Communication as a health tool – Florence Health

Opioids   Psych / Mental Health   Health Tech / HCIT   Policy  Sleep

Today’s Read: 3.5 minutes

Today, we look at a variety of ways that communication can help make you and your patients healthier. Specifically, phone calls can help diminish anxiety, depression, and loneliness; texts can help manage opioid use, and vaccination passports can allow people to travel and do other activities that make them feel good.

Plus, how variable sleep schedules can make us grumpy.

Phone calls are more important than we might think

The pandemic has forced many people homebound—not just patients, but family and friends. New research suggests that phone calls can go a long way to help combat loneliness and isolation for this group.

Volunteers called 120 clients of Meals on Wheels Central Texas up to five times a week, asking them how they were doing and talking to them about their interests. Another 120 clients did not receive calls, but all 240 clients answered questionnaires before and after the four-week trial ended. Researchers found that people who got the regular calls felt less loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Who can you call today?

Why you might be grumpy

When your waking time varies day-to-day, you may find yourself in a foul mood—just as you may when you stay up extra late the night before or got up extra early that morning, Michigan Medicineresearchers found.

The study uses data from tracking the sleep and other activities of more than 2,100 first-year medical residents over one year. Participants also reported their daily mood on a smartphone app and take quarterly tests for signs of depression.

Individuals with more variable sleep schedules were more likely to score higher on standardized depression symptom questionnaires and to have lower daily mood ratings. Those who regularly stayed up late, or got the fewest hours of sleep, also scored higher on depression symptoms and lower on daily mood. Yet another reason to try to prioritize sleep.

Your Covid-19 passport coming soon

A Covid-19 vaccine digital passport could be ready for testing this spring, and possibly launched by mid-summer, reports Becker’s Hospital Review. The tool has been co-developed by the Vaccination Credential Initiative, which includes organizations such as Microsoft, Cerner, and Epic, aims to provide users with an encrypted copy of immunization records storable on a digital wallet. For people without smartphones, the Vaccination Credential Initiative is exploring methods such as paper cards with printed QR codes for electronic validation.

But this isn’t the only digital health passport in development, reports The New York Times. IBM has been developing its own Digital Health Pass that would help persons provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test. A Swiss non-profit is also creating a CommonPass that would function similarly to IBM’s planned version.

There are many challenges to this system, but chief among them is creating a system that can be used worldwide.

The percentage of opioids prescribed that went unused. The result was discovered during a study that showed more orthopaedic patients responded to text messages designed to measure their usage of their prescriptions at days 4, 7, 14, and 21 days after surgery.

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