Month: June 2018

The Right Prescription to Prevent Medical Identity Theft

What do you do with your empty prescription bottles? What about all of the medical information you receive, such as your explanation of benefits? Being careless with your personal medical information can be dangerous, and the theft of this priceless data can be deadly.

Approximately 1.5 million Americans are victims of medical identity theft each year, a crime that costs the nation $41.3 billion annually. Prescription fraud is a growing form of medical identity theft that is not only extremely costly and time-consuming; it can also put your health at risk and even be life-threatening. Unfortunately, medical identity theft isn’t commonly known by many Americans, and often isn’t detected until it’s too late. When we don’t take precautions to prevent prescription fraud and other forms of medical identity theft, we put ourselves in jeopardy of becoming another victim.

What is Prescription Fraud?

Prescription fraud occurs when identity thieves use your personal information to fill prescriptions in your name. They use your medical identity to receive medical treatment at hospitals and doctors’ offices, obtain medications, and access other healthcare services.

Prescription fraud doesn’t just leave you with a huge bill-it can potentially put your health at risk as well. You may find that false information has been added to your personal health record, such as a change in blood type or supposed allergies. Every medical procedure received and prescription filled by the identity thief becomes part of your medical history, which means you may not be able to obtain the life-saving treatment you need in an emergency medical situation.

Detecting and resolving medical identity theft can be difficult as well. You may not discover that you’re a victim until a pharmacy refuses to fill a prescription because it conflicts with another medication you appear to be taking. To make matters worse, fixing errors in your record can be very challenging due to medical privacy laws. Ironically, the same laws that were implemented to protect your privacy and health information are now protecting the medical identity thief. This restricted access to medical records prolongs the duration of the theft, costing you countless time, money, and frustration.

How to Prevent Prescription Fraud

One of the easiest ways to avoid this type of medical identity theft is simply to be aware of what you throw in the trash. Prescription medication labels carry such sensitive information as your full name and address, the prescribing physician, the type of medication, prescription number, and the pharmacy’s contact information-all of the things a thief needs to perform prescription fraud. Instead of throwing empty prescription bottles in the trash, including the drug information forms, remove the labels and shred them. Other ways to prevent prescription fraud:

• Review every explanation of benefits (EOB). Examine the charges for medical visits or prescriptions you didn’t receive, and report any suspicious activity immediately.

• Never simply toss medical information in the trash. Dumpster divers can easily access your personal information if you fail to shred the documents.

• Secure medical records. Keep your medical records in a safe place inside your home or in a safe deposit box, away from the prying eyes of visitors. Believe it or not, friends and relatives who have easy access to your personal information are often the culprits.

• Safeguard prescription bottles. Hide or lock-up your medication rather than leaving it in plain sight or in a medicine cabinet. This will prevent anyone from walking off with your prescription medication and, later, your identity.

• Manage written prescription slips. Don’t throw them away or leave them out where they can be stolen. These slips are all an identity thief needs to fill a prescription in your name, leave you without your medication, steal your medical identity, and even put your life in danger.

• Enlist the help of an identity theft protection service such as ID Theft Solutions, which can proactively help prevent medical identity theft and even restore your identity when it’s stolen.

Protecting your identity is an ongoing process that takes vigilance. By taking some common sense precautions, you can avoid the exorbitant costs and health risks of medical identity theft.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

In medical malpractice, a doctor or medical facility has failed to live up to its obligations, resulting in a patient’s injury. Medical malpractice is usually the result of medical negligence – a mistake that was unintentional on the part of the medical personnel.

Determining if malpractice has been committed during medical treatment depends on whether the medical personnel acted in a different way than most professionals would have acted in similar circumstances. For example, if a nurse administers a different medication to a patient than the one prescribed by the doctor, that action differs from what most nurses would have done.

Surgical malpractice is a very common type of case. A cardiac surgeon, for example, might operate on the wrong heart artery or forget to remove a surgical instrument from the patient’s body before stitching the incisions closed.

Not all medical malpractice cases are as clear-cut, however. The surgeon might make a split-second decision during a procedure that may or may not be construed as malpractice. Those kinds of cases are the ones that are most likely to end up in a courtroom.

The majority of medical malpractice lawsuits are settled out of court, however, which means that the doctor’s or medical facility’s malpractice insurance pays a sum of money called the “settlement” to the patient or patient’s family.

This process is not necessarily easy, so most people are advised to hire an attorney. Insurance companies do their best to keep the settlement amounts as low as possible. A lawyer is in a position to help patients prove the severity of the malpractice and negotiate a higher sum of money for the patient/client.

Lawyers generally work on “contingency” in these types of cases, which means they are only paid when and if a settlement is received. The lawyer then takes a percentage of the total settlement amount as payment for his or her services.

Different Types of Medical Malpractice

There are different kinds of malpractice cases that are a result of a variety of medical mistakes. Besides surgical errors, a few of these cases include:

Medical chart mistakes – In this case, a nurse or physician makes an inaccurate note on a medical chart that leads to more mistakes, such as the wrong medication being administered or an incorrect medical procedure being performed. This could also lead to a lack of proper medical treatment.

