Category Archives: Health

Telehealth Today: Telepsychiatry!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Over the years, I’ve visited more than a few psychiatrists – not because I felt there was anything inherently wrong with me, but because I was looking for professional guidance (and clarity) that could not be self-attained. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you’re not perfect – because none of us are.

The greatest challenge, for me, isn’t seeing that I could use assistance, but finding the time to sit down with a professional. I always thought it would be more convenient to use my computer to connect with a psychiatrist – and, thanks to a new program for mental health, that’s now possible.

When given the option to interview Arpan Waghray, MD, a System Director for Swedish (Providence St. Joseph Health) who is involved with their Telepsychiatry program, I opted to ask the following questions.

Which party is most hesitant to use this new medium, and why do you think that is?

Patients have generally been very willing to receive care using this medium as it provides more flexibility/convenience and timely access to care. Some elderly patients have had challenges with adapting to the technology but with some assistance from families/caregivers have benefited greatly – especially our home bound elderly patients with depression.

Reimbursement rates continue to remain a problem for many providers to widely adopt this technology as a part of their practice.

With the decreasing costs of available systems and the wider availability of increasingly secure technologies, psychiatrists and patients may find this mode of service more acceptable. The reliable high-speed IP networks that are beginning to form the technological backbone of telepsychiatry are still limited in their reach, being clustered mostly around urban and suburban areas and less prevalent in the rural areas that telepsychiatry could benefit the most.

Has face-to-face interaction been a serious impediment for a would-be patient to have sought traditional psychiatric help?

For many patients with severe depression or anxiety, it might be difficult to schedule and follow up with a traditional office-based psychiatric visit. Some patients struggling with severe postpartum depression might also have to plan for childcare which could limit their ability to receive care.

Children with autistic spectrum disorder might do better in the comfort of there home. Our homebound elderly patients also find it very difficult to receive traditional psychiatric care.

Many psychiatric crisis could be averted by providing timely access to good mental health care. If someone is unwell and unable to visit their mental health provider, the care could be brought to them in a timely manner via Telemedicine that can be tremendously helpful to prevent things from getting worse.

With the advent of the Internet, has self-diagnosis been more of a boon or a bust for a person who may be afflicted with any given mental illness?

We believe that technology, when used appropriately, will help empower our patients to become more informed and involved in their care. With innovation in cloud computing, AI/Machine learning; there could be an ongoing dialogue between physicians and patients using real time data that will lead to better preventive care and more effective, customized health regimens.

Poor information and not involving your healthcare providers, on the other hand, can be detrimental to one`s mental health and well-being.

Apart from the obvious travel savings, can telepsychiatry help save resources for either psychiatrist and/or patients in other ways?

Yes. This technology can allow us to deliver more effective team based models of care. For example, a joint visit with a primary care physician and a Telepsychiatrist can help with developing a shared care care plan that will lead to better outcomes for the patient.

This technology can also help by providing timely access to MH care in rural settings that decreases the need for more expensive and inappropriate healthcare utilization (minimizing avoidable ED visits and hospitalizations).

Does a psychiatrist need to receive special training for the telepsychiatry option?

Being a highly cognitive discipline, psychiatry lends itself somewhat naturally to the use of telemedicine. We do however expect all our providers to have some training to familiarize themselves with the technology with a special focus on ensuring patient safety and privacy.

If the providers need to perform a physical examination, this could be done with the assistance of a Telepresenter at the site of service. There is special training for both the physicians and Telepresenters for this work.

Has telepresence been used effectively in other health care sectors beyond accommodating mental health needs?

Yes. There are several very effective telemedicine programs, including Tele stroke, Tele Hospitalist, Tele Radiology and Tele ICU to name a few.

If given a choice between accessing these services via traditional methods or through these new means, I would absolutely choose the latter (in just about every instance) – for comfort, convenience, and concision. The Internet is not going away, so it’s good to see long-standing institutions embrace its power instead of continuing to exist in a less-than-progressive past.

Ways to Make Your Home Office Smell Better

Let’s face it: our home offices and workshops tend to smell a bit stale at times. A lot of hardcore geeks don’t spend as much time on personal grooming as polite society deems… polite. We have better things to do with our time than to worry about how pleasing our surroundings smell, right? Wrong! Imagine how much happier you would be at work if your surroundings didn’t smell quite so rank!

