Tag Archives: Mental Health

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How I moved on after being discriminated against for my learning disabilities

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A few weeks ago, I had applied for a job as a freelance proofreader for a proofreading company.

Before I go on, let me say that I am experienced in this field. I recently proofread “My Heart Speaks,” a book of poetry written by Ernest Roberson Sr. that is available through Amazon. I participated in the Business Professionals of America’s district contest in high school, where I placed in the top 10 of the administrative assisting and proofreading/editing competitions.

So, I didn’t go into this opportunity totally blind.

I was sent a sample essay to proofread — obviously to show my skills — and I honestly thought I did pretty well.

Earlier this week, I received an email saying that I didn’t get the job. The reason — they claimed — was because I missed several grammatical errors. They even included them in the email. They mentioned that they were also looking for writers to work on future projects.

I wrote them back and apologized for the errors and mentioned my experience as a writer/blogger, but they later wrote me back saying that it didn’t meet their criteria.

To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement.

I was angry. I was bitter. I was resentful.

Because I knew I was discriminated against because of my learning disabilities.

I had mentioned them because it’s not anything I am ashamed about. It’s who I am. I have made sharing my experiences living with this condition a part of my career.

In their emails, it was clear in their wording that they believed I was someone with a low IQ.

I spent the rest of the week moping around, feeling sorry for myself and taking my frustrations out on myself and my loved ones. I know this was not the wisest course of action to have taken.

The incident brought back all the negative feelings I had battled with for years over all the rejections I had to deal with.

I went back down the same “oh, woe is me” path I went down on for most of my life.

It brought back all the memories of being turned down for jobs because my learning disabilities were considered too much of a liability.

But after a bad night’s sleep, I came to realize that all of this was — quite frankly — ridiculous!

I was allowing my naysayers to control my life… again. I wasted 30 years trying to get them to accept me and I was not about to let all the hard work I put into finding healing go down the drain.

So, I picked myself up and have moved on.

As luck would have it, a couple of new job opportunities have opened up. Plus, I have found several websites that are accepting submissions.

I have been wanting to write for Blue Mountain Arts after I discovered them at a local Cracker Barrel many years ago. I want to write for Chicken Soup for The Soul.

There are so many things I want to do. Now, I’m obviously not condoning what happened to me and nobody should who have gone through something similar.

It was wrong and — if you want to get technical — it was illegal. People with learning disabilities are protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act, but I have decided it is a battle not worth fighting. For me, anyway.

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ONC outlines plans for health IT during the 2020s

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Federal health IT officials have, for the first time, released a draft strategic plan that outlines their priorities for the first half of the 2020s. The focus appears to be on moving to a more patient-focused form of healthcare, with health data accessible through smartphone apps and application programming interfaces (APIs).

The plan provides insight into federal health IT goals and objectives while ensuring consumers have access to their electronic health information. Additionally, the plan is designed to help them to manage their health and shop for care, according to the Office for the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

The draft federal strategic plan makes a nod toward provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act, which may help bring electronic health information into the hands of patients through smartphone applications, Don Rucker, M.D., National Coordinator for Health IT, said in a statement. “We look forward to public comment to help guide the federal government’s strategy to have a more connected health system that better serves patients,” he said.

The plan matches up with two big data-sharing rules developed by HHS, including ONC’s proposed information blocking rule (PDF) — outlining seven exceptions to the prohibition against information blocking and provides standardized criteria for application programming interface (API) development.

In the draft plan, ONC has four primary objectives for the use of health IT. These include promoting health and wellness; enhancing the delivery and experience of care; building a secure, data-driven ecosystem to accelerate research and innovation; and connecting healthcare and health data through an interoperable health IT infrastructure.

The plan is ONC’s roadmap for federal health IT initiatives, activities, and priorities to the private sector, Elise Sweeney Anthony, executive director of policy at ONC, and Seth Pazinski, director of ONC’s Office of planning, evaluation, and analysis, wrote in a blog post.

“ONC and our federal partners strive to promote a health information technology (health IT) landscape that can increase transparency, competition, and consumer choice while also seeking to protect the privacy and security of individuals’ health information. These efforts include making coordinated investments, developing standards and policies for secure, standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs), and promoting user-focused technologies,” Anthony and Pazinksi wrote.