Improper prescriptions – A doctor might prescribe the wrong medication, or a pharmacist might fill a prescription with the wrong medication. A doctor may also fail to check what other medications a patient is taking, causing one medication to mix in a dangerous way with the other. Some pharmaceuticals are “contraindicated” for certain conditions. It might be hazardous, for example, for a heart patient to take a particular medication for an ulcer. This is why doctors need to know a patient’s medical history.

Anesthesia – These kinds of medical malpractice claims are usually made against an anesthesiologist. These professionals give patients medication to put them to sleep during an operation. The anesthesiologist usually remains in the operating room to monitor the patient for any signs that the anesthesia is causing problems or wearing off during the procedure, causing the patient to awaken too soon.

Delayed diagnosis – This is one of the most common types of non-surgical medical malpractice cases. If a doctor fails to determine that someone has a serious illness, that doctor might be sued. This is especially dire for cancer patients who need to detect the disease as early as possible. A wrong diagnosis can cause the cancer to spread before it has been detected, endangering the patient’s life.

Misdiagnosis – In this case, the physician diagnoses a patient as having a disease other than the correct condition. This can lead to unnecessary or incorrect surgery, as well as dangerous prescriptions. It can also cause the same injuries as delayed diagnosis.

Childbirth malpractice – Mistakes made during the birth of a child can result in permanent damage to the baby and/or the mother. These kinds of cases sometimes involve a lifetime of payments from a medical malpractice insurance company and can, therefore, be extraordinarily costly. If, for instance, a child is born with brain damage as a result of medical malpractice, the family might be awarded regular payments in order to care for that child throughout his or her life.

What Happens in a Medical Malpractice Case?

If someone believes they have suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice, they must file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. These parties might include an entire hospital or other medical facility, as well as a number of medical personnel. The patient becomes the “plaintiff” in the case, and it is the burden of the plaintiff to prove that there was “causation.” This means that the injuries are a direct result of the negligence of the alleged medical professionals (the “defendants.”)

Proving causation usually requires an investigation into the medical records and may require the assistance of objective experts who can evaluate the facts and offer an assessment.

The settlement money offered is often restricted to the amount of money lost as a result of the injuries. These losses include medical care costs and lost wages. They can also include “loss of consortium,” which is a loss of benefits of the injured patient’s spouse. Sometimes, money for “pain and suffering” is offered, which is a non-financial payout for the stress caused by the injuries.

Money for “punitive damages” is legal in some states, but this generally occurs only in situations where the negligence was extreme. In rare cases, a physician or medical facility is found to be guilty of gross negligence or even willful malpractice. When that happens, criminal charges may also be filed by the local authorities.

In examples of gross negligence, the health department might revoke a doctor’s medical license. This does not happen in most medical malpractice cases, however, since doctors are human and, therefore, all capable of making mistakes.

If the plaintiff and the defendant’s medical malpractice insurance company cannot come to an agreeable sum for the settlement, the case might go to trial. In that instance, a judge or a jury would decide the amount of money, if any, that the plaintiff/patient would be awarded for his or her injuries.

What Is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence occurs when medical treatment falls below expected standards. If a patient becomes injured as a result of medical negligence, that patient might file a lawsuit claiming medical malpractice. If a patient dies, the family might then file a wrongful death lawsuit.

The most common type of medical negligence involves surgery, but it can happen with any nurse, physician, medical technician, or medical facility. The different types of medical negligence are almost endless. Here are some examples:

Damage to a neighboring organ during surgery.
A wrong diagnosis that leads to no treatment for the condition or the incorrect treatment for the condition.
A doctor who tells a patient that he or she is okay, causing a delay in treatment that eventually leads to injury. This is especially dire if an illness is progressive, such as cancer.
A dentist whose negligent treatment causes the patient to lose teeth.
An incorrect medication or the prescription of a medication in a harmful dosage. This can be negligence on the part of a doctor prescribing the medication, a nurse administering the medication, or a pharmacist.
Unnecessary surgery that results, for example, in the inability of the patient to have children.
A botched cosmetic procedure that causes an injury or a severely displeasing result.
A medical instrument accidentally left inside a patient during surgery.
Mistakes on a medical chart that lead to incorrect medical procedures or medications.
Improper or ineffective anesthesia administered prior to surgery.
A mistake made during childbirth that leads to the death of the infant or permanent injury to the infant, such as brain damage. Cerebral palsy is often a result of this kind of medical negligence.

The Difficulty of “Causation”

In order for a patient to have a medical malpractice claim for medical negligence, he or she has to prove (1) that the medical professionals had a duty to provide a standard of care and failed to do so, (2) that the patient suffered an injury or injuries, and (3) that the injury was caused by the alleged medical negligence.

What does “standard of care” mean? It varies from state to state. Some laws restrict the standard to physicians in the same area of the country, while others extend the standard to doctors on a national level. For example, a heart surgeon will be held to the standard of other surgeons in the same field. If he or she acted in a way that differs from the way most heart surgeons would have acted in similar circumstances, that surgeon may be found to have been medically negligent.

