Caregiving Club and Cranium Crunches mHealth App Cares for Caregivers
Written by Alyssa Clark
Upon the fusing of Caregiving Club with Cranium Crunches, a new and improved way of providing Caregivers with attentive mental and physical support, built from their stressful yet important careers, has been born in a new mobile application. This new smartphone app entitled “RELAX”, is designed to improve the mental health and stress levels of the nation’s 65 million caregivers, in order to better improve their overall wellness as individuals and professionals. Full of self-help tips, techniques and regimens to improve caregivers overall wellness, this application is set to change the game for caregivers everywhere by forcing them to help themselves just as much as they help others.
The application can be used on multiple “smart” devices: Google play, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Android and other Windows 8 handheld mobile devices. Later this month, an Apple IOS version will come out in order to equip iPhones and iPads the same way as the other devices. Offered for free (but including advertisements), the application also comes in a $0.99 version which remains advertisement free.
“In a caregiver health risks study, the difficulty managing stress was the No. 1 challenge for caregivers and over time becomes a slippery slope of declining health,” says Sherri Snelling, CEO of Caregiving Club. “When Cranium Crunches reached out to us about creating a special caregiver app, we found their concept for RELAX a perfect way for caregivers to find their Zen zone using it as a complement to our Me Time Monday program, a core part of our mission and message to help guide caregivers to better health and wellness.”
The app features a four step program that works to include an array of guided relaxation practices, yoga videos, an interactive journal and the ability to learn more about stress triggers and ways of coping with those stresses. These four steps specifically include:
1) Guided relaxation: complete with 3-8 minute slideshows displaying deep-breathing techniques, full body relaxation with meditation tips, visual journeys to your choice of a forest, ocean or personalized “peaceful” place. After the caregiver has experienced one of these helpful suggestions, they can record their experience in their journal (improvements are also continuously being looked to here for areas like Dementia and Alzheimer’s) in order to track their long-term experience.
2) Physical Exercise: Two yoga videos demonstrating different poses to help stretch the body and help deliver more blood to the brain.
3) The Journal: An outlet for caregiver’s to track their progress, document their experience and share their learning/growing experiences as each individual goes through this guided process.
4) Learn: Flash cards with information about managing stress and brain heath are available for caregiver’s reference. Podcasts are also set to become available in order to keep caregivers in the “know” in terms of their personal wellness.
“Most of us know we should exercise our bodies for better health but that is only one-half of the health and wellness equation – brain fitness is equally important,” says Ruth Curran, founder of Cranium Crunches. “When caregivers are challenged by stress, brain games that aid relaxation can be the prescription needed, especially for the 15 million caregivers of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease who report higher stress levels than most other caregivers.”
Alyssa Clark is the Editor of Healthcare Global
Getting ready for cloud data-driven healthcare
As healthcare continues to recognise the value of data and digital transformation, many organisations are relying on the cloud to make their future-forward and data-centric thinking a reality. In fact, the global healthcare cloud computing market was valued at approximately $18 billion and is expected to generate around $61 billion USD by 2025.
At the forefront of these changes is the rapid adoption of cloud-based, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), applications. These apps can be used to handle patient interactions, track prescriptions, care, billing and more, and the insights derived from this important data can vastly improve operations, procurement and courses of treatment. However, before healthcare organisations can begin to dream about a true data-driven future, they have to deal with a data-driven dilemma: compliance.
Meeting regulation requirements
It’s no secret that healthcare is a highly regulated industry when it comes to data and privacy – and rightfully so. Patient records contain extremely sensitive data that, if changed or erased, could cost someone their life. This is why healthcare systems rely on legacy technologies, like Cerner and Epic EHRs, to manage patient information – the industry knows the vendors put an emphasis on making them as secure as possible.
Yet when SaaS applications are introduced and data starts being moved into them, compliance gets complicated. For example, every time a new application is introduced into an organisation, that organisation must have the vendor complete a BAA (Business Associate Agreement). This agreement essentially puts the responsibility for the safety of patients’ information — maintaining appropriate safeguards and complying with regulations — on the vendor.
However, even with these agreements in place, healthcare systems still are at risk of failing to meet compliance requirements. To comply with HIPAA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 11 and other regulations that stipulate the need to exercise best practices to keep electronic patient data safe, healthcare organisations must maintain comprehensive audit trails – something that gets increasingly difficult when data sits in an application that resides in the vendor’s infrastructure.
Additionally, data often does not stay in the applications – instead healthcare users download, save and copy it into other business intelligence tools, creating data sprawl across the organisation and exposing patient privacy to greater risk.
With so many of these tools that are meant to spur growth and more effective care creating compliance challenges, it begs the question: how can healthcare organisations take advantage of the data they have without risking non-compliance?
Yes, healthcare organisations can adhere to regulations while also getting valuable insights from the wealth of data they have available. However, to help do this, organisations must own their data. This means data must be backed up and stored in an environment that they have control over, rather than in the SaaS vendors’ applications.
Backing up historical SaaS application data directly from an app into an organisation’s own secure cloud infrastructure, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, makes it easier, and less costly, to maintain a digital chain of custody – or a trail of the different touchpoints of data. This not only increases the visibility and auditability of that data, but organisations can then set appropriate controls around who can access the data.
Likewise, having data from these apps located in one central, easily accessible location can decrease the number of copies floating around an organisation, reducing the surface area of exposure while also making it easier for organisations to securely pull data into business intelligence tools.
When healthcare providers have unfettered access to all their historical data, the possibilities for growth and insights are endless. For example, having ownership and ready access to authorised data can help organisations further implement and support outcome-based care. Insights enabled by this data will help inform diagnoses, prescriptions, treatment plans and more, which benefits not only the patient, but the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.
To keep optimising and improving care, healthcare systems must take advantage of new tools like SaaS applications. By backing up and owning their historical SaaS application data, they can do so while minimising the risk to patient privacy or compliance requirements. Having this ownership and access can propel healthcare organisations to be more data-driven – creating better outcomes for everyone.