December is National Safe Toys and Gift Month

December is national Safe Toys and Gift Month.  As it is the holidays and many gifts will be given it is important to understand the safety and hazards of certain gifts.  Many toys now come with recommended age usage, as well as warnings.  But, there are some toys that the safety and hazards are not clearly labeled.  For instance a BB Gun needs to be worn with safety goggles, but rarely is the BB Gun sold with safety goggles.  Here are a few ways to buy and use toys safely.

There are a few basics.  One should always read the recommended age group and assess from there.  These labels are put on toys specifically to help a consumer. Secondly it is important to show your child how to use the toy properly.  Although it may obvious to us, it is not so obvious to children!  The third and more obvious one is to keep an eye on your child while they are playing with their toys, especially new ones.

Before even beginning your holiday shopping it is important as a parent, or consumer, to educate one self.  Toys are imported from other countries often and they may have different standards of production.  Older toys were made with high levels of lead and hand-to-mouth contact exposed children to this lead.  Check for any toys that are being recalled.

Before you buy a toy there are a few other labels to look out for.  If the box says ASTM it means that the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.  Also look out for any choking hazards!  Make sure there are no sharp edges (depending on the age).

Before letting your child play with the toy inspect it.  Inspect it for edges, broken parts, and any safety hazards.  Explain or show your child how to use it.  This way they can learn!  Train sets and such may need some explaining.  Lego’s can be hard to put together!

Many times sharp edges or broken pieces end up getting in one’s eye because they are flung around.  It is important to always check your children’s toys after usage for any broken parts.

We love the holiday season, but we all want to avoid disasters.  Be smart about your shopping this holiday season and be aware of the safety of the toys you buy!

EHR Adoption and The Connection to Internet Access

Since EHR’s came out there has been a divide between the consumers and the health care providers.  There is a movement to bring health management tools to the consumer through such devices as apps for the iPhone and iPad, games to play on Wii, or kiosks at your local pharmacy.  The question is what happens to those of us who do not have a smart phone, computer or Internet access?  Meaningful Use incentives are mainly targeted at those who have government sponsored healthcare, but they are also the one’s who are the least likely to have access to such items as smartphone and reliable Internet.

It is only those patients who have reliable Internet and smart phones that will be able to see how well digital health care can work.  This is because they will be the ones receiving e-mails from their doctors, connecting with them via social media, and be able to receive updates regarding EHR’s.

The question is how can we solve this divide of Internet access?  How can we make sure that all those who want to take full advantage of the EHR system can?  The government recently unveiled a new initiative – the Connect to Compete initiative – in which broadband Internet will be offered at a cheaper price for low-income families.  This is a great step in the right direction to bringing healthcare to all of America.  We are in a digital age, and so everyone should have access to the digital world.  EHR’s are an amazing system that we hope everyone can use to it’s full potential.


10 Questions to Figure Out if You Need an EHR system

As Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems become more talked about, and have more incentives, you may be wondering if you need one at your practice?  It is a costly endeavor, but there are many features that could help both you and your patients.  No matter if you are a practitioner, dentist, optometrists, or run a PCMH and EHR system could really benefit you.

Here are some questions to ask your self:

1. Is this the right time for my business to switch?

  • There are great financial incentives.  There are many tools that improve a practice greatly.  The flow of information is easier and there is filing of paper.

2. Is this an affordable endeavor?

  • With the new IRC section 179 tax laws if a practice spends up to $2 million of qualified equipment, a $500,000 deduction will qualify for that year.

3. What are your goals?

  • Chart a variety of aspects that EHR systems look at (workflow, refill time, time optimization, medical errors) and see where you are.  In doing this make a list of the goals to see if you are ready for an EHR system and then which system is best for you?

4. Is time optimization a concern of yours?

  • EHR systems optimize both patient and doctor time by having readily available patient information, easy to document records, and fast flow of information.

5. How will my workflow be affected?

  • Although it may take time to file all the papers into the system, ultimately it should increase your workflow.

6. Does it take a long time for refill orders to process?

  • Is this a complaint from your patients?  If so EHR greatly improves this system to be automatic and fast.

7. What is your medical error rate?

  • Before you get an EHR system you will want to chart this number.  In doing so think about this number – is it where you want to be?  EHR

8. Do I want to go to paperless?

  • What costs are cut?  What costs are gained?  How much time will this take?  These are all important questions and will have unique answers for each business

9. Talk to your patients and staff about where they feel your practice could improve.

  • In doing so this will also help you figure out your goals and if an EHR system will be helpful.

10. How do I choose an EHR system?

  • This will take time and effort is a whole different set of questions.

Diabetes Awareness Month and Your Eye Health

This month is Diabetes Awareness Month.  Diabetes is a very serious disease affecting millions of Americans, and the rate of diabetes is steadily increasing.  Diabetes is a chronic disease in which there are abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood.  Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that controls blood sugar levels. Too little insulin in the blood, resistance to insulin, or both can cause diabetes.

When we eat food a sugar called glucose, a source of fuel for the body, enters our blood stream.  The role of insulin is to move glucose from our blood into our other organs, fat, and muscle to then be used as fuel.  When a person has diabetes their body cannot remove the glucose from the blood stream to the other areas in our body because not enough insulin is produced, or the cells do not respond to insulin normally.  There are three types of diabetes – type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.  Type 1 can happen at any age, but it is mainly found in children and it caused by lack of insulin.  Type 2 diabetes is the most common.  Gestational diabetes happens to women during pregnancy, but this is not chronic.

One of the most common causes of eye problems in adults is diabetes.  It is a disease called diabetic retinopathy and it affects the retina.  The retina is the light-sensitive tissue in the back of your eye and you need a healthy retina in order to see properly.  Diabetic retinopathy happens when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the back of your eye.  Some other diabetic eye problems are cataracts and glaucoma.

Any one with diabetes should make sure to have a yearly eye check up – along with all those who think they may have perfect eyesight!