Since the body consists of interconnected systems, “causation” is a complicated issue in medical negligence. The medical personnel might argue that the treatment did not cause the injury but that it was instead caused by a condition the patient already had.

Psychologists and psychiatrists can also be sued for medical negligence, although these types of cases are much more difficult to prove because not only are the injuries non-physical, but causation is particularly complex.

In any type of case, the attorneys assigned by the physicians’ malpractice insurance company will likely try to argue that the injury was not caused by medical negligence.

For this reason, people who suffer injuries are advised to hire a lawyer to help them negotiate a settlement to recover the costs they incurred. Lawyers in this situation work on a “contingency” basis, which means that they do not require the client to pay them. Their fees are contingent upon receiving settlement monies from the medical malpractice insurance company. If the lawyer is successful in obtaining a settlement for the client, he or she then takes a percentage of the money as a fee. If the lawyer is not successful, he or she does not earn any money for the work. As a result, lawyers work hard to obtain settlements for their clients.

In some states, the settlement might include funds for pain and suffering, which is not a reimbursement for costs but a payment for the emotional stress experienced from the injury. Some states also allow for “punitive damages” if gross negligence or misconduct is involved. The amount allowed for such damages is often restricted. In the state of California, for example, no more than $250,000 can be awarded for non-economic damages.

When gross negligence or misconduct is involved, the local authorities might also bring a criminal action against the physician or medical facility. This action is separate from a medical malpractice case. In a criminal action, the plaintiff is the city or the state. A medical malpractice lawsuit is called a “civil” action, and the plaintiff in that case is the injured patient. Both the criminal and civil cases would have one or more defendants in common, however. The defendant is the person who is defending the claim – the party or parties who are alleged to have been medically negligent.

Note that only in cases of gross negligence does the health department take away a doctor’s medical license.

Do All Medical Negligence Cases Go to Trial?

Most of these cases are settled out of court, but when the parties cannot agree on a settlement amount, the case goes to trial. A judge or jury then makes the decision as to whether the patient is entitled to monies and how much. Before a case goes to trial, however, years of negotiations might pass. During that period, the lawyers for both sides prepare legal papers that answer the questions of the other party. These are called “pre-trial discovery” papers.

Depositions are also often taken of the parties. These are interviews that allow the opposing side’s attorneys to ask questions.

It is not unusual for a settlement to take place at the courthouse during the jury selection process. This is a tactic that pushes both sides against the wall, trying to coerce them to give in. The plaintiff wants the defendant to give in by offering more money in the settlement, while the defendant wants the plaintiff to give in by accepting the current settlement offer. No one ever wants to take a case to trial if it can be helped because the costs of court are much higher than out-of-court settlements.

Should You Become a Sonographer or a Medical Assistant?

As the title implies, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or ultrasound technologists assume diagnostic responsibilities as related to assessing sonographic images. Sonographers are highly skilled professionals who are proficient at using specialized ultrasound medical equipment and interpreting the images produced. They must use professional judgment when determining the images needed and while interpreting results. The Medical Assistant does limited clinical duties, as directed by physicians and other healthcare professionals, and a variety of administrative duties. It is a more generalized profession than ultrasound technology.

Typical Duties of the Sonographer

A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer uses medical equipment that produces high frequency sound waves to create visual images of the body’s organs, tissues and systems. Using a transducer that sends regular high frequency sound waves into the body, the ultrasound technologist moves it around the skin over the internal structures to be assessed. The sound waves bounce off the tissues, organs and systems, and the computerized medical equipment constructs an image of the internal structures.

To ensure quality images are produced, the sonographer does the following work activities during a normal shift:

  • Create, review and update patient’s medical history
  • Verify ultrasound equipment is working properly, performing routine tests and maintenance activities
  • Input data into imaging software systems and process relevant information
  • Assist patients with getting on and off the imaging table and position the patient’s body as needed to obtain the ideal images
  • Determine the type and number of images needed for ideal diagnostic results
  • Assess images, looking for signs of physical disorders or diseases, and document technical findings for transmission to physicians
  • Maintain a variety of medical records and required forms, both medical and legal
  • Work with a variety of healthcare professionals, including physicians, radiologists, registered nurses, patient aides and numerous other people
  • Regularly interact with department personnel

Typical Duties of the Medical Assistant

A Medical Assistant performs a wide range of duties under a physician’s direction. The job responsibilities may include office work like insurance billing and clinical work like drawing blood. The range of duties assigned is often dependent on the size of the medical office or the type of medical facility where the Medical Assistant works. The typical daily tasks include the following:

