10 Trends to Watch in the World of Chiropractics in 2017

10 Trends to Watch in the World of Chiropractics in 2017

The chiropractic profession is a rapidly evolving one with changes being spurred on by advances in technology. Today, chiropractors are worrying about data security as much as they are about social media marketing. And then there are the changes in legislation. Obamacare brought about the use of electronic medical records that a chiropractor has to update.

And these are only two examples. The dynamic nature of the chiropractic industry means that to be a successful chiropractor, you must keep abreast of these changes. With that in mind, here are the trends to watch in the world of chiropractics in 2017.

1) Increased Brand Management

We live in a digital age where information about anything or anyone is readily available online. And as such, your online reputation matters, especially if you are a chiropractor or health professional. For unlike in the past, the modern patient is technology savvy and will first look you up online before enlisting your services.

In fact, according to a 2013 Software Advice report, 62 percent of all patients today do this. The report also revealed that online reviews sites, such as WebMD, ZocDoc, and Vitals, influence patients’ opinions about doctors the most. So, be attentive to what such sites are saying about you online be it positive or negative. In short, manage your online reputation.

2) Electronic Medical Records

Recent healthcare reforms, Obamacare in particular, have led to the adoption of the electronic medical record (EMR). These records gather more than a patient’s medical data but go a step further and compile a patient’s comprehensive medical history. Even better, EMRs improve service delivery by allowing medical providers to share patient data.

Yet despite the benefits of EMRs, chiropractors have a laid back attitude towards them. Many have busy schedules and tend to update their patient files only when they get around to doing it. Unfortunately, this “get around to it” attitude has many negative consequences. It can land you in trouble with auditors or insurers, or put you at risk of lawsuits and penalties.

3) Better Data Security

The adoption of EMRs in the health sector has brought to light a new problem – data security. Few chiropractors know about data security, let alone care about it. But unknown to them, they are the target of cyber criminals. In the past, criminals targeted only large corporations and businesses. Today, however, every computer user is at risk, especially the health professional.

In their daily work, health professionals use EMRs. The personal information contained in an EMR, such as names and social security numbers, is what the criminals are after. They are also after the credit card numbers contained in the billing records of a health practice.

Fortunately,  major clinics like CORE chiropractic are less at risk of an attack. Criminals regard smaller clinics as easy pickings because some take data security for granted. Of the 855 data breaches examined by a 2012 Data Breach Investigations Study, 607 affected small businesses. For this reason, chiropractors must place data security at the top of their information technology priorities.

4) More Marketing

Chiropractors are not known for marketing their services. Most are too busy to bother with marketing, and the few who try to do so lack the necessary skills to do it effectively. It is true that a few years back, you could operate a successful practice without ever having to market your services. And if you felt inclined to do some advertising, you relied on The Yellow Pages and other traditional forms of marketing.

But not anymore, for times have changed. Universities have entered the chiropractic field, making it more competitive than it has ever been. So, to survive the competition, you must do what you have never done before – aggressive marketing.

5) Website Creation

As mentioned above, chiropractors have had to learn how to market their services. And because a website is crucial to any marketing strategy, chiropractors have also had to learn how to create a website as well. Yes, they are still using The Yellow Pages but traditional forms of advertising are decreasing by 15 percent every year.

Websites and other digital forms of marketing are the future and chiropractors know that. As mentioned earlier, 62 percent of all medical patients do an online search when finding a doctor. Although this is true, the figure rises to 98 percent for chiropractic patients. Chiropractors are, after all, fewer in number than regular doctors and thus harder to find without doing a search.

After doing the search, patients find a link to a chiropractor’s website, which contains details about the services on offer. More importantly, it contains contact information, such as phone and email address. This means that without a website, your chiropractic practice is as good as non-existent.

6) Increased Social Media Presence

In the chiropractic business – and in any business for that matter, being on social media is just as important as having a website. And the numbers speak for themselves. According to Statista, 2.5 billion adults use social media today. By 2020, this number will rise to about 2.82 billion, says Statista. Facebook, the largest social network, had 1.94 billion active users in the first quarter of 2017.

