What to Look For When Choosing Microbiology Online Courses

Microbiology online courses are offered at various educational levels and differ greatly in the amount of work required for completion of the course. These courses for the study and research of microscopic organisms are also made available in a range of price and quality. When selecting an online microbiology course, you will need to take various factors into account.

If you want to minimize problems in relation to transferring the course, you should consider enrolling at a regionally accredited institution. When selecting a course, it is important to determine whether its credits will be transferable to your college. Of paramount importance is to determine whether the course will be able to meet the needs of your overall educational goals. For most students, the overarching educational goal would be to take the course so as to transfer into a health sciences program such as licensed practical nursing, registered nursing or a lab technology course.

Most programs for health sciences require that core science courses such as microbiology include a lab component. While it is not impossible to find a course offering a lab component, this is nevertheless challenging. You should also note that online courses will not include certain activities typically conducted in a microbiology lab such as culturing bacteria which, for safety purposes, is not recommended to be carried out at home.

Certain schools work around this issue by only offering the class work portion of the microbiology online course over the internet. In such a case, the student would then be required to complete the lab component at a local school, which is rather inconveniencing. Other schools offer at-home lab through the issuance of rental microscopes, as well as sending students pre-fixed slides for viewing purposes. While this would be a better option for a student who is unable to travel to their local school, it is likely to increase the costs of the course.

When selecting the right online course for your needs, you will need to evaluate the assessment methods employed by the school. Certain schools employ an online testing system that is typically timed to prevent the extensive use of other resource material. Other schools require that their students find their own proctor who will watch over them as they take the online test. However, if you don’t enjoy a lot of flexibility in your schedule, this might not be a good idea as it would add a great deal of out-of-home time that is required for the course.

Microbiology online courses should also be chosen after taking into account the number of students in the online class. A course with a large class may prove challenging for a student who requires additional assistance for their online education needs. Before enrolling in the course, be sure to also inquire from your instructor on whether they will be available by phone in addition to email. Ideally, you should be able to call your instructor with questions during regular office hours, and request them to assist you with your microbiology online course.

Internet Software Strategy For Patient Relationship Management and Electronic Medical Billing

Patients increasingly use Internet to research, locate, receive, validate, and complain about doctor’s services. Although most health care providers (79%) had cautioned patients about the unreliability of health information on the Internet, 80% of adult Internet users have searched for health or medical information online. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Medical Broadcasting Company and Nielsen/NetRatings, two out of three Americans turn to the Internet before their doctor visits to research their condition and prepare questions. After their visits, these patients typically do more Internet research to validate what their doctor told them and find answers to questions they didn’t think to ask.

Multiple surveys show that practices with personal IT services have significant competitive advantage in terms of patient perception. For instance, 75% of U.S. adults would like to schedule their doctor visits via the Internet and receive e-mail reminders. But so few practices offer such services that only 4% of patients use Internet to schedule appointments. Moreover, while 67% of patients would like to receive their lab results via e-mail, only 2% currently do. Such large differences between expected and delivered levels of information access must transform into significant differences in service value perception. It behooves the doctors to adopt Internet technology to help patients search for health information online and use it for patient relationship management and practice development.

The first step in achieving this goal is to establish website presence. A typical physician’s website might have the following content components:

  • About Practice
    1. Mission statement – patient-care philosophy
    2. A short history of the practice
    3. Office hours
    4. Contact information
    5. Phone numbers
    6. eMail addresses
    7. Location and driving directions
  • About Physicians
    1. Credentials and specialization information about each physician
    2. Hospital affiliations
  • Patient Corner
    1. Links to patient education materials
    2. Patient forms
    3. Appointment scheduling
    4. Pre-registration
    5. eMail correspondence with physicians
    6. Lab results
    7. Electronic prescription refills
    8. Home monitoring device configuration
    9. Automated health alerts
    10. Personal health records
  • Electronic Medical Billing
    1. A list of accepted insurance plans
    2. FAQ on Billing, e.g., explanation of statement
    3. Account balance
    4. Payment history