  • Review medical history with the patient and ask patient for description of main reason for medical office visit
  • Record, update and maintain patient information, including the medical history and medical test results
  • Escort patients to medical examination rooms, take vital signs and instruct patient on preparing for the physician’s exam
  • Maintain patient examination and treatment rooms and treatment room instruments, ensuring everything is kept clean and orderly
  • Prepare medications and administer as required by physician, including giving shots
  • Collect laboratory specimens as directed by physician, including blood, urine and tissue and ensure specimens are properly stored and documented
  • Assist physician in examination room
  • Operate routine diagnostic medical equipment like an electrocardiogram machine or x-ray equipment
  • Call pharmacies convey prescription drug orders or authorize refills
  • Deliver physician instructions to patients, plan diets, explain medical treatments and necessary advance preparations, and review medications and possible side effects
  • Perform medical office duties like answering the phone, scheduling appointments, completing patient check-in procedures, completing insurance forms and other general duties
  • Track and manage medical supplies inventory

Comparing Salaries

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers earn twice as much as Medical Assistants. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2012 occupational wages survey. Sonographers earned an average annual wage of $66,360 or $31.90 per hour.

During the same time period, Medical Assistants earned an average annual wage of $30,550 or $14.69 per hour. The average annual wage scale for ultrasound technologists was $44,990 to $91,070. For Medical Assistants it was $21,080 to $41,570.

Comparing Training Requirements

Two of the reasons for the salary differential include the fact that Diagnostic Medical Sonographers are trained at a higher skills level because they do diagnostic work, and they must use judgment concerning the number and type of images produced. Most employers now require that sonographers complete a sonography program at a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and earn ARDMS registration.

According to the American Job Center Network O*Net Online, 47 percent of sonographers have an Associate’s degree, 17 percent have a Bachelor’s degree, and 19 percent have some college but no degree. Approximately 72 percent of Medical Assistants have some college and no degree, 18 percent have an Associate’s degree, and 10 percent have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers may find employment in a variety of healthcare facilities that include hospitals, clinics, physician offices and mobile units. A medical assistant is likely to find employment in medical offices and clinics, or ambulatory care facilities.

Anyone interested in a rewarding healthcare career may find that Diagnostic Medical Sonography best fits their needs. Employment opportunities are likely to exceed expectations as the healthcare industry moves towards wellness care and non-invasive medical procedures. It offers a choice of career paths, excellent pay and interesting work.

Choosing An Air Medical Service With The Right Medical Flight Equipment

Every day people are transported in air ambulances for both emergency and non-emergency reasons. Often a medical flight is simply a way to transport a patient from one medical facility to another, perhaps in a different state or even country. Perhaps a patient needs the attention of a physician trained in a medical specialty that is not available where they live. On the other hand, medical flights are also used for patients who are critically ill and whose very life depends on being transported from a rural hospital to a life-saving trauma center — even though it may be several hundred miles away.

Even though the reasons for the medical flights may vary, whenever someone needs air transportation for medical reasons the plane should be properly equipped with the right medical flight equipment as well as properly trained medical personnel.

But how do you go about choosing an air ambulance service? You might start by looking at the reputations of several different services. Companies with outstanding reputations will always have modern airplanes, skilled professional medical personnel, and up-to-date life saving medical equipment on board every flight.

Let’s focus first of all on the medical personnel who are on board. A good air medical service should come with a skilled team of qualified medical personnel, including doctors, paramedics and nurses. Realizing that emergencies may take place during the flight, these professionals are in charge of the patient’s well being every step along the way. They should have all of the required certifications for safe medical air transport. In addition, they should regularly attend certified educational courses in order to keep current with the latest procedures in this highly specialized field.

Even though the majority of medical flights may not be for true medical emergencies, the planes should be up-to-date, the staff fully trained, and the medical flight equipment the most modern available.

After all, each flight presents a patient with unique needs. Some patients may only need to be kept warm and comfortable during their flight. Others, however, may require life saving equipment to be pressed into service while they are in the air.

What type of aircraft is best suited for medical transportation? It really depends on the location and duration of the flight. Many air ambulance services use small jets, such as Lear jets. But turboprop and twin engine airplanes can also be used quite adequately.

Before an assignment of aircraft is made, a trained coordinator should make the determination based upon the distance of the flight, the size of the nearest airport, and his or her knowledge of the city of destination. The goal is to arrive at the final destination with as little stress and disturbance to the patient as possible. It is important that the company you choose has the right medical equipment to best fill the needs of each patient.

By the way, a really good air ambulance service should be able to fly both within its national boundaries as well as to international destinations. They should view the patient and accompanying family members as welcome guests. They should show the patient and his or her family the same care as if they were their own personal family members.

What type of medical flight equipment should be included on an air ambulance flight? Let’s review some of the standard equipment that may prove to be life saving whenever a patient is being transported on a medical flight.

More than half of all medical flights take place during non-daylight hours. Therefore crews should be equipped with enhanced night vision goggles that will permit them to see and recognize any and all obstacles that may be in their path on the ground both before takeoff and after landing.

Special monitors that are designed to read and diagnose the vital signs of a patient are critical for air ambulances. Many monitors have been specifically designed for use on medical transport flights. Without going into a lot of scientific jargon, air pressure at varying altitudes can affect monitors. Therefore it is essential that the monitors used on board are designed for use on air ambulances.

