Study Reveals Just How Common Repeat ER Visits Are

Doctor explaining diagnosis to her female patient
Patients treated in emergency rooms make far more repeat visits than previously thought, a new study has revealed, although they often go to a different ER the second time around.

Analysis of more than 53 million ER records from between 2006 and 2010 (the latest data available) showed that around 8% of the patients were back in an emergency department within three days. About 20% of patients made a repeat visit within a month.

Patients with skin infections had the highest rate of return, followed by patients with abdominal pain.

These types of “big data” studies have been facilitated only relatively recently because of the rapid adoption of electronic health records; adoption of basic EHR systems by office-based physicians went up 21% between 2012 and 2013 alone, and the industry is slated to be worth nearly $30 billion by 2022.

But unfortunately, national health systems are still disconnected in many ways, meaning those same records often aren’t available to practitioners at different health facilities.

That could even be part of the reason why patients end up back in the ER, the study authors suggest; it’s likely that their primary care managers never even know that they’ve made ER trips, meaning they don’t get the follow-up care that they need.

And in reverse, ER doctors may not have access to tests or diagnostic scans from previous visits, meaning they have to order them again. That drives up the costs of healthcare, as well as overloading facilities and delaying treatment.

The federal government has been trying to enforce the adoption of EHRs among hospitals and doctors that receive reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, but numerous problems with implementation have forced regulators to back off and allow more time for providers to comply. That means it could be even longer before all health institutions have records that allow for easy communication among practitioners.

This study used data from Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Nebraska and Utah, some of the first states to link records so that they follow patients from one health facility to another.

The findings were published this month in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Study Follows Evolution of Yoga and Yoga Marketing in U.S.

Yoga pose, Abstract color background
Researchers from Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics published a new study about the evolution of yoga in the American marketplace. They concluded that its rise has been largely associated with its perception as a fitness, rather than spiritual, practice.

“What we discovered was the U.S. yoga market delineated itself not only in the different types of yoga that emerged, but also in the logic behind why people do yoga,” Gokcen Coskuner-Balli, an assistant professor and co-author of the study, explained to Chapman University’s news service. The study shows that the changing meanings of yoga have had to do with the training of yoga gurus or instructors, as well as the distinct branding practices of the many players in the yoga market.

To gather data for the study, the research team dove into a wide variety of popular sources. They searched for all articles in the New York Times and Washington Post archives that were published between 1980 and 2012 and had the word “yoga” in the headline or first paragraph. They also examined published books containing the word yoga, interviewed founders of yoga brands and even participated in multiple types of yoga classes between 2009 and 2012.

This approach allowed the team to identify key moments that positioned yoga as a health and fitness regimen, such as when Berly Bender Birch’s Power Yoga became the best-selling book of 1999.

The full paper, with Burcak Ertimur listed as co-author, is published in the Journal of Marketing.
Yoga and Stress Management
The evolution of yoga into a popular American workout doesn’t mean that it has completely lost its meditative quality for participants however, as probably most of the busy moms who see it as their escape would explain.

According to a newly released study out of Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, mindfulness-based practices including yoga can help decrease overall stress levels and reduce the risk of burnout even in extremely demanding jobs.

“As a yoga practitioner, I have dabbled in various forms of yoga,” said Malek Neman, President of NUX Group, Inc. “While the fitness and flexibility benefits of yoga are difficult to dispute, there is a magical, and often unexpected, experience that brings most practitioners back to the mat. In the process of focusing on the yoga routine and breathing practices, the mind does slow down, and the practitioner experiences a meditative state. I often walk away from the mat with a deep sense of gratitude.”

Kids’ Fitness Moves into the World of Spinning and Yoga Classes Normally Reserved for Adults

Athlete running road silhouette
Spin classes have long been a favorite of physically active adults, especially in the Chelsea neighborhood in New York. But Peloton Studio recently opened its doors to offer the cycle-based workouts to fitness-minded youngsters as well.

The Studio offers free after-school classes to kids twice a week for 30 minutes each. The goal is to get kids up and off the couch to start early on lifelong fitness decisions.

In addition to regularly scheduled classes, they also offer sessions to young cyclists from Star Track Cycling, an organization that aims to get children and teens interested in track cycling.

Kids’ fitness has long been a hot button topic as more government and medical officials try to push for better nutrition in schools and more opportunities for physical activity during the day.

“[Parents should] encourage children to be more active by offering incredible growth opportunities hidden in fun, creative, and exciting activities,” said Eric Colton, owner of Fitness by the Sea Kid’s Summer Camp. “[They should] also encourage children to ‘learn by doing’ and serve as mentors and participants during these activities.”

But it’s not only health that should be on parents’ minds when examining their children’s daily habits, says Micah Maxwell, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Muncie, Indiana. When kids stay physically active and have a healthy diet, they are more likely to perform well in school, maintain academic success, and show improvements in their self esteem.
Maxwell’s Boys and Girls Club held a CrossFit Field Day to engage kids in a series of fun high-energy activities designed to lower stress.

CrossFit, which uses a WOD, or “workout of the day,” develops strength and agility training and allows individuals to work at their own pace. But even CrossFit gyms, or “boxes,” as they’re called, have been open to children in other settings, too.

Seaside CrossFit in Hanson, Massachusetts, recently held a contest that put kids through three WODs as a sort of tournament. Adults kept score to track each child’s progress in the workouts, but most of the emphasis was on keeping order and making sure that fun was had by all.

And to make the event more kid-friendly, the gym’s owners used a zoological theme that had kids competing with frog jumps, bear crawls, and a weight-lifting exercise that required an “angry gorilla chest.”

But not all exercise programs are about competition. Kids’ yoga classes, which have popped up all over the country in recent years, have also been brought to schools, like PS 205 in Bayside, Queens, in New York.

One local yoga studio, Little Flower Yoga, brings yoga to kids to get them to relax and connect their mind and body.

The fourth grade participants said that the activity helped them with everything from reducing headaches to improving flexibility for soccer and other sports.