    A savings-based ROI justification for office automation using a cost-driven metric compares operations costs before and after implementing a technical solution. For instance, the national average for staff in a primary-care practice is about five employees per physician. Anecdotal evidence about practices with patient-focused website with integrated EMR shows less than 2.5 employees per physician. Yet technology benefits to the practice have evolved from simple automation, to paperless office infrastructure, to patient attraction, to patient retention and loyalty management. Once the patients learn to expect a patient-focused website with integrated EMR along with interactive Patient Corner, they begin correlating physician’s expertise with the degree of office automation and Internet accessibility. It’s time to replace the cost-driven metric with a revenue-based metric, which measures billing revenue per physician and refocuses the management from savings to profits. Perhaps the greatest impact of technology is still ahead of us, in the area of patient relationship management and profitable practice development.

    References

    American Heart Association, “Survey Results: Online Education Program Is Effective Source Of Information For Heart Patients,” MediLexicon, May 12, 2007

    Joseph A Diaz, et al, “BRIEF REPORT: What Types of Internet Guidance Do Patients Want from Their Physicians?,” J Gen Intern Med. 2005 August; 20(8): 683-685.

    David Kesmodel, “As Angry Patients Vent Online, Doctors Sue to Silence Them,” The Wall Street Journal Online, September 14, 2005

    Elaine Zablocki, “Communication: If You Build It …How a top-notch Web site can help expand and enhance your services,” Physicians Practice, May 2007

    A New Market, New Image, New Revenue Stream and New Purpose for Destination Spas

    Wellness programs have blossomed in the past few decades, especially at worksites. In addition, many hospitals and nearly all universities have created wellness centers for fitness and lifestyle education. For the most part, however, worksite programs have focused on risk reduction and medical education, not systematic programming targeted at enhancing quality of life.

    An opportunity exists for a different kind of institution to come forward to lead a genuine REAL wellness revolution. The institution best suited to play this role has a very different constituency than that of American worksites. In the latter setting, the focus must necessarily be on efforts to help employees prevent or manage their health issues. It will take a different kind to offer positive, life-enhancing wellness programs. That kind of institution must be one that serves a more diverse and independent population than the customer base for worksites, hospitals and universities.

    That REAL wellness candidate is, in my view, the destination spa. All across the globe, such spas are prospering, offering pre-wellness education and services. Most are resource-rich and capable of evolving to perform a wider mission that would complement what they already do well.

    I want to see a few of these destination spas become Centers for REAL Wellness! I’ll explain a little about how and why some spas are in position to transition to such Centers. First, however, a little history about institutions called spas seems in order.

    Spas have a rich history. Like other enduring institutions and humanity itself, the nature of spas has evolved over time. The name spa is derived from a town in Belgium-Bath. By the 16th century, the spas in Bath and elsewhere in Europe became famous. However, as far back as the heyday of the Roman Empire, spa-like facilities prospered at multiple locations, usually where there were thermal waters. The earliest functions of spas were associated with healing cures, health enhancement, pleasure, recreation, relaxation and meditation. While best known in European cities, Japan and other countries in Asia also have claims to historic spas. In fact, the origins of some spas can be traced to the earliest recorded periods.

    REAL wellness, the heart of the proposed new educational centers, is a concept that transcends the wellness movement as we know it. The new spa role would attract new markets and new revenue streams. It would add another reason to visit and study at such places. Spas would become more valuable as local resources, treasured by communities served. The experience of REAL wellness would surely add to the quality of life of spa patrons.

    Three benefits would be dramatic if spas transitioned into Centers for REAL Wellness (henceforth CRW. These three principal beneficiaries would be:

    1, The spas. They would gain a new market, an attractive image and a significant revenue stream.

    2. The attending public. No institution at the present time serves in a manner consistent with the functioning described for CRW.

    3. The communities affected, and thus the broad public interest. This is a natural consequence when populations become more knowledgeable concerning the arts, the humanities and the applications of science.

    As a consequence of spas operating as CRW, intellectual functioning will be associated with spas prospering around the world.

    Spas already are a key part of an expanding global wellness market. Last year, spa leaders received a revolutionary report prepared by SRI International (SRI) at the behest of Global Spa Summit (GSS) entitled, “Spas and the Global Wellness Market.”