ONC also wants social determinants of health (SDOH) data captured and integrated into EHRs and is pushing for advanced capabilities like machine learning, evidence-based clinical decision support, smart dashboards and alerts, and improved patient matching to improve the safety and quality of health care.

ONC also is attempting to increase the use of health IT to drive price competition and increase transparency and affordability in healthcare by making quality and price information available to patients in an easily understandable format, which may encourage competitive business practices and allow individuals to choose from multiple validated health apps without extraordinary effort.

ONC developed the strategic plan with more than 25 federal organizations.

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Smart pills: The pros and cons of an important healthcare trend in 2020

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Smart pills are highly promising, yet controversial, new developments that have many intriguing potential applications for virtually every practicing doctor. A smart pill is a drug that containing tiny sensors that can monitor a patient’s condition internally or target certain treatments.

This monitoring may ultimately happen through telemedicine or other remote means. For example, researchers from Columbia University, led by Dr. Aditya Bardia, report they’ve developed a smart pill for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer patients that recognizes a specific protein made by cancer cells and delivers medication specifically to combat that protein.

Smart pills are now primarily used in clinical trials, but it’s only a matter of time before they have much wider implications for virtually every aspect of healthcare. These pills can potentially be used to determine whether patients with dementia are taking their prescriptions properly and to monitor things such as patient conditions.

For example, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led by Xinyue Liu, are currently developing a smart pill that painlessly expands once swallowed into a spongey ping-pong ball shape in a patient’s stomach. The hope is that this pill could remain in the stomach for up to 30 days to help diagnose and treat a variety of health conditions.

For all of the good smart pills can do, there are other issues to consider. As a physician and hospital administrator, you must take in account how smart pills you may wish to research further and potentially implement might:

Impact patient privacy.

Does using a smart pill qualify as surveillance or a monitor of medical adherence? Making sure smart pills improve patients’ lives is a chief concern, according to a study from the University of Illinois.

For example, the first smart pill approved by the FDA is currently being used in psychiatric patients who suffer from schizophrenia and who may feel distrust of medical workers because of their condition. Therefore, although a smart pill may allow doctors to be sure these patients are taking their meds, their personal rights must be respected at the same time so treatment is not intrusive.

Change physician-patient interaction.

It’s also key to make sure smart pills don’t eliminate the important face-to-face physical examination that physicians must use to fully diagnose and treat their patients. Doctors need to see their patients in the flesh to do their jobs correctly. Therefore, patients who received smart pill treatment must be respect the key fact that their meds do not mean they no longer need to see the doctor or report any changing symptoms or concerns they have.

Require more sophisticated technology at your practice or hospital.

Smart pills require extremely specific monitoring. It may be that this can be done via a smartphone or mobile device; it may be that this can be done by reconfiguring existing equipment. Or, it may be that you need to invest considerable and new expense into purchasing and mastering new diagnostic and monitoring systems.

Make sure you keep up with evolving research and smart drug availability to plan these processes well in advance.

Involve staff retraining.

Healthcare workers who administer smart pills and interpret related data will need to be up to speed on applications and changing nuances of the technology on an ongoing basis.

Extensive patient education.

Patients will need to clearly understand how to take their smart pills properly, watch for any interactions or malfunction, and know to report any reactions or issues quickly. The good news: when your staff and patients are fully informed and become comfortable with smart pill technology, it may very well be a highly beneficial game-changer.

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Officers pair with crisis prevention teams to protect, serve better

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Since 1991, New Haven, Connecticut, has pioneered police partnerships with mental health workers in its innovative Child Development-Community Policing (CD-CP) program. Now, the city of St. Louis is following New Haven’s lead with its Mobile Crisis Prevention Team.

The team pairs St. Louis cops with volunteer community health workers to provide victims and others affected by crime with access to help. They focus on the social issues and environmental conditions that affect individuals. This way, they can address core concerns and redirect individuals before they become further embroiled in crimes.

The partnership helps officers and clinicians intervene and helps victims of violent and traumatic events when they are most vulnerable. The model is designed to combat the risks of psychiatric problems or academic failures that vulnerable children and families face. It also prevents the perpetuation of the cycle of violence.

Police department policies and procedures have been under review for years now. Following these reviews, many cities are introducing community engagement programs like New Haven, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Officers are being trained to recognize mental health issues and deescalate situations. Pairing them with experienced mental health workers will enable them to serve better. Together, they can play the role of a social worker and effectively connect people to the services they need.

