Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wonderment Wednesday: The South Carolina Rural Health Research Center Is Going STAR WARS

We don't know about you, but we here at the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center IS PUMPED for this Thursday. After sitting on the edge of our seats for the past year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally opens in theaters. We're not pumped because of all the lightsaber fights we have been recreating at the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center.

Rather, it means we can finally stop hearing everyone and their parents talk about Star Wars and how much nostalgia the trailers bring them. Before we change our profile pictures to have lightsabers, listen to the Notorious B.I.G. Star Wars mix, and fully engross ourselves in the Star Wars hype, let me pose this important question:

Will a galaxy far far away that has all this futuristic equipment include health information technology (IT)? Would it even have something called Wonderment Wednesday that talks about.......

4 Facts On Health IT
1. Health IT makes a difference
In a study that was published by Chaudry and friends, it looked at different studies that looked at the impact of health IT. In short, the study found that health IT did indeed help improve quality and efficiency of care.

2. Health IT isn't some fancy operation
Many times when people think of health IT, they think of large expensive operations requiring futuristic new machines and special suits to operate.

However, that isn't always the case. In this paper written by Dr. Kevin J. Bennett, it looked at the effects of just improving the paperwork associated with health IT work. Essentially, the paperwork was customized to the needs of the academic center. The result? A 5% increase in completed charts.

3. Rural residents are less likely to have internet
Since we are the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center, we couldn't get too far without talking about rural at least once. One problem facing rural residents is the distance they need to drive, which is why the internet is important. In this study, written by Dr. Jong-Yi Wang, it found that people living in rural areas were less likely to have internet than people in urban areas. Most importantly, minorities and people with medical conditions were less likely to use the internet.

4. Rural health providers need a lot of help
This is not just a patient level problem when it comes to health information technology, it is also an organization problem. In a study published Dr. Amy Martin, it looked at the differences between rural hospitals and rural primary care providers in South Carolina on: a. telemedicine adoption, b. telemedicine training needs c. current use of technology for patient care, In all three metrics, rural hospitals were more likely to fare better than their rural primary care providers. Unfortunately, this highlights the overwhelming need in rural areas for a stronger primary care workforce.

In the meantime, remember to give a nice tap on that subscribe button to the very bottom or top left hand side of this page to read more about the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center.We will be taking the next few weeks off, so until next time, take care!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wonderment Wednesday: It's National Pastry Day!

It's National Pastry Day folks!
Like any good unofficial national day of celebration it gives us a good excuse to eat poorly. So get out your favorite pies, eclairs, macaroons, pecan pies, or chomp down on a bevy of pastry options in the celebration of this fine day.

But before you do, the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center insists that you practice good oral hygiene. With all the extra sugar you will be chomping down it causes you to be prone to cavities. Since we're already on the topic of oral hygiene how about we talk about

5 Facts About Rural Oral Health
1. 80% of cavities are found in 25% of children
Okay, this is not really a rural oral health fact, but it is a fact from the National Institutes of Health. This means that only a small group of children are making up a HUGE amount of the cavities. Let's dig into this a little more.

2. Rural children are less likely to have excellent teeth
In a report published by Dr. Amy Martin, it asked  the parents of both rural and urban children the condition of their children's teeth. Guess what? Like all our Wonderment Wednesday posts rural children once again got the short end of the stick.

It found that rural children were less likely to report having teeth in "excellent" condition than urban children. But what are the causes of this?

3. Rural children are less likely to have dental insurance than urban children
In a paper written by Dr. Jihong Liu, found that rural children were more likely to be uninsured than urban children. What does this mean? Going deeper into the results, children who lacked dental insurance were less likely to receive preventative care. Less preventative care means a higher chance of dental problems. A possible reason why this occurs according to the study? I'll let you take a gander:

Talking about preventative care...

4. Preventative care helps, but not as much if you don't live in urban areas
According to this study by Dr. Amy Martin, it looked personal health provider status and how often children received preventive dental care. Based on the results, personal health providers for children were more likely to receive preventive care then people who did not personal health providers. However, if the child lived in a rural area, they were less likely to receive preventive care. But not all the news is bad for rural

5. Dental sealants are about the same for both rural and urban children
Dental sealants are used as to prevent tooth decay. Based on this report, urban and rural children have about the same amount of dental sealants. Huzzah!

In the meantime, remember to give a nice tap on that subscribe button to the very bottom or top left hand side of this page to read more about the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center. See you next week, same place, same time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wonderment Wednesday: HIV Awareness

We are tired at the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center.

 Why? It isn't because we partook in the post-Thanksgiving marathon of themed days (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Still Needs a Name Sundays, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday). No. It's not even because we ate too much. It's because we are so fed up with HIV Awareness Day being put on the back burner that we are tired.

That is right, lost in the hustle and bustle of these post-Thanksgiving themed days was HIV Awareness Day. HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS. Click here for more information on HIV. Many of you may remember the times of HIV/AIDS was a regular news story. While HIV is not as prevalent of a news story as it used to, it still shows up in everyday pop culture.

Other places it might show up? You guessed it, rural areas.

5 Facts About HIV/AIDS In Rural Areas
1. Prevalence of HIV/AIDS is higher in urban areas
In a report written by Dr. Medha Iyer (nee Vyavaharker) that looked at 28 states, HIV/AIDS were higher in urban counties than rural counties. Going deeper into the numbers,  HIV/AIDS tended to decrease as counties became more rural. FINALLY, some good news for people living in rural areas.

Don't worry, we were just as shocked as you are. But all this good news comes with a tidbit.

2. There are less HIV/AIDS services available in rural areas
The same study looked at HIV/AIDS services available to HIV/AIDS patients. In particular, Ryan White medical providers which provide HIV services to people lacking the resources for HIV care. Of the counties analyzed, 69% of urban counties do not have Ryan White clinics, while 95% of rural counties do not have Ryan White clinics. Unfortunately, it also found a higher proportion (78%) of rural residents with HIV/AIDS did not have a Ryan White clinic supporting them compared to urban (11%) of residents.  

3. South Carolina HIV infected adults are not accessing HIV care.
In this study written by Dr. Bankole Olatosi it looked at current HIV positive patients in South Carolina. What it found was that up to 40% of South Carolina HIV patients were not receiving care. But why? The paper pointed to several reasons which may include fear, stigmatization, denial of care, and stage of disease.

4. HIV isn't just a physical struggle, it is a mental struggle
In a study published by Dr. Kenneth Phillips, they reviewed home visits by peer counselors in rural women. What they found gives a very detailed insight of people who are infected with HIV/AIDS. During their study they found 4 themes in HIV/AIDS patients: 1. Stigma of their HIV status 2. Depression  3. Struggling Life 4. An uncomfortable dependence on others.

5. It is important to get HIV screenings if you are sexually active
Let me take the time to underline the importance of this point. Despite all the HIV awareness out there, 130,000 new people a year are infected by HIV in the United States.  The spread of HIV can be prevented. If you are sexually active here are local testing centers, please get tested often. If you are a person currently infected with HIV or AIDS, remember there is plenty of support and help out there for you. Please get in contact with your local public health department if you need it.

In the meantime, remember to give a nice tap on that subscribe button to the very bottom or top left hand side of this page to read more about the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center. See you next week, same place, same time.