As 2016 comes to a close, it’s time to start thinking about the future. That’s right, it’s time for physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to make their New Year’s resolutions.
Here’s a look at what you should resolve to accomplish in 2017:
mHealth stands for “mobile health,” and it just might represent the future of health care.
Right now, nearly 70 percent of all adults in the United States have smartphones, according to the Pew Research Center — and many of these people are using mobile apps to access their medical information, research illnesses and ailments and connect with their physicians.
mHealth represents an incredible opportunity for physicians to improve efficiency, communications and outcomes. It also offers opportunities for you to grow your practice and keep costs under control.
For these reasons (and more), the health care app industry is growing incredibly quickly.
If you are not currently riding along on the mHealth bandwagon, resolve to get on board in 2017. Your patients and your practice will thank you for it.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when physicians and their teams were clearly in control of nearly every health care conversation. Patients were incredibly deferential (almost to a fault) to their doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Those days are over.
Today, patients have much more control over their health care. Because patients are paying more for their care, they’re asking more questions, raising expectations and making more decisions about what type of care they receive.
That’s why you have to partner with your patients.
Make it as easy as possible for them to access their medical information. Include them in your decision-making process. Create a comfortable and welcoming environment for patients–both literally and figuratively.
When you partner with your patients, you increase the likelihood that they will choose you for their medical needs–and recommend you to their friends and family.
If you’re being honest with yourself, it would be easy to admit that you have wondered what it would be like to work at a community hospital.
You’ve heard the stories about physicians who have the freedom to work on all sorts of interesting cases without having to defer to teams of more senior doctors. You’ve talked to physician assistants who are trusted to use their expanded functions. You’ve read articles about nurse practitioners who are always treated as critically important parts of their medical teams.
And all of these stories have come out community hospitals.
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to work in an environment that offers health care professionals more opportunities and less bureaucracy, 2017 is the time to consider taking your career to a community hospital.
The past year gave primary care physicians much to consider.
From Zika virus fears to rising costs of prescription drugs to the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, 2016 has certainly set the stage for a New Year many believe will be filled with ups, downs, starts, stops and ultimately, hope.
Here’s a look at three things that are coming in 2017 for primary care physicians:
Remember when the primary care physicians had to worry about getting patients comfortable with the idea (much less the implementation) of electronic medical records? How quickly things change!
These days, patients are pushing primary care physicians to make better use of technology.
According to DMR, a website that specializes in curating statistics, there are more than 20 million registered Fitbit users in the United States–and that number is growing. Fitbits, are the wearable devices that allow users to track everything from number of steps taken to calories consumed to hours of quality sleep achieved each night.
Wearable devices are giving patients more information about their overall health–and now patients want to share that information with their primary care physicians through interactive websites, mobile apps and other emerging technologies.
This year, look for more patients to expect to engage with you through wireless technology, which is known as mHealth and is growing by leaps and bounds. Other technology that will lead to large-scale transformations in the way primary care physicians treat patients are sure to emerge–and they could include concierge health, virtual health and video games as a means to promoting health an wellness.
There may not be a lot of money to be made by individual physicians through mHealth or wearable devices, but telemedicine is proving to be a money-making machine–and that’s why your “webside manner” may matter an awful lot.
Telemedicine continued to grow in 2016, thanks in large part to a paradigm shift that is moving more healthcare resources away from treating illness and towards proactively keeping people healthy.
This trend is expected to continue in 2017, meaning you might be using teleconferencing tools to interact with patients in their homes, other clinics or other hospitals.
Virtual visits require physicians to be empathetic and compassionate without physically examining patients or reading their body language.
Your webside manner matters–both for your patients and for your finances. According to an article on Modern Health Care’s website that cited a study that showed doctor-patient interactions can have a statistically significant effect on a patient’s health. In addition, the story also quoted a survey that said 71 percent of employers will offer telemedicine consults through health plans in 2017.
After the recent Presidential election, there’s only one thing that seems certain: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will get a second opinion.
Before becoming President-elect, Donald Trump made it clear that he was no fan of the ACA and it became the general understanding that it would be repealed during his term.
Whether or not he will actually goes so far as to repeal the ACA remains to be seen. But one thing seems certain: Obamacare is going to get a second look, and it could lead to changes in the way primary care physicians treat patients.
