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Will we have cured all diseases? Will hospital staff all be robots? It’s easy to come up with wild theories as to what the future of healthcare may look like. Whilst we cannot predict everything, recent social and scientific research alongside the latest technologies may be able to give us an idea of hospitals could look like in 50 years’ time. Here are a few speculations currently being made by today’s healthcare experts.

More ageing patients

The number of centenarians (people aged over 100 years) has risen dramatically in the last twenty years. This is largely down to our growing ability to treat acute conditions before they become chronic. 1 in 12 people are thought to be aged over 80 by the year 2039. This is a huge concern for the medical sector, as although we are managing to fight diseases at a quicker rate, the human body has not yet evolved to work effectively over the age of 80. And so, as a result, a large percentage of the population will need full time care. Will this be the job of hospitals and will new wards have to be opened specifically for the elderly? Or will this aging population require a new hospital of their own.

Different kinds of hospital

Not only will the aging population rise – the entire population is going to continue to boom. Hospital infrastructure will not only have trouble coping – hospitals in urban areas may physically reach a point where they can no longer expand. One theory is that there will become a greater number of different types of hospital. Specific hospitals will specialise in A&E, whilst ‘community hospitals’ will provide longer planned care. There may also be ‘local hospitals’ for short-stay treatments – the natural step up from GP referral. This could keep hospitals more organised and more efficient.

Digital changes

The digital transformation of healthcare is thought to be huge. One area that has been suggested is the incorporation of the Internet of Things onto (or into) our bodies. Initially those that are sick and eventually all of us may have monitors attached to our bodies that tell us when we are ill or require medical assistance. We will all be able to monitor out stats on our smartphones and then take action when required. This could help us to catch illnesses earlier in the bud, although it has also raised a number of dangers including causing health paranoia and potentially being a security threat (a hacker might be able to access your body monitors and your private health details could be held under ransom, with threats to release them online if you don’t pay).

Such technology will also give patients more power, which may have positives and negatives. Both doctors and patients will be able to prove their illness through raw data available to both of them. After treatments, patients may then be presented with the option for doctors to continue monitoring their stats afterwards. This could reduce the time patients are spent in hospital, as patients may no longer need to be kept in a bed to be monitored. It’s a moot point as to whether eventually we will all give our private health details over hospitals so that we are monitored 24/7. Instead of us deciding whether we need medical care, we could be prompted by the healthcare system before we even know ourselves. Would this be too intrusive? Or would we be willing to give up the responsibility of our own health to others?

Turning wards into pods

Modern hospitals are largely designed around the staff. Open wards allow doctors and nurses to monitor all the beds around them. However, such wards can have their weaknesses. They can be loud, they can spread illness quicker and they can make privacy of the patient more difficult. One solution may be to start giving every patient their own pod. This would create more of a sense of calm for the patient. Monitors in each room could allow staff to see who is most in need of help at all times – this could be viewed on a tablet carried by every doctor and nurse. Already some newer wards have started incorporating this design and it is thought that more will follow suit in the future.

AI surgery

Already, virtual reality is being used to practice complex operations. Previously, the only way surgeons could have ever got hands-on practice was through models or by scrubbing in for real. VR has allowed a realistic but safe way of surgeons to practice such procedures. Mistakes do not have real-life repercussions, allowing surgeons to keep practicing these complex operations so that when they do them for real, the success rate is higher.

VR is being greatly researched into in the medical field in order to replicate more complex and more realistic procedures. Meanwhile, some surgery is being entirely carried out by AI. It is thought that it will be a long time before robots will ever be able to complete all forms of surgery – with so many individual factors at play, some operations may always need some form of human interaction, if only to make complex decisions involving risks.

More superbugs

We may be on the cusp of defeating heart disease and cancer, but scientists believe it is unlikely we will ever cure all diseases. Superbugs such as MRSA have already proved resistant to antibiotics and a growing number of these are expected to develop. Defeating these will involve ongoing medical research – which will in turn require extra funds. Such medication will have to be privately paid for and could only be available to a rich few unless funds are able to be found from elsewhere that make this medication less expensive to supply.

