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HEALTH

The Black Hole of Health Anxiety

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Health Anxiety

I’m not sure exactly when it started.

I’m not sure exactly why it started.

In the beginning, I would obsess over something maybe once a week: a bruise, a pain in my shoulder, tenderness in the abdomen. Slowly, it turned into obsessions impaling my mind every day — and on bad days, the thoughts stay with me every hour. Last week, I was utterly convinced I had colon c*ncer. This week, I’m convinced its breast c*ncer.

I’ve begun to hate waking up in the mornings. Like many, I’ve established a quarantine routine. I wake up, shower, do school work, fit in a couple meals, and hopefully find time for hobbies and exercise. Still, every day feels like I’m walking into a dark abyss. I don’t know what minor pain I will feel that day that will cause me to spiral into an illogical, panicked, and unpleasant situation. And Dr. Google haunts me — I know that the absolute worst thing I can do right now is Google my symptoms. Yet, my hand has a mind of its own as I grab my phone and search “pain in right arm.” Bam; WebMD takes me right to c*ncer.

And on the days that I can manage to stay strong a majority of the day, my body ends up confused: wait, why have you not panicked yet today? And then it happens.

The crying. The shaking. The heart racing. I have a slight rash on my chest; it could be heat rash from the blazing hot shower I just took or it could mean my body is fighting some infection that I’m not aware of. I have a few bruises on my leg — did I run into a table or do I have low iron?

I open Facebook. My cousin shared a fundraiser for ALS. Is that why my muscles have been cramping lately? On TikTok, I happen upon at least 2 videos a day of people sharing their c*ncer stories. It’s haunting me. The only explanation is that the universe is giving me warning signs; there is something wrong with me.

The select few people that know about my battle with health anxiety always ask me, “why?” Like, why do you freak out over stuff like this? Most people wouldn’t even notice half of the things that you notice. And if they do, they know it’s probably nothing.

So, here it is folks: I’m afraid of feeling trapped inside my body. In my world, there is the body and the soul, two separate entities. If my body were to become sick, my soul would feel trapped. Therefore, by always checking my legs for bruises, breasts for lumps, and everywhere else for sensations of pain, I’m putting in the work to avoid that dreadful day where I become trapped in my body, right? I mean, isn’t that the point of fear and worry? To avoid a threat?

At first, my parents thought it was sort of a joke — like an adult way of making something up for attention. Even my doctor has nodded me off like I’m crazy when I’ve presented a concern to her. And my sister reduces it to “omg, you freak out about everything.” I’m not trying to diss on my family or a trained medical professional here. But in addition to my own experience, scouring different health anxiety blogs and reddit groups has shown me that many people don’t take it seriously because, well, it simply defies logic. It’s not logical for one tiny symptom to spark panic that you’re going to be doomed with the worst possible diagnosis. Nevertheless, it is a common flaw in thinking and behavior that leads to real and detrimental effects on day-to-day wellness.

And to be honest, I don’t have the complete answer on how to find consistent and unwavering peace in the midst of a battle with anxiety. Being high strung for much of the day is exhausting, quite frankly. Through counseling, I’ve learned that making small changes and having a few coping skills under your tool belt is the best way to kickstart a journey of changing such a tiring thought pattern. As of now, the most useful coping skill in my own life is nurturing myself. So, hug yourself — like really wrap your arms around yourself and tell yourself it’s going to be okay. Be there for yourself, like you have a friend living on your shoulder telling you “it’s okay, you’re going to be fine.” And be easy on yourself — recognize that this is just a chemical imbalance that has caused this pattern of thinking — it’s not going to be like this forever. Finally, it’s okay to feel like this — you aren’t crazy, you aren’t to blame, and so many others deal with it too.

As Berkeley students, we are offered free counseling through UHS (which I highly recommend taking advantage of). It also helps to research it on your own. There are many blogs and medical journals that address what health anxiety is, why it might be happening, and ways to combat it. Personally, understanding that it is an addressed and widely experienced issue helps immensely. Most of all, take care of yourself and recognize that while you’re stuck in a wonky pattern of thought, there is nothing inherently wrong with you. You got this; be kind to yourself, seek help from a safe space, and find the courage to stop the cycle.

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HEALTH

The Best Collagen Powder: Your Brain Guideline to Choose the Right One

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Collagen Powder

Our bodies have tons of proteins made by collagen supplements. This collagen powder boosts the overall body especially our skin, nails, hair, joints and bones also. As we follow the age factor path, the natural collagen in our bodies walks slowly and ultimately says goodbye. The moment your body makes less collagen your skin goes dull, your joints look painful and your overall health makes you look old. That’s the accurate time when collagen powder takes your hand and boosts your energy level and glows your skin. Your overall health and physical activities will make you young again. But since a lot of you haven’t used it that much, you still think is it worth it? Read the recommendations and follow these supplements and your question will have all the clues.