In Hartford, Vermont, police are training to tackle mental health-related emergencies and deescalate mental health crises. The increasing number of such calls has warranted a change in the way officers deal with mental health issues in such situations.

Partnering with mental health organizations seems to be an effective way to address the mental health crisis. Police get a better understanding of mental health issues, learn to monitor the care of people following a mental health call, and thus respond to crisis calls more effectively.

Crisis intervention training, known as CIT, is now being adopted by many police departments. The training touches upon essential deescalation tactics like active listening, asking open-ended questions, mirroring words, and body language, among others.

The idea of these partnerships is to train as many officers as possible to deal with such situations. If any officer trained in CIT is unavailable, the team should have the basic know-how to deescalate a situation or reach the mental health expert without causing further harm to self and others. That’s the way most departments are proceeding as they try to partner with volunteers or train more officers.

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Intermittent fasting: A yay or nay for healthcare professionals?

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Intermittent fasting (IF) is trending in the health and fitness industry. As a style of eating, it involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. But should healthcare professionals use it as a way to manage their weight? For shift workers, it may have some appeal.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

At its most basic level, IF involves periods of eating and fasting. However, there are several ways to schedule periods of eating and fasting. For example, you can choose between the Eat:Stop:Eat Method, The 5:2 Method, and the 16/8 Method.

The Eat:Stop:Eat Method involves 24-hour fasts once or twice a week. Using this method, you stop eating after dinner and fast until dinner the next day.

The 5:2 Method involves eating approximately 500 calories a day twice a week and eating normally on the other five days.

The 16/8 Method restricts when you eat to an eight-hour time period. Many people choose to start their fast after breakfast and fast for 16 hours. Sometimes, this style of IF is referred to as the Leangains Protocol.

What Does the Research Say about Intermittent Fasting?

A lot of the research on IF involves short-term animal studies. We don’t know much about how IF affects humans in the short- or long-term. Therefore, results from intermittent fasting studies should be considered carefully.

IF has been mentioned in association with numerous health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improvements in cholesterol.

Weight Loss

Most people try IF for the weight loss benefits.

Additional Benefits

Many of the hormonal and cellular changes that occur with IF encourage weight loss.

A Yay or Nay for Healthcare Workers?

Intermittent fasting has pros and cons. Speak to your doctor before trying IF.

Pros

Simplicity: Fasting during an evening or night shift may simplify life for healthcare workers. Not having to shop, prep, or pack food for those shifts is a plus; and, because coffee is allowed on IF, shift workers can still rely on their favorite caffeinated beverage.

Comfort’s also a factor — eating large meals at night can feel unnatural and unpleasant. Night shift workers may enjoy the feeling of an empty stomach at work.

Weight loss: It’s not uncommon for healthcare workers to struggle with weight issues. Long hours, stressful work environments, and compassion fatigue are real hindrances to a healthy lifestyle. Intermittent fasting has shown it can help people drop unwanted pounds.

Flexibility: Intermittent fasting is flexible. With at least three versions to choose from, healthcare workers can adopt intermittent fasting to fit their lifestyles and rotating work schedules. IF may also be an excellent way to transition to recurring schedule changes.

Cons

IF may be different for women: Intermittent fasting may not be as effective for women. IF may result in amenorrhea in some women. It’s also not recommended if you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Some research indicates IF may worsen blood sugar control in women.

Hunger: Hunger can be hard to get used to and may bothersome. Hunger can also make this style of eating challenging to sustain.

Tiredness: Fasting can make you feel tired and spacey, which may increase the likelihood of medical errors.

Your Choice

Intermittent fasting may offer a convenient way for healthcare professionals to lose weight. It may also appeal to them as a life hack. However, medical professionals need to be careful about becoming overly when fasting.

Always speak to your health professional before beginning a lifestyle change, especially if you’re taking medications or have been diagnosed with a condition or disease.

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Report: Physician salaries continue to rise, per 2019 figures

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The salaries of America’s physicians continued to increase in 2019, according to a new report produced by LocumTenens.com.

The most recent annual report shows that the average physician’s salary continues trending higher year-over-year since 2015. Overall, the increase in pay since then has been up by 16.5%, per the report. The current figures are based on feedback from the August 2019 survey.

Of those interviewed for the survey, respondents included physicians and advanced practitioners. The compensation measured includes those paid full-time and who are permanent employers. The final figures account for annual salary as well as bonuses.

