July 29th, 2014
Virtual reality, once the domain of goggle-wearing teenage video game warriors, is fast becoming a tool of physical therapists, who, appropriately enough, are using it in the rehabilitation of injured military veterans. With the help of CAREN (Computer-Assisted Rehab Environment), a simulator the size of a room, physical therapists are teaching wounded service members including amputees how to cope with their disability. In other cases, they are aiding their rehabilitation to return them to work, using simulations that are near real-world. Three military centers — San Antonio’s Broke Army Medical Center, Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego — are using the simulators and finding them able to mimic countless different environments and terrains. CAREN is not just for the military, though that’s where the pricey equipment first was used. Now the systems are finding their way into the civilian market. Advance Healthcare Network
June 11th, 2014
Given that employees spend a considerable amount of time at work, understanding how they can replenish their resources during the workday is critical, explain the authors of a study on how lunch breaks affect workers. The results surprised them. Relaxing activities during lunch, freely-chosen by workers, led to the least amount of reported fatigue at the end of the day. Getting work done resulted in employees appearing more tired, but that effect was reduced when employees felt it was their decision. Socializing, however, also led to higher levels of fatigue; something the paper says has to do with whether workers feel free to decide if they want to socialize and who they’re socializing with. ScienceDaily
April 17th, 2014
Patients made more use of the nation’s healthcare system in 2013, increasing their spending on drugs and making more visits to specialists and hospitals for outpatient treatment.
It’s the first time in three years that healthcare utilization has risen, says the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The Institute’s study, Medicine Use and Shifting Costs of Healthcare: A Review of the Use of Medicines in the United States in 2013, was released this week.
According to the study, Americans spent $329.2 billion on medicine last year, a 3.2% increase from 2012. The study attributes the increase fewer patent expirations (which allow lower priced generics to be sold), price increases, new medicines, and more doctor and hospital visits. Read the rest of this entry »
April 8th, 2014
Whether palbociclib turns it to be the blockbuster The New York Times says it could be, the breast cancer drug created a stir this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Developed by Pfizer, the drug’s stage II clinical trials are so promising in slowing the advance of breast cancer that one leading physician described them as “strikingly positive.” Dr. Jose Baselga, physician in chief at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, who lead a discussion of the results, said that if the more rigorous phase 3 trials confirm the early results, then “they could represent a new standard in the therapy of patients.” Read the rest of this entry »
April 7th, 2014
This is crunch week at accounting firms across the U.S. With the clock tick-tocking down to April 15th, lights will be burning late into the night — and in more than a few places, won’t be shut off at all.
At this point, there’s not much you can do about the late hours and the unhealthy lack of sleep. One thing you can do this week is to reject all the junk food and high carb, high fat foods that get ordered in for lunch and dinner. Read the rest of this entry »
April 2nd, 2014
Back in 3rd grade, when Mrs. Greenstein caught us chewing gum, she made us deposit in the trash. Then we had to write, “I will not chew gum in class,” on the board while everyone else enjoyed recess.
Today, that message might very well be, “Chewing gum relieves stress.” At least that’s what a team of Japanese researchers found. They got 14 healthy volunteers to do math problems for 30 minutes, then chew gum for intervals ranging from 0 minutes to 15. They measured their cortisol levels and took saliva samples before, during and after the math problems and gum chewing exercise. Read the rest of this entry »
February 4th, 2014
Was the office a little emptier yesterday than usual? Did it seem more people showed up late?
For that you can thank (or blame) the Super Bowl, and the overindulging that typifies so many of the parties.
The Workforce Institute, the research arm of Kronos, the time clock and HR technology company, did a survey in 2008 discovering that something like 1.5 million more than usual workers in the U.S. call in sick on the Monday after the Super Bowl. Another 4.4 million show up late. If you suspect that most of these no-shows are men, you are correct. And the majority are between 18 and 34. Read the rest of this entry »
January 15th, 2014
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that doctors, nurses and teachers are among those most likely to come into contact with the flu virus.
But financial services workers? Yes, says a study by Staples Advantage. Not only do they meet with dozens of people everyday, but they handle currency, which harbors all kinds of pathogens, including influenza viruses. Read the rest of this entry »
December 5th, 2013
The Food and Drug Administration began regulating compounding pharmacies this week, just days after President Obama signed the Drug Quality and Security Act. The FDA is encouraging these pharmacies to register with the agency making them eligible to sell drugs in bulk to health care facilities, and especially to hospitals. Registration is not mandatory, but the law takes a carrot and stick approach to the pharmacies. Compounders that register with the FDA will be classified as outsourcers. They’ll undergo regular inspections and compliance with industry manufacturing standards. Those choosing not to register, may be classified as drug manufacturers, subject to the same high-level regulations faced by more traditional drug makers. WebMD
October 7th, 2013
While individuals have begun to sign-up for health care coverage through the new health-insurance marketplaces that opened October 1, employers have a one year reprieve from the full implementation of the new Affordable Care Act. However, that doesn’t mean business as usual. Human resource professionals still have a number of issues to address in the coming months. With most employer-sponsored health plans now in or about to begin their open enrollment period workers can be expected to ask how the new health care law will affect them. For one, employees will have access to the premium tax credits available through the exchanges beginning with the new year. In addition, there are no more exclusions for pre-existing conditions and there are new wellness incentive rules that take effect Jan. 1. And there are a number of steps that employers should be taking now to get ready for the full impact of the ACA in 2015. Society for Human Resource Management