How is Technology Helping with the Healthcare Labor Shortage?

The COVID-19 pandemic may seem never ending. While the exposure and infection numbers may be shrinking, the long-lasting effects of this illness are revealing themselves. One of the biggest and most concerning shortages is the labor shortage.

Of course, labor shortage can be vague. What industries are seeing these shortages, and how do those shortages affect customers? Many industries are seeing labor shortages, but one of the most concerning is the healthcare labor shortage.

staffing and labor shortage
Burnout has led many to quit their healthcare jobs

The Healthcare Labor Shortage

The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be tough on several fronts, especially for the first responders providing care and assistance to those suffering. Doctors and nurses were on the front lines treating patients, finding answers, and working long hours. Many healthcare workers were forced out for different physical and mental reasons like burnout. The pressures were so great that nearly 1.5 million healthcare workers left the profession in the first two months of the pandemic.

As the pandemic continues to wane, healthcare workers are returning to hospitals and doctors’ offices. The return is great, but the numbers are still down, and jobs are still left vacant. In fact, healthcare employment has still not returned to pre-pandemic numbers. Even in those who have returned, anecdotal evidence suggests many are thinking of leaving soon. This means sick people, some of the most vulnerable in society, will feel the consequences. 

Technology and the Healthcare Labor shortage

How do healthcare providers keep their invaluable workers and staff? How do they combat the pressures and stressors created and highlighted by the worldwide pandemic? The short answer is technology.

Healthcare providers can automate different tasks to allow healthcare providers – doctors and nurses – the freedom and space to care for patients. The best news is we live in the age of technology. There are dozens of different technological applications that can be used in these areas.

Inbound Calls

Hospitals and doctors’ offices are often overloaded by inbound calls, even when they are fully staffed. When these providers are understaffed, however, it can be time-consuming to field these ceaseless inbound calls. Patients can and should be encouraged to schedule their own appointments through web-based applications and portals. Not only will this open up more time and space for healthcare providers, but these tasks help empower patients to be more involved in their healthcare journey.

 

staffing in healthcare
Technology allows patients to book their appointments online

 Intake Process

The amount of paperwork in the healthcare industry is daunting. Technology, however, can limit the paperwork and streamline the intake process altogether. Mobile check-in and registration can make it easier for patients to check in, but it also limits the person-to-person contact that so easily spreads diseases.

 Access and Availability

Perhaps the best advantage of medicine is the access and availability afforded through telemedicine. Telemedicine isn’t necessarily “new,” but it has been brought to the forefront. Telemedicine is the ability to meet with medical professionals and healthcare workers to get information and establish treatment plans.

It’s especially beneficial when it comes to specialized medicine, like radiology. Teleradiology, the term widely used for this specific section, is a much more recent development. It helps patients get information and necessary access to radiology professionals.

Teleradiology allows a radiologist to get, review, and interpret CT or MRI images. Radiologists are able to communicate important information to patients who are desperate for that information. It means fewer radiologists can meet with more patients and get those patients the information and treatment they need.

Virtual Monitoring Systems

Telesitter programs help reduce the workload and potential burnout for nurses. With these systems, cameras are setup so that virtual monitoring can take place and track patient activity. Any time there are concerns or emergencies, staff would be notified.

telemonitoring
Telesitters offer virtual monitoring

The world is changing. It’s the one true constant. But technology offers us the chance to adapt and modify the ways we move about in the world. Technology can make things easier and fill in the gaps that form.

What to Expect During a Breast Cancer Screening at an Imaging Center

The best way to detect breast cancer in its early stages is by mammograms–merely an X-ray of the breast. There is no financial strain because health insurance plans are required to cover the costs of mammograms every one or two years.

When you reach your forties, you should begin conversing with your medical providers about when to start and how often you should get a mammogram.

breast cancer awareness

 

Specialists usually recommend the procedure for women between 50 to 74 years of age at average risk of breast cancer and performed every one or two years depending on the woman’s risk factors.

How to Prepare for a Mammogram

When your healthcare provider suggests scheduling a mammogram for the first time, there are some considerations.

If possible, you should consider making your appointments at a nearby facility that specializes in mammograms. In doing this, you can have technicians who are very familiar with the process and accurately compare your mammograms yearly.

mammogram technology

If you need to change facilities, it’s best to arrange to have all your records sent to the new clinic for X-ray comparison. It is also an excellent idea to bring all the dates and locations of any previous breast procedures done.