    A little about the GSS might be of interest. The GSS is an international organization that connects leaders and visionaries within and outside the spa industry. GSS sponsors functions that shape the future of the global spa industry in many positive ways. The SRI report, for instance, described a worldwide wellness industry poised to cross the $2 trillion mark. It encouraged spa leaders to learn more about and invest in this “fertile wellness arena of expanded opportunity.” Extensive data were presented in the watershed GSS/SRI report that demonstrated the extent of the booming wellness marketplace. It was made quite clear that many destination spas were ready for the kind of change and expansion recommended. Spa leaders were urged to seize the day. In so many words, the suggestion was that spa leaders not so much settle for jumping on a wellness bandwagon but rather that they take the reins and steer it. The nature and scope of REAL wellness possibilities can be seen throughout this landmark report.

    As a critic of the workplace wellness industry (for focusing on risk reduction and medical management rather than promoting exuberant well being), I welcomed the GSS and SRI initiatives. However, the best and brightest opportunity area, the function I call CRW, was not addressed. (I suspect that the authors of the SRI report reasoned that the nine core segments they did address provided a full plate for the industry. This was no doubt an accurate assessment at the time.)

    My sense is that all who welcomed SRI’s description of the global wellness market will be attracted to the logical expansion of the CRW idea.

    The first step for spa leaders is to learn about and explore possibilities for communicating the nature of REAL wellness.

    REAL wellness is a distinct philosophy. It is founded on reason and science, and dedicated to personal responsibility for the conscious pursuit of quality lives. REAL wellness lifestyles are characterized by exuberant living. The R-E-A-L in REAL wellness stands for reason, exuberance, athleticism and liberty. It entails, as well, a passion for happiness, ethical living, a respect for the environment (global awareness) and a sense of having ample meaning and purpose in living. Thus, REAL wellness learning environments, as proposed for the guests of extended and short-stay spas, would enable the study of vital life areas. These include but would not be limited to happiness, ethics, environmental challenges, critical public issues and the consolations of philosophy.

    The landmark report, “Spas and the Global Wellness Market,” provides a foundation rationale for the spa industry to segue to CRW. It demonstrates that some spas can provide the wellness leadership as educational centers to advance REAL wellness. No other institution has this opportunity. Universities have a different mission, private companies have their hands full trying to mitigate health-damaging conditions and employee habit patterns. Destination spas, on the other hand, can go the logical next step toward promoting richer, fuller lives. The SRI report showed that industry leadership already values regular wellness in an expanding market. REAL wellness simply represents the next, profitable step.

    Current wellness spa activities include services classed as medical, beauty, prevention, holistic, spiritual and a range of related single-focused issues, such as exercise and nutrition.

    All this is well and good. REAL wellness education via public events, courses, seminars, lectures and much more can follow seamlessly on existing traditions. The SRI report urged spa leaders to view the wellness concept as a broad advance into practical philosophy in order to adopt, celebrate and promote true quality life for all. Investing in efforts to understand and plan CRW would inaugurate a new era for leading spas around the globe.

    As Parkinson noted, the future lies ahead, and for destination spas, it’s looking pretty good. Be well.

    7 Feng Shui Fundamentals For Children’s Bedrooms

    Feng shui is a very popular and intriguing concept in home design today. In addition to the life benefits it provides, it also offers a roadmap, so to speak, of not just how to decorate… but why. In short, it offers you, the homeowner, design with purpose. For a child’s room this purposeful design is especially important.

    Feng shui gives parents a guide for decorating your children’s bedrooms, and perhaps more importantly, a reason for adding particular elements — something standard decorating practices don’t always offer. What does that mean exactly? Well, when it comes to a child’s bedroom, feng shui dictates everything from correct bed alignment, proper bedroom choice, essential decorating and design elements, i.e., do’s and don’ts (no vicious animals, etc.) for a child’s room, even how to influence the child to be studious and well-behaved — all things most parents would appreciate knowing.

