May was Mental Health Awareness month. How aware of mental health issues are we in our own lives as well as in those we treat every day? As HIV care providers, how often do we hear “I am so down,” “I haven’t had fun in so long,” or “I’m so stressed.” Often in our patient’s lives everything becomes a problem, so do we truly recognize the stress they may be experiencing? With clinic visits becoming shorter and patient volume growing larger, checking in on a person’s mood often falls by the wayside.
In 2006, Massachusetts passed comprehensive health insurance reform in order to provide almost universal coverage for its residents. In doing so, the state introduced several health care reforms, which have become the foundation for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and made MA the model for the Ryan White Program in a post-health care reform environment. Reforms included an individual mandate, Medicaid expansion, and increased access to subsidized private insurance and resulted in improved health outcomes and reduced health care costs for all residents.
How many times have you dozed off during a conference or webinar? It is easy to lose focus with educational formats that require little or no interaction. When we want to learn something fun and new, what methods do we choose? I bet a lot of us go to YouTube to watch short videos, go to Pinterest for ideas, or we turn to blog sites and other online communities for answers and instructions to tackle tasks. Why should continuing education for healthcare providers be any different?
The in+care Campaign is a multi-year effort managed by the National Quality Center and sponsored by the Health Resources Services Administration HIV/AIDS Bureau. It is designed to bring together local, regional and national organizations that are focused on improving patient retention in HIV care. in+care kicked off in October 2011 and has enrolled more than 700 individual HIV providers representing more than 500 provider organizations, including Ryan White grantees and subgrantees of all Parts funding.
How many of you are currently reading this blog on your phones? Wait! Don’t answer that. Just the fact that you are reading this and not playing Bejeweled means we are off to a great start. However, if you are using your cell phone to access the internet, you aren’t alone. As of May 2013, 85% of U.S. adults are online, 91% have a cell phone and 56% have a smartphone. Along with increased smartphone ownership, the use of mobile phone applications or ‘apps’ is on the rise.
In January 2013, the AIDS Education and Training Center National Resource Center (AETC NRC) hosted the training exchange Guidelines for Improving Entry Into and Retention in Care and ARV Adherence for Persons with HIV. This training exchange featured presentations on the latest evidence-based recommendations for improving entry into, retention in care, and medication adherence for persons living with HIV infection.
Two goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, reducing HIV incidence, and increasing access to care/optimizing outcomes, can be strongly and positively affected by engaging and retaining HIV-infected patients in clinical care. Why has this been so challenging? A glance at the Spectrum of Engagement in Care Cascade shows dramatic decreases from the number of people diagnosed with HIV to those engaged in clinical care, taking antiretroviral therapy, and achieving undetectable viral loads.