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5 Ways You Should Be Using Technology To Lower Your Medical Expenses

5 Ways You Should Be Using Technology To Lower Your Medical Expenses

Healthcare transparency is not a new term, but the plethora of useful tools quickly becoming available to patients are. Healthcare transparency, in short, is the action of allowing patients to make value-based healthcare decisions by providing meaningful cost and quality information.

1. Healthcare Transparency Tools

In its most basic sense, healthcare transparency is comparison shopping for healthcare on an online platform. Think Google Shopping or Shopzilla, but for everything health related. These comparison shopping tools are typically provided by your insurance provider to help you determine how much you will have to pay out of pocket for your healthcare services before services are rendered.

These comparison shopping tools are typically provided by your insurance provider to help you determine how much you will have to pay out of pocket for your healthcare services before services are rendered. Case studies show that healthcare transparency tools can save on average up to $74 per month per patient in health care costs in some states.

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2. Remote Monitoring Systems

Remote patient monitoring systems allow real-time data to be quickly accessed by patients, caregivers, and doctors. They can also record critical information and patterns related to the patient’s physical state, mental state, vital signs, and even medication adherence. That information is quickly uploaded and made available to members of a healthcare team including nurses, doctors and family members.

Remote monitoring systems can save money in a number of ways, and those may end up even becoming more numerous with new technologies. For instance, by focusing on clinical vital signs with pre-set triggers, physicians can ensure that small problems don’t become big ones by addressing problems in real time. Not only can this directly save a life, it can also save thousands of dollars by potentially preventing emergency healthcare services.

Remote monitoring systems don’t only save money at home, they save money in the hospital as well. One study shows continuous remote monitoring of inpatients from their beds could save $224 to $710 per patient per year.

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3. Telehealth

Telehealth and telemedicine typically refer to “virtual doctor visits”, which are two-way interactions between a patient and a physician via live video conferencing technology. Live video can be used for both consultative/diagnostic as well as treatment services. It’s not hard to imagine how virtual doctor visits can cost less and save time.

While telehealth should never be considered a substitute for emergency care, it is an easy way to increase convenience and significantly reduce healthcare costs. Some telehealth services like Doc on Call 24-7 and Call a Doctor Plus offer monthly plans that cost less than $20 a month. Other services like MD Live offer a per-session cost of around $50.

4. Online Health Condition Management Programs

Online health condition management programs are online tools that help you manage your medical condition from home, hopefully reducing any time you have to spend in a doctor’s office. While these programs may not be for everyone, and they may not eliminate the need to visit your doctor, they can save you a ton of money!

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For example, let’s assume I have a painful back condition called sciatica that requires me to visit my chiropractor on a weekly basis or at least every time I have a painful flare-up. Believe it or not, there is an online management program that will help me manage this condition from home.

This is just one of many online programs developed to help you stay out of the doctor’s office through at home education and action. There are a number of other great online programs that exist for a variety of different ailments including arthritis, and even headaches.

5. Medical Billing Management Apps

Medical billing management apps help patients better understand and manage health costs from their phone, utilising technology that makes aggregating and viewing health claims, insurance information, and medical data easier than ever before.

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Simplee and Inbox Health both offer billing apps that make paying for health services fast and simple. These apps have proven to increase self-payments and decrease collections.

Even though it’s easy to overlook the savings one might have in not being sent to collections, the mere fact that these apps have decreased the number of bills sent to collections makes it is hard to deny the savings these apps are responsible for.

Featured photo credit: ehealth.eletsonline.com via ehealth.eletsonline.com

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Breslin Borland

Part time blogger, full time space pirate

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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