    The purpose of feng shui in a child’s bedroom is the same as every parent’s objective in decorating their children’s rooms: to create a healthy, happy environment that fosters education, good health, happy relationships with parents and siblings, and respect for parents. Children and parents can enjoy success and healthy relationships if the environment supports them.

    Naturally, children must feel safe, secure, and cared for to thrive. By putting interest and effort into your child’s room, you are showing your child that you believe the child’s space, and therefore, your child, is important. The tips presented here are some of the fundamentals of feng shui for children.

    1.Place a happy picture of the parents in the children’s rooms.

    This subtly exerts the authority and prominence of the parents as heads of the household. It is also one of the quickest and most effective ways to bring a problem child into line.

    2.Align the child’s bed to the widest part of the room.

    Make sure your child can see the door from his or her bed easily, but is not in direct line of the door. Your child should also not share a wall with a toilet or see a toilet or bathroom from the bed as this can cause health problems.

    Bunk beds are not advised. If possible, try to have a separate bedroom for each child. If this isn’t possible, there are lots of decorative ways to create division and privacy within a room.

    3.Create a space for study and accomplishments.

    Having a dedicated space, including a desk and lamp where your child can study, demonstrates to your child the importance you place on education and your child’s educational achievement. If this has been a source of problems, make the study position in the NE corner of the bedroom. Also make a place on a south wall, if possible, of your child’s accomplishments. Doing so reinforces that you are proud of your child’s efforts. Display drawings, crafts, awards, trophies, ribbons, or other special items, such as tests with good scores or letters from teachers. Place items here that have brought special recognition.

    4.Make the child’s room a healthy place.

    Water pictures, aquariums, or sounds of water that can be heard from the bedroom can create an unhealthy environment and may even lead to respiratory ailments. This is especially important if the child has any health problems, particularly asthma.

    5.Clear the space so your child can rest and be creative.

    Jammed closets and drawers, beds with boxes, shoes and other items underneath must be cleaned out. Creating space and visual openness helps your child to feel less pressured, and more likely to be imaginative and creative. More is definitely not “more” when it comes to kids. Give them a visual rest and clear out all the stuff they haven’t played with in a month or more.

    6.Use light, color, and artwork in the room to make a happy environment.

    A child’s room should stimulate, not dampen, the child’s spirit. Make sure there is adequate lighting for the desk, for a bedside table, and that windows can be closed off for privacy.

    Rooms that are painted blue (unless it’s a bright or light-colored shade) or other dark colors can be depressing and create too much oppressive energy. Bright colors, such as yellows, light greens, purples and pinks are good choices, with yellow being the optimal choice.

    Monitor the images your child sees being certain to eliminate images of ferocious or dangerous animals or violence. These are poor symbols for making a child feel safe in the bedroom. Select items for the room that inspire and intrigue a child to learn and that foster his or her sense of security.

    7.Position children in the correct bedroom locations.

    If possible, boys should be placed in the east or north bedrooms and girls should be placed in the south or southeast or west bedrooms.

    Importation of Non-US Health Care Concept

    Unique health care needs of special populations

    Poor access to health care is a problem for many special populations, and the reasons spans across the global community. According to Anderson, Rice and Kominski (2001) access to care is often assessed by existence of regular medical care and coverage of services, as well as by an absence of delays and barriers to care. Having a regular source of medical care is recognize as important for the general population, as well as for those with various chronic diseases (Anderson, Rice & Kominski, 2001 p.236). The poor, elderly, women, children and HIV/AIDS group are the most vulnerable groups in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicate the next two decades will see dramatic changes in the health needs of the world’s populations with non-communicable diseases, mental illness, infectious diseases and chronic illness as leading causes of disability. Increases in the older population by up to 300% are expected in many developing countries; in addition, HIV/AIDS will continue to be a major cause of disability and death. These changes require a very different approach to health sector policy and health care services among the special populations of the world (WHO, 2006)

    Special population needs

    According to WHO, there were 390 million people aged over 65 years recorded in 1998, and this figure is estimated to double in 2025. With advances in medicine and prolonged life expectancy, the proportion of older people will continue to rise worldwide (WHO, 2006). Unfortunately fragile health and mobility, neglect and abuse are factors that increase the vulnerability of elder women and men. Al-Nasir and Al-Haddad (1999) suggest as the overall number of elderly people increase there is a corresponding rise in the number of older persons with disabilities. Such disabilities may be social, physical, mental or psychological. Data from the U.S. have estimated that 9.5 million, non-institutionalized individuals, experience difficulty in performing basic activities, such as walking, self-care and home management activities (Al-Nasir & AL-Haddad, 1999).