An Isolette® incubator is designed for infants who are critically ill. These can monitor the baby’s vital signs, provide oxygen, and maintain a comfortable temperature, especially for premature babies, or neonates.

An i-STAT is a special hand-held blood analyzer that provides truly high quality analysis in real time. With an i-STAT on board the medical crew members will be able to perform extensive blood testing – and get the results immediately during the flight.

Ventilators are essential pieces of equipment. High quality ventilators can meet the needs of any patient and can be programmed to control the patient’s breathing. Again, the equipment used on any medical flight should be designed for use at varying altitudes.

Many cardiac patients, as well as other patients who are critically ill, may require more than one IV line so that the medical staff can administer both fluids and life-saving medications. Infusion pumps are vitally important, therefore, on every medical flight. Patients who were once considered too ill to travel by air can now be safely transported. This is largely due to the advancements of the infusion pumps which are now used on medical flights.

Any one of us may have to take a medical flight for any number of reasons. It is vitally important that the company you choose has the right airplanes that are properly outfitted with necessary life-saving medical flight equipment as well as highly trained medical personnel.

How to Get Through the ADHD Medication Maze

  • Have you ever had to go a day or more without your prescription medication?
  • Do you know the physical discomfort and anxiousness of waiting to get the medication reordered?
  • Have you spent hours on the phone with the doctor’s office, insurance company or pharmacy waiting for your ADHD medications to be filled?

If so, you, like me, have been trapped in the medication maze.

For years I have listened as clients told me about their challenges to be diagnosed, only to have their hopes dashed when they find themselves trapped in the ADHD medication maze. What is the ADHD medication maze? It is that tangled cycle of trying to get ADHD medications refilled. Prescriptions not relayed to local pharmacies or faxes getting lost to online medication mailing systems. Suspicious looks from pharmacists when picking up medications. Refusals by insurance companies to pay for prescribed medications. The countless dead ends, backtracking, twists and turns of getting a written prescription through the process and have it filled. The ADHD medication maze is a frustrating web where so many people with ADHD find themselves stuck not knowing which way to turn and unfortunately many give up and never get a chance to experience the possible benefits of ADHD medications.

In theory, filling medication prescriptions is supposed to be easy work. In reality, it rarely goes smoothly. Let me tell you about my own recent experience with trying to get my medications filled. I know many of you will relate.

I called to make an appointment and a month later got in to see my doctor who, after a 25-minute wait and a 10-minute appointment, prescribed me my medications. As I left the clinic, I was told a 14-day short-term prescription would be called to my local pharmacy and an email/fax would be sent to Express Scripts, my mail-order pharmacy. Okey dokey.

Not so bad. Except (you saw this coming, didn’t you?) a plan is only as good as its execution.

The following day my local pharmacy auto responder called (nice feature by the way) to let me know my short-term interim medications were ready to be picked up. I was pleasantly relieved and somewhat surprised it had been that uncomplicated. Easy peazy, I thought. I will pick them up on my way to the airport and just to be sure, allow 15 minutes extra.

You see where this is going, right?

I arrived at the pharmacy with plenty of time, trying to have faith and confidence in the system… after all they had confirmed my prescription was ready for pick up, right? I waited patiently in line for the two people before me to pick up their prescriptions and have a pharmacy consult… do dee do… no worries, plenty of time.

My turn. I stepped up, gave the pharmacist my name and they turned around to reach for my prescription. The pharmacist placed two bags on the counter, rang me up… my cost was under $10 dollars… Yay! Woo Hoo… happy dance. I even scolded myself for doubting all would work out.

And then…

Wait a minute. I had three prescriptions. “Uh hello Mr. Pharmacy Man, I’m supposed to have three medications filled today… there are only two.”

At this point I was still hopeful… wanting to trust in this “fill a pill system” and then I heard those fated words… “The doctor reordered three medications, but the XYZase is not covered by your insurance until the first of next month.”

Wait what?

And then, in a nanosecond, my stomach dropped, my pulse quickened and I began to see red. I was frustrated by the whole system. Frustrated because I trusted everyone to do their job. Angry with the realization that so many people get stuck in this medication maze with little support or map to find their way out…

Side note: I’ll admit it… I have a real problem with the way medications are dispensed in this country. It’s a crazy system, full of twists and turns we are expected to navigate in order to get prescriptions filled. It’s complicated by monetarily motivated insurance companies who decide what medical care I receive and what I don’t. Last time I checked, insurance companies do not have a medical license; they don’t have the training to decide whether I continue on a medication or not. My doctor with the advanced M.D. degree should be the one to decide medically what is in the best interest of my health.

So where was I… oh yes, standing at the pick-up counter at the pharmacy…

Mustering my courage and trying very hard not to be rude, I told the pharmacist that “the insurance company did not get to decide my medical care, my doctor did and I would pay for that prescription out of my own pocket if needed… thank you.” Then, I was asked to step out of the line and told my prescription would be filled as soon as possible.

