Monthly Archives

August 2020

patient engagement at the point of care

Black Health in the Era of COVID-19: The Role of Structural Racism

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This article is written by Matthew McCurdy, Paulah Wheeler, Mercilla Ryan-Harris, and Khadijah Ameen who are the co-founders of BLKHLTH, one of the participants in “Share the Scope.” 

Racial Disparity in Healthcare

Early reporting on COVID-19 called the virus the “great equalizer”. However, as disaggregated data by race began to trickle in from cities across the country, it became quickly apparent that the impacts of COVID-19 were not being felt equally across communities. Report after report highlighted that Black people were more likely to become infected and more likely to die from the virus than our white counterparts. Why?

 It is not the individual health behaviors of Black people that create COVID-19 disparities.

 It is not our underlying health conditions or innate “biological” deficiencies that expose us to the virus more.

 It is racism and its many manifestations at the structural, interpersonal and individual levels that create health disparities not only in COVID-19 outcomes, but in other infectious and chronic disease outcomes as well.

Renowned physician and epidemiologist Dr. Camara Jones defines racism as, “a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks (which is what people call race), that unfairly disadvantages some individuals and communities, unfairly advantages other individuals and communities, and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources.” Racism operates in a manner that diminishes the opportunity for Black people to experience optimal health and places less inherent value on the Black body.

Structural Racism and Black Health

One example of the impact of racism on Black health is at the structural level through the differences in neighborhood residential conditions that Black people disproportionately live in. Research has shown that the resources available in a neighborhood – also known as neighborhood quality – have a direct impact on individual stress and chronic health conditions. Black people are more likely to live in low-resourced neighborhoods that lack access to healthy foods, healthcare facilities, reliable transportation, economic opportunities, quality schools, and green spaces. People living in low-resourced neighborhoods also face higher exposures to environmental toxicants, hazardous work environments, and heavily trafficked highways – all of which contribute to racial disparities in respiratory health outcomes. This absence of critical resources and services in Black communities is a result of redlining and other discriminatory policies that have segregated metropolitan areas and drained resources from Black neighborhoods. Poorer neighborhood quality and higher population density ultimately leads to reduced opportunities for social distancing and increased COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death rates in Black communities.

Factors affecting neighborhood quality also determine a person’s ability to manage their chronic conditions. Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and hypertension are among the most common pre-existing conditions affecting COVID-19 patients. It is not a coincidence that these chronic conditions disproportionately impact African American communities. With limited access to affordable health care providers and few available hospitals and community health centers, Black patients are more likely to die from asthma than any other racial or ethnic group. To date, low-income families receiving housing assistance develop asthma at rates higher than the general population due to exposure to lead hazards and asbestos, inadequate ventilation and temperature control, mold, and crowded living environments. The negative impact of asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions on lungs increase the susceptibility of Black people to have negative health consequences from contracting COVID-19. The impact of disparities in respiratory health can be seen in Chicago, Illinois, one of the nation’s epicenters of asthma-related deaths and one of the first major cities to report high rates of COVID-19 prevalence among African American people.

Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Public health and healthcare decision makers must consider these poorer social determinants of health when creating policies and practices that reach Black communities. Decision makers must acknowledge and address the role of structural racism in creating differences in the living conditions of Black people that negatively impact our health. BLKHLTH believes that racism is and has been a public health crisis, and our organization has been dedicated to addressing it as such. We hope our colleagues across public health and healthcare institutions can join us.

the BLKHLTH team

The BLKHLTH team.

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About BLKHLTH

BLKHLTH is a non-profit organization that critically engages and challenges racism and its impact on Black health through workshops and trainings, practice-based consulting, community health events, and digital media. Our vision is to live in a world where racism and other intersecting forms of oppression do not determine a person’s ability to achieve optimal health. You can follow us on social media @blkhlth (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn) and on our website at blkhlth.com.

 

Outcome Health is committed to amplifying Black voices in healthcare. Learn more about our #SharetheScope campaign.

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Outcome Health Member Portal

Introducing the Member Portal – Greater Customization, Transparency, and Support

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In recent months, Outcome Health developed resources so that our provider partners can get the most out of their patient communication platform. We continue to build HCP support tools and enhancements to improve workflow for our healthcare providers and help save them time. 