Why Collagen Powder?

The first question in mind is why and how it’s called the best collagen powder and we’ll give you the clue. Collagen supplements have natural benefits for the entire body, here are a few examples:

  1. Improve Skin Health: Collagen powder lessens skin wrinkles and makes the skin glow and fills with elasticity.
  2. Support Joint Health: It relieves joint pain and helps to move with great strength.
  3. Strengthen Hair and Nails: It involves the hair growth and decreases the nails hardness.
  4. Enhance Gut Health: It assists a healthful digestive system.
  5. Boost Muscle Mass: It strengthens the mass growth and boosts repair on muscles.

Types of Collagen

Collagen powders have various sources and include several types of collagen and every one is beneficial:

  1. Type I Collagen: This type is found in skin, bones, and tendons. This refines overall skin health and glowing look.
  2. Type II Collagen: Essentially found in cartilage. It strongly helps in joint health and overall maintenance.
  3. Type III Collagen: Mostly found along with Type I. It enhances skin health, strong muscles and supports blood vessels.
  4. Type V and X Collagen: Type V and X combine together and promote bone health and improve cellular function.

What to Look for in a Collagen Powder

While choosing collagen powder, consider some simple tips:

  1. Source of Collagen: Reach out how collagen has been extracted. It’s better to have sources like grass-fed, animals raised from farms, and marine collagen. Having nutritional values helps you to enjoy higher-quality collagen.
  2. Types of Collagen: Take collagen powder that has various types of collagen. Each type stands up and fulfills the benefits.
  3. Hydrolyzed Collagen: Hydrolyzed collagen breaks down into smaller peptides. This makes this collagen get easily absorbed in your whole body.
  4. No Additives: One of the best  advantages is that it has no artificial flavors, smell, color and preservatives
  5. Third-Party Testing: Always take in products that are tested by third-party to affirm purity and quality.

Top Collagen Powders on the Market

Here are the four major best collagen powders that are effective and have the best collagen powders available, these are:

  1. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
    • Source: Grass-fed, cows pasture-raised.
    • Types: Types I and III included.
    • Benefits: Superb for skin elasticity, joint health and hair strength.
    • Features: Hydrolyzed helps in absorption. It is added in hot or cold beverages for enjoying every sip.
  2. Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein
    • Source: Chicken, fish, cow, and eggshell membrane.
    • Types: I, and III.
    • Benefits: Exclusive benefits for skin, joints, nails, hair and improves gut health.
    • Features: It has probiotics for adding gut health benefits. Also it has several flavors for you to enjoy.
  3. Sports Research Collagen Peptides
    • Source: Grass-fed, pasture-raised cow.
    • Types: I and III types.
    • Benefits: This increases skin health, quick muscle recovery and joint function to avoid pain.
    • Features: Hydrolyzed is perfect for smooth absorption. It is paleo and Keto-friendly and non-GMO.
  4. Vitauthority Multi Collagen Protein
    • Source: Cow, fish, chicken, and eggshell membrane
    • Types: I, II, III, V, and X.
    • Benefits: It enhances youthful skin and makes it glows, healthy joints, and strong hair and non-breakable nails
    • Features: It has vitamin C and hyaluronic acid for boosting collagen production. It has an unflavored taste with no preservatives.

How to Use Collagen Powder

Add collagen powder into your daily routine and enjoy a healthy life. Here are some tips:

  1. Mix it in Beverages: Add a scoop of collagen powder to your favorite beverages, smoothies or morning coffee to boost your entire day.
  2. Bake with It: Introduce collagen powder in your yummy baking recipes and grasp your protein boost.
  3. Cook with It: Stir collagen powder into healthy recipes like soups, sauces, and stews.

Conclusion

While picking up the best collagen powder, it’s important to give first priority to your health and needs. If you want to make your skin flawless, help your joints function, or simply boost your healthy lifestyle, add collagen powder in your daily life. Always add high-quality, hydrolyzed results for known sources, and enjoy the glowing effects from adding collagen supplements in your daily lifestyle.

Embrace the healthful journey by adding collagen powder as a routine and your mental and physical body will love themselves.

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HEALTH

User Experience Matters: Evaluating Ease of Use in Modern EHR and EMR Systems

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EHR and EMR

In today’s digital healthcare landscape, the usability of Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems plays a pivotal role in shaping the efficiency and effectiveness of medical care. As these systems become more sophisticated, the need for intuitive, user-friendly interfaces has become more critical.

