Honoring our Veterans today and always

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!

- Maya Angelou

Today across the nation, Americans are honoring war and military veterans for their service, bravery and loyalty. As SurroundHealth recognizes our vets, we would like to share a few useful resources that address the impact of war on veterans’ health on both a mental and physical level.

The following resources and more can be found on the SurroundHealth War & Veteran Health page.

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans- This is an archived webcast: This program will provide an overview of services currently offered by the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs, particularly as they relate to counseling and other veteran-awarded benefits. This program will also look at the clinical side of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. It will examine warning signs of PTSD, consider substance abuse related to PTSD, and discuss effective treatment for veteran’s struggling with PTSD.
  • Health Programs for Veterans- From the VA- Beyond the doctors and nurses who provide you with high-quality health care, VHA offers tools and information to help you reach your optimal health. Tools like My HealtheVet enable you to manage your medical priorities through an online prescription refill service, personal health journal, and links to Federal and VA benefits.

For more ideas on how to honor and celebrate our veterans, visit the University of Veteran Affairs-http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/


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American Pharmacists Month: Recognizing Their Importance

During the month of October, we bring awareness to many important health-related topics such as breast cancer and health literacy. However, did you know that it is also American Pharmacists Month? Although the month is winding down, we would still like to recognize our pharmacists and the important roles they play in the healthcare system and in educating patients.

American Pharmacist Month 2013


We also would like to give a shout-out to all the pharmacists within our SurroundHealth community- Thanks for all you do every day to help keep patients informed and engaged in their healthcare.

A few facts about pharmacists:

To learn more about American Pharmacists Month and what you can do to celebrate, visit: http://www.pharmacist.com/american-pharmacists-month.

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Health Literacy and Health Numeracy: Making the Connection

When we think of health literacy, most times our first thoughts are around words and reading. However, health literacy involves much more than just words—what about numbers? Many healthcare extenders struggle with the question: How do you make health data accessible and actionable?

As part of our celebration of Health Literacy Month, we recently hosted a webinar that provided some thoughts around these questions. Led by Dr. Zikmund-Fisher, Ph.D., the presentation focused on this key message for healthcare providers: Start with the reason first, rather than the number.

What does this mean?

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher stressed that when it comes to explaining numbers and health data to patients, providers should always think first about what the patient specifically cares about. Start with what you are trying to teach them; think about what the patient needs in order to make an informed decision. You shouldn’t just be giving a number to give a number—it should have meaning.

A couple of examples

The following examples were shared during the webinar, and give some clarity on how healthcare extenders can handle sharing health data with patients in a way that is meaningful and actionable.

1)      Case Study: Sarah

- Type 2 diabetic

- Last Hemoglobin A1c= 9.3%

-  At A1c test between visits, result is hemoglobin A1c= 8.3%

Question: Can Sarah recognize the meaning of the 8.3%?

What the provider needs to do: Help her to recognize how significant the 1% decrease in A1c. The provider needs to draw her attention to how big a change in risk the decrease is and emphasize the positive steps she took to decrease her A1C.  While the ultimate goal may be for Sarah to get her A1C below 7%, the teachable moment needs to first focus on progress made in reaching the goal.

2)      Case Study: Benjamin

- 65 year old diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer

- Choosing between surgery, radiation, and active surveillance

- Risks of urinary problems, sexual problems, anxiety, etc.

Question: How should we present the risks to help Benjamin recognize the trade-offs?

What the provider needs to do: Make sure to help him recognize the big trade-offs. Understand that detailed numerical tables may not be the best to use in guided decision making—icons or non-numeric displays may be as effective or more effective.

Learn more

To access the full archive of, Why Do We Give Patients Numbers? Making Health Data Make Sense, visit us on SurroundHealth.

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How have you been celebrating Health Literacy Month?

HealthLiteracy_word cloud

Throughout October, across different disciplines in healthcare and education, health literacy is being celebrated in various ways. At halfway through the month, we would like to share how we have been celebrating, as well as give some ideas on how our members and peers can support. And of course, hear what everyone else has been up to!

At SurroundHealth, we’ve had our focus on education:

Health Literacy Webinar Archives – These past SurroundHealth webinars provide health literacy and patient education tips, resources, behavior change strategies, and practical “how-to’s” for health professionals

3 Popular Health Literacy Resources on SurroundHealth:

  • Low Health Literacy Quiz for Health Professionals – A health literacy educational quiz for healthcare providers, that shows how patients may be hearing you, and ways you can help them understand.
  • Health Literacy/Patient Safety Monograph – Published by the AMA, this monograph focuses on ways healthcare providers can create a safe, shame-free environment for their patients.
  • Health Lit Toolkit for Older Adults – Program materials include teaching modules focused on working with the healthcare providers and on finding credible information on the Internet, and tools for needs assessment survey and focus groups and pre- and post-tests.

Some ideas from other organizations…

  • CDC- Health Literacy Activities by State – The links on this page include state and local collaborations and academic, government and non-profit organizations with a health literacy focus.
  • HealthLiteracyMonth.org- Get tips on what “we, as a health care consumer or provider, do to learn more about health literacy heighten awareness of this critical issue as well as bring about a change for the better?”
  • (Pinterest) Paths to Literacy Health Literacy Month page- Paths to Literacy shares a few resources for thinking about health literacy and vision health for people who are blind or visually impaired.
  • Engaging the Patient- Follow a month-long blog series and find new articles by health literacy experts, patients, and caregivers.