During this COVID-19 crisis, as guidelines and social restrictions were put into place, certain tools which offer remote support to our healthcare providers and front line workers have proven to be particularly valuable.

Improve the Patient Experience

Outcome Health Member Portal

The Member Portal makes it easy to efficiently manage your individual office needs and better serve your patients.

One of these tools is a new on-demand Member Portal, which is now available to all of our provider partners. Medical staff can now easily request high-value content for their Outcome Health devices (like COVID-19 educational materials) and access educational materials on how to use and maintain their devices. The portal also gives healthcare providers a way to keep track of their devices across multiple offices and allows for staff to request device updates online as their needs change. With the Member Portal, healthcare providers can spend more time with their patients and ensure they are getting the maximum value out of their Outcome Health platform. 

Benefits of the Outcome Health Member Portal

  • Designed to meet the needs of every staff member using Outcome Health’s platform
  • Greater visibility and access to support for your Outcome Health devices and content
  • A more efficient way to manage your practice’s needs
  • On-demand, remote service to provide you the flexibility you need

Features of the Outcome Health Member Portal 

  • View personalized content currently playing on your devices
  • Choose from over 100 templates to quickly add personalized content to your devices
  • View the status of your devices and access troubleshooting resources
  • View the status of your open requests
  • Manage device settings like volume or hours

Request access now! Already a user, login at provider.outcomehealth.com. 

 

Want to support patients during the most important moments of their health journey? Bring Outcome Health to your practice. 

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psoriasis awareness month

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month

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August is Psoriasis Awareness Month and brings attention to the autoimmune disorder that affects over 125 million people worldwide. There are many different types of psoriasis, but plaque psoriasis makes up over 80% of those diagnosed. This disorder mainly affects the skin, but can lead to joint pain, and other circulatory and cardiovascular issues if left untreated. Your primary care physician can diagnose psoriasis, but they may refer you to a dermatologist for more specialized treatment.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder caused by an overactive immune system. Skin cells regenerate at a faster than normal rate resulting in red, scaly patches on the skin which can become itchy and inflamed. Those diagnosed have a higher risk for developing other conditions like hypertension, diabetes, obesity and psoriatic arthritis – which is stiffness and swelling in the joints caused by psoriasis. Genetics play a large role in developing the condition, but environmental factors can cause flare ups as well. Stress, smoking, sunlight exposure, and heavy alcohol consumption can all lead to a worsening of symptoms. Psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be passed via skin to skin contact.

Can psoriasis be cured? 

There is currently no cure for psoriasis, but there are many treatment options available depending on the severity of your condition. Most doctors will begin treatment with a topical corticosteroid in the form of an ointment, cream, or shampoo. Psoriasis can also be treated with oral or injected medications. Certain light therapies are effective too. Over-the-counter products made with coal tar or salicylic acid are FDA approved for treating psoriasis, but only use these products under a doctor’s close supervision. If you think you are developing psoriasis, talk to your physician for a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan that is catered to your symptoms.

Psoriasis Awareness at the Point of Care

psoriasis awareness month

An example of the psoriasis awareness content playing across Outcome Health’s point of care platform.

Outcome Health is committed to keeping psoriasis patients informed at the point of care. Our content includes 3D anatomical models and informational posters (like the image above) on our Exam Room Wallboard, and informative videos playing on our Waiting Room TV and Exam Room Tablet. Through patient stories, treatment guides, and condition models, our content fosters informed discussions between patients and physicians during moments that matter most. 

 

Want to support patients during the most important moments of their health journey? Bring Outcome Health to your practice. 

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Black Mental Wellness

Advocating for Black Mental Health and Wellness

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This article is written by Black Mental Wellness, one of the participants in “Share the Scope.” 

Black Mental Wellness, Corp participated in Outcome Health’s “Share the Scope” social media campaign to introduce new voices and perspectives in the advocacy of healthcare. We had the honor of taking over Ad Council’s Twitter account, to introduce our organization to a new audience and to highlight all the ways that our organization is working to reduce mental health disparities in the Black community.  We appreciate the opportunity provided through #SharetheScope to have our voices amplified and to discuss something that we are so passionate about, Black mental health.  Here is a recap of the information we shared as part of the campaign.    

