling to another country for medical and dental treatment. The three most popular treatments are surgeries, fertility work, and dental care. Medical tourism is estimated by People Beyond Borders to reach $70 billion annually. Some 1.4 million Americans are expected to travel outside the United States in 2016 for medical care, and the market is growing 20 percent annually.
Outsourcers can Help Navigate the Legal Aspects of MC
Medical marijuana (MMJ) is now part of the fabric of prescription medicine. It has been rebranded as medical cannabis (MC) to distinguish a medicinal treatment modality from recreational use. Hospital administrators and medical practitioners now have to learn the laws, rules, and regulations associated with prescribing MC and the differences among strains of the plant because product demand is surging.
People who store, prescribe, and dispense MC are under close scrutiny of local law enforcement and federal executive agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, the Medicaid Fraud Controls Unit, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Drug Enforcement Agency. There are a growing number of outsourcing companies that can help write policy guidelines, prescription criteria, product applications, and compliance procedures.