The Intersection of Tech and Healthcare (Besides Online Medical Billing Classes)

yelpYes, it is true, studying online medical billing classes with the Allen School is an intersection between technology and healthcare.  However, it is not a particularly unique example of this intersection.  There are far more exotic instances of the melding of technology and medicine such as Internet enabled, remote control surgery for example.

This story however, is a fascinating example of this intersection along with a dash of crowd-sourcing thrown in for additional interest.  It turns out that researchers studying food poisoning have been monitoring popular restaurant review site Yelp.com to track instances of food-borne illness in the US.  Their research revealed that approximately 10% of Yelp reviewers claimed to have been given food poisoning in reviews they left on places they’d eaten.  What was surprising was that the Yelp data correlated strongly to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data on outbreaks of food borne illnesses.

When Yelp was developed, I doubt any of the technology minds there imagined this use for the technology tool they were building.  It just goes to show what unintended consequences can arise when technology is harnessed in pursuit of healthcare.  Do you have any funny stories stemming from your use of technology to study online medical billing classes with Allen School Online?  Share in the comments!

New Public Health Threat – Be Aware Nursing Assistant

sick toddlerIt seems like we’re writing posts like this one with increasing frequency.  I am referring to posts wherein we bring an emerging public health threat to the attention of our students taking nursing assistant courses.

This time we’re reporting on the emergence of a respiratory virus known as Enterovirus D68.  This illness has hospitalized patients in more than 21 states so far and has recently been reported in the New York area.  What is most distressing about this illness – which has symptoms similar to those of a common cold: fever, runny nose, couching and sneezing, body and muscle aches – is the fact that it seems to target young children the most.

While enteroviruses are not new and infect as many as 10 to 15 million people each year, the D68 strain is notoriously virulent, having been known to medical science since it emerged back in the early1960s. The strain is known to cause significant respiratory distress and is particularly dangerous for those with asthma.   Worse, there is no known treatment or inoculation against it.  Those diagnosed are typically treated with intravenous liquids, oxygen treatments and over the counter remedies.

According to the Washington Post, ” After a surge in cases of severe respiratory illnesses last month popped up in Illinois and Missouri, the CDC ran tests and determined dozens of the children who were hospitalized there tested positive for a rare enterovirus strain. Most recently, Alabama and Washington state hospitals have seen an influx of sick children. Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah are also now investigating cases of respiratory illnesses, CNN reported.

The CDC since confirmed nearly 100 cases in six states: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Missouri. Some state laboratories may have confirmed cases too, but those were not included in the CDC’s total.”

With the illness seemingly making its way into the area with cases reported in Connecticut and New York, it seemed like a good time to let our nursing assistant trainees know about the emerging threat so they’ll be fully prepared when they complete their course of study and matriculate into the job force.

Leaving a Nursing Assistant Job? Don’t Say These Things!

LoudWe’ve done a lot of writing here at the Allen School blog about what to say and what not to say when you’re looking for a job.  So in the interest of change, we’re taking this opportunity to look at it from the other side of the equation.

Having earned your certification as a nursing assistant, you hold a credential that makes you a sought after human resource.  We’ve frequently covered the stories from Bureau of Labor statistics and other sources that confirm the healthcare industry is poised to continue to grow and that nursing assistants are in high demand.  As a result of all the available opportunities, it is likely that you may be moving from job to job as better opportunities arise and as your experience level grows.  Or perhaps as happens to everyone from time to time, you wind up in an employment situation where you’re at odds with management or co-workers.

Whatever the reason for leaving a position, there are some things you must avoid saying in spite of the fact that they may feel natural to say.   Even positive things like, “I am so excited for my new job” or “No thanks, I don’t need any help” can be as damaging as saying negative things like, “This place is a sinking ship” or “I’d never dream of working here again”.

Business Insider’s Jaqueline Smith’s article, “12 Things you Should Never Say on your Last Day of Work” lists all the things – positive and negative – that human nature urges us to utter on our final day at a job.  Read it and file the wisdom away for the future.  After all, your career as a nursing assistant will likely take you through numerous positions over the year and knowing what to say at the end of an engagement is often exquisitely tied to the beginning of another.

Back to School for Adults (Healthcare Training School that is)

adults in schoolIts back to school time!  “Hooray” shout countless moms and dads who have had just about enough of their children’s summertime shenanigans! But it is not just a time of the year to think about sending kiddos back to school.  If you’re an adult who is in need of a career change and seeking a pathway to more rewarding and gainful employment, then you may also be considering doing some “back to schooling” of your own.

If this describes where you are in your life at this point, you may wish to consider enrolling in healthcare training school with the Allen School.  Here you can gain certification to be a nursing assistant, a medical assistant or even a medical billing and coding professional.  All three jobs are in high demand and the healthcare field is among the top on every list of the most stable jobs with good long term prospects.

Going back to school for an adult is a different exercise for an adult as it is for a kid.  So we’ve found a great piece that delivers some very sound advice for grownups re-entering the school environment.  To summarize, the tips are:

  • Get Financial Help
  • Keep a strict schedule
  • Get your sleep
  • Delegate and learn to say no
  • Create a support group
Courtney Buell developed this list in an eZine article you can read here for the details on why each of these five tips is valuable to the adult rejoining the academic world.  You can do it!

Happy Labor Day from NYC’s Favorite Healthcare Training School

labor dayTo those of you enrolled in NYC’s favorite healthcare training school – the Allen School – with designs on entering the labor force after training for a rewarding and lucrative new career, this blogger wishes you a happy Labor Day!  Lest we forget the reason for this important holiday while we’re beaching, barbecuing, partying and what have you, I have included the following information explaining the origins of this celebration.