Specialists advise that women avoid making mammogram appointments the week before their periods. Breasts are more swollen and sensitive during this time which can cause the mammogram procedure to be uncomfortable for them and may interfere with taking clear X-rays.

Technicians will advise that women wear pants or a skirt with a top that they can easily remove along with their bra. They also recommend that women do not use any deodorant, lotions, or powders that may show up as spots on the X-ray.

When You Arrive at the Imaging Center

Most technicians are very considerate and sensitive to what women experience during mammograms. They will ask you to undress above the waist and will give you a wrap to wear.

Many clinics have private dressing areas where you undress and wait for your technician to escort you into the X-ray room. There will only be the two of you in this area which is helpful to reduce any anxieties you may have.

You will stand in front of the mammogram machine, and the technician will position your body and breast for the most accurate X-rays. Your breast will rest on the device, and a plastic upper plate will lower and compress your breast.

The process takes 10 to 15 seconds for each body position, and there are usually only two or three X-rays taken per breast. The whole procedure only takes about 20 minutes.

Your Mammography Results

Mammography produces black-and-white digital images of your breast tissue that will be sent to a physician specializing in radiology to interpret. An imaging center could also refer to a teleradiology company to have a radiologist do the interpretation. Most clinics offer 2D mammograms for breast screening, but many facilities now offer 3D mammograms.

The radiologist will then report their findings to your healthcare provider. This process will take approximately ten days but could take longer. The radiology report will determine if you will need further X-rays, possible MRIs, or treatments. Physicians call back about 10 to 13% of women for abnormal findings, but most of these findings are not breast cancer.

Regular mammograms are an easy, safe way to screen for breast cancer. The most challenging part about the process may be remembering to make your annual appointment, and many women make their birthdays a reminder to make their yearly appointment.

What can be more celebratory than scheduling what may be a life-saving procedure for your health on the most important day of the year for you, your friends, and your loved ones? 

Benefits of Mobile Imaging for Outpatient Healthcare

Most of the healthcare provided by physicians involves some method of imaging. In the past, technicians have performed diagnostic services in the imaging departments of hospitals. Today, imaging services are brought to the patient with the help of mobile imaging.

 

Since there is such a high demand for x-rays, ultrasounds, MRI, CT scans, and EKGs, in-house hospital departments tend to be overwhelmed, and patients can have long wait times in crowded waiting rooms. Even getting an appointment for the imaging service can take a long time which delays treatment for the patient’s care.

 

With the emergence of mobile imaging, patients have more accessible, more efficient access to imaging services. With faster access to the patient, healthcare professionals can diagnose their patients more quickly and begin necessary treatments.

mobile radiology for assisted living

Senior Population and Imaging

The best example of the benefits of mobile imaging is with the senior population–many of whom reside in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Persons over the age of 65 are a fragile population who need imaging services frequently.

The older age group has an increased fall rate, a higher rate of pneumonia and cancers, and compromised immune systems.  They need prompt diagnoses, but transportation to receive medical care is complicated.

The benefits are vast when mobile imaging can accommodate this population’s needs:

  • Overall, costs are reduced for the service because the facility doesn’t need to transport the patient to a hospital imaging department.
  • Understaffed facilities don’t need to assign an employee to accompany the patient for diagnostic imaging in a hospital.
  • There are fewer transfers between facility and hospital.
  • Mobile imaging services reduce anxiety in the elderly because transporting and waiting for imaging services accentuates fear in the undiagnosed.
  • There is a reduced need for hospitalizations and outpatient treatments of the patients because the assisted living facilities and nursing homes can provide prescribed care.
  • Mobile imaging can provide needed diagnostic information to the patient’s attending physician faster than an imaging department can, which expedites a treatment plan for the patient.
  • The patient can remain in familiar surroundings (and with people they know) while receiving diagnostic imaging services. This benefit is significant when the patient has difficulty understanding or processing information.

When people of any age are hurting, fearful, anxious, or lack understanding, their comfort is the most crucial factor in beneficial treatments. Mobile imaging comes to the patient and provides fast, efficient, accessible, and cost-effective diagnostics for the most fragile patients.

 Working with a Teleradiology Company

With Vesta Teleradiology, we work with mobile imaging centers and any health facility that provides this technology to their patients. We work with your workflow and integrate to your technology so sending and receiving scans is a breeze. Learn more about how we can help you now: call us at 1-877-55-VESTA.

teleradiology services

The State of Telehealth Today

The pandemic changed many ways we function in today’s society, but the most significant changes came in the healthcare industry. Many of our doctor visits and consults were via the internet on one of many telehealth websites developed during the pandemic time frame.