Specific numbers show that the average physician’s role continues to be well-suited for those who want to earn substantial bread. Average salaries of physicians rose to $363,924; for advanced practitioners, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants, average rates rose to $122,973.

While salaries for the advanced practitioner” have not risen as steadily as physicians, since 2017, they have been up.

For some juxtaposition, a Medscape survey from 2011 of more than 15,000 physicians nationwide found that, despite a weak economy at the time, a majority of those interviewed across all specialties reported that compensation was stable or increased over the past year.

Specifically, orthopedic surgeons, radiologists, anesthesiologists and cardiologists were the top earners nearly a decade ago. These providers brought in more than twice the average income of endocrinologists, primary care physicians, and pediatricians.

For employed physicians, compensation includes salary, bonus and profit-sharing contributions.

On the same measurement a decade ago, one-half of all physicians reported that their income remained the same between 2009 and 2010. About 23% reported a decline in income, whereas 27% said their income increased.

At the time, the highest-earning physicians in Medscape’s survey practice were in the North Central region comprising Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Iowa and Missouri, at a median salary of $225,000.

For the most current survey report, average salaries for physicians by specialty follow:

  • Orthopedic surgeons, $539,464
  • Cardiologists, $469,895
  • Radiologists, $434,541
  • Urologists, $430,000
  • Anesthesiologists, $415,985
  • Critical care, $376,090
  • General surgeons, $372,500
  • Emergency medicine, $360,433
  • Neurologists, $333,115
  • Obstetrician/gynecologists, $293,980
  • Hospitalists, $283,530
  • Psychiatrists, $272,821
  • Primary care, $245,146

These are the average salaries for advanced practitioners by specialty:

  • Certified nurse anesthetist, $202,244
  • Emergency medicine physician assistant, $166,194
  • Emergency medicine nurse practitioner, $142,857
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner, $137,993
  • Critical care nurse practitioner, $134,850
  • Hospitalist nurse practitioner, $128,532
  • Primary care nurse practitioner, $118,034

Primary care physicians’ salaries were an average based on those working in internal medicine, family practice and pediatrics.

Of those surveyed, most physicians are employed by hospitals, while most advanced practitioners work in clinics.

Of the physicians who took the survey, 40% were hospital-employed, 20% were in group practice and 14% worked in clinics or community centers.

Among advanced practitioners, 27% were employed in clinics or community centers, while a slightly lower percentage (26%) were hospital-employed and 14% were in group practices.

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3 tools to help limit or stop your anxiety

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If you’ve been feeling anxious this last year, you are not alone. An article in Time magazine stated that 40% of Americans are more anxious than a year ago. While the generation most affected are millennials, anxiety is found in every demographic group.

In the last two weeks, six people have told me they were feeling consumed by anxiety. All six are from different backgrounds, ages, genders, etc. One just retired from the federal government, and the other five consist of a CEO of a tech company, a recent college graduate, a human resources executive, an hourly employee and a diversity and inclusion consultant.

According to a poll by the American Psychiatric Association the most common sources of anxiety are concerns about finances, health and safety, and not knowing what the future holds for them.

If you are or have ever felt really anxious, you know how uncomfortable it is and how it can affect every aspect of your personal and work life. People say it’s harder to make decisions, participate in activities they enjoy or share ideas at work when they feel anxious.

Sometimes anxiety is situational and specific; other times it’s free-floating and can even run in families.

I know how debilitating anxiety can be. I’ve experienced the discomfort of anxiety at different times in my life. Even now, I’ve found myself feeling anxious about the future, making the right decisions about business and where I want to live.

After getting help for extreme anxiety years ago, and learning how common it was, I decided I wanted to help other people. I got trained as a stress management consultant and began working with leaders in organizations to manage their stress and anxieties and support their employees.

To this day, I continue to use the techniques I learned and have taught others. I’m sharing three of them below with you.

1. You find yourself worrying about this new year and focusing on what didn’t work last year.

Solution: Make a list of your accomplishments from the last 12 months. As you do that, you’ll begin to get a sense of inner power that will make you feel stronger, less fearful, and more confident that you will continue your success. Keep the list where you can see it and revisit it frequently.

Read them several times, and you’ll be able to list your intentions for 2020 and the actions you plan to take with more confidence and clarity.