These numbers speak of two things. One, of course, is that social media is popular. The platform allows users to not only reach out to others, but also to form relationships with them. Two, social media is the single largest marketplace on earth.

So, to make the most of the social networks, you must keep these two things in mind. Yes, you must use social media to promote your services. But if you are to impact patients and enlarge your client base, reach out to and cultivate relationships with your clients. Sending clients a simple social media message like “I will be late today” will go a long way to ensuring their loyalty.

7) A Shift to Crowdfunding and Angel Investing

After the 2008 global financial crisis, traditional lenders became reluctant to loan out money. Years later, they are still reluctant, bad news for any chiropractor wishing to expand his or her practice. In response to this demand for credit and much to the relief of chiropractors, non-traditional lenders rushed to fill the gap left by banks.

One such alternative lender is the crowdfunding system of lending. Here, you fund a project using contributions from many small online lenders. Another unconventional way of funding a venture is angel investing. But unlike crowdfunding with its many lenders, angel investing has only one affluent investor. However, the investor lends money in exchange for ownership equity.

8) The Impact of Wearable Smart Devices

Smart devices are changing health care as we know it, and the chiropractic field is not being left behind. Wearable devices, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, allow a chiropractor to track a patient’s vitals. In addition, these devices also track a patient’s daily habits. With this information, the chiropractor can better set a patient’s activity goals.

9) Seminars and Further Education

To keep up with the changes in the profession, chiropractors must attend seminars and interact with others in the industry. Investing your time in the acquisition of knowledge has an obvious advantage. Any new information you acquire helps you to run your practice better. But sometimes, seminars are not enough. You might feel the need to go back to school and increase your professional skills.

10) Incorporating Wellness Programs

Chiropractors today are incorporating wellness programs into their practice for many reasons. One is the increasing competition in the profession. Without diversifying into something else, in this case, wellness programs, you will have a harder time making a living from your chiropractic practice.

The second reason is the health benefit of wellness programs. A program such as high-intensity interval training, a cardiac exercise, helps chiropractic patients with heart ailments. Light therapy, on the other hand, uses cold lasers to reduce back and neck pain. Some programs like yoga relieve chiropractic pain and improve a patient’s flexibility.

The growth of the elderly population is the third reason. Most developed countries have an aging population that needs chiropractic care. For instance, seniors accounted for 13.3 percent of the total US population in 2013, according to the US Census Bureau. That is 41.4 million people.

The Bureau goes on to predict that this percentage will reach 20 percent in 2060, or about 92 million people. Furthermore, of the 92 million seniors, about 18 million will be more than 85 years old. With so many seniors in need of chiropractic care, chiropractors are shifting their focus to this demographic.

The fourth reason is as a result of another growing demographic – people with obesity. Take the United States, for example. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 36.5 percent of adults have obesity. And they are at risk of getting serious medical complications, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Being overweight also affects their spine and spinal alignment. When this happens, chiropractors make chiropractic adjustments to help relieve the patient’s pain and restore his or her mobility. In addition, some have specialized training in diet and nutrition, and can, therefore, advise their patients on how to lose weight.

Conclusion

Although the chiropractic profession evolves rapidly, the following trends are the ones to watch out for in 2017. For one, chiropractors will focus on their online reputations and on updating their patients EMRs. They will also be keen on improving data security, marketing their services, and creating websites.

Having a greater presence on social media will also be on their minds. There will also be a focus on crowdfunding, smart devices, and furthering their education. Finally, most will incorporate wellness programs into their chiropractic practices.

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The Top Reasons for High Cost Prescription Medications

The Top Reasons for High Cost Prescription Medications

United States patients have been experiencing sticker shock as the costs for prescribed medications continue to rise. The issue continues to boil over hot flames after one pharmaceutical company after another announces price increases on medicines that are life-saving for many.

Medical groups have publicly blasted these companies, and even former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, has called out these companies for ‘price gouging’. Even with promises from CEOs to ‘look into the matter’, this issue is much larger than just one medication or one company.

