My name is Faiza Hussain. I am a nurse specialist. On Tuesdays I work at the practice and I mainly focus on elderly care.
My name is Faiza Hussain. I am a nurse specialist. On Tuesdays I work at the practice and I mainly focus on elderly care.
It seems like blockchain is everywhere – we hear about it on the news, everyone seems to be ‘digging’ for bitcoins, and the blockchain technology seems to be taking over the world and transforming many industries, apart from banking where it all started. Its main feature of a transparent, verifiable register of transaction data allows secure and protected transactions, which is why experts suggest that in the near future it will change the way we approach messaging, voting, education and real estate, among others. However, one industry is likely to experience more benefits than others. Blockchain technology is changing the healthcare industry and transforming the way we manage our medical data, approach and perceive modern patient care in general. With everything in our lives turning digital – online medical consultations, appointment scheduling with your primary care physician or finding a general practitioner, it was only a matter of time when innovative technology would begin to improve even the ways we take care of our health.
Reducing administration to a minimum
As the Netherlands and Nordic countries continuously top the list when it comes to innovation in healthcare and progress of eHealth in general practice, it was only a matter of time when they would adopt the blockchain technology. With eHealth being based on cost-effectiveness, sustainability and efficiency, blockchain technology came as a natural extension in ensuring the integrity and security of all patient data. But, what are the practical benefits of blockchain in everyday work in the case of, for example, modern family practices?
Benefits of blockchain in general practice
Before we understand how blockchain can improve healthcare and, subsequently, our lives, we need to understand how blockchain works. Simply put, blockchain is a database that is not located in one place, but instead consists of small bases (blocks) that are mutually digitally connected, while containing information about digital transaction of any kind: from ownership sheets, through birth records, to contracts whereby copyright is governed. The technology records digital events in a way that does not allow for the data to be changed or recognized until it reaches the end recipient. This way, your data is secured and protected. For primary care physicians and other healthcare professionals, introducing blockchain could help store and secure all medical data, reduce costs and provide a better service in general.
Medical data stored and secured
In an everyday hospital environment, transactions occur frequently and are being monitored constantly – from patient registrations to therapies and medical records. This is where blockchain technology and its features especially help to secure your data and help hospitals, walk-in clinics or insurance companies save money, stress and keep patients, as well as their records safer than ever. This way, with most of our data being digital, we would ensure its privacy, especially when it comes to sensitive information regarding our health. Thanks to constant advancements in technology, the future seems brighter than ever.
“30 hours of work and still going strooong.” This was the last tweet by a 24-year-old Mita Duran, Jakarta-based copywriter that died in December 2013 after days of not getting enough sleep due to high work expectations. Thanks to Mita and her tragic death that could have probably been avoided, we are now aware of the term burnout and, more importantly, talk about this very dangerous condition that after many general practices worldwide, now even the World Health Organization officially recognized as a medical condition in their 2019 handbook. But, what does modern patient care consider burnout?
How do we define it?
According to some of the best doctors in Amsterdam and their colleagues, burnout is a syndrome connected to chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been dealt with either by the employer or the employee. It is strictly referred to in the occupational context, and shouldn’t be mistaken with any other. If you think you might suffer from burnout and consider scheduling a doctor consultation, here are the three main components you should be aware of – feelings of energy deficiency and tiredness, high emotional distance from a job or cynicism and negativity towards it, as well as reduced professional efficiency.
Burnout can be dealt with
With expectations in the workplace higher than ever, competition that seems to be making enormous strides towards your position and the stress of trying to navigate both our private and professional life, burnout often comes as a consequence many don’t know how to deal with. However, modern family practices are now offering a number of solutions – from self-care and mindfulness techniques to therapy. But, before you make an online medical consultation and ask for actual techniques, first try identifying the sources of your stress and start eliminating or at least reducing them.