    The elderly population and there needs has an enormous implications for health care system across the global. The financial infrastructure of nations must be prepared to accommodate the coming influx of elderly patient. According to Fried and Gaydos (2002) the aging population, has put enormous pressure on the Japanese health care system. The Japan’s has a unique fund for the elderly know as the Roken system. The Roken system is a pooling fund which attempts to distribute the burden of paying for geriatric care for all Japanese. Established in 1983, the pooling fund covers those who are more than 70 years old and bedridden people over 65 years old. The fund pools contributions from all insurance schemes. Seventy percent of medical costs for the elderly are covered by contributions from health insurance societies for company employees and national health insurance schemes and the government shoulders the remaining 30 percent (Fried and Gaydos, 2002 p. 251). One draw back to the Roken system is when the number of workers paying into the pooling fund is lower than the proportion of elderly people seeking assistance the system may not be sustainable.

    In the U.S. the rapid growth of the elderly will put new stains on the financial resources of Medicare. Many older people who on fix incomes or limited financial resources may need a system as the Japanese Roken system, where health care is covered by contributions from health insurance companies or a universal social insurance scheme. The Medicare program has broad public support because it offers health security to many older and disabled people. Longest, Rakich and Darr (2000) suggest the need for a long-term approach to program financing, improved benefits and protections for people with low incomes remains an important issue to address. Medicare is facing the challenge of financing and managing health care for the growing number of Americans who will rely on this program for health insurance protection (Longest, Rakich and Darr, 2000). In the future the increasing growth of the elderly may pressure the government to set policies that resemble a cost sharing between private insurance and Medicare.

    HIV/AIDS Group

    According to Kates, Jennifer, Dorian, Richard, Crowely, Jeffers, Summers and Todd (2002) more than 60 million people have been infected with HIV worldwide, 20 million have died. HIV is now the leading cause of death in Africa and the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. Most of the impact has been felt in the developing world. Children and women are increasingly at risk. In addition, it is estimated that more than 40 million children will have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS by 2010 and these children will also be at increased risk for HIV (Kates, et. al, 2002). Access to treatment and available drugs are some of the unique health care needs facing the world HIV/AIDS population.

    Fried and Gaydos (2002) indicate Cuba incidence of HIV/AIDS cases remains very low, although it is increasing as Cuba opens more to tourism and external contracts. Cuba once had a policy of quarantining for all HIV-positive cases. Pressures from international bodies such as the United Nations and many large nongovernmental agencies, Cuba now has a voluntary quarantine after medically recommended stay in a residency for eighth weeks. All newly identified people with HIV are also expected to spend at least eight weeks in a sanatorium (Fried & Gaydos, 2002). Cuba’s health system is funded primarily by the national budget through indirect taxation and duties. Cubans are expected to pay for all drugs for outpatient treatment. Access to health care treatment and services for HIV/AIDS patient therefore is very limited.

    In the U.S. even a voluntary quarantine of newly HIV diagnosed patient would be a social injustice. As HIV progress in the U.S. individuals experience disability and unemployment due to the illness. Many HIV/AIDS patients rely on public entitlements and private disability programs for income maintenance and health care benefits. Medicaid and Medicare are the primary payers for individuals who are disabled. Anderson, Rice and Kominski (2001) suggest the lack of insurance and underinsure can represent formidable financial barriers to treatment for HIV/AIDS. Persons with HIV/AIDS are more likely than the general population to be uninsured or to have Medicaid insurance. Unlike Cuba in the U.S. AIDS medication is available to HIV/AIDS patient however not all medications are covered by insurance (Anderson, Rice & Kominski, 2001).