Black Mental Wellness

Black Mental Wellness is a corporation of licensed Clinical Psychologists who are passionate about addressing mental health and wellness concerns specific to the Black community. Our team consists of Dr. Nicole Cammack (President/CEO), Dr. Danielle Busby (VP of Professional Relations and Liaison), Dr. Dana Cunningham (VP of Community Outreach and Engagement), and Dr. Jessica Henry (VP of Program Development and Evaluation). Together, we lead trainings and workshops for corporations and community programs; we develop culturally informed programs and curriculum; we provide consultation services; and we are available for a range of speaking engagements.

Black Mental Wellness

The Black Mental Wellness team (from left to right: Dr. Jessica Henry, Dr. Nicole Cammack, Dr. Dana Cunningham and Dr. Danielle Busby).

Our Mission

The mission of Black Mental Wellness is to provide culturally sensitive resources related to Black mental health and wellness, increase the diversity of mental health professionals, and to decrease the mental health stigma in the Black community. We do this by providing Black mental health and wellness resources on our website, highlighting diverse mental health professionals and wellness advocates on our website and social media platforms, and through leading a National Training program of graduate and undergraduate students. Our training program aims to make a direct impact on diversifying the next generation of mental health and behavioral health professionals.  Trainees in our program receive individual guidance from a Black Mental Wellness founder, preparation for applying for and excelling during graduate school, organizational development, and leadership skill development. Throughout the training experience, trainees also receive virtual didactics on a range of topics to expand their knowledge of mental health and behavioral health opportunities.  We are currently looking for entrepreneurs, speakers, mental health professionals, or wellness advocates who are passionate about mental health, to share your knowledge to our trainees through a virtual didactic experience. If you are interested in presenting a virtual didactic to our trainees, please contact DrCunningham@blackmentalwellness.com. 

Mental Health Disparities in the Black Community

Let’s get into Black mental health and why we are here. Black adults are 20% more likely to experience a mental health problem, but less than 5% of psychologists are Black. This disparity highlights the need to increase the number of culturally competent mental health providers and magnifies one of the reasons that many in the Black community hesitate to seek care. As we look more closely at the mental health disparities here are a few additional points to highlight. Did you know that children of color are often misdiagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder or identified as youth with behavior problems because of misunderstandings about cultural differences, biases, and lack of thorough evaluation?  In addition, when compared to Whites, Black adults and youth are less likely to receive treatment for PTSD.  These types of disparities, mistrust of mental health professionals due to misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment, and barriers to care can prevent individuals from seeking treatment and can hinder mental well-being particularly in the Black community. Our website has resources and information to learn more about barriers to care and how we can all get involved to improve access to quality mental health treatment in the Black community.

Normalizing Mental Health and Wellness

Lastly, our team at Black Mental Wellness launched the Authentically Me t-shirt collection as a way to normalize conversations about mental health in the Black community through sharing our personal authentic experiences with mental health and wellness.  Each founder designed a unique shirt (Resilient. My Peace is More Important., Pain. Passion, Purpose., Get Over it. Deal with it.) which is connected to a personal piece of our story. We hope that this collection will continue to motivate and inspire others to share their stories. Shop our collection today and let us know which shirt most relates to your story. 

We enjoyed taking over the Ad Council’s page and participating in #SharetheScope, and we look forward to doing more great work together with Ad Council and Outcome Health in the future. For more information on Black Mental Wellness, visit our website, or email us at info@blackmentalwellness.com.

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About Black Mental Wellness

Black Mental Wellness is a corporation, founded by clinical psychologists, who through their training and expertise, recognized the need for culturally competent professionals to collaborate and address mental health issues that are prevalent and unique to the experiences of Black people. For more information, visit www.blackmentalwellness.com.

 

Outcome Health is committed to delivering relevant content at the point of care for the moments that matter most. Learn how we supported patients and providers during Mental Health Awareness month.

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