Modern patient care offers solutions
Sometimes, due to high expectations, we’re the main causes of our stress and this is the same no matter where or what we do, which is why healthcare professionals in Amsterdam and all over the world advice we need to make strategies to protect our time, make intentional, productive procrastination, as well as introduce different habits and rituals into our lives. But once you start introducing these small but important steps into your daily life, there are additional physical exercises that have been proven to help us regain control over our feelings and our “old, happier self”. Before receiving more detailed instructions from a good family doctor, try taking on breathing techniques, short frequent breaks from work – even a comfortable chair might do the trick!
Your number one priority should be you
Remember – most of the stress we imposed on ourselves, due to high expectations, large competition and speed in which we are expected to deliver. Our bosses, colleagues and business environment are those that contributed to this in large amounts, but we must not forget that we are the ones who set the rules. However, this is usually easier said than done, and once we begin to recognize it we are usually in a deep into our burnout phase and on a mission trying to find the nearest general practice and specialist. If this text finds you in the middle of a workload of tasks in your overscheduled workday, take this time to take a break, rewind and remind yourself that the only way we can become the most productive selves is when we prioritize our health and wellbeing.
If we have to choose the biggest taboo among health care topics, mental health would probably top the list. While we usually perceive physical problems to be less embarrassing to share with others, issues regarding our emotional wellbeing are always attached to the stigma of weakness and are still, even among some general practice professionals considered to be of less importance. However, as technology advances, communication is mostly conducted through social apps, resulting in isolation, depression and loneliness that becomes chronic. In these cases, it is usually the time to leave it to the professionals – to find a good general practitioner that will direct you to some of the best doctors in Amsterdam dealing with mental health challenges.
How one case changed the narrative
One of the latest examples confirming that this is indeed a much wider issue than we thought was the case of Nadï van de Watering, a 25-year-old Dutch woman whose courage to share her everyday loneliness with her followers on social media, created a movement among those who share the same struggles. Even though talks about depression and loneliness are not often in the public discourse and are usually left to psychotherapists, Nadï’s honesty on Twitter resulted in over one million messages of young Dutch people recognizing themselves in her story. Modern patient care is actually based on this – sharing, talking and trying to find a sustainable solution, which is why even a hotline was founded, aimed at people aged between 12 and 30 seeking company, friends or just joining different interest clubs.
There is no shame in seeking doctor consultation
According to international research, around 3 -10% of young people feel lonely. In the Netherlands, this exact percentage is not known, one of the reasons being that this is not a common topic among people. This is why many modern family practices had to find ways to battle this unofficial seal of silence by providing options to patients like online medical consultations or walk in clinics, that guarantee privacy. But the only way we can actually see progress is by reducing the stigma around it, talking about it and tackling the issue systematically – addressing it on a higher level and providing a top-down approach. Additionally, according to university professors and numerous modern family practices, the best way of combating loneliness is through meaningful social involvement.
Treating it (not) just like any other health issue
The first step to solving it is acknowledging, recognizing and not confusing it with isolation. Loneliness is a subjective feeling of not having enough or not having high enough quality of interactions. In fact, a person can be lonely while being surrounded by people. But, even though it seems intangible and abstract, there are numerous ways one can work on improving this – from joining clubs based on their interest to talking to your primary care doctor that can recommend a therapist or something more appropriate in your case. And this is when mental health issues become just like any other – they take time to solve, but the highest probability of success is with those brave enough to face it.
Thanks to constant progress in treating illnesses with millions of medications available, modern patient care and our lives in general have changed radically. Thanks to them, numerous deadly illnesses in the past are now being cured with great success, epidemics are not a threat in most countries and there is a medication for (almost) any temporary pain one might experience. However, sometimes, our body reacts in a different way than usual which can cause allergic reactions to certain medications. This happens because our immune system mistakenly recognizes something harmless as an invader and tries to get rid of it. If you notice a skin rash, hives, itching, fever, swelling, rapid breathing, or anaphylactic shock after using some medicine, the first thing you should do is call your primary care doctor or find a general practice nearby.