The telehealth websites allowed physicians and other medical professionals to manage their patient’s health care services during a time when social distancing was necessary for the public’s health and safety. The internet brought medical care to patients who could remain in the comfort of their homes.

Advantages of Telehealth

There were many advantages to providing healthcare through telehealth technology. These advantages include:

  • Easier access to healthcare for rural communities
  • Easier access to healthcare for patients with limited mobility
  • Safer and easier access to healthcare for patients with compromised immune systems
  • Easier access to professional medical specialists
  • Easier access for patients for medical consultations or advice on self-management of healthcare
  • More immediate and easier access for mental health patients with mental health professionals
  • A physician’s ability to monitor “at-risk” patients more closely using devices that monitor blood pressure, heart rates, oxygen levels, blood sugar levels, and certain medications

The primary difficulty with the changeover to telehealth technology has been the acceptance by insurance companies to include exceptions for payments. In the past, Medicare has dictated trends for other insurance companies to follow.

telemedicine

To take advantage of telehealth technology, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services needed to adopt many Medicare healthcare policy changes during the pandemic. Most of the changes were temporary and scheduled to end when the pandemic was over.

Because of the significant benefits telehealth technology has brought to the healthcare industry, Congress has approved additions and extensions to  Medicare. These are a few of the extensions Congress supported:

  • Medicare will pay health care providers for telehealth services to patients who are at their homes, or any other location
  • Medicare pays health care providers such as physicians and nurses and will include paying qualified occupational therapists, physical therapists, audiologists, and speech pathologists.
  • Medicare will continue to pay for audio-only telehealth technology
  • Medicare will continue to compensate and provide support for rural communities dependent on telehealth technology

telemedicine

Even though the public has been made aware of how vital telehealth technology has become in filling gaps in the health care system, there are still concerns about payment and fraud abuse. Medicare and other insurance systems will be more accepting if programmers expand on advanced reporting and payment safeguards designed into the programs.

 

Even with the concerns insurance companies may have, the future looks promising to include telehealth technology in everyday healthcare. Patients and healthcare providers will continue to enjoy the convenience, the swift access to professional help, and the ability to remain safe from exposure to other illnesses.

 

In summary, telehealth technology will probably not go away, but demand will insist on expansion. In the future, we might see:

  • Patient care plans including some form of virtual service
  • Changes from a fee-for-service model to a value-based care model of healthcare
  • Expansion of specialized physical health and mental health care options available using telehealth technology
  • Longer one-on-one healthcare professional-to-patient time talking and listening
  • It may become a solution to the projected shortage of healthcare professionals in the future

 

Presently, there is no continuity in the regulation of telehealth technology resulting in every state having different policies. It’s imperative to check with your health care insurance to evaluate coverage by your insurance policy.

Telehealth technology came to us out of necessity, but the benefits have given it staying power. The future for expansion in the field is limitless, allowing more freedom and productivity for providers and their patients.

tele-radiologist

Vesta Teleradiology

It goes without saying that Telemedicine is our specialty. In fact, healthcare facilities look to Vesta to support in full or part, their radiology departments. Our U.S. Board Certified radiologists work nights, weekends, and even holidays so you can continue to provide quality care for your patients. Even more, Vesta works with you in terms of the format and style of the interpretation report adapting to your interpretive mode.

Encouraging Your Male Patients To Get Screened

Studies show that men are more likely to develop an illness than women. They also die an average of 5 years sooner than women. Despite this, women go to the doctor twice as much as men.

June is Men’s Health Month, and as such, it’s important to highlight the struggles that men go through in healthcare. The goal of Men’s Health Month is to bring awareness to the health issues that men face. Medical professionals can encourage men to prioritize their health. 

Why Don’t Men Go To The Doctor?

In May 2022, the Harris Poll conducted a national survey of men across the United States. The survey took place for Orlando Health, interviewing 893 men aged 18 and older.

This survey aimed to gauge the mindset of the male population as it pertains to their individual health.

Men Believe They Are Healthier Than Others

According to this survey, 65% of men believe they are naturally healthier than others. Men may feel healthy in their day-to-day lives. Yet, there could be underlying conditions that aren’t caught without routine screening.