The Critical Role of UX in EHR/EMR Adoption and Effectiveness

Understanding the critical role of user experience in EHR and EMR systems is essential, as recent studies have shown its significant impact on healthcare professionals. The adoption and effectiveness of these systems hinge on their ease of use, directly influencing several key areas. For more insight, it’s helpful to evaluate the differences between EHR vs EMR. The user experience in both systems can significantly affect how healthcare providers interact with the technology, ultimately impacting patient care and clinical outcomes.

Impact on Clinical Workflow Efficiency

Streamlined EHR and EMR interfaces can significantly boost productivity in healthcare settings. When clinicians can navigate systems effortlessly, they spend less time on documentation and more time on patient care. This efficiency gain translates to:

  • Reduced time spent on data entry.

  • Quicker access to patient information.

  • Smoother transitions between tasks.

Influence on Patient Care Quality and Safety

Well-designed EHR and EMR systems contribute to improved patient outcomes by:

  • Minimizing data entry errors.

  • Enhancing clinical decision support.

  • Facilitating better communication among care team members.

Effect on Provider Satisfaction and Burnout Rates

The usability of EHR and EMR systems directly impacts healthcare providers’ job satisfaction and well-being. Intuitive systems can:

  • Reduce cognitive load on clinicians.

  • Decrease frustration and stress levels.

  • Improve work-life balance

Given the profound influence of UX on adoption and effectiveness, let’s examine the key factors that contribute to a well-designed EHR/EMR system.

Key UX Factors in Modern EHR/EMR Systems

To create truly user-friendly EHR and EMR systems, developers must focus on several vital elements:

Intuitive Navigation and Information Architecture

A logical, easy-to-navigate interface is essential for efficient use of EHR/EMR systems. This includes:

  • Clear menu structures.

  • Consistent layout across different modules.

  • Easily accessible frequently used features.

Customizable Interfaces and Workflows

Flexibility is key in accommodating diverse clinical needs. Customizable interfaces allow:

  • Personalization of dashboards

  • Tailoring of workflows to specific specialties

  • Adaptation to individual user preferences

Key Statistic: Research has shown that customizable interfaces can reduce time spent on EHR tasks by up to 30%, demonstrating the significant impact of user-centered design.

Effective Data Visualization and Presentation

Clear, concise presentation of patient data is crucial for quick comprehension and decision-making. This involves:

  • Graphical representations of trends

  • Color-coding for easy identification of critical information

  • Customizable views for different clinical scenarios

Integration of Clinical Decision Support Tools

Seamless incorporation of decision support features can enhance clinical judgment without disrupting workflow:

  • Real-time alerts for potential drug interactions

  • Evidence-based treatment suggestions

  • Risk assessment tools

Mobile and Tablet Optimization

With the increasing use of mobile devices in healthcare settings, EHR/EMR systems must be optimized for various screen sizes and touch interfaces.

While these factors are crucial, their implementation requires rigorous evaluation. Let’s explore the methods and metrics used to assess EHR/EMR usability.

Evaluating EHR/EMR Usability: Methods and Metrics

Thorough usability testing is essential to ensure that EHR/EMR systems meet the needs of healthcare professionals.

Usability Testing Approaches

1. Think-Aloud Protocols

This method involves users verbalizing their thoughts as they navigate the system, providing insights into their decision-making process and pain points.

2. Task Completion Analysis

Evaluators measure the time and steps required to complete common clinical tasks, identifying areas for improvement in the system’s design.

3. Eye-Tracking Studies

By tracking users’ eye movements, researchers can understand which interface elements draw attention and which are overlooked.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for EHR/EMR Usability

To quantify usability, several metrics are commonly used:

1. Time-on-Task Metrics

Measuring the time required to complete specific tasks helps identify inefficiencies in the system’s design.

2. Error Rates and Types

Tracking the frequency and nature of user errors provides insights into confusing or problematic areas of the interface.

3. User Satisfaction Scores

Subjective feedback from users, often collected through surveys or interviews, offers valuable perspectives on the overall user experience.

Overcoming UX Challenges in EHR/EMR Implementation

Despite advances in EHR and EMR design, several challenges remain in creating truly user-friendly systems.

Challenges

Solutions

Addressing Interoperability Issues

– Adoption of standardized data formats

– Implementation of robust APIs for system integration

– Collaboration between vendors to ensure compatibility

Balancing Security Requirements with Ease of Use

– Single sign-on solutions

– Context-aware security measures

– Biometric authentication options

Managing Information Overload and Alert Fatigue.

