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Home-based cardiac rehab may cut deaths by more than a third

A 2023 study found that a 12-week home-based cardiac rehab program may lower a person's risk of dying over the next few years. Cardiac rehab, a program designed to help people recover from heart-related problems, is traditionally done at a medical facility.

Blood pressure measurements vary widely at the doctor's office

Blood pressure measurements taken at a doctor's office can vary widely from one visit to the next, according to a 2022 study. It included blood pressure measurements from almost 537,000 people, each with an average of 13 doctor visits over two years.

Will artificial intelligence replace doctors?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to assist doctors in the exam room. One day, AI may listen to doctor and patient conversations in order to suggest tests or treatments the doctor should consider, highlight possible diagnoses, and draft notes for medical records.

Hospital at home: A movement whose time has come

Hospital at home provides care in a person's home for common conditions such as heart failure. Health care providers visit at least twice daily and can draw blood, provide intravenous medication delivery, and take portable ultrasounds and chest X-rays. Patients are constantly monitored via a small patch on the chest that measures heart rate and rhythm, breathing rates, and activity. The program also provides a tablet used for videoconferencing with the doctor and specialists, if needed.

Why won't my primary care doctor oversee my hospital care?

Increasingly, hospitalist doctors (who are present in the hospital 24 hours a day) take care of hospitalized patients, with advice from the patients' primary care doctors. This helps solve the dilemma of primary care doctors needing to be in two places at once—in a hospital with some patients and in an office with others. It's not a perfect solution: hospitalists often don't know the patients they're caring for, and they are unfamiliar with patients' extensive medical records. But ultimately, the increasing number of hospitalists is probably improving the quality and efficiency of hospital care.

What should I ask at my annual physical?

An estimated 32% of Americans delayed routine medical care during the pandemic. People resuming their annual physicals should ask their doctor if they need vaccinations, screening tests, prescription changes, or lifestyle modifications to improve their health.

Medicare extends coverage of telehealth through 2024

In December 2022, Congress extended Medicare coverage of telehealth visits through the end of 2024. The extension will also cover telehealth visits with occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists.

Telehealth for your heart

Video visits and other forms of telehealth, which were commonplace during the COVD-19 surge, can be good options for treating people with heart disease. Telehealth delivery options can be synchronous or asynchronous, and they may also include remote monitoring or measurements such as weight and blood pressure. Blended care that combines in-person appointments with virtual visits may be the wave of the future.

How to choose and guide your health care proxy

A health care proxy is a person designated to make health care decisions for someone who becomes unable to make them. The best candidate for the job is someone who knows the patient well, such as a family member or friend. The proxy needs the emotional and mental ability to make decisions based on what the patient wants, no matter the health scenario or environment, such as a hospital or long-term care facility. At the time of proxy selection, the patient should communicate his or her beliefs, values, and wishes for care.

Podcasts to enhance your health IQ

Listening to health-focused podcasts can help boost a person's knowledge about the latest medical treatments and trends, and how to live a healthy lifestyle or cope with chronic disease. Just make sure the podcasts come from reliable sources. When choosing a health podcast, it's important to seek out credible hosts, such as well-credentialed health professionals or health journalists who present scientific data in a balanced rather than biased manner. People should avoid programs that promote poorly researched or scientifically unfounded diets or treatments.

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