Unfortunately, with this mindset, men across the United States are going undiagnosed. 33% of the same men surveyed said they feel no need to visit the doctor for a yearly check-up.

Some of the most undiagnosed conditions include elevated blood pressure and colon cancer. High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke when left unchecked. Further, colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, but also one of the most deadly.

Men Value The Health Of Their Loved Ones Over Themselves

A key problem in society is that men learn to always put others before themselves. They don’t worry about their own needs. Men tend to be more concerned about the health of their spouses, their children, and their parents.

Dr. Movassaghi, a urologist and director of Men’s Health at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, says:

“We’re Supermen: we don’t want to ever get sick. We’re […] told by ourselves or by our friends [that] it’s almost like a negative connotation to go to the doctor.” 

Men Don’t Feel Supported

There is a stigma behind men going to the doctor. This stigma is fueled or doused based on their loved-ones perspectives. Particularly the perspectives of the women in their lives.

The females in men’s lives offer the greatest support for a man’s health. Men are more likely to attend a doctor’s appointment if their daughters, wives, or mothers show concern. Additionally, men are more likely to book regular appointments if their mothers prioritized health for them as a child.

Men who avoid going to their doctor for routine screening may be lacking that extra support.

Men Don’t Want To Receive A Diagnosis

According to 21% of men surveyed, they avoid going to the doctor because they don’t want to be diagnosed. The fear of receiving a diagnosis is scarier for 1/5 of men than it is to ignore the problem.

Men Feel They Don’t Have Time To Go To The Doctor

People are taught that they should sacrifice everything for their jobs. As a result, men feel they don’t have time to go to the doctor.

Throughout society, men have been told they need to be the breadwinners. Even in a changing society, that mentality still persists. As such, men are reluctant to take time off work to attend much-needed health screenings.

The Real Picture: Men’s Health

Most men seem to believe they are healthier than others, but the numbers tell a different story.

According to the CDC:

  •     About 13.2% of men over the age of 18 are in “poor or fair” health
  •     40.5% of men over the age of 20 are obese
  •     51.9% of men over the age of 20 have high blood pressure or take medication for hypertension
  •     50% of Americans over the age of 65 will develop a form of skin cancer
  •     1/9 of men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime
  •     30.6% of men will experience depression in their lifetime

How To Convince Men They Need Screening

Medical professionals strive to put their patients first in all things. But, what about when your male patients show a reluctance to come to the doctor? How can you convince them to prioritize their health?

health screenings for men

Offer TeleHealth Services

Most medical professionals prefer seeing their patients in person. It’s easier to assess their health. Yet, many men prefer attending doctor’s visits online. Many are more likely to schedule an appointment.

telemedicine

A MENtion It Survey of September took place in 2021. It found that men schedule an appointment every 1.5 years or less. Yet, 66% of the men surveyed stated that they had used TeleHealth services in the past 12 months.

Although, as a medical professional, you may need to do more to push your patients to come to see you in person. Still, Telehealth offers a good temporary solution. It gets your male patients “in-the-door” to get their health accessed.

Exhibit Compassion & Encouragement

Many men avoid going to the doctor because they feel it’s not necessary. Much of this mindset stems from embarrassment. Men feel that they should be invincible, so they feel they shouldn’t need to go to the doctor.

 

A fear of many patients — men and women — is not being taken seriously by their doctors. Many patients feel belittled when attending appointments. Or, they feel that their concerns aren’t taken seriously.

Patients who receive this treatment aren’t likely to return.

It’s important for medical professionals to show compassion for their patients. There are many reasons someone may not be taking care of their health. They may not have the time or the resources, or they are too embarrassed.

It is not the job of the medical professional to judge their patient. It is the job of the medical professional to respectfully address the patient’s concerns. They should encourage the patient to keep coming back for ongoing treatment.

Set Them Up For The Future

Many men feel they have too much on their shoulders. They need to take care of their family’s health and earn money to support their family.

Medical professionals can give their male patients a gentle reminder. To care for their families, they need to care for themselves first

It’s likely that a loved one has already pushed the patient to seek help for his health. Still, they sometimes need that extra push from a professional.

What Screening Should Men Receive?

There are several illnesses that men can receive screening for.

Yearly Check-Up

Most men don’t come in for a yearly check-up with their doctor, and this leads to illnesses going undiagnosed. Many illnesses are treatable when diagnosed early. Treatment becomes severely more difficult if the illness has already progressed too far.