Between 2008 and 2014, the median prices for many of the most commonly used prescription medications jumped over 120%. Companies have justified this increase citing drug shortages, competition and rising research costs.

Advocates for the price increases have stated that these drug costs actually help patients save money because they are able to avoid expensive hospitalization and complications. However, patients say that insurance plans that require them to pay a large co-pay have made more expensive drugs unaffordable. With the rollout of new drugs for conditions like Hepatitis and cancer, medication treatments for an entire year could cost over $100,000.

As a result, many patients are now turning to alternatives like online pharmacies to get the medications they need at prices they can afford. However, the question still remains, why are these drugs so expensive?

Extensive Patents

One reason for these soaring prices is that the patents drug makers get in the United States are much longer than the ones in other countries. This means that pharmaceutical companies do not have any competition for two decades from the time they are granted the patent. These patents are usually filed while the drug is still in its testing phase, and this means the clock starts ticking before the medication is available to the public.

No Price Regulations

Unlike other countries, the United States government does not offer any regulations on prescription medicine prices. Instead, pharmaceutical companies create wholesale prices. These prices are primarily based on the costs of competing drugs.

Little to No Competition

For the majority of prescription medications on the market, there is not a lot of competition. Less competition means that the sky is the limit for what many drug makers charge. Some previously sold generic drugs were not priced high enough for them to be profitable for drug makers, and they stopped selling them.

For other drugs that are used to treat very rare medical conditions, the cost of production is too much for many manufacturers. This means that the manufacturer that is still standing after the dust has settled will hold a monopoly over that particular market.

Less Generics Entering the Market

There are fewer genetic medications being produced. After the wave of patent expirations that occurred between 2011 and 2013, the percentage of popular drugs that have expiring patents has dramatically declined. This alone has been a major reason U.S. medication spending has increased.

So, what can patients do to fight against these rising costs? They can speak with their doctor about creating a plan to save money on their medications, ask for samples (which are free) or consider getting a discount prescription card.

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The Use of Imaging to Detect Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Use of Imaging to Detect Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition that affects the joints, most often the feet and hands. The symptoms include painful swelling of the joints, stiffness, and sometimes weight loss and fatigue. Early diagnosis of this debilitating condition is critical.  The longer it takes to secure a diagnosis the more likely it is that the patient will end up with long-term joint damage.

There are a number of ways to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, but imaging scans are an important part of the process. Blood tests are used in the first instance to detect the presence of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is an inflammatory marker, and anti-CCP antibodies. Positive blood tests results don’t provide a definitive diagnosis, but if they are suggestive of rheumatoid arthritis, joint imaging scans will be carried out before the patient books a surgeon for a knee operation.

X-rays

X-rays have been used for decades, but although they are useful in providing a baseline picture of what the joint looks like, they are less useful in aiding a diagnosis, particularly in the early stages of the disease’s progression. The fact that an X-ray only takes an image from one angle is another limitation. Nevertheless, X-ray is an important imaging tool for the monitoring of rheumatoid arthritis disease progression.

Once it becomes apparent that patients have more serious joint abnormalities, doctors will recommend that a patient has an ultrasound and MRI scan.

Ultrasound Scan

Ultrasound imaging is a low cost, radiation free, alternative to MRI scans. Recent advances in ultrasound imaging technology allow doctors to view inflamed joints in far greater detail, which is very useful in monitoring disease progression.

In a recent study that compared X-ray imaging and ultrasound in 100 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, ultrasound detected 127 abnormalities compared to just 32 abnormalities in patients scanned using X-rays. The researchers concluded that ultrasound was much better at detecting abnormalities in early stage rheumatoid arthritis. However, the accuracy of diagnosis does depend on the skill of the ultrasound technician and the equipment used.

Further clinical testing will be used before doctors can determine whether ultrasound testing is more effective than X-ray testing for the monitoring of early-stage joint destruction. In the meantime, X-ray analysis continues to be used to measure disease progression.

MRI Scan

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are useful for diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis, but the cost of the procedure is a prohibitive factor. An MRI scanner uses a large magnet and radio waves to produce incredibly detailed images of the body. MRI scans are risk-free and can be used as often as is needed. In fact, repeat MRI scans are very useful in tracking the progression of the disease.