    The financial burden of HIV infection increasing in communities is a financial burden on health care providers and public payers. The reliance on an infinite source of public funds for people with HIV/AIDS is in dout. Cuba is a communist country which developed a process of governmental quarantine for the HIV/AIDS population. The U.S. method of moving the HIV/AIDS patients into managed Medicaid health plans is a better process in which patient care is managed for the purpose of reducing the cost of treatment.

    While gender affects the health of both men and women, WHO places special emphasis on the health consequences of discrimination against women that exist in nearly every culture. Powerful barriers including poverty, unequal power relationships between men and women, and lack of education prevent millions of women around the world from having access to health care and from attaining and maintaining the best possible health (WHO, 2006).

    Anderson, Rice and Kominski (2001) indicate in Israel the waves of immigration in the early twentieth century sparked the establishment of networks of community welfare and health organizations. The sick fund model of health provision has persisted in Israel to this day. Although the 1994 National Health Insurance (NHI) Law made all sick funds regulated subcontractors of the state, thereby providing health care services to the country’s residents under government regulation (Anderson, Rice & Kominski, 2001). The system has been developed through voluntary sick funds, not for profit institutions, and the state. Israeli health system stem from organized social arrangements in which the government is responsible for the health of its citizens. The state has an active role in the development and financing of health care services that extend into the private sectors.

    In the U.S the entrepreneurial system is more concern with the cost and the profit involve in providing health care for individuals. The Israel NHI is a system of collaborative efforts on subcontractors of the government. The process of subcontracting allows the government to oversea the implementation of health care activities through out the country. In the U.S. entrepreneurial system subcontracting by the government would give too much control over the health care system. The Israel system can not be applied readily to the U.S. health care system because there are no true national mandates that can be applied to an entrepreneurial system. Anderson, Rice and Kominski (2001) indicate in the U.S. individuals or employers may purchase private health insurance. Approximately 63 percent of Americans had private health insurance between 1977 and 1999. Of those with private insurance, 58 percent obtained health insurance through their employer, and 5 percent purchased insurance individually. Private health insurance companies may operate as for profit or not for profit organizations (Anderson, Rice & Kominski, 2001). Private health insurance organization with in the U.S. would fight against a system such as Israel NIH. The NIH is a allows Israel to regulate the health care system by subcontracting this type of system would cut the profit margin of private health insurance companies in the U.S.

    Conclusion

    Rising health insurance costs and high numbers of uninsured citizens has generated a public interest in national laws that would provide access to care for special populations. When evaluating Non-US health care concepts there is no one systems that guarantee universal access to health care for all. The national health care policy in the U.S. has evolved incrementally over the decade. Access to care has generally depended on insurance coverage that is implemented privately or publicly. With the increase needs of special populations the U.S. will have to establish policies that allow the collaboration between private as well as public entities to secure access for those in need.

    References

    Al-Nasir, F. & Al-Haddad, M. K. (1999). Levels of disability among the elderly in
    Institutionalized and home-based care in Bahrain: Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal (5) p. 247-254 Retrieved March 3, 2006 from [http://www.emro.who.int/publications/emhi/0502/05.htm]

    Anderson, R. M., Rice, T. H., & Kominski, G. F. (Eds.). (2001). Changing the U.S. health care
    system: Key issues in health services Policy and management (2nd ed.). San Francisco:
    Jossey-Bass.

    Fried, B. J., & Gaydos, L. M. (Eds.). (2002). World health systems: challenges and perspectives.
    Chicago: Health Administration Press.

    Kates, Jennifer, Sorian, Richard, Crowely, Jeffrey S., Summers & Todd, A. (2002). Critical
    policy challenges in the third decade of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. American Journal of Public Health (92) Issue 7 Retrieved March 3, 2006 from [http://web14.epnet.com/citation.asp?tb=]

    Longest, B. B., Rakich, J. S. and Darr, K. (2000) Managing health services organizations and
    systems (4th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Health Professions Press, Inc.

    World Health Organization (2006). Important target groups Retrieved March 2, 2006 from
    http://www.who.int/oral_health/action/groups/en/print.html