 

Dr. Hendrickson of UT Health, says it’s difficult to stop or reverse an illness after the damage is done. This is especially true for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer.

Blood Pressure

Heart disease is the number one killer among men. Death often stems from undiagnosed high blood pressure. Healthy adult men should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year for any changes.

Cancer

40.2% of men are at risk of cancer in their lifetime, with prostate cancer being the number one threat to men. This is followed by lung and colorectal cancer.

Cholesterol

Men with high cholesterol will be at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. So, all men over the age of 35 should have their cholesterol checked every two years.

men's cholesterol

Some men should have their cholesterol checked more frequently. This includes men who smoke, are obese, and whose family has a history of heart disease.  Those who have diabetes or high blood pressure should receive a screening more often as well.

Colonoscopy

It’s no secret that most people avoid having a colonoscopy, but it can be the difference between life and death. Every man should receive their first colonoscopy at the age of 45. They should receive later screenings every 10 years.

Depression

Mental illness has a stigma in our society, particularly among men. This is all the more reason to have your male patients screened for depression.

Depression affects your patient’s mental health, but also their physical health. It can increase the patient’s risk for heart disease and other serious conditions.

Diabetes

Men should have their glucose levels checked every year. 

Men who are more at risk for diabetes should be checked more frequently. This includes men experiencing symptoms like excessive thirst, frequent urination, rapid weight loss, or tingling in the hands or feet.

Prostate Exam

Most doctors recommend the first prostate exam at age 50. Although many men dread this exam, it’s important to prevent prostate cancer.

Conclusion

Studies show that men are more prone to illness than women, yet they seek help for their health about half as often.

June is Men’s Health Month, so it’s time for a reminder to advocate for men’s health.

Heart disease is the number one killer among men, and cancer comes in a close second. Medical professionals can help change that by advocating for their patient’s health. By encouraging your male patients to take charge of their health, you might be saving a life.

By partnering with a telemedicine company like Vesta, you are able to outsource your radiology requirements (in part, or fully), to our US Board Certified Radiologists so you can continue to offer quality healthcare to your patients. Learn more about how we work with a variety of healthcare facilities to support their staff and workflow: vestarad.com 

Hospital Supply Chain Challenges

The healthcare industry continues to experience supply chain challenges brought to the surface during the recent global pandemic. There are still medical supplies, equipment, devices, and labor shortages.

The shortages of supplies have had a domino effect on the stability of the healthcare system. The consequences of hospital supply problems have caused shortages in personnel, financial instability, and weakened the safety and quality of patient care.

Imaging

Imaging scans like x-rays, MRIs and CTs are vital to any healthcare facility. Unfortunately, there is currently a shortage of a crucial item needed for CT scans—the liquid called IV contrast. This contrast dye that assist doctors in diagnosing conditions from a scan has been in shortage since a Shanghai plant went into lockdown and as a result, hospitals are rationing imaging tests.

liquid called IV contrast

Hospital Personnel

Hospital supply chain disruptions have created shortages of personal protective equipment for the hospital staff. The situation forced teams of health care professionals to reuse single-use gowns, gloves, and protective masks during the pandemic because of the supply shortages.

The lack of protection added another layer of stress to the hospital staff’s jobs and eventually led to experienced health care workers leaving their hospital employment.

The expense of supplying the hospitals without the use of technology or other updated distribution methods has also caused a reduction of funds available to staff the hospitals adequately.

One example is the increased demand for medical imaging, with fewer active radiologists available for active patient care. To keep up with the market, many hospitals have turned to non-physician radiology providers despite many concerns about the quality of service. One solution to this is something Vesta provides: teleradiology. Our US Board certified radiologists are here to help fill in those gaps.

 

Hospital Financial Stability

The pandemic-induced demand for medical supplies created an imbalance of medical supplies in the supply chain and increased the costs. Hospital inventory procedures needed to change drastically out of necessity.

Instead of maintaining just enough reserves on hand to meet the hospital’s immediate needs, hospital administrators needed to address a change in supply priorities.

The administrators were required to manage specific supply-type demands and the expense of eliminating an increase in waste from expired stock that did not serve the present needs.

Patient Care–Safety and Quality

The delay of cargo ships transporting much-needed supplies, the lack of truck drivers to transport the supplies to the hospitals, and the rapidly decreasing personnel in the hospitals have greatly affected the care patients receive. Many hospitals have had to turn patients away because of their inability to provide adequate care.

