Anxiety, Depression, Psychology, Relationships

personal connectionPersonal Connections Are Essential for Mental Health Recovery

Facing a condition such as bipolar disorder can be frightening. However, for one Yale Medicine patient, healing has happened through a range of personal connections.

In his cooking classes, Bob Forlano likes to make dal, the Indian dish with red lentils, celery, onion, garlic, thyme and cumin. “And since I’m a steak-and-potatoes guy,” he says, “I add sweet potatoes. It’s so good and filling that way.”

Forlano, a 50-year-old with a hearty laugh to match his hearty appetite, teaches cooking to clients at the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC), a collaboration between the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services and the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. CMHC provides mental health services for 5,000 people each year, Forlano among them.

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hipaa changesHIPAA 101: How Healthcare Data Security Impacts Patients

If you’ve been in to see a physician in the last 20 years or so—and we certainly hope that you have—you’ve most likey had to sign a HIPAA disclosure form. Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, back in 1996. One of its provisions is to drastically restrict your doctor’s ability to share your personal health info with other people. While your family doctor used to be able to update your wife on the results of your health exam, HIPAA laws now prevent this from happening—unless you give explicit permission.

Interestingly, HIPAA is not a “set in stone” act—in fact, over tha past two decades, it’s continually evolving as technology and other factors impact the way it works. Here are some of the most important changes:

More Rights for You, the Patient

As of 2003, you now have the right to ask how your medical records will be used, as well as to request copies of your tests and charts and ask for corrections if you believe that something is wrong. As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes, those updates tried to balance the need to keep patients’ personal information confidential and with protecting public health. For example, if an individual was diagnosed with a rare and highly contagious disease, it would be in the public interest to disclose at least some of the patient’s data to keep the general population safe.

Data Breaches, BYOD Policies, and More

2013 changes took into account many advances in technology. Three new safeguards were put in place to protect the security of all of your electronically stored and transmitted records. These new rules were especially important for healthcare providers with a “BYOD” policy where workers were able to use their own personal electronic devices at and for work. The HIPAA rules for 2013 also included an updated definition of what a “data breach” means and what constitutes an “unauthorized exposure” of electronic patient health information.

How HIPAA Has Changed in 2017

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the entity in charge of enforcing HIPAA, has been keeping a sharp eye on the patient privacy act and the healthcare information technology sector, and doing everything they can to make sure your personal health info stays private. The OCR is now in the second phase of its HIPAA audit program, and has been identifying candidates for an audit, which will ensure that healthcare providers are following the rules. The OCR has also been looking at additional angles of medical privacy that didn’t exit when HIPAA went into effect more than 20 years ago. OCR will spend a great deal of time looking into cybersecurity risks and providing rules for cybersecurity management at healthcare facilities. In addition, OCR is keeping close tabs on cloud computing, and has declared that cloud services providers are technically business associates for the purposes of HIPAA, and therefore must sign a HIPAA-compliant business associate agreement.


Other Cancers

glioblastomaFighting the Deadliest Brain Cancer, Glioblastoma

Researchers at Yale Medicine are working to harness the immune system to battle glioblastoma.

Tremendous progress has been made in extending the life expectancy for patients suffering from glioblasma, the deadliest of brain cancers. Forty years ago, patient with this cancer diagnosis were given four months to live. Now the median life expectancy is more than 14 months.

For years, physicians sought to attack glioblastoma from the outside, using chemotherapy, drugs, or radiation. But one of the new frontiers in glioblastoma treatment turns this inside out, using immunotherapy to fight the disease.

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Aging, Masculinity, Relationships

12 bad habits hair loss12 Bad Habits That Can Lead to Hair Loss

Have you often been the subject of envy or appreciation when it came to your hair? Did you always have a shiny tuft of hair that wasn’t just healthy but also had a certain vigour to it that made heads turn? Has that thick mane of hair predeceased its glory days, merely reducing to a frizzy, unhealthy mess?

Healthy hair doesn’t just look good, it makes you feel good as well. Arming you with oodles of self-confidence, good hair days make one feel like they can conquer anything life throws at them.  However, hair health is often a neglected area for many men. It is almost heart breaking to run your fingers through your hair to only find stray strands tucked between your fingers. Continue Reading

Health, Sex, STDs

you can get std even when wearing a condomCan I Get an STD Even When Wearing a Condom?

Many people mistakenly believe that using a condom completely protects from all sexually transmitted diseases, however, this is not the truth. It is still very possible to contract dangerous illnesses, even if a condom is used. Keep reading for some valuable information regarding the possibility of spreading a sexually transmitted disease while still using protection.

Condoms Are Not 100% Effective

It is a myth that condoms protect against disease 100% of the time. Even with correct use, condoms are only 95% effective in disease protection. With incorrect use, this drops to approximately 75%. The condom can break, causing the spread of disease. Also, it is important to make sure that the condom is not past its expiration date.

Another myth is that all condoms provide protection. This is not the case. Lambskin condoms are not approved for the prevention of STD’s, as bacteria can still spread through the condom. Make sure you are using condoms that are specifically manufactured to prevent the spread of disease.

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Added on April 18, 2012

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