*The ideas related to the election noted within this blog are observations only and do not reflect a political position of any kind on behalf of Elliot Health System or any of its staff.
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If children are fortunate, they have an array of people in their lives who care deeply about their well being. If they are very fortunate, they also have a pediatrician.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 4 million babies are born in the United States each year. Each newborn represents an opportunity to achieve wonderful things as well as the country’s hope for a brighter future.
Of course health and wellness are critically important to a child’s ability to achieve wonderful things and build a bright future–and that’s where pediatricians come in to play.
Here’s a look at why pediatricians are so incredibly important to children and the country alike:
Parents can’t do it alone. Sure, they can treat and take care of minor cuts, coughs and colds, but what about more complex illnesses, infections and injuries? And who is going to give physical exams to ensure children are developing properly? Primary care requires the partnership of a pediatrician.
Even the smallest scrapes and bruises can send a parent into a panic. Knowing they have a well-trained, trusted pediatrician they can call on for everyday illnesses and injuries takes away some of the stress associated with raising children.
In a world where inaccurate information is only a mouse click away, pediatricians have never been more important.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than 70 percent of internet users said they looked online for medical or health information in 2012. Given the explosion of both internet users and websites claiming to be sources of reliable medical information, that percentage has surly grown over the past four years.
That’s a problem for parents, who can have a difficult time determining what information is accurate and which isn’t. From information about vaccinations to food allergies to treatments for the common cold, parents need a steady, reliable source for healthcare information.
Thankfully, there are pediatricians to fill that role. They provide information about health, safety, nutrition, fitness needs and development. But they also educate parents about how to prevent illnesses and explain clear, accurate and actionable information about treatment options when necessary.
Pediatricians are on the front lines in the battle against autism, obesity, behavioral disorders, emotional issues and all of the other emerging public health concerns affecting adolescents in America today.
Well-child visits offer excellent opportunities for pediatricians to screen for and diagnose diseases and developmental early, which is critically important to preventing or delaying associated problems.
Early intervention enhances the quality of kids’ lives by making sure they are able to learn and grow–to the best of their abilities–into healthy, educated teens, young adults and adults.
This not only benefits the children and their parents, but society as a whole because kids who are healthy and able to learn are more likely to become productive adults.
Caring for children is a pediatrician’s role in society, but what most people don’t realize is that caring involves more than healthcare. The pediatrician’s role often extend’s into advocacy.
Children are among society’s most vulnerable, and they need people in their lives who are willing to advocate on their behalf.
Without pediatricians, many more parents might ignore scientific research and make healthcare decisions that put both their children and entire communities at risk. Elected officials would be more likely to pass legislation that does more harm than good. It would take longer for emerging public health concerns to be addressed. And the kids who need an advocate the most would have one less caring person in their corner.
Thank you pediatricians. Your contribution to the world is truly incredible.
Are you a talented pediatrician who is seeking a new career? Consider what Elliot Health System has to offer.
New Hampshire is most commonly known for being one of the 13 original colonies, fiercely independent and home to the fourteenth president of the United States, Franklin Pierce.
But those who live in the “Granite State” know something else about New Hampshire: It truly offers something for everyone–four distinct seasons.
Southern New Hampshire alone is a cornucopia of adventures for families, with vast forests begging to be explored, easy access to the ocean and a full calendar of events that makes the absolute most of each time of year.
Here is a look at a few of the most popular activities for physicians and their families in Southern New Hampshire:
Manchester was built on innovation, entrepreneurship and the textile industry, but the city has always had an artists’ soul.
Its willingness to embrace budding artists helped Manchester-raised comedians Adam Sandler, Seth Meyers and Sarah Silverman blossom into stars. But the city’s appreciation for the arts isn’t limited to the stage–it includes the fine arts as well.
Learn to sculpt and paint with wet clay at these family workshop, which are held every Saturday in Manchester. You and your children create a unique piece of art from clay. The experts at the 550 Art Center fire it and have it ready for pickup in three to four weeks.
Loudon is home to the famed New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but you will want to take your time while winding your way through more than two miles of beautiful holiday lights.
Gift of Lights | $15 – $20
The Loudon “Gift of Lights” display has become a holiday tradition for families across Southern New Hampshire. It boasts more than 60 scenes and 400 displays, including the breathtaking tunnel of lights. The display is open most evenings from 4:30 to 9 p.m. starting Friday, November 25.