– Prioritization of alerts based on clinical significance

– Customizable alert thresholds

– Intelligent data summarization techniques

Accommodating Diverse User Groups and Skill Levels

– Role-based access and interfaces

– Scalable training programs

– In-system guidance and help features

 

Future Trends in EHR/EMR User Experience

The evolving landscape of healthcare technology offers promising solutions to current usability challenges.

AI-Driven Personalization and Predictive Interfaces

Artificial Intelligence can enhance EHR/EMR systems by:

  • Predicting user needs based on past behavior

  • Automating routine tasks

  • Providing personalized insights and recommendations

Voice Recognition and Natural Language Processing Integration

These technologies can streamline documentation processes by:

  • Enabling hands-free data entry

  • Improving the accuracy of clinical notes

  • Facilitating easier information retrieval

Augmented Reality Applications in Clinical Settings

AR has the potential to revolutionize how clinicians interact with EHR/EMR systems:

  • Overlaying patient data during examinations

  • Providing visual guidance for procedures

  • Enhancing medical education and training

To harness these future trends effectively, organizations must adopt best practices for continuous UX improvement.

Best Practices for Continuous UX Improvement in EHR/EMR Systems

Ensuring optimal usability is an ongoing process that requires commitment and collaboration:

Establishing Feedback Loops with End-Users

Regular communication with healthcare professionals who use the systems daily is crucial for identifying areas for improvement:

  • Conduct periodic user surveys

  • Implement in-system feedback mechanisms

  • Host focus groups and user forums

Implementing Agile Development Methodologies

Adopting agile practices allows for more responsive and iterative improvements:

  • Regular sprint cycles for feature updates

  • Continuous integration and deployment

  • Rapid prototyping and testing

Conducting Regular Usability Audits and Updates

Systematic evaluation of system usability helps maintain high standards:

  • Annual comprehensive usability reviews

  • Quarterly minor updates based on user feedback

  • Ongoing monitoring of usability metrics

By adhering to these best practices, healthcare organizations can ensure that their EHR/EMR systems continue to meet the evolving needs of healthcare professionals and contribute to improved patient care.

Conclusion

The user experience of EHR and EMR systems plays a pivotal role in the efficiency and effectiveness of modern healthcare delivery. By focusing on intuitive design, rigorous usability testing, and continuous improvement, healthcare organizations can harness the full potential of these essential tools. As we look to the future, emerging technologies promise even greater advancements in EHR/EMR usability, ultimately leading to better outcomes for both healthcare providers and patients.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can we measure the return on investment (ROI) of improving EHR/EMR user experience?

Measuring ROI involves tracking key metrics such as reduced documentation time, decreased error rates, improved patient throughput, increased provider satisfaction, and reduced training costs. By quantifying these improvements against the investment in usability enhancements, organizations can calculate a tangible ROI, justifying and prioritizing investments in user experience improvements.

  1. What strategies can healthcare organizations employ to balance regulatory compliance with optimal user experience in their EHR/EMR systems?

Organizations can balance compliance and usability by involving compliance experts early in design, using compliant design patterns that don’t compromise usability, implementing context-sensitive help features, conducting regular usability testing with compliance scenarios, and leveraging automation for behind-the-scenes compliance tasks. This approach ensures regulatory adherence while maintaining a positive user experience.

  1. How can EHR/EMR vendors better incorporate user feedback and real-world usage patterns into their product development cycles?

Vendors can improve product development by establishing diverse user advisory boards, gathering anonymized usage data, conducting site visits, offering beta testing programs, creating in-software feedback channels, and hosting user conferences. These strategies foster collaboration between vendors and users, ensuring EHR/EMR systems evolve to meet real-world healthcare needs and contribute to better patient care.

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HEALTH

The Ultimate Guide To Mushroom Gummies

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Mushroom Gummies

The health benefits of medical mushrooms have been known for thousands of years and have been recorded in ancient writings. These benefits are easy and fun to get these days thanks to mushroom sweets.

You can find mushrooms like shiitake, turkey tail, and lion’s mane in health products, restaurants, and even on the menu. This is a good thing. More and more people are interested in mushrooms because they can help with health problems.

If you want to learn more about the health benefits of mushrooms, mushroom sweets might be a great choice. Let’s look into the idea of mushroom candies now. 

First, What Are Mushroom Gummies?

Mushroom gummies resembling chewy mushrooms, dubbed super mushroom gummies or shroom gummies, are bursting with healthful ingredients derived from functional or therapeutic mushrooms. The kinds and composition of mushrooms utilized might differ throughout the products.

