Caring For Your Health With Online Resources

There are a plethora of new ways to improve your health through online means. From paying your doctor bills online to managing your health insurance, to tracking fitness goals, there’s something for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the latest ways to make your life easier using today’s booming technology and high speed internet.

Tracking Insurance Premiums And Rates

Most health insurance providers have a comprehensive online website designed to help people not only manage their health care benefits but also search for local doctors. For example, Anthem Blue Cross has a great website where you can pay your bills, quickly look up your plan and coverage benefits, as well as search for local doctors and compare the average price of a typical procedure. This can make your life a lot easier when it comes to searching for new doctors and lowering your health care costs. Check and see if your insurance company has an online portal, and start using it today!

Paying Bills Online

Related to your insurance is paying your bills online. I recently had to pay a bill to Scripps and I was about to mail it in. But I saw an option on the bill for online bill pay. In about 5 minutes I had signed up and paid my bill securely online. I liked this option so much more than sending my credit card number information through postal mail. Plus, it’s a lot faster and there’s no risk that it will get lost. Most hospitals and larger health care providers will have online bill pay available for their clients. Check and see if it’s an option for you.

As always, if you’re doing online transactions I definitely recommend that you invest in proper security for your computer system. Defense against malware and viruses is very important so you don’t get your information hijacked in transit. Programs like spyware remover software are especially helpful.  People often ask me “Does Spyhu

nter work?” and it’s a logical question.  Yes it works very well, and I highly recommend getting that software or something like it.

Tracking Fitness Goals

Tracking fitness goals is so much easier these days with online tracking. There are so many programs that can help you out – from counting your caloric intake each day to measuring your calories burned through miles run or biked. You can even use your smartphone and integrate your daily steps taken. It’s a huge improvement over the old stopwatch. Plus, it will graph out your progress, keeping you more inclined to stay on track. There are some free websites, but those tend to be a bit clunky. We suggest investing in an all in one paid app and computer program.

Shopping For Insurance

Despite the huge debacle with the nations new health care website, it’s mostly in the clear and you can shop around for better health insurance rates quickly and easily using the internet. It makes the process so much easier, and you can quickly shop around. Don’t settle for paying more than you should! If you’re confused I suggest calling the number and asking for help, as sometimes the online websites (especially government sites) can be confusing and difficult to navigate.

Ethics Of Organ Donation

It’s educational to think about the ethics of organ donation, and the underlying conflicts that sometimes arise:

This process requires the attending physician to begin switching loyalties from the patient to the organ recipient. As a result, required request procedures produce clinical conflicts of interest in both the identification and medical management of the patient/potential donor, as well as in caring for the potential donor’s family. These conflicts arise in relation to physical care, professional responsibility, and legal accountability.

Medical treatment of severely brain-injured persons, a major group of potential donorss, is difficult under the best of circumstances. For example, patients with extensive brain injury usually die from the effects of cerebral edema, which prevents circulation to the brain. Maintaining a slightly dehydrated fluid balance benefits the brain by lessening the edema, while overhydration tends to increase edema and reduce circulation to the brain, thus increasing the possibility of brain damage. Unfortunately, fluid management that is beneficial to the brain can be harmful to other organs. For example, limiting fluid intake in order to reduce cerebral pressure may injure the kidneys through reduction of urine output, especially when the brain injury causes concomitant release of antidiuretic hormones. Conversely, increasing fluids will counter antidiuresis and enhance kidney function, but may precipitate or hasten brain death through increased cerebral edema. [6]

More graphic and potentially costly conflicts arise with gunshot wounds to the head. In cases where the bullet had damaged the thalamus and hypothalamus, producing blood and air in the ventricles, the untreated lesion is inevitably fatal. However, treatment intended to preserve physiological equilibrium suitable for organ donation may result in preservation of the brain stem and persistent vegetative state for the patient.

While such conflicts of patient management are as old as medicine itself, introducing organ procurement into the decision process puts the conflicts in a different light, for the physician now experience pressures that have no relation to patient care. Institutionalizing the identification of potential organ donors appears to assume a shift in the physician’s clinical attitude so that willingness to diagnose or even hasten the diagnosis of brain death supersedes the incentive to fight for life.

Historically, the underlying ethic of medical practice had been to “do no harm.” In this tradition, “It is even more important to fight for life than to be willing to diagnose death,” which precludes considerations of organ donation by the physician until the time brain death is diagnosed. [7] Required request legislation subtly changes this traditional view and holds the clear possibility for pushing the point at which a decision is made to switch from “fight for life” to “potential donor” treatment modalities further and further back from the time of brain death diagnosis so that donor/recipient matching may begin as expeditiously as possible.

Clark, Leo, Susan Martyn, and Wright, Richard (Writer). “Required request for organ donation: moral, clinical, and legal problems.” The Hastings Center Report Apr.-May 1988: 27+.