What happens if you meet someone who could turn out to be your significant other were it not for the odd stench that clings to you from spending so much time in a sanctuary of stink? Even if you’ve succeeded in shedding the telltale wake of foul odors, maybe you’d like to invite this possible romantic interest over. Do you really want your office to smell like an old shoe — or worse? It only takes a few minutes to help freshen things up, beyond opening up the windows, that is. Here are a few quick ways to make your home office (or workshop) smell better…

[$5+ patrons can read the rest of Ways to Make Your Home Office Smell Better here. Not a patron? Consider the benefits here!]

How Do Geeks Get Healthy?

A while back, mutley had discussed his lack of fitness and his poor lifestyle choices as a young geek. I stumbled across his old post today, and thought it was quite relevant even now:

I would consider myself as living somewhat of a ‘geek lifestyle’ in that I’m indoors a lot and on the computer or on the console. It is something I want to change, however. I want to get a bit healthier, so I’m improving my diet by eating healthier and trying to cut my calorie intake.

It isn’t easy to do with this lifestyle. I’ve bought a treadmill and I’m doing a short amount on it each day on an incline to burn some extra calories and to ease my way into exercising.

What I want to know is how you stay healthy and in shape when living a lifestyle that largely revolves around physical inactivity? Are there any tips you can share on how to shed some weight or maintain your weight without having to sacrifice the lifestyle you enjoy, at least to a point?

I get you. Boy, oh, boy do I get where you’re coming from. Most of my time is spent being sedentary, also. In the past, I’ve made the effort to exercise daily. Sadly, I tend to only do this after I’ve packed on a few pounds and want to get rid of them.

What can we do differently? I may not always practice what I preach, but I do know what I should be doing.

Change your snack habits when you’re at the computer/console. Don’t reach for a sugary soda and a bag of chips. Before sitting down at your desk for the day, grab some healthier alternatives. Pick up fruits and veggies, low-fat pretzels, and even trail mix — anything that is healthier and will satisfy your need to munch your way through the day.

Set an alarm to remind you to take frequent breaks. Get up and do something. Go outside and walk/jog around the block. Too cold or wet? Stay in and take a few trips up and down the stairs. Stretch. Take your tablet or phone to a treadmill and walk your way through the day’s geeky news or your favorite vlogs. *cough* *cough*

The key is to balance your sedentary lifestyle with a bit more action and healthier food choices. Don’t do anything drastic — especially without talking to your doctor. You simply need to move that body to burn some calories and keep your body as fit as it can be. Even people who are overweight can be fit and healthy — trust me. Do some research if you don’t believe me. Keep your heart healthy, your blood pressure in check, and don’t overload your body with sugar.

Remember: I’m not a doctor! I’m just a geek who spends too much time behind a screen — just like you!

For some great fitness tips, check out what my brother Ben is up to on YouTube!

Would You Spend Your Life Savings to Stay Young?

Paul Sheriff writes:

If we could stop the aging process or reverse it, at what age would you choose to stay? Also, if your newborn daughter caught up to the same age as you and you only had the means for one of you to stay young (say the pills were $50,000 a year), would you keep her younger or yourself?

I don’t think of myself as an age, so any given number is completely irrelevant. I never long for the days when I was younger, and I don’t ever long for the days when I’m older.

That, and I probably wouldn’t buy pills at $50,000 a year.

I wouldn’t pay for anybody to be younger, either, though I would probably pay for someone to live twice as long if they so wished.

Would You Spend Your Life Savings to Stay Young?

What Would You Do if You Went Blind?

Patron Aaron Linson has a bit of a morbid curiosity. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions!

What would you do if you suddenly went blind or started to go blind due to cataracts? How would you change what you do for work?

I believe I explained this in an earlier WWYD for patrons, but I do believe I’d double down on my other senses – using every one of them to my advantage.

Imagine me talking about how I experienced the latest piece of “life-altering” technology without the ability to see anything. I’d spend more time talking about how it actually feels in my hands, how it responds to the commands I give it, how I’m able to navigate it.

I’d modify how I approach this industry, but my perspectives would be just as strong (coming from a strong-willed individual such as myself).

What Would You Do If You Went Blind?

How Do You Deal With Computer Vision Syndrome?

Ben Watkins asked:

How do you deal with computer vision syndrome?

Computer Vision Syndrome is nothing to ignore, for sure. Even staring at a screen for only a couple of hours per day can strain our eyes, and let’s face it: we all stare at our monitors and devices longer than that day in and day out.

