Evaluating products for privacy and data security

If you’re like most people these days, it’s difficult to know what the best products are to keep your data both – personal and professional – secure. In an effort to help consumers find the best products for their security needs, Consumer Reports has begun evaluating products and services for privacy and data security. To read more about their security standards and how the program works visit http://www.consumerreports.org/privacy/consumer-reports-to-begin-evaluating-products-services-for-privacy-and-data-security/

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post should not be construed as an endorsement of any product or reviewing organization. This blog post is for information only.

First choice for low back pain is non-drug treatment

The most recent guidelines for the non-invasive treatment of lower back pain from the American College of Physicians published in the February 14, 2017 Annals of Internal Medicine recommend non-drug treatment as a front line approach for acute, sub-acute and chronic lower back pain. Treatment recommendations include superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, exercise, and cognitive behavioral therapy to name a few.  They further recommend that pain medication should only be considered in patients who have failed the non-drug treatments and only if the potential benefits outweigh the risks. This should include a discussion with the patient the known risks and realistic benefits of pain medication.

Australian study shows NSAIDs ineffective for back pain

An Australian study published in the January 2017 Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin, Advil) relatively ineffective for treating back pain. This study examined 35 randomized, placebo-controlled trials, encompassing 6,000 patients with the goal of determining the effectiveness and safety of NSAIDs for spinal pain. The drugs failed in the treatment of back pain with the authors stating, “At present, there are no simple analgesics that provide clinically important effects for spinal pain over placebo.” Researchers also found that patients taking NSAIDs were 2.5 times more likely to have gastrointestinal problems such as stomach ulcers and bleedings, especially prevalent in the elderly population. Investigator Gustavo Machado stated, “Millions of Australians are taking drugs that not only don’t work well, they’re causing harm.”

In the US NSAIDs are the second leading cause of peptic ulcers resulting in 100,000 hospitalizations, $2 billion in additional health care costs, and 17,000 deaths each year. This new study dovetails well with George Institute for Global Health’s earlier study on acetaminophen e.g., Tylenol revealing this common drug was no better than placebo either while at the same time being the leading cause of acute liver failure in the US. As Mr. Machado stated, “We need treatments that actually provide substantial relief of these people’s symptoms.” Fortunately there are many integrative healthcare approaches – including chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, and massage therapy – that are effective for back pain without the side effects seen with these medications.

Acupuncture aids chronic pain, depression

The University of York (UK) Researchers found acupuncture to be an cost-effective and standard medical care for treating chronic pain and depression. Trials included approximately 18,000 subjects. The research report was published in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Journals Library. Integrative providers with patients who are not responding to care, might consider developing mutual referral relationships with acupuncturists geographic to patient and provider needs.


Sugary drinks maintain hold on Americans

Despite the long term efforts of many public health agencies, a recent CDC report demonstrates that adults and children continue to consume the same number of calories from sugary beverages now as they did in 2009-2010. The approaches to reducing the consumption of these beverages has been born out of the link to many population health concerns such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. There were a period of years where educational approaches like those supported by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines demonstrated progress, however at this point there has been a leveling off. There are a number of explanations for this effect such as substitution of sugary beverages other than soda,  socioeconomic and generational differences in consumption patterns.  Guidelines for sugar consumption have been expressed in different ways such as the U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggestion that all added sugars account for no more than 10 percent of dietary calories, and the American Heart Association’s recommendation that children get no more than 100 calories/day from sugary beverages. The unique element to sugary beverages is most people don’t realize how much actual sugar they’ve consumed. It will require a sustained effort to produce an effective culture shift to address this issue.  For additional information on this area of concern: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/01/26/americans-were-making-a-lot-of-progress-cutting-back-on-sugary-drinks-now-thats-stopped/?utm_term=.8f5016c8d15b&wpisrc=nl_sb_smartbrief

Best Practices: HIPAA and Sharing info

“Can I share information about a patient with their family?” “What if it is an emergency?”

Have you had these questions? Whether a provider or a patient, the HIPAA Privacy rule covers what information can be shared.

In short, the answer is “Yes”. The HIPAA Privacy Rule at 45 CFR 164.510(b) specifically permits covered entities to share information that is directly relevant to the involvement of a spouse, family members, friends, or other persons identified by a patient, in the patient’s care or payment for health care. If the patient is present or otherwise available and agrees to the disclosure of the inforamtion the provider can discuss information with the family and other persons. If the patient is incapacitated or not present due to emergency circumstances, a provider may share information with family or other persons if, in their best judgment, it is in the best interest of the patient to do so. For more information from HHS about this matter, click here.


SEATTLE – New free CE coming to your area March 16, 2017!

Join your peers on Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the Hilton Seattle for an relevant and engaging two-hour continuing education program created specifically for integrative healthcare providers!

Providers are challenged daily in assisting patients to manage chronic pain, narcotic addiction, pain syndrome behaviors, PTSD, and other “yellow-flag” complications that may derail positive outcomes. In addition, charting pain management protocols and clinically justifying the outcomes can be a challenge for the provider.

How can a provider better engage an already stressed patient? Which management plans show effective outcomes? This educational program will address these issues with effective plans, showing positive outcomes. The tools and techniques identified and taught in the program can be readily adopted into practice.

Visit the registration website (button above!) for speaker bio, full schedule and other details.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Acupuncture in the Emergency Room

There are many conditions where acupuncture has demonstrated value in providing pain relief.  In a trial of 300 patients comparing acupuncture and morphine for acute onset moderate to severe pain, acupuncture provided more effective and faster pain relief with fewer side effects. For more details, the study can be found in the November, 2016 volume of The American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Overuse of analgesics and opioids linked to acute migraine headache

Medpage Today published a 12-07-2016 systemic literature review showing a link between the overuse of analgesics and opioids, as an increased risk for onset of Acute Migraine Headaches. Ergots (vessel constricting drugs: Migranal & Cafergot, Migergot: ergotamine with caffeine) and triptans had a lower risk factor of producing acute migraine headache. However, the findings may be associated with relative ease of obtaining analgesics and opioids. Analgesics and opioids are less costly and used more frequently. Many analgesics can be acquired over-the-counter without prescription. Opioids are one of the least expensive prescriptive pain medications. Researchers point out, ‘migraine headache poses a significant socioeconomic burden, making it one of the most costly neurologic disorders known’. While the article did not include integrative healthcare treatment for migraines, there is evidence highlighted in the Cochrane Library and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Healthcare (NCCIH) of non-drug alternatives that can help with migraines such as acupuncture, massage, and dietary supplements like butterbur.

PORTLAND – OCT 5 – Continuing Education Conference for Network Providers

Join your local provider peers for one of our continuing education conferences in 2017! Click the register button for a complete agenda, location, times & more!

Our clinical and administrative experts have been working hard creating compelling, informative continuing education just for you – with sessions on ethics, HIPAA privacy and security standards, pain management, coding, and charting there’s something for every provider!

The CHP Group has been working with integrative healthcare (IH) providers and providing IH-targeted continuing education for over 25 years in the Pacific Northwest. As always, this event is free and exclusively for our network providers. We look forward to seeing you there!