So I waited… I don’t mind waiting… after all I had allowed an extra 15 minutes just in case. So I waited while the pharmacist filled other prescriptions, answered three phone calls… and a half hour later and 8 people less in line, the pharmacy assistant grabbed the coveted white bag, looked at me and said “it’s ready.”

Not trusting myself to say a word, fuming with the needless half hour wait, the senselessness of our insurance companies dictating our medical care and the realization of so many other people going through similar experiences… I paid the $25 for my medication and left.

Two weeks later, my interim medication bottles were almost empty, but my Express script online mail prescriptions were scheduled to arrive. (Insert laugh track.)

Yep… you guessed it… no white plastic bag with jingling pill bottles had yet graced my mailbox. I was a day away from my medications running out a second time that month.

Curses… here we go again! Who knew what had happened this time? So once again I was on the phone calling my mail-order pharmacy to see if they had received the refill order from my doc… nope they hadn’t received it. I called the doctor’s office again… “oops”… they had emailed my local pharmacy the short-term refill (we all know how that went), but “sorry” the email/fax with the prescription to my mail-order pharmacy hadn’t been sent. Do I need them to do it now?

People! Work with me here! I’m doing all I can… I need you to follow through. Who in their right mind would ever go through this craziness over and over again if their medication wasn’t necessary?

The fact is I know so many of you go through this confusing, exhausting medication maze… month after month, year after year. You bravely and boldly step into the process where you almost need a medical degree yourself to get prescriptions filled. It is ineffective, inefficient, and, unfortunately, it is what we are left to work with.

We cannot escape it… so if you have found yourself in the medication maze, here are some tools to sustain you when you find yourself in this labyrinth:

    1. Remember – you and your doctor get to decide your medical treatment.
    1. Your insurance company refusing to pay for a medication doesn’t mean you can’t pay for it out of your own pocket. I know some medications are costly, however, you might be surprised at how inexpensive some really are. Always ask.
    1. Always double and triple check to make sure emails/faxes/phone calls have been made/sent and received so the delivery of your medications goes as smoothly as possible. Specifically call the pharmacy and your medication-mailing service to confirm they received the prescription orders… if not, call your doctor’s office to make sure they were sent. Don’t assume.
    1. Keep the doctor’s office, pharmacy and mail delivery systems numbers where they can be easily found.
  1. Don’t give up. Remember the benefits of your medication far outweigh the frustration to get them.

The confusing, exhausting medication maze is an all too common problem those with ADHD face. I understand your frustrations and admire your courage to go forth despite the craziness of it all! I’ll bet you have some “medication maze” stories of your own… I’d love to hear them!

Okay, rant over.

Laurie Dupar, Senior Certified ADHD Coach and trained Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, specializes in working with clients who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and want to finally understand how their brain works, minimize their challenges and get things done! Through individual/group coaching, live speaking, and her writing, she helps clients and their loved ones use effective strategies to minimize their ADHD challenges so they can experience success. She is the co-author and editor of Inspirational ways to succeed with ADHD and author of Brain surfing and 31 other Awesome Qualities of ADHD.

3 Causes of Errors in Medical Interpretation

As far as medical interpretation is concerned, one may assume it’s just hearing and interpreting a word into another language that is required, no, the medical field is too technical when it comes to providing interpretation services for doctors and patients because it’s all about dealing with lives and the health of individuals. There is too much care needed when interpreting medical jargons, terminologies into a target language.

The Major Causes of Medical Errors

Let’s see and discuss the major causes of medical errors during the interpretations by the medical interpreters.

Cultural beliefs and tradition; most cultures are too complicated which impacts medical service delivery in such communities, so to deliver medical services in such a community you must ensure you get medical translators and interpreters who can abide by the cultural beliefs and rules in that community because they will be knowing how to deal with their cultural beliefs. Some culture and beliefs do not allow females to conduct speeches in public; when operating a medical clinic in a particular community, you must get to know how their cultural beliefs and norm are such that it becomes easier to provide interpreting services, failure to do that you may make mistakes that may end up causing medical errors in the medical interpretation.

Using family members as translators and interpreters, this is also too dangerous, due to fear of paying for professional medical interpreters or translators, medical services providers may resort to using the patient’s family members or the patient’s caretakers who may be fluent in English to provide medical interpretation, as we all know that being fluent in English is not enough for somebody to be a medical translator of interpreter, because of the technicality of medical terminologies, a caretaker can’t accurately interpret medical terminologies due to lack of knowledge about it, let’s assume you have no knowledge in the medical field, and you are given to interpret, the doctor mentions a statement that you’ve never heard of in life, can you manage to understand that statement and interpret into a layman language?

Use of clinicians who have the basic foreign language skills to communicate with patients and doctors instead of qualified medical interpreters, medical services providers might resort to use of clinician who may have a little knowledge in a particular language understood by the patient. Medical interpretations need fluent native speaking medical interpreters and translators of the respective language so as to be accurate, but because a clinician who is a Japanese speaker knows some little French is given to act as an interpreter between the doctor and the French-speaking patient, there is no way that interpretation will be free from misinterpretation of some words.

