• Category Archives Health Tips
  • Personalized intervention for diabetes prevention

    NutritionQuest (http://www.nutritionquest.com), a health and wellness research company in Berkeley, CA has launched their latest online intervention program, which aims to change the course of patients with diagnosed pre-diabetes. The program, which features a highly individualized website, Android and iPhone apps, tailored emails, an interactive voice response coaching program, and tailored mailed newsletters, is the first of its kind to focus on diabetes prevention.

    Alive-PD (Prevent Diabetes) enables pre-diabetics to adopt the lifestyle changes that are proven effective in reversing the progression to diabetes. “The national Diabetes Prevention Program proved it’s possible to slow the progression of pre-diabetes through face-to-face behavioral interventions,” says Dr. Gladys Block, lead developer of the program, and Prof. Emerita of Public Health at U.C. Berkeley. “With Alive-PD we hope to demonstrate that pre-diabetics can achieve significant behavior change via a highly individualized, yet completely automated program.”

    Using a multi-modal approach that includes online, mobile, telephony, and traditional outreach components, Alive-PD can reach the millions of pre-diabetics who need help. “Most people know that they need to change their behaviors, but they need coaching and support throughout the process to be successful,” said Block.

    The intervention distills the expertise of behavioral researchers and diabetes educators into a 36-week program that automatically adapts intervention messages and program actions to reflect the level of user interaction. Those with successful interactions are rewarded and encouraged, while those who find behavior change more challenging receive specialized coaching.

    Features of the program include personalized activity planning tools, individualized goal setting and reporting, performance logging, specific dietary and activity advice tailored to patients’ self-reported behaviors, as well as engagement features including a points system, team play and challenges. The program promotes interaction via social media and the direct support of family and friends, and also includes traditional health education articles, infographics, and self-testing quizzes.

    A randomized trial of the program, conducted in collaboration with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), has recently begun. Kristen Azar, RN, leads the study’s data collection component at PAMFRI, where over 300 people are being recruited. Volunteers for the study must be members of the PAMF health care organization, have a confirmed blood test of pre-diabetes, and be overweight. They will come to the clinic in Palo Alto three times to have their blood and other measurements made. Participants will be randomized to receive the Alive-PD program immediately or after a six-month delay.

    Development and testing of Alive-PD has been funded in part through a Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research grant from the US National Institute of Nursing Research. Alive-PD is based on the behavioral approaches proven effective in a previous program, Alive!.

    Pre-diabetes is an often undiagnosed medical condition in which one’s blood sugar is elevated (100 to 125 mg/dl) but still below the diabetic level. Around 79 million American adults have pre-diabetes, and without treatment, half of those will become diabetic within 10 years. “We intend to change that”, adds Block, “by applying the principles of effective behavior change in an intensive, automated intervention program.”

    Because it is fully automated, Alive-PD has the ability to reach very large numbers of pre-diabetics at low cost, and with little administrative burden for adopting organizations. Alive-PD is now available, to individuals and to organizations, through NutritionQuest. www.nutritionquest.com, 510-704-8514. More information can be found at www.nutritionquest.com/company/news.

  • Families Can Turn to Smartphones for Prescription Saving Solutions

    With the drug price index continuing to rise and median incomes decreasing, families are looking to their smartphones for solutions to save money.

    “Consumers are recognizing the rising costs of prescription drugs and LowestMed is the solution for everyone looking to save money,” said Brad Bangerter, CEO of LowestMed. “Our app and discount card makes it easy for you to compare prescription prices at the pharmacies in your neighborhood.”

    LowestMed is the first free mobile app in the industry to provide consumers with the ability to view and compare prescription drug prices at leading supermarket and pharmacy chains in their neighborhood. It is available on iPhone, Android, and Windows phone devices. LowestMed offers free and confidential pharmacy savings in the palm of your hand for those on company plans and individual plans under the ACA, as well as those who choose not to buy health insurance.

    The LowestMed app is as simple as typing your prescription into your smartphone. Customers do not need to enter any personal information and LowestMed does not track prescriptions.

  • President’s Cancer Panel Issues Urgent Call to Action to Increase HPV Vaccination

    Achieving widespread HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination is one of the most profound opportunities for cancer prevention, according to a report released today by the President’s Cancer Panel. The Panel’s report, Accelerating HPV Vaccine Uptake: Urgency for Action to Prevent Cancer, issues an urgent call for energizing efforts to reach the HPV vaccines’ potential to save lives and prevent millions of avoidable cancers and HPV-related conditions in men and women. One in four people in the U.S. are infected with at least one type of HPV, a group of viruses linked to multiple cancers and other diseases. The report examines underuse of HPV vaccines, identifies key barriers to increasing vaccine uptake, and provides actionable recommendations for overcoming these obstacles.

    “Today, there are two safe, effective, approved vaccines that prevent infection by the two most prevalent cancer-causing types, yet vaccination rates are far too low,” said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, chair of the President’s Cancer Panel. “We are confident that if HPV vaccination for girls and boys is made a public health priority, hundreds of thousands will be protected from these HPV-associated diseases and cancers over their lifetimes.”

    According to the report, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012 only about one-third of 13- to 17-year-old girls in the U.S. received all three recommended doses of HPV vaccine. These rates fall considerably short of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 goal of having 80 percent of 13- to 15-year-old girls fully vaccinated against HPV. Immunization rates for boys are even lower – less than 7 percent of boys ages 13-17 completed the vaccine series in 2012 (although the vaccine was approved for males more recently than for females).

    The CDC estimates that increasing HPV vaccination rates from current levels to 80 percent would prevent an additional 53,000 future cervical cancer cases in the U.S. among girls who now are 12 years of age or younger, over the course of their lifetimes. Thousands of cases of other HPV-associated cancers in the U.S., a growing proportion of which will occur in males, also likely would be prevented within the same timeframe.

