In the U.S., it’s estimated that 4.5 million adults are diagnosed with chronic liver disease. It develops over time and may be caused a number of conditions including hepatitis, genetics, alcohol overuse or cancer. Chronic liver disease is different than acute liver disease which can come on quickly and may be the result of an injury or a virus. Regardless of the cause, Dr. Bashar Aqel, a Mayo Clinic transplant hepatologist says when the liver can no longer function, a life-saving transplant may be needed.
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A bi-weekly podcast on the latest medical, science and telehealth news.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the heart muscle, making it more difficult to pump blood. Dr. Steve Ommen is a Mayo Clinic cardiologist who specializes in the disease. He says shortness of breath or chest pain, especially during exercise, are common symptoms. Many people with the disease won’t have any significant health problems. But there are cases that require treatment. If a patient has symptoms that affect quality of life, the disease is treated with medications. Surgery or other procedures also may be necessary in some cases.
The rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been paused in the US, Europe and South Africa after reports of rare blood clotting in a very small number of people. Health authorities said they were halting the use of the shot while they investigate the cases — and that they were doing this out of “an abundance of caution.” The Astra Zeneca jab was also recently temporarily suspended in some countries after being linked to rare blood clots. Authorities are calling it a short “pause.” The US’s Johnson and Johnson vaccine has hit the same stumbling block as the UK’s AstraZeneca jab did last month: a likely link to a rare and deadly blood clot. Use of Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine has now been halted across the US, Europe and South Africa, with health authorities investigating six incidents of clotting in younger women, one of them fatal. The US-developed vaccine uses an adenovirus to trigger immunity – the same mechanism as the UK’s AstraZeneca vaccine. It accounts for roughly 5 percent of vaccines delivered so far in the US. This is a setback to Europe, too. Johnson and Johnson announced it will delay it’s rollout on the continent. The company had already started processing an order from the EU of 200 million doses. The Janssen jab has been partially rolled out in Africa, where a majority of countries don’t have enough vaccines even for their healthcare workers. The African Union signed a deal for 220 million doses this year. But US authorities remain hopeful. They’re saying it could only be a matter of days before the rollout resumes.
A new study by a team from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation shows that adults over age 50 place more importance on convenience-related factors, rather than reputation, when choosing a doctor.
The study, based on data from IHPI’s National Poll on Healthy Aging supported by AARP and Michigan Medicine, still shows that online ratings and reviews of physicians play an important role, and should receive attention from providers and policymakers.
Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren, a U-M primary care physician and lead author of the study, describes the findings.
Tele-dentistry allows patients to consult a licensed dentist via a mobile app, without having to leave their home or make an appointment. By sharing high-resolution photos of their teeth and flagging specific concerns, they can get a personalized assessment and practical advice for ongoing improvement of their oral health.
What is Teledentistry?
Teledental health is a very broad category of solutions that service patients oral health at a distance by doing it remotely. People who do not have a dentist, lack access to a dentist or live far from a dental office can be helped with this level of care – via telephone or videoconferencing capability or other means mentioned above. It’s the idea that these technologies can be leveraged to improve access to care, gather and exchange information with a licensed dentist, to provide and support dental care delivery, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of dental information and education.
Telemedicine refers to the “virtual visits” that take place between patients and clinicians via communications technology — the video and audio connectivity that allows “virtual” meetings to occur in real time, from virtually any location.
A teledental visit can be a videoconference between a dentist and a patient regarding an urgent dental or oral health problem, and it can also give patients improved access to information about the importance of oral health.
With evolving technology, urgent oral or dental issues can be remediated – helping people to avoid expensive, time-consuming visits to the hospital Emergency Room or urgent care clinic by scheduling them at a dental care facility the next day.
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The new eCornell course, which features a curriculum in-line with the Association of American Medical College’s Telehealth Competencies, offers instruction on how to harness the digital health medium to effectively create a therapeutic patient-provider encounter. Students learn essentials including verbal and nonverbal communication strategies to convey empathy and compassion, how to overcome technical challenges, and how to conduct remote patient exams.
Digital health and the tools for patients to virtually reach their health care providers have quickly become a mainstay of medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Weill Cornell Medicine’s Center for Virtual Care is positioned at the leading edge of this health care delivery transformation. Leveraging their years of experience with video visits, the center’s experts train providers how to best use it to give their patients comprehensive, compassionate care.
DR. C Comments
Telehealth offers significant advantages to both patient and doctor. It should be a welcome and valuable addition to the medical profession in its desire to deliver comprehensive care to patients. However, Telemedicine faces a number of barriers both from the medical side and the patient side, not to mention insurance, lawyers, and government.
A good video was posted from Cornell, which aims to get doctors to develop a set of behavioral skills which will make telemedicine more personal. Of course, training should be extended to peripheral sensing devices that will enhance the ability of doctors to gain information at a distance, as well as familiarization with a user-friendly electronic system to navigate.
Patients also need a special course in how to become more Competent in the technical aspects of telemedicine, sensors and other challenges. Since Telemedicine visits occur at widely spaced intervals, even an intensive training course might find the patient unfamiliar with the system at the time of need.
Recently, I signed up for a zoom consultation At UCLA medical Center. It was very helpful to have a knowledgeable person on the phone directing me through the maze that got me signed up to “my chart”, The electronic system that UCLA uses. Even though I took Notes, when it is actually time to get into the system and go to the virtual waiting room of my chart, I may well have difficulty.
And that’s just one system. It seems as though doctors offices, different medical systems, and different health plans all have their own unique electronic systems which are enough different to be confusing to the patient.
I can only hope that the newer generations, having grown up using these electronic devices, will have enough facility to easily interface with their doctor electronically. Until the older generation passes on, however, there will be ongoing challenges.