Allergic reactions can be very dangerous
In most cases, an allergic reaction to a drug occurs immediately, just minutes after it is taken, although sometimes a delayed reaction may occur, which is why the best thing you can do is to find a good general practitioner in Amsterdam and have them on your speed dial. Among others, this is one of the reasons walk-in clinics exist – to help you on the stop and provide you with appropriate treatment especially in cases of emergency. Allergic reactions to a drug can happen when using any kind of medicine. The chemical structure of a drug, its molecular weight, the propensity of a drug to build complexes with proteins from the human body, the structure and types of breakdown products – all these are factors that can influence the occurrence of an allergic reaction to a medicine. Medications that are more likely to incite an allergic reaction are actually those often prescribed at any modern family practice: antibiotics (penicillins), painkillers (acetylsalicylic acid, i.e. aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen), cytostatic, among others.
Immediate medical support is necessary
Once you’ve taken the medication prescribed after your regular check-up or doctor consultation, symptoms may occur as quickly as a few minutes after, if given by injection. In the case of oral consumption, the allergic reaction may occur up to several hours after you’ve taken your medication. This is where lays the biggest problem with allergic reactions for even the best modern patient care possible – one cannot isolate the specific symptoms of an allergic reaction for specific medicines. The symptoms are universal and most often include the appearance of itching, rashes, redness, hives, swelling, and the most severe forms of allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock accompanied by a sudden drop in blood pressure and a feeling of suffocation.
For further instructions, always consult your doctor
If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction after using the medicine, the first step is to stop taking the medicine, find a good general practitioner in Amsterdam who will take the necessary action. If an anaphylactic reaction occurs, an ambulance service should be called as soon as possible, since the anaphylactic shock may end in a fatal outcome in a very short period of time. In this case, after receiving appropriate therapy, you should consult your primary care physician for the necessary steps.
When we first started seeing robots in movies regularly, they seemed like something that purely came out of someone’s imagination of a far, far future. Just remember the first time you saw C-3PO and R2-D2 – could you imagine them becoming regular assistants in general practice, helping diagnose hundreds of thousand diseases in a year, disinfecting rooms and keeping someone company? Probably not because no one could have imagined the speed in which technology would develop and influence every aspect of our lives, from the way we communicate to the way we make doctor consultations or try to find a good family doctor in Amsterdam. However, whether you like it or not, this is our reality today and as a result of this, healthcare all over the world has access to all kinds of innovative and useful solutions, robots being just one small, but extremely significant part of it.
The beginnings of robots in medicine
Even though robots have been part of our lives for a long time, most of it we saw on the big screen, while their entrance into the world of medicine is relatively new. The decade that we now mark as the beginning of using robots in healthcare is the eighties, with the introduction of robotic surgery using Puma 650 robot that improved precision in neurosurgical biopsies. It took us even less than half a century to have robots now being part of modern patient care and to assist even primary care doctors. Although still not used globally and in every general practice in the world, robots are on a steady path of becoming irreplaceable and responsible, reliable friends. But, would this affect healthcare professionals?
The question everyone is asking
According to numerous expert opinions, definitely – just not in a negative way. We’re already witnesses of numerous effects and improvements technology has had on our lives – with online medical consultations and gadgets used for monitoring our health just being a small piece of the puzzle. If we approach things rationally, robots can be a perfect addition to the well thought out system – they don’t need a break, food or sleep, they don’t have prejudice or favorites, don’t mind repeating the same task for the millionth time and never complain. This being said, humans shouldn’t worry – the only tasks robots will replace are those that people don’t enjoy doing anyway while, for example, a primary care physician, nurse or any other professional in a modern family practice could focus their precious time to the essence of their job – caring for their patients.
Elevating the quality of life
By embracing robots in medicine, healthcare professionals and general practices can reduce human error and enhance the quality of life of their patients. Although there will undoubtedly still be many mistakes we can learn from, the overall benefits, in the long run, are immeasurable just because they directly affect our most valuable possession, our health.
If you’d ask anyone to predict what type of technology we will have in 10 years, chances are they would probably be wrong. Technology changes every day and has found ways to improve every aspect of our lives, but maybe its biggest and most important benefits can be seen in healthcare. Technology in modern patient care has changed the way we understand our health, it made us more aware of the risks, more responsible towards our lifestyle choices and provided us with convenient and useful options such as, for example, online medical consultations.