2. Difficulty focusing on the present because you are so anxious about the future and the “unknown.” It becomes hard to think about your next steps or take action.

Solution: Take a time out and practice deep breathing for at least five minutes. This will help clear your mind and push out the worries and “future-tripping.”

Once you quiet your mind it will be easier to think and do your next steps. Even better would be to learn to meditate. You’ll be amazed at what a few minutes can do to your thinking and the sense of calm you can achieve.

3. Fortune telling or future predicting. You just know that something terrible is going to happen, your whole life will fall apart, you’ll lose your job, your home, your reputation, etc.

Solution: Take out a piece of paper if possible and list:

  • Your fears of what may happen (your imagination is working hard for create doom).
  • Why you think the worst? What’s the evidence? (There is none.)
  • What you really know for sure at this moment. Remind yourself that the scenario you fear is not happening but is a product of FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real).
  • Change the scenario from the worst to great possibilities. This will enable you to let go of that fear and anxiety and focus on being calm in the moment.

These are just three techniques. There are many more, but these can help right away. If anxiety continues, it’s always a good idea to get outside help.

Why suffer when you can get the right help? We are most anxious when we feel like we are alone, that no one is there with us and that it’s just up to us by ourselves. Be we can change that.

Make 2020 the year you connect with others, talk to friends who don’t judge but support you, and be part of a community greater than yourself that gives you the security and stability you need for success.

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Study results: Long naps, long nighttime sleeping may be risk factors for stroke

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Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke; every four minutes, someone dies from stroke. Although stroke risk increases with age, strokes can — and do — occur at any age. In 2009, 34%of those hospitalized for stroke were younger than 65 years of age.

Every year, about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first strokes; 185,000 are recurrent strokes. Medical conditions, lifestyle factors, ethnicity, and family history all play a part in the risk for stroke.

Hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes are the leading causes of stroke and, in fact, 1 in 3 adults in the United States has at least one of these conditions or habits. Some risk factors such as hormones and pregnancy are specific to women.

A new study suggests another risk of stroke too much sleep, including long daytime naps or longer than nine hours at night. People who took a regular midday nap lasting more than 90 minutes were 25% more likely to later have a stroke than people who took a regular nap lasting from one to 30 minutes. People who took no naps or took naps lasting from 31 minutes to one hour were no more likely to have a stroke than people who took naps lasting from one to 30 minutes.

The study involved 31,750 people in China, with an average age of 62 years. Inclusion criteria specified that participants did not have any history of stroke or other major health problems at study start.

They were followed for about six years. During that time, 1,557 stroke cases were reported.The participants were asked questions about their sleep and napping habits. According to the study, 8% of the people took naps lasting more than 90 minutes. And 24% said they slept nine or more hours per night.

People who were both long nappers and long sleepers were 85% more likely to later have a stroke than people who were moderate sleepers and nappers. People who said their sleep quality was poor were 29% more likely to later have a stroke than people who said their sleep quality was good.

Of the long nappers, 1% of cases per person-years later had a stroke, compared to 0.7% of cases per person-years of the moderate nappers. The numbers were the same for the long and moderate sleepers — with 1% of cases per person-years compared to 0.7% of cases per person-years having a stroke.

According to Xiaomin Zhang, MD, Ph.D., of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, further research would help explain how taking long naps and sleeping longer hours at night may be tied to an increased risk of stroke. However, previous studies have shown that long nappers and sleepers have unfavorable changes in their cholesterol levels and increased waist circumferences, both of which are risk factors for stroke, indicating that an inactive lifestyle may be at play.

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How to beat the trend of social media detox and boost your marketing power

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One of the emerging social media trends of significance is the concept of “detox” — consumers who are unplugging from their social media accounts either partially or entirely. The numbers are significant: a study from Pew Research Center found that 26% of social media users deleted their Facebook smartphone app last year.

Social media users do this for many reasons but most often do so because they feel overwhelmed by the stresses of constant social media engagement.

Furthermore, a new study by Matthew Lapierre at the University of Arizona finds a link between smartphone usage and depression. Another new study from authors at Stanford University and New York University finds that deactivating social media can impact your well-being and improve your lifestyle in positive ways.

How can you make sure that even those who detox keep up with your products, services and content online? Be their feel-good exception! Here are some strategies you and your team can employ:

Honesty.