Areas where medical errors may occur

Medical errors are always common in medical areas like;

• Admission forms
• Patient discharge reports
• Medical reconciliation
• Emergency department visits and surgical care

Possible ways to avoid medical errors in medical interpretation

To avoid medical errors, medical service providers should focus on strengthening professional medical interpretation services, doctors and patients should be able to communicate and understand each other, they should also provide already translated materials in several foreign languages for the targeted users, cultural awareness and advocacy, improving medical staff training and etc.

The use of the patient’s specific identity, this will help to ensure that the medical interpreter is given the right medical information for the respective patient for interpretation. If any mistake happens that different information about the medical prescriptions is interpreted for a different patient, medical errors have to occur; hence the medical history of the patient bearing the name of the patient, admission date, is necessary since it includes the medicine prescribed for the patient.

Avoiding medical errors in the interpretation process is partly the role of the patient, a patient is supposed to present all the previous medical reports, including all the drugs that were used, this can help the doctor to know what next step to opted if a particular medicine didn’t work, otherwise the doctor may give back the same medication prescription which during the process of interpretation, processed in exact format and meaning. In addition to that a patient should also be careful and observant to know which drugs can problems to his/her health. This basically letting the informed about the medicines that the patient is allergic to because, during the interpretation process, the interpreter’s work is to speak what the doctor mentions.

Medical errors can be avoided if the doctor’s prescriptions to the patient can clearly be understood by the interpreter, hence the interpreter should be sharp, attentive and a good listener when the doctor is talking to the patient, this can make the interpretation accurate and successful with any minor error that may cause problems to the patient’s life.

Medical Assistant Career – Opening Doors To A Profession In Healthcare Services

Medical Assistants

Medical Assistant Career – Opening doors to a profession in healthcare services.

Medical Assistant careers are gathering demand in the background of a healthcare industry boom worldwide.
A Medical Assistant essentially is a healthcare professional with multiple responsibilities and skill sets required to execute the same. Both administrative and medical tasks that do not need much medical proficiency fall into the ambit of a Medical Assistant.

Medical Assistants are indispensable in any modern day healthcare practice. Engaged under physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners. Medical Assistants attend to the complexities involved in delivering medical services.

By accomplishing administrative and other responsibilities, Medical Assistants make it easier for the practitioners to concentrate on attending to and treating patients.

Medical Assistants execute varied administrative, laboratory and clinical tasks in different health care institutions.

Often, Medical Assistants are seen as generalists who are involved with many aspects of the medical profession but do not specialize in them.

A detailed overview of the activities of a Medical Assistant is given here:

Administrative duties:

General administration which includes day-to-day activities and other tasks. These include:

Communication – both internal and external and office correspondence.

Patient welfare – maintenance of patient records, insurance forms, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admission.

Billing and bookkeeping.

Maintain medical and drug supplies.

Clinical duties:

Clinical duties require discreet manual dexterity and visual acuity. A Medical Assistant has to support the medical practitioner with the following:

Recording vital signs.

Preparing patients for examination, explaining treatment procedures to patients.

Assisting the physician during the examination.

Instructing patients about medications and special diets.

Preparation and administration of medications.

Laboratory tasks:

Laboratory tasks include:

Collection and preparation of laboratory specimens.

Performing basic laboratory tests on the premises.

Draw blood, prepare patients for X-rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures and change dressings.

Disposal of contaminated supplies and sterilization of medical instruments.

Medical Assistants employed at small medical outfits may undertake both administrative and clinical duties and report directly to the office manager or health practitioner.

Larger medical outfits have Medical Assistants reporting to department administrators and specializing only in a particular area.

Medical Assistant – Essential qualities and skills:

Duties entailed in medical assisting vary with the type of health care facility, size, location and specialisation.

A pleasant disposition is a must as Medical Assistants constantly interact with patients and public. Courteous manners, a well groomed personality and an aptitude for making people feel at ease are essential.

Simple medical and clinical skills and administrative abilities are integral to the profile of a Medical Assistant.

Traditionally, Medical Assistants did not need to be certified as they learnt on the job. This scenario has changed and contemporary medical practices prefer trained and certified Medical Assistant professionals to untrained individuals.

Medical Assistant Training and Certification:

Healthcare industry is increasingly in favour of trained Medical Assistants. The need for technically sound personnel who have the flexibility of handling both clinical and administrative tasks is on the rise. The trend is an offshoot of the need felt by doctors to concentrate on treating patients rather than on other functional details.

Certification is a mark of the individual having been trained and qualified in the profession.

A Medical Assistant certificate stands as a certainty of successful training. Also, securing a Medical Assistant certificate assures higher professional satisfaction and recognition. Compared to uncertified individuals, the formal education and the Medical Assistant certificate help them in advance faster in their profession.

The Medical Assistant certificate can be secured by both experienced and inexperienced individuals. Experienced professionals may not have to take a certification exam. Inexperienced candidates though will have to undergo rigorous training from an accredited vocational training institution.