From Wikipedia:
“Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.

Labor Day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre, which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.”

Have a safe and happy Labor Day!

Moving Your Medical Assisting Career Forward

10 things

Indecision, shame, procrastination, pride, excuses, cavalier attitudes, ingratitude – these are all things that can stymie your efforts at moving forward in life and in your pursuit of medical assisting training for a new career.  This chart says a great deal in very few words, offering the 10 things one must give up in order to move forward towards their goals.  Are you ready to let go of these things and move closer toward your financial security and a rewarding career as a medical assistant?

4 Daily Steps to be a Successful Medical Coding Online Student

4stepsMotivating yourself, stepping up, staying focused and being critical.  These are the four things that, if done every day, will help a person to be much more successful in their career according to a recent article by the Business Insider.   These four tips come courtesy of James Caan, CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw Group who clearly achieved a high station in his career by following his own advice.

The truth is, these same four steps can be applied even before one enters the work world.  For those studying medical coding online with the Allen School as an example, practicing these same four steps on a daily basis can drive successful studies and help to develop the work habits that are critical to success one you’ve earned your certificate and begin to make your way into the workforce.

Ultimately, these four steps are relevant to everyone, no matter what kind of activity they’re involved in.  Whether it is studying to earn a nursing assistant certification, learning to make a souffle, mastering a second language, starting a dog walking business or any other pursuit; motivation, follow through, focus and metrics are key factors to planning for and attaining success in life.

Epic Diversion from Healthcare Training School

simpEveryone knows studying to earn your nursing assistant certification or your degree in medical assisting requires a good deal of effort and work to accomplish.  After all, they’re not giving away excellent jobs with solid long-term prospects to any old untrained fool.  And speaking of untrained fools, America’s favorite untrained nuclear power plant safety officer, Homer Simpson is going to be on the FXX channel for two full weeks.

Yes, you overworked healthcare training school students, you heard it here first.  Beginning tomorrow, Thursday, the FXX channel will be running every, single Simpsons episode ever – back to back.  Being the longest running show on TV by a wide margin, this means Simpsons fans will be treated to two full weeks of round the clock Simpsons episodes which amounts to one heck of a tool for procrastination.

Now I am not advocating that any Allen School students drop off the grid for two weeks to audit them all. You do and you  may wind up as good at your medical industry job as Doctor Hibbert (or worse, Doctor Nick)!   hibbertHowever, I think all the hard work you’re doing has earned you some good, old fashioned, mindless Simpsons fun.  Also, just for fun, share your favorite Simpsons scene in the comments below.

Medical Billing Online Students Must Update Old Browsers

internet-explorer-11-logoThere has been a lot of discussion here at the Allen School blog lately about the impact of Microsoft’s phase out of Windows XP and the imminent farewell to support for Windows Vista and 7.  These are important issues that impact medical billing online students who connect to their school and studies over a computer/internet connection.

Well, it would seem the good folks from the house that Bill Gates built in Redmond, WA are not quite done making you update your computer systems.   Microsoft’s popular Internet Explorer (or IE as it is often referred to) software is the internet browser run by a solid majority of internet users world wide.  While this blogger favors other browsers (like Firefox or Chrome) we won’t be doing a comparison article today.  It is enough to simply point out that Microsoft has updated IE numerous times with the most current iteration, Version 11 being the latest and greatest.

But according to tech site the Verge, “Microsoft is planning to force Windows users onto the latest supported versions of Internet Explorer. The change will take effect on January 12th, 2016, meaning Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will need to be running Internet Explorer 11 to continue receiving updates. If Internet Explorer 12 or even version 13 debuts before January 12th, 2016 and it supports Windows 7 and Windows 8, then those users will need to upgrade to the very latest. Microsoft’s change means Internet Explorer 8 and 10 will no longer be supported on consumer versions of Windows after January 12th, 2016.”  Read the whole article here for details.

So if you’re considering upgrading your operating system as we’ve discussed in recent posts here and here, you may also wish to consider updating your IE version as well.  Doing all of this is certainly a hassle, but it has the great benefit of keeping your computer running fast and safe from viruses and hackers.

Healthcare Training School Postgraduate Tip #17: These Don’t Belong in a Professional Communications

OMGWhat’s wrong with this letter?

“Dear Ms. Jones,

Hiya!  Thx for seeing me earlier today 4 my job interview.  U were the shizz and I loved the story about your pet cat Peaches – LOLZ!  I hope ur considering hiring me as I need to get out of my current job because my boss here is such a jerk!  I just can’t wait to tell him off in my resignation email.  Anyway, thx again for ur time and I hope you won’t hold it against me for being 2 mins late.  I had a flat tire and then once I changed it, I got caught behind a long train followed by a tornado and a swarm of locusts.  But I called my momz and she sent my uncle Jim down in his taxi, and after he stopped at the liquor store to cash a check, he was able to bring me to the interview.

Ur pal,
Johnny D”

Ok, by now you’ve probably caught on to what I am trying to convey here.  There are a good number of things you should studiously avoid when writing professional communications of any kind.  Whether these be emails, letters, job applications or resignations, take care to put your most professional voice forward.

The folks at Monster.com have published a list of 7 things you should never write in a professional email. The comical example above included several of these seven such as:

  • Informalities (LOL, WTF?, SMH, etc.)
  • Negativity (My old boss is a dufus!)
  • Disagreements (My co-workers are lazy)
  • Resignations (Dear boss, take this job and shove it!)

But there are more.  They teach you all you need to know about becoming a CNA, or a medical billing specialist in healthcare training school.  But lessons about how to succeed in the workplace are not necessarily included and are learned the hard way by most.  Don’t make these mistakes after working so hard to gain your new credential!