    The Panel’s report outlines three critical goals that must be achieved to increase HPV vaccine uptake – Reducing missed clinical opportunities to recommend/administer HPV vaccines; Increasing parents’/adolescents’ acceptance of HPV vaccines; and Maximizing access to HPV vaccination services – with the ultimate goal being completion of the full three-dose series by all age-eligible adolescents.

    Key Findings and Recommendations:

    According to the CDC, missed clinical opportunities are the most important reason why the U.S. has not achieved high rates of HPV vaccine uptake. As many as two-thirds of 11- and 12-year-old vaccine-eligible girls may not be receiving HPV vaccines at healthcare visits during which they receive at least one other vaccine. The Panel recommends targeted efforts, including communications strategies for physicians and other relevant health professionals, to increase dramatically the proportion of health providers who strongly recommend HPV vaccines for age-eligible adolescents. Use of EHRs (electronic health records) and immunization information systems can help to avoid missed opportunities for HPV vaccination and facilitate completion of the three dose regimen.
    Parents’ and other caregivers’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs affect whether children receive vaccines, including HPV vaccines. Studies have provided insights into parents’ views, including that some parents of young adolescents may believe they can wait to vaccinate their children against HPV. To increase HPV vaccine acceptance among parents, caregivers, and adolescents, the Panel recommends targeted efforts, including the deployment of integrated, comprehensive communications strategies, using social media, print, electronic communications and the persuasive authority of health care providers interacting with empowered patients.
    Vaccines should be available where adolescents receive healthcare. It should be convenient to initiate and complete the HPV vaccine series, and cost should not be a barrier. The Panel recommends increasing the range of venues and providers for HPV vaccination, including venues outside the medical home, such as pharmacies. A 2012 survey of representatives of state pharmacy organizations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that pharmacists in more than one-third of states were not permitted to administer HPV vaccines to 12-year-old girls, though many of these states allowed pharmacists to provide HPV vaccines to women ages 19 and older.
    Additionally, the burden of HPV-associated cancers extends beyond the borders of the United States, affecting populations in every country. The Panel calls for continued investment in and implementation of HPV vaccination programs in low-and middle-income countries, where the majority of HPV-associated cancer cases occur.
    Starting on February 10, 2014, the complete report can be accessed at http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/HPV/index.htm. Hard copies may be requested by writing to pcp-r@mail.nih.gov or President’s Cancer Panel, 9000 Rockville Pike, Building 31, Room B2B37, MSC 2590, Bethesda, MD 20892.

  • Tune in to Health and Wellness on the Go

    The Ohio State University College of Nursing today announced its winter podcast series promoting health and wellness. “Viewpoints of Innovative Healthcare Leaders” allows healthcare professionals and organizational wellness officers to tune in to today’s most important national trends while on the go.

    In concise segments, healthcare leaders from America’s nationally renowned hospitals, universities, corporations, and government offer insights on improving the nation’s health, promoting healthy practices among healthcare and corporate workers, and creating healthy lifestyle cultures.

    The series is hosted by Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN, university chief wellness officer, associate vice president for health promotion, and dean of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University. She also is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Ohio State’s College of Medicine and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the National Academies of Practice.

    Podcasts will be available at 8 a.m. on these dates at www.viewpoints.osu.edu :

    January 8: The positive effects of short bursts of physical activity on increasing focus, energy levels and motivation on the job. Jack Groppel , PhD, vice president of Applied Science & Performance Training at Wellness & Prevention, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, and co-founder of Human Performance Institute.
    January 22: How building a culture of health, safety and wellness on college campuses creates a new generation of advocates for healthy lifestyles. Wes Alles , PhD, director of the Health Improvement Program at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention.
    February 5: The importance of healthy healthcare providers; how corporations can promote healthy behaviors. Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer for Cleveland Clinic.
    Alles and Roizen also address the role of The National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities, a group of academic institutions dedicated to crafting a comprehensive framework that enriches the health and wellness of students, faculty and staff.

    Listeners can access these audio podcasts anywhere via their computer, tablet, or smart phone and subscribe to all future interviews at www.viewpoints.osu.edu . Podcasts may be downloaded for delayed listening.

    The Ohio State University College of Nursing exists to revolutionize healthcare and promote the highest levels of wellness in diverse individuals and communities throughout the nation and globe through innovative and transformational education, research and evidence-based clinical practice. The College of Nursing offers outstanding preparation for leadership in the nursing profession through its BSN, MS, PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. Graduates at all levels are fully prepared for careers as nurse practitioners, researchers, and nurse educators. For more information, visit www.nursing.osu.edu

  • Medical Information in an Emergency


    In an emergency your medical information is critical to an accurate, timely and possibly life saving diagnosis. Lives often depend on quick reactions and competent care from first responders who stabilize them and perform pre-hospital medical procedures. Automobile accidents, heart attacks and chronic medical conditions all require immediate attention and access to your personal medical information is vital to an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. Unfortunately, in many cases that information is not readily available.

    A report from the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine cited studies showing between 44,000 and 98,000 people die each year because of mistakes by medical professionals. It also said that “when a patient is treated by several practitioners, they often do not have complete information about the medicines prescribed or the patient’s illnesses.”

    Healthcare providers must often either start from scratch or act blindly because they don’t have the patient’s relevant past history, allergies, or medications.

    Wearing a Med-Alert bracelet, with a phone number that cam be called for your information, keeping a medical alert card in your wallet, or having a USB device like a Medic Tag on your key chain, can help ensure that medical professionals have access to the information they need to treat you in an emergency.