 

hospital worker shortage

Possible Solutions

Hospitals are expecting that supply chain disruptions are not a temporary issue. There is a need to find solutions to the chain supply challenges through restructuring and designing more resilient systems for stable health care delivery.

One solution some hospital systems are implementing is to have more control over the delivery of supplies by making direct contact with manufacturers. These hospitals also use storage and distribution channels under their hospital control.

Multiple hospitals are also considering more system consolidation to increase the volume of supply purchasing to allow greater price bargaining. Some hospitals are working together to create a cooperative “just-in-time” model using a single distributor for many hospitals.

When the distributor delivers supplies daily to many hospitals, the hospitals are more efficient by reducing inventory to only the necessary items. Each hospital also eliminates much of the waste of outdated items.

The hospital’s financial gains overcome the financial risks of these changes by giving them more bargaining leverage with suppliers. The cost savings by system consolidation will also enable more available funds for additional personnel and direct patient care.

These system changes are possible through cooperative negotiations and the improvement of system technology. The hospital systems can take the challenges of supply chains experienced during the pandemic and improve their systems to avoid future problems and improve today’s health care system.

Promoting Arthritis Awareness

In the United States, arthritis is the leading cause of disability. Older adults are living longer, but as a result, chronic conditions like arthritis are increasing.

Arthritis symptoms vary from person to person. Testing and treatments performed by a medical professional will depend on the type of arthritis and the intensity of pain.

arthritis awareness

Osteoarthritis usually causes symptoms only in the joints and is generally caused by repetitive movements like heavy lifting, bending, or squatting. A person can also develop osteoarthritis in their hands and wrists from extensive use of a keyboard on the computer.

Other types of arthritis may display symptoms in places outside the body’s joints. Symptoms can include fatigue, skin irritations or rash, joint swelling, warmth, and redness in the area of body pain.

Patients should discuss any joint changes or discomfort with their physician, who will assess any swelling, tenderness, or loss of motion in the joint. If warranted, your physician may order X-rays, urinalysis, blood work, or extract a small amount of fluid from the affected joint for testing.

After the exam and review of the test results, your physician will be able to define more closely what type of arthritis (if any) you are experiencing.

Osteoarthritis can be detected by your physician from X-rays that reveal cartilage loss or detect bone spurs. Your blood, fluid, and urine tests will rule out diseases other than arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease diagnosed by rheumatoid factors (RF) in your blood tests. There is also an anti-CCP test which is a relatively new blood test.

The anti-CCP test measures levels of antibodies in the blood. This measurement can determine who has rheumatoid arthritis, or identify if someone is about to get rheumatoid arthritis. The anti-CCP can also predict the severity of the disease process.

How Physicians Help

Your physician’s goal is to control your arthritic disease process, help you maintain mobility, and relieve your discomfort and pain. Your physician will discuss with you if physical therapy, exercise, drugs, surgery, rest, or any combination of treatments may be options for you,

If you receive a diagnosis of arthritis, routine health care visits can allow a provider to communicate science-backed preventative measures that can slow the disease progression and reduce or prevent unnecessary pain for the patient.

A person can maintain healthier joints and improve their balance during their activities with exercise. Other health risks associated with inflammatory arthritis, like bone, heart, lung, and kidney complications, can also be reduced by staying active.

Studies have shown that older adults who engage in moderate physical activity of at least 150 hours per week experience less arthritic pain. Providers can help you incorporate joint-friendly exercises like walking, flexibility exercises, and light weight-lifting into your health and wellness plan.

 

working out

Weight loss can help with many medical conditions that adults experience and is especially effective for those patients with arthritis. The CDC estimates that 39 million adults with arthritis are overweight or obese.

Weight loss is the most effective non-drug way to manage arthritis and joint pain. Health and wellness professionals can assess, counsel, and support their patrons with individualized weight loss techniques.

Providers can also provide lists of arthritis education programs and activities. More access to these programs provide older adults, and adults of any age, with the most recent science-based information about arthritis.

Other treatments for arthritic pain include relaxation techniques, cognitive therapy, visualization therapy, acupuncture, herbal and Ayurvedic medications that have helped people with chronic arthritic pain. Dry and moist heat can also help with pain and stiffness.

Creative thinking and problem solving by professionals in the wellness fields can extend the quality of life and reduce arthritic disabilities. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential in most cases.

