Welcome to the Core Update, AC Health’s roundup of the patient-centered research and news every healthcare professional needs to make their practice succeed.

Rare Bipartisan Congressional Support for Greater Access to Virtual Medicine

Original Story

What’s Going On

A controversial president’s lingering policy legacy may have found bipartisan agreement in Congress — specifically, its telemedicine policies.

Once implemented as a stop-gap measure to address continuation of care during a pandemic, Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle are coming together to make telemedicine permanent.

For example, a Hawaiian senator’s proposed legislation to make telemedicine changes permanent — S. 1512 (117) — has attracted no fewer than 59 co-sponsors!

Supporters point to data for decreased no-shows and equal efficacy of virtual visits compared to traditional sessions.

However, the Congressional Budget Office seems to believe the convenience of telehealth, particularly ending geographic restrictions on care, may add too much money to the cost of care. It also worries over the increased potential of fraud and the burden of maintaining an interstate technology grid.

In the meantime, well over half of local states have decided to keep the local adjustments to their medical plans indefinitely. And, Congressional leaders believe at the very least, their flexible telehealth allowances will continue for the next year, as the nation wraps up its fight against Covid-19.

Why This Matters

It’s rare that Congress unites so strongly around even popular topics of legislation. (See the current ruckus raised over basic infrastructure improvements.)

That makes their recent moves to standardize Medicare and Medicaid’s approach to telehealth surprising, to say the least — even as telehealth services continue to enjoy great demand post-Covid.

Recent survey data released from McKinsey & Company show that after an April 2020 spike in telehealth, the use of remote technologies to support healthcare has stabilized — at 38 times its pre-pandemic levels.

Growth in Telehealth Usage Peaked April 2020 and since stabalized

For providers, Congressional support of Medicaid reimbursement of telehealth opportunities makes investing in a remote, simple tech stack that much more appealing.

It also indicates a dramatic change in the healthcare community paradigm. “My profession can’t go virtual” is no longer a valid excuse for avoiding the basic integration of telehealth services within a practice at every level: From the local, independent practitioner to the national clinic franchise.

New Research: Low-alcohol Beers May Benefit Post-Exercise Recoveries

Original Story

What’s Going On

Some researchers had a lot of fun with this research analysis.

Basically, they observed that while “beer is used to socialize postexercise, celebrate sport victory, and commiserate post defeat,” no researchers had made a concerted effort to evaluate the impact of beer on athletic performance or recovery.

So, our intrepid research team took it upon themselves to examine some 16 research studies to see what they could say on the impact of beer on exercise. (No word on whether they pursued their research, ah, anecdotally, as well.)

In brief, the researchers found:

  • Athletes and other individuals might find low-alcoholic beverages (under 4% alcohol) “more effective” when trying “to rehydrate postexercise.”
  • If drinking after exercise, then include a “nonalcoholic option to limit diuresis” when consuming more than three cups of liquid.
  • If you add sodium (Na+) to a beer, it seems to “improve rehydration by decreasing fluid losses,” but the researchers note that “palatability may decrease” of the resulting mix.
  • Consumption of “nonalcoholic, polyphenol-rich beer” may also help prevent respiratory infections “during heavy training.”

Of course, this study concludes that more research is needed — particularly in different types of subject groups outside of fit participants, and in different types of exercises.

Why This Matters

First of all, this study is just fun, plain and simple.

Second, it’s interesting to see if there’s a hidden health benefit to a post-workout “celebration” at the local bar or pub — beyond the positive bonding, of course.

It may be an angle worth considering to your clients and patients if they insist on the post-workout drinking. At the very least, they should make a point of mixing water or sports drinks with their alcohol of choice, and consider snacking on salty items to support proper rehydration.

Crushed Olympic Dreams Create New Foundation for Diabetic Athletes — And Their Trainers

Original Story

What’s Going On

The Summer Olympics are finally here!

But, some champion hopefuls have found their dreams dashed, due to the delay, bad health, or plain bad luck.

Take long-jumper Kate Hall-Harden, who’s watching the Olympics from her home in Maine instead of taking the field herself due to a complete left ACL tear.

Instead of moping, she and her husband created the DiaStrong Foundation, a new non-profit “with the mission of providing financial assistance to individuals and research organizations, and fitness and athletic training programs for PWDs [players with disabilities] looking to improve in their sport and their diabetes management.”

Hall-Harden, a Type-1 Diabetic, and her husband are currently offering grants and financial assistance to PWDs and their trainers to help them pursue their athletic dreams, as well as camps for younger players and online virtual training.

Why This Matters

As we all watch the athletes compete during the 2021 Summer Olympics, we should remember all the athletes who couldn’t make it there due to no fault of their own.

And, we should take inspiration from those who spread hope and optimism despite their setbacks — who reach a hand back to lift up others behind them.

We hope Hall-Harden, her husband, and the new DiaStrong Foundation continue to find every opportunity to support athletes from all backgrounds and struggles, starting with diabetes and continuing to all sorts of disabilities and medical obstacles.

New Research: Teenaged Pitchers at Risk of Pain, Injury Due to Unknown Safety Guidelines

Original Story

What’s Going On

New safe pitching guidelines help reduce athletes’ risk of injury — if players and their caretakers know about it.

Recently published research shows that an overwhelming majority of youth athletes’ parents and coaches don’t know about the safe pitching guidelines — and that the players are getting hurt as a result.

  • 83% of polled coaches and caretakers didn’t even know about safe pitching guidelines.
  • 52% of polled caretakers remembered their child getting hurt, with 25% of youth pitchers having to miss a game due to their pain.
  • 27% of all players ultimately sought medical attention for their arm pain due to pitching practices.
  • Teenaged pitchers were statistically more likely to throw curveballs and miss games due to their arm pain from poor pitching.

Why This Matters

Good practices only count if people know about them… and use them.

Clearly, players — and by extension, patients — understand the risk of improperactivities and exercises. They understand how they might be hurt if they keep doing the same thing wrong, or don’t actively try to improve.

So, it’s up to the coaches, caregivers — and therapists — to educate players, patients, and clients about how to improve their abilities while staying safe.

Of course, there’s a world of difference between simply telling a player or patient what needs to happen to stay safe and avoid injury, and ensuring compliance.

(Hmm, if only we knew of a good patient and client compliance tool…!)

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