Hospitals meanwhile will have to better designed to control infections. By this token, the idea of less open wards and more individual pods could prove a must.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Health

Could Your House Be Harming Your Health?

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If you and your family members often suffer from the odd cough or cold, you might just think that it’s normal and the same for everyone. Does anyone in your household suffer from skin irritations or allergies? While most of these ailments aren’t too worrying, there are other, lesser-known issues that could be more harmful to you and your house could be to blame. Take a look at this list and see if you could do anything to create a happier, healthier household.

Methamphetamine Residue

Did you know that if the past residents or tenants or your home smoked meth then tiny particles will likely have land on the walls, floors, ceilings and any soft furnishings and these can contaminate a home? It’s probably not something you’ve thought about before, and most landlord or property managers will carry out rapid meth drug testing between owners or tenants to make sure that your property is safe. If you are buying a home, make sure that you have a Pre-purchase Meth Test and Inspection written into your conditions of sale just to be sure.  

Indoor leaks

A leak sounds harmless enough, but if a leak goes unnoticed and you don’t deal with it, it could cause mould to grow in your home which can be problematic for people prone to asthma and allergically-induced breathing problems. Make sure that you check pipes, closets, basements, and attics to ensure everywhere is dry and if you do find any leaky areas, clean and dry where the water has accumulated, and contact a plumber or roofer to fix the situation. 

Asbestos

If your home was built between 1920 and 1978, you might be exposed to asbestos, which was commonly used as a building and insulation material for homes in that era. It’s not the asbestos itself that is dangerous, but when it gets damaged as it may release asbestos fibres and become a health hazard. The best thing to do is to leave any asbestos materials alone. 

Dust

Dust a nuisance, it makes your home look unclean, and it gets everywhere, but not only that, but dust also carries irritating dust mites that can harm your nasal passage and eyes. According to research, dust mites put stress on your immune system, which then weakens over time. As well as this, dust only gets dustier and attracts dirt and particles from outside, which can contain pesticides and herbicides that are potentially toxic to your nervous system, and a recent study even linked dust to weight gain. To limit the amount of dust in your home, make sure that you vacuum regularly, don’t wear shoes in your house and even wipe the paws off your pets before they enter the house. Also, wash your sheets and towels weekly in hot water and make sure they’re thoroughly dried, regularly wash curtains, and stuffed animals. If you do have anyone in your home who suffers from allergies, then it’s a good idea to get covers for your mattresses and pillows which are designed to keep dust mites from getting through. 

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5 Applications To Improve Workplace Health & Safety

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workplace health

Keeping your employees safe and healthy at work is not just a legal requirement, but it’s essential to maintain productivity levels and achieve a strong company culture. This is particularly true of supporting the mental health of your staff. When you are in the process of revising your health and safety policies, these five apps may help to support your plans.

1. Fatigue Predictor Pro

Fatigue Predictor Pro is a ‘Fatigue Risk Management’ tool. Individuals can track their work and sleep and then access predicted fatigue levels on their duty roster. The application is perfect for companies to manage employee duty times and fatigue. It’s particularly recommended for construction or industrial roles (whereby fatigue when operating machinery is a concern). Staff members can send data to the cloud for the organization’s administrator to view. Fatigue Predictor is a handy tool to improve safety in the workplace.

2. Ergonomics

Ergonomics is a great app to improve health and wellness in the workplace. The application provides plenty of tips about stretching exercises and guidelines on how to set up your desk equipment ergonomically. The app encourages staff to take short breaks to stretch, including detailed instructions on various stretches, helping you perform the movements safely. Using the app, you can target certain areas of the body and assess your progress. Here you’ll also find plenty of advice about improving mental and physical health at work.

3. Wellspace

The Wellspace app was created to improve workplace wellbeing, no matter what your industry. The platform includes both an app and an online portal, to support staff members whenever they need it. Using Wellspace, employers can offer their staff the mental health support that they need. The application offers plenty of insightful content, including themes such as nutrition, sleep, mental health, and financial health. You can use the application to set health targets and measure progress.

4. 10 % Happier

10% Happier is the perfect app to enhance wellbeing and work towards positive mental health goals. The app provides hundreds of guided meditations on a wide variety of topics. A few of the topics include becoming more focused, parenting ideas, or dealing with anxiety. There’s a sleep section with specific sleep stories plus plenty of bite-sized activities on mindfulness. These brief meditations and ‘mindful moments’ are super easy to squeeze in on a work break!

5. NIOSH Lift Calculator 

The NIOSH Lift Calculator app can help you find ergonomic solutions and help you to safely handle heavy loads. First, you have to describe the lifting conditions, and from here, the app will provide you with a recommended weight limit. You can use the app to calculate multiple lifting or single lifting tasks. To protect workers from back problems and physical stress, The NIOSH app recommends a lifting index of CLI (or less).

Simple protocol, such as wearing the right PPE, is another way to maintain workplace safety levels. Workwear Hub provides a great range of steel blue safety boots. For more details, visit website.

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Feeling the Pressure of Prescriptions? Read this Now!

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Prescription medicines

Healthcare costs have been rising at runaway rates for the past few decades. In 2018, Americans spent nearly $3.7 trillion on health care, reports Fortune Magazine. That’s more than the GDP of the United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain!

This is increasingly a big problem for a nation that now spends significantly more as a country, and per person, than any other developed economy. While lawmakers and society will have to figure out a way to control these skyrocketing sums, on the individual level, it’s important for everyone to do as much as they can to keep their own costs in check — without sacrificing the care they need.

It isn’t always easy. One area where we continue to see higher expense is on pharmaceuticals. More and more people are now taking prescription drugs. This is good in many ways. They allow people to live with less pain, fewer symptoms, better mobility, and so much more.

But it also means that so many people have to find a way to pay for their sometimes expensive prescriptions. This makes getting the right coverage and getting the best advice from doctors more important than ever.

Nobody wants to put their wallet ahead of their health. And with the right strategy, you can hopefully avoid ever facing such a difficult situation. Try this advice and you can likely find savings for years to come.

1. Go With Generic Medication

Pharma companies invest billions in research and development. This pays off greatly when they come up with a great new drug that is used by many people. But the patent on that pill only lasts so long. Once it expires, anyone can make the same medicine and this naturally cuts the price.

This means that you don’t need to pay more for the label. Many people prefer to pay more for the name they know. But in many cases, the generic is literally the exact same thing — just with a lower price tag. Talk to your doctor and see if you can find some savings by going generic.

2. Fill Your Script in Bulk

There can be extra costs for pharmaceuticals each time you fill a prescription. Specifically, you might be on the hook for a co-pay whenever you get a new bottle. So if you only get 30 pills at a time for the month, that means 12 extra charges per year. In some cases, you may be able to instead get 90 pills. Not only do you now pay just 4 times per year, but it saves you a lot hassle.

“Buying in bulk” can also pay off if you get larger doses in some cases. Certain pills can just be cut in half, so getting 30 pills of 20 mgs then splitting them at home is the equivalent of 60 pills of 10 mgs. Doing this effectively accomplishes the same result if your doctor is on board.

3. Understand Your Plan

The more you know about your healthcare coverage, the more you can benefit. A lot of plans allow people wider access to doctors and clinics than they realize — and at very low costs. All it takes is understanding your policy a bit better to take advantage.

Medicare is a great example. It has been around for so long, and most people have relatives or friends who use it. So they think they know what it does and does not cover. But the popularity and availability of supplemental coverage has grown significantly over the decades, with Medicare Part D becoming a particularly great option. Because it makes many prescription drugs free — for such a small extra premium — it is one of the best ways to protect your health and your bank account.

Great Health Anyone Can Afford

The right prescriptions can be a life saver. We have so many options and ways to treat our issues nowadays, and it really is amazing for anyone who is suffering or wants to prevent a disease from progressing.

But it sure does cost a lot. That’s why you need to be smart and employ strategies like going generic, filling your prescription in bulk, and really understanding all the benefits available in your plan. 

When it comes to medication, you want to get exactly what you need at the lowest possible cost. You can’t afford to make sacrifices to your health. And with a few simple tips, you really will be able to afford whatever you need.

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