Medical Assistant certification or registration will put the individual a step ahead from counterparts.

Medical Assistant registration and certification are the same. It’s just that different certifying bodies have different terms for referring to a Medical Assistant cerificate.

With many Medical Assistant schools mushrooming in the market, it is important that one acquires education and secures Medical Assistant registration from a reputed and reliable source.

Medical Assistant Education:

Medical Assistant education obtained from a high grade vocational training institution is a sure way to a successful Medical Assistant career.

Schools offering Medical Assistant education abound in the market. Making the right choice of schools makes the difference in education in medical assistance.

St.Augustine’s School of Medical Assistants offers accredited and affordable distance Medical Assistant education online.

Medical Assistant education at St.Augustine’s is comprehensive and does not leave out any element crucial to training. The 24/7 online training facility provides classes, knowledge resources and virtual laboratory training online.

Distance Medical Assistant education:

St. Augustine’s Medical Assistants school offers distance education through online courses. Distance education is favoured by Medical Assistant aspirants who are already working and studying part time. Distance Medical Assistant education gives such candidates the flexibility of scheduling their study time around their working hours.

The Medical Assistant Program at St.Augustine’s:

Medical Assistant program at St. Augustine’s is an online training course that is available anytime and anywhere. With this program, accomplishing certifications is a matter of just 6-8 weeks from commencement.

The program includes complete online courses along with training on laboratory skills and facilities to perform laboratory tasks.

The advantage with St. Augustine’s Medical Assistant program is that, the student can take up the course at his own pace and convenience. Since it is online, the course can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Whether it is a full time student or a working person wanting to study part time, the online Medical Assistant program is a convenient way to Medical Assistant registration.

The course ware for the Medical Assistant program is developed and regularly updated by experts from diverse disciplines, health care professionals and practitioners making it one of the best available programs for Medical Assistants.

Medical Assistant classes online:

On signing up for the Medical Assistant program, students have the convenience of accessing classes online. According to individual schedules, Medical Assistant students can access these classes at their own convenience.

Medical Assistant classes at St. Augustine’s deal with the following subjects:

Medical Terminology, Human Body Planes, Basic Human Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Office Professionalism, Patient Communication, Medical Records, Basic Medical Law, Scheduling Appointments, Medical Billing and Insurance Claims, Infection Control, Surgical Instruments, Emergency Care, Clinical Equipment, Patient History and Physicals, EKG and Lab Testing, Specimen Collection and Lab Safety, Introduction to Patient Medications.

The classes also cover Clinical Laboratory training online. These include:
Virtual Phlebotomy Lab (Collecting a Blood Sample), Virtual Injection Lab, Medication injections, Measuring A Pulse, Introduction to CPR and Basic Ultrasound.

At St. Augustine’s School of Medical Assistants, enrolling gives students the advantage of well designed Medical Assistant programs, curricula, online classes, an accredited Medical Assistant certificate within 6-8 weeks!

St. Augustine’s educational services:

Educational services offered by St. Augustine’s Medical Assistant school aim at providing vocational training for Medical Assistant aspirants.

St. Augustine’s educational services are unique in their approach to training, course design, teaching techniques etc. The ultimate goal is to give students the best value for the money they have invested in Medical Assistant registration training.

The distance education program offered under St. Augustine educational services online is a high turnaaround, quality program that is accredited, affordable and convenient.

St. Augustine’s online educational services are affordable as they cut down travelling, instructional material and other costs. It can be accessed by students wherever they are, whenever they want and brings the convenience factor into education. Online educational services at St. Augustine’s are accredited and hence give best value for money spent on educating oneself.

St. Augustine’s educational services online are a passport to a shining career as a Medical Assistant.

Health care careers are fruitful for certified Medical Assistants:

Health care careers are being sought after nowadays as high return professions both on the monetary front and on the satisfaction front. The booming health care industry is demanding technically qualified personnel and the market is ripe for professions like Medical Assistants, Hospital Assistants and others.

Thanks to the boom, health care careers are highly in need of well trained staff. Vocational education in professions like Medical Assistants provides an effective solution for the demand. By training students for the specific job and also focusing on overall life skills, educational services like that offered by St.Augustine’s are enhancing employability of individuals.
Health care professionals – upgrade skills for advancing careers:
Employment opportunities in flexible health care careers like that of Medical Assistants are predicted to increase mutifold. Infact Medical Assistant health care careers are expected to grow much faster than the average for all other occupations.

Certified Medical Assistants with experience will definitely be highly sought after as a result. Health care professionals like registered Medical Assistants with experience stand to gain in a big way.

Experienced and trained Medical Assistants may be able to advance faster than other health care professionals. By adding on to their existing skill sets and certifications, they can gain over health care professionals.

Moreover pliable health care professionals like Medical Assistants have open occupational choices and opportunities form a variety of health care setups.

The future certainly seems to be beckoning Medical Assistant careers. All one needs to do is to gear up with an accredited Medical Assistant certificate.