MRI scans and ultrasound can both detect inflammation, bone erosion, and tendon abnormalities, but an MRI scan will detect edema in the bone marrow that predicts the presence of bony erosions so typical of rheumatoid arthritis.

An X-ray may be the first imaging technique used, but patients will have follow-up tests using ultrasound imaging. If there are any questions as to the severity of disease progression or the type of arthritis the patient has, an MRI scan may be ordered.

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Are Diagnostic Tests for IBS Effective

Are Diagnostic Tests for IBS Effective?

IBS is believed to affect around 10% of the world’s population. That’s an awful lot of people suffering from stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloating and constipation. Unfortunately, however, diagnosing this miserable condition is not always easy. Doctors often rely on anecdotal evidence from patients and many people are told there is nothing wrong with them.

As anyone with IBS knows, dealing with IBS pain on a daily basis makes living a normal life very difficult. There are over-the-counter medications you can take and following a gluten-free diet works for many people, but before you try anything, you need to know that IBS is at the root of your problems.

Eliminating Serious Health Conditions

The symptoms of IBS are sometimes caused by more serious health conditions, such as celiac, Crohn’s Disease, or even bowel cancer. Instead of allowing your doctor to fob you off with a non-diagnosis, ask for further tests to eliminate more serious health problems. The following diagnostic tests should confirm or eliminate IBS, so you can work out a treatment plan and get on with living a normal life.

CT Scan with Contrast

Doctors often recommend a CT scan to rule out any more serious conditions. A CT scan allows the physician to see detailed images of the internal organs, including the digestive tract. Contrast agents enable the organs to be seen more clearly. A CT scan contains a small amount of radiation, so you should avoid the procedure if you are pregnant, or suspect you might be.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is used to examine the inside of the bowel. The patient must drink a preparatory laxative drink 24 hours prior to the test, in order to clean out the bowels completely. During the test, a small camera inside a flexible tube is inserted into the colon via the rectum. It sounds more unpleasant than it actually is, so you shouldn’t be too worried about having the test. A colonoscopy will detect signs of inflammation, which is common in IBS sufferers, and also polyps and tumors (if present).

Your doctor will recommend a colonoscopy if you are experiencing severe abdominal pain, bloating, or he can feel any lumps during a physical examination.

X-Ray

An X-Ray with a barium enema is sometimes used to detect signs of IBS, but this has largely been replaced by colonoscopies.

Blood Tests

Your doctor may also order some blood tests to rule out coeliac disease, which can be detected by the presence of antibodies in the blood. However, if you have recently eliminated gluten from your diet, the blood test won’t be effective as there won’t be large numbers of antibodies present.

A new blood test developed in 2015 detects two antibodies associated with IBS: anti Cdtb and anti-vinculin. According to researchers, these antibodies show up in more than 90% of people with the symptoms of IBS.

IBS can cause a lot of misery, so it is essential that you seek medical help if you suffer from symptoms of IBS on a regular basis.

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Growing Concern in National News – A Dramatic Rise in Heroin Related Deaths

Growing Concern in National News – A Dramatic Rise in Heroin Related Deaths

Within the past year, heroin overdose deaths have been significantly on the rise, but what is not known is how many are actually the result of a lethal dose of heroin. Many deaths that had been reported were not autopsied and so the amount of deaths that were really the result of heroin, itself, is now known. What is being observed at the moment is that a growing number of these deaths which on the surface seem to be a fatal dose of heroin by injection, are actually the result of that illicit drug being laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is known to be 50 times more powerful than morphine and an amount the size of just two or three grains of table salt can be lethal.

Previously Held Theories

Statistically, many addicts who don’t actually make it all the way through recovery programs and who have died within the past year or two, were thought to have taken more than their recovering body could handle after a long abstinence. Many deaths attributed to heroin OD were said to be the result of stressing the body that had been clean for a prolonged period of time, leading to cardiac arrest.