The most common symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) are:

  • eyestrain
  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • dry eyes
  • neck and shoulder pain

Having poor lighting in the room, glare from the computer screen, improper viewing distances, poor seated posture and uncorrected vision problems can all contribute to the development of CVS. The good news is that most of these are quite easily corrected, thus getting rid of your eye issues when looking at your screen.

Lighting: – Make sure you have proper lighting in the room you’re in. Natural light is, of course, best. Failing that, be sure to NEVER ever NEVER stare at your screen in the dark – and have either a ceiling light on or a lamp or two near the desk.

Distance: – According to the American Optometric Association: “Most people find it more comfortable to view a computer when the eyes are looking downward. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.”

Posture: – Sit up straight! No, your Mom isn’t in the room with me. Trust me – I spend wayyyyyyy too many hours sitting at my desk each day. Add in the fact that I’m 40 years old now (holy HELL – how did that happen?!) and I can’t begin to stress how important good posture is while at a computer. This helps keep your body in line, reduces strain on your eyes AND helps prevent neck, back and shoulder pain. Many people find using a “back cushion” to help, as well.

Vision Problems: – If you are having any of the above symptoms on a regular basis, I urge you to see an eye doctor. Let the professionals decide whether you “just” have CVS or if there’s an underlying issue on top of it.

Compute smart and safe!

How Do You Cope With Stress?

George Baker asked a very timely question. You can become a Patron like George and receive priority answers to the things you ask me!

How do you deal with stress?

Everyone has different coping mechanism. The last thing you want to do is “more” of what’s stressing you out.

So, identify what’s most stressful… and start peeling back the layers. Don’t do something that doesn’t take your mind to a place it doesn’t normally go.

For me? Putting together LEGO sets. Spending time with my wife and dogs. Sipping a glass of wine while catching up on episodes of my favorite shows. See a pattern here? Work can stress me out at times, so I simply walk away for a while to unwind – and I know most of you do, as well.

What about everyone else? What are your stress-busters?

How Do You Cope With Stress?

Energy Gadget of the Future

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of AeroLife™ for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

The future was supposed to bring us instant meals; with the press of a button, we were supposed to have culinary delights spring out of something as small as the average pill in seconds. Instead, we wound up with microwavable meals and a question of whether or not all of that processed foodstuff was good for us (or mostly filler with more preservatives than nutrition). Have we exchanged complexity for simplicity at the cost of something greater?

When I was offered to take a look at the AeroLife system of nutrition delivery, I was intrigued. "Could this be better than our current array of options?" Certainly, it looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. I'm very careful about what I choose to ingest on a daily basis, and have been looking for a better way to lower my caloric intake without eliminating what my body might require to function at peak efficiency.


On a recent (very intensive) engagement on location, we were pushing into the wee hours of the morning. A member of the crew offered one of those quick-boost energy drinks for a shot of something that would more than likely do more harm than good. I've done my best to avoid ingesting any kind of high calorie / high sugar / highly-artificial food or beverage since my mid-20s. I'm wasn't about to buck that habit. 

All I want is to draw in what I need; for AeroLife to work, you need not do much more than that. The system offers instant nutritional delivery without hassle. I don't want to chew a sugary gummy just to get my B vitamins, nor do I care to swallow a pill with food I don't need or try to find a glass of liquid to help wash it down.


Quite honestly, a good dose of B vitamins is all I need for energy; I drink coffee not for the buzz, but for the flavor. However, AeroLife has you covered either way. There are a variety of modules to choose from, each one just as portable as the other. What do you need most at any given moment? Help with energy, sleep, immunity? No problem. Are you traveling, playing sports, or want a quick dose of caffeine without anything else? AeroLife has you covered there, too.

AeroLife Options

It's kinda neat, and you have to try it in a situation that calls for it to really understand why something like AeroLife really works well (and better than the alternatives). I know what it feels like when I take a B vitamin, so I swallowed some of the air-based AeroLife powder before writing this article… and now I'm typing furiously, with words spilling onto the keyboard with nary a pause. It was perfect for work. Last night, I rested well after using AeroLife Sleep – and I can't wait to take this again before a very long, international flight (to rest easier en route and prepare myself for the time zone change). 

So, yeah – context is everything with AeroLife. It's a portable shot of smart nutrition, with the particles scientifically designed to be too big to go into your lungs, and small enough to flow through the air where they land on the tongue and are swallowed. Told you: it's smart. 

Using AeroLife

And you can try it for free if you want to see how it impacts your life. Start your free trial now!

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