An important goal of most mushroom gummies is to make it easy for people to get the health benefits of mushrooms. As with other chewable vitamins, mushroom sweets are an easy and fun way to get these health benefits. 

How Are Mushroom Gummies Made?

Most mushroom candies include mushroom extracts rather than actual mushrooms. Our bodies could have trouble breaking down whole mushrooms so that we can properly absorb the nutrients they provide.

The extraction process helps our systems absorb the nutrients by dissolving the mushrooms. The extract is then combined with other ingredients like fruit pectin or gelatin and flavorings to make the gummies. 

A Look At The Types Of Mushroom Gummies

The two most common types of useful mushrooms used to make mushroom gummies are single types and combinations. Occasionally, they include other compounds to augment the effects of the mushrooms. For example, gummies containing lion’s mane for memory or attention may also include B vitamins, which provide related advantages.

Here are a few typical mushrooms found in gummies, along with some potential health advantages.

  • Lion’s Mane

These mushrooms are widely renowned for enhancing mental clarity and focus. They could also support the nervous system’s overall well-being.

  • Shiitake

It is well known that shiitake mushrooms assist the body produce more beneficial cytokines, which fortify the immune system. They might help with issues including high blood pressure, cholesterol, and keeping someone at a healthy weight.

  • Reishi

The potential health benefits of reishi mushrooms are widely known. They may help maintain a healthy immune system, reduce fatigue, relieve anxiety and depression, and even help maintain stable blood sugar levels.

  • Cordyceps

Cordyceps are some of the greatest mushrooms for medicinal purposes. They could act as antioxidants, strengthen the heart, and boost athletic performance. Additionally, cordyceps may support sexual function by raising testosterone levels and sperm generation.

  • Chaga

People have been using chaga mushrooms for millennia to increase their overall energy and health. They may enhance the body’s natural production of white blood cells, which may help avoid infections and maybe even the common cold.

  • Maitake

The Japanese refer to maitake as a “dancing mushroom” because of its adaptogenic qualities and capacity to support both the body and the mind. Maitake mushrooms are believed to boost immunity, prevent the growth of abnormal cells, and help regulate high cholesterol.

  • Turkey’s tail 

Turkey Tails are known to strengthen the immune system; this moniker originated from their peculiar shape. They could help reduce oxidative stress inside the body by acting as antioxidants. Additionally, turkey tail mushrooms may aid in balancing the beneficial and detrimental microorganisms in the digestive tract. 

Mushroom Gummies Benefits

As each kind of mushroom has unique health advantages, people utilize mushroom gummies for a variety of reasons. Because of their special qualities, a variety of mushrooms have long been a favorite among herbalists and natural health aficionados. This is a list of some typical applications for functional mushroom candies.

  • Nootropic Support

Enhancing brain function, mental clarity, or cognitive function is part of supporting nootropic function. Certain mushrooms, including lion’s mane and reishi, are believed to improve cognitive function. Therefore, these component-rich mushroom candies may help with memory enhancement, focus enhancement at work, or brain fog reduction. 

  • Support For Healthy Energy Levels

Mushrooms include micronutrients that may help fight fatigue and boost energy. For instance, Cordyceps could improve the synthesis of energy inside cells, which might raise overall energy levels. 

  • Homeostasis Support

Retaining homeostasis makes it easier for the body to resist illness and stress. Using reishi and turkey tail, two types of mushrooms that are adaptogenic might help maintain this balance. 

  • Calming And Relaxation

After a demanding day, a mushroom gummy containing cordyceps or chaga may help you relax. Compounds in these mushrooms have the ability to naturally promote relaxation.

  • Immune System Support

Nutrients that are vital are abundant in mushrooms. They often include antioxidants and flavonols, which are excellent for your health. Beta-glucans, which are essential for enhancing your immune system, are also present in mushrooms. People often include shiitake and reishi mushrooms in their diets to boost their immune systems.

How To Choose The Best Mushroom Gummies

Selecting top-quality mushroom candies is essential to a satisfying experience. Regretfully, not every product prioritizes the consumer or uses high-quality ingredients. To help you choose a high-quality brand, consider the following advice:

  • Verify whether the ingredient lists are transparent.
  • Seek out independent laboratory testing.
  • Ascertain sustainable methods for gathering mushrooms.
  • Check for high-quality mushroom extraction techniques.

Pick fruiting bodies-based mushroom gummy at all times. Compared to the mycelia, the mushroom’s root system, the fruiting body, which develops above ground, is more nutrient-dense. Many firms produce less effective, lower-quality candies by using primarily mycelia in an effort to save expenses.

Finally, weigh the product’s effectiveness against its cost. A product’s pricing may be excessive given how much mushroom extract it contains.

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