Share YOUR ideas with us, too! We would love to hear about what you or your organizations are up to this month to celebrate health literacy month. If you have any resources, ideas, or activities lined up—let us know, we would be happy to share them on SurroundHealth.

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SurroundHealth Webinar Reveals Healthcare Professionals’ Thoughts on mHealth Potential

When a poll during last week’s mHealth webinar with Dr. Jay Bernhardt of the University of Florida prompted the question, “Which part of mHealth do you think has the most potential for health promotion and chronic disease self-management,” over 60% of respondents said “Apps.”

Other responses included:

  • SMS/Txt messages – 51%
  • Games – 23%
  • Mobile Web – 20%
  • Location-based (GPS) tools – 6%

This was an interesting result, as throughout his presentation, Dr. Bernhardt stressed how, while there is a strong and growing evidence base for SMS, there is still much left to be learned about Apps, mWeb, etc. So, with more research still needed in this space, we may question why these front line professionals feel that “Apps” have the most potential for health promotion and chronic disease self-management. Could they be seeing opportunities to use Apps in their daily work flows?

With an audience of SurroundHealth members, which consists of a mix of healthcare extenders from different backgrounds, this response gave great insights to how professionals are viewing technological changes in healthcare today. With more than half of survey respondents planning on using mobile technology for health or patient education efforts in the next 3 months, it seems that mHealth use will continue to grow in various healthcare fields in the near future.

As with any new advancement, there are still many questions to be answered. Some of the feedback on additional information attendees wished for:

  • Where best to begin implementing mHealth
  • How to engage older adults, specifically Medicare patients
  • More guidance/resources on how to use the actual technology (sort of a “how-to guide” to technology for health professionals)
  • A comparison of effectiveness of teaching patients through mHealth methods one-on-one VS. in a group

Are these questions aligned with your thoughts on using mHealth in your daily interactions with patients?

Sharing great resources

Dr. Bernhardt shared some wonderful mHealth resources and references during his talk, which can be found on SurroundHealth. Browse through to learn more about app usage, FDA guidelines, Top apps used by HCPs, and more!

To watch the full webinar archive, visit: http://surroundhealth.net/Topics/SurroundHealth-Members-Lounge/Webinars/Archived-Webinars/Archive-of-Webinar-mHealth-Using-Mobile-Technology.aspx?returnUrl=/Webinar-Listing.aspx.

Don’t miss our next webinar TODAY-Tuesday, October 15!

Here’s some info:

Title: Why do we give patients numbers? Making health data make sense

You’ll learn:

  • Why information evaluability is what really matters
  • How best to communicate risk
  • How to convey numbers in a format and context that matches patients’ specific needs

Plus: Receive a certificate of completion and earn free CEUs (approved for RD* and CHES)

We hope to have you join us!

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SurroundHealth brings home the gold from the MM&M Awards

What an exciting week it has been! A few months ago, we were so happy to announce that we were finalists in the 2013 MM&M Awards. On Wednesday, we attended the finalist gala— and came out on top, being judged as the ‘Best Digital Initiative for Healthcare Professionals’! The category recognizes excellence from any digital programs targeting healthcare professionals.

We were all smiles as we accepted our MM&M Gold Award!

We were all smiles as we accepted our MM&M Gold Award!

As one of the most prestigious and honorable awards to win in the healthcare marketing space, we couldn’t be more proud to accept the first-place win. Some of the comments from the judges really made us smile.

According to MM&M:

One judge applauded SurroundHealth as, “the best online community for an ‘extended audience,” while another mentioned that the effort was, “highly strategic.”

We’d like to thank MM&M for acknowledging us and to everyone who has helped us grow. And a very special shout-out to our wonderful members— we truly value each and every one of you!

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Day 1: Health insurance marketplace now open

The government may be shutdown but the Health Insurance Marketplace is now open! Now an option for healthcare exists for the 30 million Americans who have been uninsured up until today.  Access to healthcare is a foundation for health.  Americans can no longer be denied health insurance if they already have a chronic health condition (actually, this protection had already started).  And, Americans with health insurance can access a range of preventative services from breast cancer and colorectal cancer screenings to immunizations and screenings for type 2 diabetes and depression.

Healthcare extenders: Helping consumers make sense of health care. Healthcare extenders (health professionals on the front lines of health care and public health) need to be ready to answer consumers’ questions and help those who need health insurance access the healthcare marketplace and get enrolled.  These upcoming learning events can help:

  • SurroundHealth hosts a webinar on 10/15 sponsored by HealthEd, “Why do we give patients numbers? Making health data make sense.” Consumers need to navigate numbers when they navigate healthcare and health insurance. This webinar explores how to make the numbers actionable. Registration is free.
  • SOPHE (Society for Public Health Education) is hosting a series of daily events during National Health Education Week.  Healthcare extenders (including health educators) can learn how to help consumers navigate the insurance enrollment process; how to work with ACOs and PCMHs; and how to talk about the different ways ACA promotes health and wellness…plus tap into helpful fact sheets

Let @SurroundHealth know of other learning events of interest to healthcare extenders about #ACA and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

“The greatest wealth is health.”  ~Virgil

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