Durham is located on the seacoast and in the shadows of the mountains. This makes it the perfect place to spend the day. You can hike the famous White Mountains, sit and watch the waves crash in on the Atlantic or make your way to one of the country’s oldest farms for an afternoon of traditional activities.
Emery Farms | Free to visit
Emery Farms was founded in the 1600s, making it one of the oldest farms in America. Today, it’s recognized as one of the must-visit places in Southern New Hampshire because of its fresh blueberries, apples, hayrides, cider donuts, all-natural ice cream and expansive Christmas tree offerings.
Hillsboro may not be located exactly in Southern New Hampshire, but it’s close enough and well worth the jaunt–especially if you and your family loves a good hike. Hillsboro is home to one of the premiere hiking forests in New England.
Fox Research and Demonstration Forest | Free
It’s located on nearly 1,500 acres of pristine forest. It boasts more than 20 miles of well-marked trails that wind their way through impressive pines, maples, hemlocks and birth trees. And then there is Mud Pond and the boardwalk that allows you and your family to take in all of the natural beauty from another perspective.
Southern New Hampshire is a perfect place for you and your family to have fun. You can learn about other activities by visiting VisitNH.gov. or by downloading our free adventure guide. Your family will be glad you did!
For many of us, a sense of community is very important. Although the word itself has several different meanings, the most commonly sought characteristics of a community probably include some combination of the following definitions:
The thread woven through these two definitions (as well as others) touch on the notion of a group or collective the members of which have one or more things in common. The things shared may be location, belief system, some other group identifier, or something tangible that binds people together. In short, something that engenders a sense of community.
Community hospitals are an example of a tangible, physical feature that can contribute to stronger communal bonds. But why are community hospitals essential to strong communities? What is it about a medical facility that can create a sense of commonality and togetherness essential to fostering community spirit?
To answer the question of why community hospitals are essential to strong communities, we should first agree on what a community hospital is. Although there are many definitions, perhaps the most relevant for our purposes is provided by Joe Lupica, chairman of Newpoint Healthcare Advisors: “A community hospital is a place where care can come to a patient, instead of forcing a patient to drive far away for care.” Perhaps we can put it another way: community hospitals not only serve their communities, their communities are fully aware they are being served.
Let’s consider this point for a moment. If individuals (whether they be residents of a neighborhood, a district, a small town, or a rural area) are provided a service available to all, those folks certainly know they have that service in common, that they share in it communally. They can then take great comfort in knowing that they have the health care they need when they need it and that it’s available locally.
Another compelling reason that a community hospital is important: it offers motivated individuals opportunities to become more involved in their community by participating in the facility’s volunteer program. Among the volunteer activities that exist at many hospitals:
Regardless of what activity is chosen, many community hospitals offer nearby residents a chance to provide vital support and engage in many of the services that contribute to the quality of care and comfort of patients. This arrangement enhances the relationship between health care facilities and the communities they serve.
Once people consider a hospital to be a “member” of the community, they learn to rely on it, to trust it. If we accept that trust is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, we can safely say that the mutual trust between community hospitals and the people they serve is a foundation upon which the sense of a strong community can be built. It should go without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that this is a healthy scenario for all involved.
Would you like to contribute to a community hospital? Consider a provider career with Elliot Health System.
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The modern definition of a community hospital
It was the 1960s and the United States was facing challenges on several fronts.
President John F. Kennedy, a charismatic and inspiring leader, had been assassinated. Young men from every major city and small town had been sent to a jungle thousands of miles away to fight an unpopular war. Millions of Americans were taking to the streets in support of the civil rights movement.
Thank goodness for the physician assistant.
While an assassinated president, a war and riots in the streets are the three events widely viewed as the decade’s most important, another issue from the time has proven to be every bit as critical to the country–the introduction of the physician assistant to health care.
While it didn’t generate many headlines, inspire people to take to the streets or throw the government into utter turmoil, the creation of physician assistant training in the 1960s did help the country deal with a physician shortage and forever changed the way healthcare services were delivered.
And today, the role of the physician assistant has never been more important.
Here’s a look at three ways the physician assistant role has evolved to become indispensable within modern healthcare:
The first physician assistants existed to provide basic medical services. They checked blood pressure, took temperatures and dealt with common, non-life-threatening illnesses. They truly were assistants to the physicians, there to expedite care and keep patients moving through clinics.