Few autopsies were conducted in the beginning which led to the theory that addicts were coming out of recovery too soon and upon using for that first time, hit their bodies with more than they could handle having built up resistance. Unfortunately, not all programs are like one Los Angeles long term heroin rehab program that continues on with the recovering addict after care in-house. Follow-up treatment is rare in many cases, but with the growing number of addicts hitting the streets again, LA is making a concerted effort to stay with addicts for longer throughout recovery.

Ohio Leads the Pack

In 2016 Ohio emerged as the state with the most deaths by overdose as a result of drugs laced with fentanyl. Those numbers are growing in Ohio, keeping it a forerunner in fentanyl related deaths and the scary thing is, many of those deaths are not related to heroin at all. Some are getting black market fentanyl brought in from China and it is being pressed into counterfeit look-alike opioid pills. Some are so realistic that they are passing for name brand pharmaceuticals. The DEA is adding more agents to their task force and it is a growing concern that current efforts are ineffective against the sheer amount being shipped illegally into the US as compared to the very minute amount necessary to create a lethal dose.

Whether an addict lives in California or Ohio, it is imperative that all addicts be apprised of this potentially deadly situation. While there is no immediate solution to stopping the entry of Chinese fentanyl, what can be encouraged is that addicts seek professional help in their quest towards recovery. Abstinence is the only real solution and that assumes professional help in recovery. Rather than play with our life, if you are an addict, seek help today. Street drugs are not closely monitored pharmaceuticals so being aware of the problem just could save your life. Again, seek help before it really is too late.

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Top Natural Alternatives to Painkillers

Across the US and other countries, people are turning to natural medicines to help counter and/or limit drug resistance, addiction and side-effects. With bacteria becoming more resistant to antibiotics, there is a race from drug companies to come up with new medicines. However, there are a number of natural substances that can provide just as much help as traditional drugs. Continue reading

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Radiology Asia Conference Will Discuss “State-of-the-Art” Imaging Tech to Improve Clinical Performance

In spite of all the enhancements that have been made in the field of medical imaging recently, the rate of bringing the latest technology to more medical institutions in practice has not been that great. This is the reason why getting “state-of-the-art” technology in imaging and radiology to clinical practice is going to be the theme and focus of the upcoming bi-annual Radiology Asia Conference. The conference will expectedly be attended by roughly 800 delegates, among whom, 50 well known names in the field will be speaking. It is expected that some of the topics below will be in limelight during the assembly. Continue reading

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When Luxury Gives Way to Necessity – Air Purifiers

Water is believed to be the elixir of life, but clean air protects the lungs. With pollution and deforestation on the rise, it is difficult to scout for clean air. Everything we breathe is mixed with dust and harmful particles that cause respiratory problems. We are exposed to unclean air both outdoors and indoors. In short, we are not spared from harmful intake either way! To curb such disturbances, manufacturers have produced air purifiers. Similar to the water purifier, an air purifier purifies the air in your house and makes the air fit for breathing. This acts as a detox for those aggrieved souls once they get back home. With the current increase in pollution, the babies are at a vulnerable spot. The chances of them contracting diseases are much higher than the adults. Continue reading

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The Art of Relaxing On a Chair

After a long day’s toil, all you crave for is a comfortable bed and good food by your side. You wish to stretch and relax and sleep, but with the workload, your body aches. We begin to suffer from premature joint pains and back problems, which can decrease work productivity. The pain often persists till the next day giving you a tough time to balance and make most of your time. You often resort to expensive spas and masseuse parlors, but time is a major issue. In a fast-paced life, we have not been given the benefits of time. So, a regular visit to your spa or massage parlor is not feasible all the time. Therefore, to combat this issue, we have attractive massage chairs available in the market that are affordable and user-friendly. Continue reading

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5 Fast Fixes for Your Sore Throat

You can get a sore throat anytime of the year. Like it or not, it hinders your eating and speaking habits as well. Sore throat oftentimes begins with pain, irritation, or itchiness in the throat. Swallowing food might be difficult, and the pain may worsen when you try to speak. A sore throat starts with throat pain, and if left unattended will even lead to the flu. Continue reading

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