What to Do After Diagnosis

Patients who are diagnosed with arthritis may need to relax and work at a realistic pace that is different from the pace they are used to working.  Questions will continually come up and so will new medications and treatments. All of your health and wellness team members are essential in helping you to stay healthy, stay informed, stay flexible, and stay positive.

Are you Hiring Healthcare Staff The Right Way?

If you work in healthcare, there’s a good chance you’re currently hiring. The industry has been struggling with a labor shortage for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic caused the number of job openings to climb even more.

 

healthcare staffing

Across the country, hospitals and healthcare clinics are desperate for employees, and they are recruiting as hard as they can. But are you recruiting the right way? Here are a few tips to help you attract quality candidates.

Background Checks are Essential

 

Anyone working in healthcare knows that it is vital to conduct a thorough background check on all candidates during the hiring process. Checking up on a candidate’s criminal record, medical licenses, and other data is necessary to keep your patients safe and protect you from massive fines for non-compliance.

However, background checks can also help you select the quality hires that are more likely to stay with your organization — something that’s particularly important in healthcare, an industry with a 19.1% turnover rate. Thorough background checks can help you weed out unreliable candidates and ensure that you hire only the best.

 

Assess Soft Skills

Obviously, you want your ideal candidate to have the credentials and experience required to fulfill the position you’re hiring. But have you considered the candidate’s soft skills?

 

Qualities like empathy, teamwork, and communication skills are becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry. As healthcare becomes more of a consumer-driven market, patients expect medical professionals to be both courteous and qualified. Make sure you seek out prospective employees with both hard and soft skills.

 

hiring a radiologist

Stay Competitive

The healthcare industry is on the brink of a significant period of job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that healthcare occupations will grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, which amounts to about 2.6 million new jobs.

 

With so many vacancies in the field, medical professionals like doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, and radiologists will have their pick of clinics. If you want them to pick you, it’s important to remain competitive.

 

Keep your eye on the industry to ensure your recruiting efforts measure up to other healthcare facilities. Make sure your salary offerings, benefits, and opportunities for work-life balance are comparable to other facilities in your area.

 

If you follow these tips, you’ll be much more likely to attract top talent — and that will lead to significant benefits for your clinic, you, and your patients.

Hiring Radiologists

When it comes to hiring for your radiology department, you might feel like this is the most daunting task. Luckily, teleradiology companies like Vesta offer US Board Certified radiologists who can remotely perform both preliminary and final interpretations for your PET, MRI, MSK, PIP and worker’s comp scans. To learn more, please contact Vesta at 877-558-3782.

Patient Safety Awareness Week: What Can Imaging Centers Do?

The foundation of health care lies with a diagnosis. Sometimes, medical professionals have barriers to providing an accurate diagnosis because they do not have the lab space or time.

This is where medical imaging centers offer invaluable assistance.

What are Imaging Centers?

Imaging centers are medical facilities run by board-certified and trained radiologists, emphasizing diagnostic and preventive healthcare. They provide a host of diagnostic tools and scans to protect and maintain your health by detecting health issues in their early stages.

What Can Imaging Centers Do?

Medical imaging centers use imaging diagnostic tools, and early-detection radiology scans to provide the following preventative screening services:

Heart Scan: This exam is a pain-free, non-invasive, highly accurate scan that only takes five minutes.

Lung Scan: Those who have ever smoked may be at higher risk for lung cancer, which can be detected with a low radiation scan.

Virtual Colonoscopy: This minimally invasive and accurate scan should be done every five years, and it is so gentle that patients do not require anesthesia.

Diagnostic Tools

Imaging centers have various tools and scans that allow physicians to monitor your health and notice potential problems. These machines often include:

X-Rays: Most people have taken at least one x-ray in their lifetime, typically at the dentist or hospital. They are a non-invasive and pain-free procedure that gives doctors a look inside the body.

 

MRI: A magnetic resonance imaging scan is another non-invasive diagnostic tool that creates images of your body’s internal systems using radio waves and magnets. MRIs are usually more detailed and are a safe way to diagnose and prevent issues. 

 

CT scan: Computed tomography scan works in tandem with specialized x-ray equipment and state-of-the-art computer systems to produce highly detailed images of the inside of the body, which can be used to identify and treat medical conditions.

 

PET/CT scan: A positron emission tomography scan is an imaging test that looks for signs of disease within the body by injecting tracers into the vein and following them under a PET scanner. This is a great way to visualize how well your tissues and organs are functioning.