Sending a message via social media that commiserates with them, such as, “Hey, we get it, social media can be negative and exhausting sometimes,” can be worth its weight in gold. In your message, ask your audience to stick with you and explain that you intend to bring them product and service info that will make their lives better, not stress or annoy them any further.

Positive brand outreach.

When planning new ad campaigns, always put a smile into your copy. Use engaging, positive language, and make sure your audience sees what you have to offer as effective, enhancing, helpful, fun to use, and indispensable to their lifestyle.

Stress customer service speed as an asset. Make your audience see that if they continue to engage with your brand on social media, you will make every experience they have with your brand a good one.

Stressing privacy.

Many people dispense with social media when they perceive, either through a negative personal experience or by hearing about experiences from others, that their privacy is at stake for being compromised by a brand or platform. Stress how scrupulously you protect all private identifying info your customers provide to you.

Then, walk the walk: put more-than-sufficient resources into protecting against data breaches and tech glitches. Give your audience every reason to trust you.

Diversify.

Spread your advertising resources around so you’re not relying on social media marketing exclusively. Look into other forms of digital advertising and old school techniques like direct mail, which still can work well.

Survey to break down exactly what your audience is tired of seeing on social.

Ask your audience what turns them off in terms of advertising styles, i.e., too-frequent messaging or an inauthentic voice — then don’t do it. Simple!

Use influencers who respond and empathize with your audience’s desire to detox.

Make sure the influencers you use are truthful in relating their own frustrations and, at the same time, honestly stress the benefits of your brand. If your audience’s relationship with these influencers is strong, your brand will not fall by the wayside in their minds.

Put a stronger emphasis personalized chat with your customers to monitor interest…

… or lack of interest in the products, services and advertising you’re putting out there. When you see negative patterns, turn the tide as needed and change what’s not working.

It’s crucial to take your audience’s temperature in a thorough way and let them know you respect their time and opinions. Keeping your message supportive in just the right way will keep you immune from the effects of detox…and increase your bottom line!

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Study review: Depressed physicians more likely to commit medical errors

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A physician who is depressed is more likely to commit medical errors: This is the primary finding from a review of studies — 11 prior studies that included more than 21,000 physicians —published in JAMA Network Open.

Per the findings, physicians with a positive screening for depression were very likely to report medical errors. Further examination found that the association between depressive symptoms in physicians and medical errors is bidirectional.

The studies suggest that, in the United States, as many as 98,000 to 251,000 hospitalized patients die each year because a preventable adverse event. Medical errors are considered a significant source of morbidity and account for billions of dollars in financial losses to healthcare systems every year.

Additionally, studies of physicians point to the potential individual and work environments as possible sources of interventions to prevent the development of depressive symptoms among these professionals. “Research on the efficacy of interventions to reduce depressive symptoms in physicians has shown positive results,” the report’s authors said.

“Given that depression is preventable and treatable, a reliable estimate of the degree to which physicians with a positive screening for depression are at higher risk for medical errors would be useful,” the review authors noted. “Such an estimate would inform public health decision-making on strategies to improve patient safety and physician well-being.”

Nine studies (82%) took place in the United States, one (9%) in Japan, and one (9%) in South Korea. Eight studies (73%) included only training physicians (interns and residents), and three (27%) recruited physicians from any career level. Seven studies recruited physicians from multiple specialties, whereas four recruited physicians from a single specialty. Among these four studies, one focused on pediatric residents, one on anesthesiology residents, and two on internal medicine residents.

All the studies involved self-reported medical errors and were not necessarily verifiable.

Based on the results, the study’s authors urged healthcare institutions to remove barriers that may keep doctors suffering from depression from obtaining help.

For physicians, the combination of long hours, often grueling medical procedures and lives on the line, can create an enormous amount of stress. That can take a toll on mental health, and many doctors say they suffer from depression. A Medscape survey from last year indicated 71% of doctors are suffering from some form of burnout, depression, or both.

Up to 400 doctors in the U.S. kill themselves every year, according to a study on that topic. Given that depression can dull mental acuity, that puts clinicians at risk for committing medical errors.

Studies that include physicians from different countries could answer whether cultural and socioeconomic aspects play a role in the associations between depressive symptoms and errors, researchers said. Likewise, there is a need for more research into the degree to which interventions for reducing physician depressive symptoms could mitigate medical errors and improve physician well-being and patient care, they added.

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