Today, however, physician assistants are at the forefront of delivering care to patients who present with all types of ailments and illnesses. Physician assistants conduct physical exams, diagnose illnesses, develop treatment strategies, perform medical procedures, assist in surgery and even write prescriptions.
And, there’s a good chance they’ll soon be doing even more.
President Obama’s administration recently brought forward a proposal that would change federal rules and allow physician assistants to provide provide even more services to Medicare patients.
The very first physician assistants were largely reactionary. Patients showed up in the clinic or hospital, and the physician assistant would try to address their health problems.
Today’s physician assistants are at the tip of the spear when it comes to preventing illness–and that’s a big deal to the federal government, insurance companies and patients.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has made keeping people healthy a priority, and physician assistants are national leaders in the effort.
Physician assistants educate patients about how their lifestyle choices affect their overall health. They create treatment plans for patients that involve coordinated care across specialty areas of medicine. And, they work directly with patients to implement the plans–all in an effort to promote good health, prevent disease and reduce the cost of healthcare.
The nation’s healthcare system is and has been the focus of intense discussion and reform efforts.
As the industry has been evaluated, two major issues of concern have emerged–access and cost. Physician assistants are leaders in working to reform both.
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management showed that physician assistants significantly reduced healthcare costs. Researchers found that the higher the physician assistant-to-physician ratio, the less patients wound up paying for care.
In addition, the country is once again in the throes of a doctor shortage. And once again, the country is turning to the physician assistant to ensure that people have access to the medical care they need.
It took a half-century for it to happen, but physician assistants are finally being recognized for the important role they play–and have played–in shaping the past, present and future of healthcare.
Are you a physician assistant searching for a rewarding role at a community hospital? Browse our open positions now.
There are many reasons to consider starting your career as a physician at a community hospital.
Deep and meaningful connections with patients. Opportunities to use your expanded functions. The ability to play a direct role in shaping the way health care is delivered.
Small town life, a lower cost of living and the ability to quickly become a civic leader in your community.
Yes, there’s a lot to love about being a physician at a community hospital, not the least of which is the ability to more quickly pay off your physician loans.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, most newly minted physicians face $183,000 in student loan debt once they graduate from medical school. And that doesn’t even include loans associated with their undergraduate education.
That’s a daunting amount of debt. It’s a figure that can affect the choices new physicians make–especially about where to work and how to best address the debt. On a 10-year repayment plan, which is pretty standard, monthly payments are likely to be as much as $2,000.
Many medical school graduates make the decision to chase the giant pay checks at a large, urban hospital. Most put their student loans into forbearance while they complete their residencies. Some choose another route, one that’s located along the road less traveled but often turns out to be a shortcut to debt-free living and long, rewarding careers.
Many new physicians find that starting their careers at a community hospital is not only a practical way to address physician loans but also a great long-term investment in their careers.
Many states, New Hampshire included, offer loan repayment and forgiveness programs. In New Hampshire, the program is run by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. It provides funds to health care professionals who work in areas that have been designated as being medically underserved. To be eligible to participate in the loan repayment program, the physician needs to sign a three-year contract to work full time, usually at a community hospital. It’s a program that is open to doctors of allopathic or osteopathic medicine, psychologists, general surgeons and others. In return, the state offsets graduate and undergraduate loans by contributing up to $75,000 towards the debt. That sort of option can make a big dent in the overall debt burden new doctors face, but that’s not the only financial benefit of working at a community hospital.
In addition to the debt repayment programs, community hospitals offer many other financial benefits.
Most community hospitals are located in smaller cities or towns where the cost of living is less than it is in large, urban areas. This means physicians can enjoy a higher quality of life–nicer vehicles, larger homes, more time for travel.
Starting your career at a community hospital also allows you to get involved sooner in a wider array of cases, which can significantly benefit your career as you grow older and decide which areas of medicine provide the greatest sense of career fulfillment. It can also make you more attractive as your career progresses and you look for other opportunities–either at another hospital or as a leader within your community hospital.
Community hospitals have a lot to offer, including leadership opportunities, real-world experience and the ability to quickly pay off your physician loans.
And you don’t necessarily have to move to a rural area of the country to take advantage of community hospital benefits.
Explore your options. Choose wisely. And make a sound financial decision.
Would you like to start a physician career at a community hospital? Start by learning with Elliot Health System has to offer.