When you work with an imaging center, you work alongside medical experts, including board-certified cardiologists, radiologists, pathologists, teleradiologists, and other subspecialists.

Benefits of Imaging Centers

The primary benefit of imaging centers is that they help medical professionals to detect and diagnose any disease at its most treatable, early stages. These diagnostic tools are essential in helping patients heal and survive. When you catch a medical issue early, you reduce the need for costly and invasive procedures.

Imaging center employees have the dual responsibility of caring for their patients while advocating for their safety throughout the process. Radiology and diagnostic tools, while minimally invasive, still present specific patient safety issues. Radiologists must ensure that patients and staff are protected from being directly harmed.

Patient Safety Awareness Week

Patient Safety Tips

Imaging centers can increase patient safety by ensuring that the environment is kept sanitary, quiet, with restorative lighting to encourage patient rest.

Creating a safe patient environment involves more than ensuring patient happiness. It involves high-quality patient care that is effective and efficient.

As part of a team caring for patients, radiologists are responsibility for patient safety, which can involve:

Patient safety is a crucial aspect of patient care and involves engaging and educating patients and their families. Health care providers are tasked to listen to their patients to support patient safety initiatives.

 

Teleradiology Services from Vesta

Vesta’s Teleradiology services benefit your healthcare facility because our processes integrate with your workflow. This level of efficiency helps you to better serve your patient with the quality care they need.

Professional Healthcare Workers: Overcoming Burnout

Healthcare workers on the brink of burnout often feel overwhelmed and out of control. It is difficult for them to describe the exhaustion and fatigue they experience–even at the beginning of a work shift. These feelings intensify as the relentless weeks continue. 

burnout radiologist

A worker’s burnout symptoms can surface in many ways. It can be recognized by a worker’s inability to identify with their job, feelings of inadequacy in their profession, and a weariness that blankets their personal and professional lives. 

Front line health workers have little relief from the expectations of their jobs, and they experience constant requests from people in pain and with desperate needs. Also, staff shortages plague the industry, spreading the work responsibilities to a minimal amount of workers. 

 

Most health care professionals enter the field with a sincere desire to help other people, but the extreme emotional pressure of the profession can drain even the most dedicated individuals.

Every person’s strategy to get through difficult times is as different as the circumstances that perpetuated the feelings of burnout. Taking just a few minutes to evaluate what has worked in the past is helpful in realizing a starting point for an individualized healing plan.

 

As a healthcare team or individual, it is constructive to prepare a list of self-care evaluations and strategies to tailor healing plans. Healthcare workers rarely consider self-care at the top of their list of things to do. 

 

A written checklist reduces the need for a person to think about how to fix yet another problem and provides an avenue to an instant action plan when a healthcare worker’s emotions and nerves are frayed. 

 

Checklist Suggestions

  • Would a walk or run be helpful right now? 
  • Do you need a safe distance between yourself and others?
  • Sit down, close your eyes and breathe in to the count of 4 and breathe out to the count of 4. Continue until you can relax your shoulders.
  • Would exercise before work be helpful? Maybe walking or riding your bike to work might give you emotional preparation time for the shift? 
  • Do you need fun activities like dancing, singing, camping, or anything else that may give you pleasure? Schedule the time to do that right now.
  • Are you eating healthy food?
  • Are you drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated?
  • Are you sleeping well? If not, what will help you sleep 7 to 9 needed hours? 
  • Are you increasing the use of alcohol and other drugs? If so, do you need help?
  • Are you staying in contact with family and friends for added support?
  • Do you need a friend? Remember, you are part of a team–you are not alone. Many others are working alongside you with similar circumstances or feelings.
  • Do you need additional emotional support?
  • Would journaling about your feelings be helpful to you?

burnout healthcare

The purpose of this checklist is to allow ideas to flow and assist a person in defining the individual needs at any given time. This process also allows healthcare workers to remain in control of their decisions for change.

 

Management can be instrumental in providing their Healthcare Workers with the needed support to avoid staff burnout. Management can provide added recognition to staff members for the work they do and structure a work environment that encourages self-care.

Vesta Teleradiology: here for you, even on weekends

Vesta – an tech-driven, patient-centered radiology solutions provider–understands the importance of giving healthcare workers the time they need to recharge and rest. That’s why our radiologists work day, nights, weekends and holidays. Look to Vesta for reliable, outsourced radiology interpretations and customized reports for your patients.