Virtual Reality Transforming Healthcare

Virtual reality (VR) is the term closely linked to a revolutionary new generation of gaming technology. VR gaming introduced the consumer to computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment that can be interacted with via special electronic equipment such as a headset. By stimulating senses such as sight, sound and even smell, the interest and demand of VR technology have expanded to many other industries, most notably the healthcare industry.

VR is helping train medical students, assist surgeons in planning upcoming operations, and also providing unique treatments to patients with a variety of conditions while relieving pain and anxiety during minor procedures.

VR medical training

During medical school, students rarely have a chance to experience real-world surgical operations that they would need to perform precisely when the time arises. VR platforms allow students to fully immerse themselves in a surgical experience which requires quick thinking and analysis and also to view surgical procedures from a first-person perspective.  In fact, according to Harvard Business Review VR training improved participants’ overall surgical performance by 230% compared with traditional training methods.  Furthermore, VR is helping close the gap on any challenges doctors may come across during complicated procedures by providing 3D visualization of a patient’s body (with the help of MRI scans) which allows them to venture inside a patient’s organ from any desired angle to examine what surgical approach might work best for each individual patient.

VR treatment 

VR has been used to successfully treat patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through exposure therapy. The idea is to take a patient back to the memory of their trauma over and over again until their triggers no longer produce anxiety.  This method has been found to be more effective than treatments like medication and psychotherapy.  Similarly, VR has been shown to manage chronic pain and anxiety for patients undergoing frightening procedures.  The immersive effect of VR tricks the most primal parts of the brain into experiencing a different reality which, as a result, relieves the patient and takes focus away from the pain. Additionally, a study by the conversation found that, for patients who were anxious about walking during physical therapy sessions, by slowing down the rate at which patients moved in their virtual environment it naturally caused the patient to speed up their walking. It makes the process a little bit more fun since VR allows patients to use the movements of their therapy exercises as interactions in a VR simulation. VR is set to revolutionize the healthcare industry, as healthcare providers continue to recognize its benefits.

Overexposure to Computer Screen and Phones

We are living in a digital world now more than ever. Spending hours watching TV, books transformed into e-books, even abandoning debit cards and paying directly with our phones; digital devices are becoming more essential in our everyday lives. Everything around us, as a result, continues to get faster, smarter and overwhelmingly digital.

We have all the information we would ever need right at our fingertips. Constantly using our phones to mindlessly scroll on social media, texting, researching, also many of us have jobs that require us to stare at a computer screen hours at a time. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), 58 percent of adults have experienced digital eye strain or vision problems. Digital eye strain is the temporary discomfort that follows two or more hours of digital device use which as a result causes the eyes to work harder to focus on the small pixelated images that technology holds.

Symptoms associated with digital eye strain include:

  • headaches
  • dry eyes
  • blurred vision
  • eye discomfort
  • neck and shoulder pain.

In fact, the average U.S. workers spend seven hours a day on a computer, either in the office or working from home The mere use of digital devices is not only what affects our vision but also the way we use them. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recognizes the need to address this issue stating that, “as more people spend their days at work on a computer and their free time on handheld devices, doctors of optometry seeing more patients who are experiencing digital eye strain,” said Steven A.  Loomis, O.D., president of AOA.  Furthermore provided five simple steps that can relieve the problem:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
  • Keep a distance: The AOA recommends sitting a comfortable distance from the computer monitor where you can easily read all text with your head and torso in an upright posture and you’re back supported by your chair. Generally, the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 28 inches from the eye to the front surface of the screen.
  • View from a different angle: Ideally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees, or about 4 to 5 inches, below eye level as measured from the center of the screen.
  • Decrease glare: While there is no way to completely minimize glare from light sources, consider using a glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
  • Blink often: Minimize your chances of developing dry eyes when using a computer by making an effort to blink frequently
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A Call to Action: Cybersecurity Audit

Cybersecurity audit refers to an assessment of an organization’s cybersecurity policies and procedures and their operating effectiveness. It helps the organization manage cyber threats, monitor security operations and takes actions if needed. Additionally, a cybersecurity audit provides a higher level of security because it vigorously inspects your digital infrastructure to find weak spots.

The U.S. government spends about $18 billion per year on cybersecurity but warns that cyber-attacks continue to advance at a rapid speed. Cybersecurity threats affect everyone regardless of industry or size. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated constantly changing their pattern and strategy of attack. Below are the 6 most common cyberattack methods hackers use to attack your business:

  • Malware- cybercriminals continue to steal data from victim’s computers most commonly using spyware.
  • Social engineering- developing new methods to manipulate users into believing a message, link or attachment is from a trusted source and then infecting targeted systems with malware.
  • Hacking- exploiting vulnerabilities in software and hardware.
  • Credential compromise- while enterprise users increasingly look to password managers for storing and keeping track of passwords theses managers can also be vulnerable to attack.
  • Web attacks- cybercriminals can extort website operators for profit, sometimes by threatening to steal client databases, etc.
  • DDoS- these attacks typically hit government institutions and political events are a major driver. DDoS tend to be the weapon of choice for business rivals, disgruntled clients and hacktivists.