Technology in favor of quality life
This has become more obvious than ever in the last couple of years, with more and more people approaching their health differently – the idea of having complete control over our medical data and being able to track it has been steadily on the rise, especially supported by gadgets that allow us to gather the information easier and faster, before consulting your primary care doctor. One of the most innovative solutions currently on the market that help us monitor our health is wearable technology.
The role of wearable technology in general practice
Wearable technology in healthcare, that includes electronic devices that consumers can wear, was valued globally at 10.3 billion dollars only last year and has more than tripled in the last four years. Produced by the increasing demand of patients to have a constant overview of their health, these gadgets offer features that you’d so far had to obtain at a general practice nearby. With options like measuring heartbeat, steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned or even blood pressure, patients today can get personalized service based on their data without changing their daily routines or even leaving their house. This way, wearable technology encourages behavior that reduces visits to your primary care physician while at the same time making the visits better and more efficient.
What can we expect in the future?
As technology is progressing faster than we can even grasp, the way wearable technology is today means that in just a few years, these features will probably be more useful and complex than we can imagine. In fact, researchers and experts in the field have already announced some of the advancements we can expect in the near future – from changes that include even smaller devices with bigger memory to one of the most exciting improvements that focus on disease prevention and early detection. This, however, doesn’t mean that some of the best doctors in Amsterdam will lose their jobs; on the contrary, their work will just become more focused, efficient, medication and result oriented, while the whole health care can benefit in numerous new ways – the data will allow us to have better analysis, more knowledge, and in-depth research that will change the way we get treated globally. Finally, one of the biggest up and coming innovations include biosensors – wearable, self-adhesive patches that during research showed an 89% reduction in patient deterioration into preventable cardiac or respiratory arrest.
Thanks to innovations like these, the future is something we should all look forward to!
The impact fake news had on the world of politics is well known, but the dangers of spreading fake news in the world of health care can potentially have more serious consequences than we can imagine and impact hundreds of thousands of people. Instead of visiting our good family doctor when we feel sick or simply scheduling an online medical consultation, we often take medical advice without verifying it. One of the latest examples was one simple fake information created by one person that connected the rise of autism with children to the use of MMR vaccines that changed the perspective on the issue on a global level.
The return of measles in Europe
This person was Andrew Wakefield, a now discredited British ex-physician, who has since lost his license and became persona non grata in medical circles. But the damage was done, and even the best doctors in Amsterdam had trouble explaining to their patients that this small piece of fake news was sufficient enough to reduce the rate of those taking MMR vaccines only in the UK from 92 percent from 1996 to 84 percent in 2002. In fact, The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported there was a “dramatic return” of measles to Europe, supported in part by patients refusing advice from their primary care physicians to get vaccinated, resulting in nearly 90,000 people receiving the disease in the first half of 2019.
But why does modern patient care insist on vaccinations?
Even though to some people it may seem harmless, measles are some of the most contagious diseases in the world. One of the things that makes it so pandemic is the ease with which it is passed on, as well as the cold-like symptoms, which is why doctor consultation is necessary. Measles are spread by coughing and sneezing, with symptoms usually beginning eight to 12 days after exposure, with fever and rash spreading throughout the body. This is why vaccination has proven to be the only efficient method of dealing with measles, recommended and practiced by modern family practices around the world. Even though the vaccines can not protect us 100% and all the time, they are still the most efficient solution against measles.
If in doubt, always contact your family doctor
This is why If you suspect that you or your child have measles or been exposed to someone who has it, the best thing you can do is find a general practitioner or visit the nearest walk-in clinic for a professional opinion. Medical professionals will then determine if you are immune to measles based on your vaccination record, age and lab evidence.
However, if you or a member of your family recognizes the symptoms mentioned above and if you’re not sure you’ve had your dose of protection, you should first try to find your vaccination records. If you’re not sure or have lost your written documentation of measles immunity, you should get the MMR vaccine. And if you’re experiencing measles symptoms – especially if you’ve recently traveled overseas – you should stay home and call your primary care doctor immediately.