With technology constantly advancing and society becoming more reliant on the use of computers performing one cybersecurity audit is not enough; but rather annually if not at least on a monthly basis. Involve people with the necessary experience and skills to evaluate the full cybersecurity framework of your business. Below are 6 ways to prepare for a cybersecurity audit

  • Inventory of what is connected to your network- create a network device inventory, review at least monthly to look for new devices or devices that are no longer connected so you can update your inventory.
  • Determine what is running on all your network devices- tools such as Nessus can be used to run inventory on the software of each computer as it scans the network to perform the device inventory.
  • The Principle of Least Privilege- never give a user or device more rights on the network than they/it needs to perform their assigned tasks.
  • Use secure configurations- all operating systems, web browsers and many other networked devices have secure configuration settings. The Center for Internet Security provides benchmarks for just about every conceivable device.
  • Set up a policy and procedure for applying security patches-New vulnerabilities are discovered every day and as a result, vendors release updates or patches to mitigate the vulnerability.
  • Create an incident plan- once you determine potential risks you will need to create policies and procedures and also train employees on what to do.

According to Silent Breach, more than half of the cyberattacks rely on social engineering or email phishing taking the step to train employees on internet safety is just as important. Also, become aware of the threat cyber hacks now pose to the world and taking the necessary steps to improve our defenses. With so much at stake, it is important to take action now. Continued awareness and preparation may be the key to your company’s future.

Electronic Devices and Eye Strain

American adults spend an average of nine hours a day using technology. If you are someone who spends a vast majority of their day in front of a computer, tablet, mobile phone, or other electronic devices, you are likely to experience symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that are a result of continued technology use.

The most common symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Itchy, burning, or watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision

Computer vision syndrome is common and sometimes unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take small steps to protect your eyes. Here are some tips on how to combat computer vision syndrome.

Take a short break. Try to schedule a five-minute break every hour, if possible. Stand up and walk around or just rest your eyes for a few minutes.

Look away. While using electronics, look at something else other than your screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. This will help to relieve eye strain.

Blink more. In order to reduce your chances of developing dry eye while using a computer, make it an effort to blink frequently. Blinking moistens the front surface of your eye.

Increase font size. This will help so that you aren’t struggling to read and strain your eyes. You can also adjust the colors – black print on a white background won’t be too strenuous on your eyes.

Lower your brightness. You can adjust the brightness of your display screen to where it has the same brightness as your work area.

Minimize glare. Clean your monitor regularly to remove dust. Position your light source at a right angle relative to the monitor, and/or position your screen to avoid reflecting light from overhead lights or windows.

Visit an eye care specialist annually to keep track of your eye health and seek treatment for any vision related issues. Preventative care helps maintain healthy vision.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Game Changing Technology Upgrade to Occuflex

Nova Medical Centers solidifies the lead in occupational health industry with game changing update to our proprietary electronic medical record system, Occuflex.  Our innovative technology will now allow clients to track real-time progress of employee visits and also have access to medical records, results, and progress all from one centralized dashboard. Before the launch of Occuflex update, online reporting was limited. Electronic medical records make communicating with physicians and medical staff faster and more convenient. The system update was designed to improve operation in 3 areas:

Online Reporting – Through Occuflex, clients now have full access to comprehensive reporting of all services.  Previous versions allowed for limited reporting of patient/employee information.  Fast forward to today… no more chasing information or paperwork.  With the latest tech upgrade, everything is available on the same day of service in one, easy-to-use online portal!

Same Day Results* – Waiting days for results is a thing of the past. Clients are able to see updates in real-time through a secure dashboard with a single consolidated view of their claims instantly after completion. Treatment updates on dashboard are color-coded for easier maneuvering. Faster decisions about employees returning to work can be made with same day results.

Speed of Service – Occuflex now makes it effortless to update the progress of visit from the moment patient arrives until they walk out the door. Departments are able to communicate efficiently and less time is wasted.  Completed DOT cards, physicals, drug test results, ADA compliant physical performance evaluation, and injury reports will all be updated in the system as soon as they are completed.

Occuflex enhances the experience of every participant involved in the visitation of an injured employee. From tracking a visit to receiving results, Occuflex gives clients access to medical records at their discretion. Comprehensive, full reporting of all medical records are available at their fingertips.  For more information and for an informative video, visit n-o-v-a.com/gamechanger.

At Nova Medical Centers, we aim to be the best in the industry and are willing to do what it takes to get there. We pride ourselves in our exceptional services and ability to offer our exclusive medical record system, Occuflex.  Contact Us for more information about Occuflex or any of our other service. Our team of experts and friendly staff are here to assist with all your occupational health needs.

Written by Nayda Sanchez

*Some results may take longer due to the type of service or test needed.  Ask a Nova Medical Centers representative for details.

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What You Need To Know: OSHA’s Final Rule on Electronic Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses