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Friday, May 31, 2013

All About OSHA And Medicine

It is always found that physicians, physician assistants, nurse, nurse practitioners and other health professionals frequently encounter work related safety and health question while they are on their job. The present article will enlighten the readers with adequate information and resources and help the clinicians with adequate knowledge about OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

The article discusses about all types of ethical, clinical and regulatory issues. All most all the relevant issues such as specific occupation, hazardous exposure, occupational health topics and specific industries have been discussed about.

Mission mode of OSHA
The mission of OSHA is to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for both women and men by the development, settlement and enforcement of standards, in addition to providing training, education plus outreach and compliance assistance. The law ensures safe workplace for the employers.

Present condition
OSHA is up on its toes to spread site-specific information. In its SST (Site-Specific Targeting) -12 releases it has emphasized on inspection plan, that specifies establishing OSHA in the SS-inspection. The target list here bases DART (Days Away, Restricted or Transferred) rates and DAFWII (Days Away from work injury and illness) rates. OSHA maintains a record of high-rated employers for undertaking inspection.

SST-12 related information
The enlisted SST-12 does not mention about construction sites; the other lacuna of the list is it focuses only those establishments that employ 20 or more employees. SST-12 also includes NEIP (National Emphasis Inspection Programs) that target some specific types of injuries (nursing, amputations, combustible dust and residential care facilities or high-risk industries)
SST related information is available from OSHA record keeping data companies, these companies are supposed to maintain these data. OSHA Data Initiative or (ODI) handles these data collection responsibility. OSHA is targeting the manufacturing facilities through DART rate minimum or above 7 percent; while its DAFWII target rate is minimum 5 or above. The DART target rate is 15.0 for the non-manufacturing facilities and for the DAFWII the rate is 14.0.

Work Place related Flu prevention
It is well known that flu season in this year is very much rough. As per NYDaily, 29 states were reeling under severe or high prevalence of this disease / this epidemic (CDC source). If compared with the records of last 10 years, this year’s case has been considered as the worst one. OSHA has launched a dedicated flu related web page for helping both employees and employers.

Although CDC is apathetic to this year’s flu season, you can note down the recommendations as your self-protection in the work place, they are as below:

*     If you are sick stay at home
*     Try to avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose
*     Wash your hands with soap and water as frequent as possible for at least 20 seconds. In case you *     don’t have the proximity to the water and soap, use hand sanitizer
*     You must not forget to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer if you are tackling your blowing *     nose, sneezing or coughing.
*     When you are tackling these said troubles, you must cover your sneezing or coughing with some tissue paper, if not possible, use your upper sleeve. After this,
*     If you have used tissue paper, dispose them in the no-touch trash bins
*     Keep yourself away from your customers or coworker, at least by 6 feet 
*     Never forget to wash your hands after shaking hands, if possible avoid this decorum as much as possible
*     In case you are using your gloves, you must not forget to wash your hands after removing them
*     Keep your common-touched devices (computers / telephone / and such other gadgets) clean
*     Avoid using other workers’ work tools, office desks, phones and other equipments.
*     If possible, avoid or minimize group meetings, rather make use of text messaging, phones and e-mails. If not possible, avoid close contacts and keep yourself away at least by 6 feet from others. *     Your meeting room must be properly ventilated.
*     If possible, minimize number of visitors to be met personally
*     Try to maintain a healthy life style by paying adequate attention to diet, rest, relaxation and exercise. If you practice all these you can maintain good emotional and physical health.  

If you want to know more about the preventive cares for flues, you can log on to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services managed website flu.gov

A dedicated web page for the Health Care Clinicians
According to the general perception of the OSHA, health workers take the front seat in the matters of tackling occupational injuries. The dedicated webpage is aimed at helping all categories of health professionals such as Physician, assistant physicians, plasticizing nurses, nurses and other medicos to know about the areas like different types of occupational health, regulations and laws that are related with privacy and reporting.

The coverage of the site’s page

Evaluating Occupational Exposures and Injuries
Occupational Health Practice
Medical Screening and Surveillance
Ethics and Confidentiality in Occupational Health
OSHA Requirements for Occupational Medical Records
Reporting a Dangerous Workplace
Recordkeeping – The OSHA 300 Log
Setting up a Safe Outpatient Office
Medical Records – Laws and Confidentiality
Workers’ Compensation

Other than all these, Additional OSHA Resources can be available from additional Professional Resources, Clinical Resources, Academic Resources and Government resources. The page is very helpful for safety professionals, HR personnel and many others.

OSHA’s Regulatory Agenda (semi-annual)
According to the latest report, OSHA’s Office of Management and Budget wing has brought out a full and unified agenda that includes Department of Labor Agency Rule List 

OSHA has highlighted on the information pertaining to (I2P2) Injury and Illness Prevention Program, although it is in its PreRule stage. The upcoming expected program is NPRM, scheduled to be held at December 2013. The final rule stages of these issues are record keeping about illness and injuries, in addition to the reporting requirements plus the revision and updates. The final actions pertaining to all these are expected to be taken place is on May 2013.

At this stage, employers are bound to report to OSHA as quick as possible or within 8 hours, if three or more of their employees are sent for hospitalization. The number is less, if the patient comes under the in-patient category.

Guidance for the Occupational Health Practitioners
The medical professionals, dealing with establishing or working in any health practice, where occupational hazards are involved, have to follow many procedures and protocols when they are in their practice session in industry / freestanding clinic / large clinic / corporate clinic / and any such other establishments. Therefore, following information will be of much help to all the clinicians dealing with the occupational health safety & protection issues for both working men and women.

*     Creation / review of procedures and policies that must comply not only with the OSHA standard, but also with other licensing and certification bodies, should be your prerogatives as a clinician. 
*     As a clinician, Identification of health hazards that have connections with all types of occupations, such as psychological, physical, chemical, ergonomic and biological in any type of industry or self-employments, should be responsibilities.
*     As a health professional, while on medical surveillance or performing or deigning worker examination, you must be careful about adhering to OSHA regulations.
*     You must implement those preventive measures that are attached with the occupation connected health risks as a practitioner. The examples are you must protect workers from hazardous communicable diseases and Blood borne Pathogens.
*     You must understand applicable local and state regulations that are connected with vaccine or pharmaceutical storage, medical waste and workplace safety requirements.
*     You must be well acquainted with calibration, procedures and screening protocols required for the equipments being used, they are audiometers and Spiro meters, and also with the certification mandatory for the staff who are engaged in testing.
*     You need to integrate safety education and workers’ health in to your clinical practice, as much as possible.
*     You need to be aware of safety and health training, as is mandatory on the part of employees to its workers.
*     You must follow confidentiality and ethics attached with occupational health. In the fields of occupational health, ethical issues are common. ACOEM (The American College of Occupational and *     Environmental Medicine) is the custodian of addressing the fundamental issues, because they are attached with the practices of occupational health, as far as they are introduced with the ethics of ACOEM’s code.
*     Occupational health nurses must also keep reviewing code of ethics of AAOHN (American Association of Occupational Health Nurses).
*     ACOEM’s code guides to the clinicians in the matter of workplace based Position Statement on 
*     Confidentiality of Medical Information. This is an important issue.

Evaluating Occupational Exposures and Injuries                    
It is important that you must have the work history. Taking the history of environmental and occupational exposures is one of the most important tools that any clinician should have for evaluating any worker for any type of work related illness or injuries. When dealing with the fitness of duty as well medical surveillance examination, any clinician must have the history of the job duties and occupational history of the worker. As a professional, the clinician must understand a worker’s job exposure, job environment and job responsibilities.

At the time of evaluating an injury, a clinician must have the detailed history of the worker, so that the former can determine the mechanisms of injury and are engaged in recording ergonomic factors and specific work tasks that are thickly connected with the injury or illness.

The factors that are important in this issue are: exposures to biological and chemical hazards, previous work injuries, temperature or such types of environmental factors, tools used recent changes in work process or job tasks, overtime, per day working hours etc. It is also important that worker and workplace related cultural factors, such as his / her primary language must be recorded. ATSDR stands for a good resource in the matter of “Taking an Exposure History”, dealing with the case studies and discussions pertaining to taking an environmental and occupational exposure history [473 KB PDF, 65 pages].

Medical Records pertaining to Laws and Confidentiality
As a professional, clinicians have to deal with occupational health related different types of records. These professionals need to differentiate between the records, the latent confidentiality issues and the rules, pertaining to the records, being specified there-in. Personal medical records are those ingredients that clinicians remain knowledgeable. The records may pertain to routine preventive care, documents related to personal health care, care for chronic diseases and acute illness care.

Possessing Safety Data Sheets
Work exposure can be identified by the clinicians if they obtain SDS (Safety Data Sheets) for the situations where workers were exposed to in their work environment. SDS was previously known as MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). Employers are supposed to obtain SDS if they are connected with the all-hazardous chemicals. SDS must be made available by the employers to the employees who are susceptible to the exposures. Clinicians, dealing with investigating work related injury or illness must ask the employer or the worker, after obtaining latter’s permission, for the SDS copies. Clinicians have the authority to directly requisite the SDS from the manufacturer.

As a professional, clinician must remain acquainted with the first aid procedures, as envisaged in the SDS. Clinician must also be having the knowledge of training being imparted to the workers. They (clinicians) must also explain the workers about the health hazards, as and where applicable.
For knowing about the surveillance, program and screening of workplace are enlisted in the SDSs. While dealing with exposed workers, health professionals have the right to ask for the SDS from the employers or from the manufacturers. Health professionals can also ask for proprietary ingredients, which may not be enlisted, as a matter of trade secret.

Important issues about Surveillance and Medical Screening
In the matters of occupational health practices, medical evaluations encompass surveillance programs for the people who are engaged in hazardous occupations such as asbestos, lead etc. and clearances for specific jobs duties like screening and using respirators etc. As a goal objective, any medical screening must detect clinical abnormality or disease, before any one falls sick out of it and seeks medical care, especially in those cases when early treatment makes the difference for the patient. The function of medical surveillance is to analyze the health information and enquire about the problems may have occurred in the workplace and needs necessary preventions. If any case is considered as sentinel event or a single case, but requires screening results from those employee groups who are being evaluated for being detected for abnormal health status. Another part of this issue is biological monitoring, that is one of the parts of surveillance examination or screening, for assessing chemical exposures by the analysis of urine or blood or in some case examination of exhaled breath.

Medical surveillance is one of the primary requisites of OSHA, and in some cases, it monitors biological standards. You can have a quick reference of OSHA standard guide if you go through the OSHA's 2009 publication [366 KB PDF*, 40 pages]

Law enforcing medical records
HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act),
ADAAA (the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act)
GINA (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act)

Besides these, individual state has their own laws about the confidentiality and personality of personal medical records.

Among these above three acts, in the first one, HIPPA empowers the employers to have access to some health information that are protected, if the disclosures need to be compatible with laws that has connection with workers’ compensations. There are also some provisions in the HIPPA, through which disclosures can be made as per the requirements of federal or state laws and regulations. Naturally, the health professionals must be careful about the confidentiality when they go for piling up patient information in the occupation based medical records.

It is a common practice by the occupational health clinicians to keep personal health information that may also relate to medical conditions that are not related to work and devoid of exposure records. A few of the OSHA standards entail that employers must secure written opinions from the clinicians engaged in medical surveillance examinations. According to this standard, employers are supposed to instruct the physicians not to mention in writing about the diagnosis or specific findings pertaining t occupational exposure.

OSHA Requirements for Occupational Medical Records
“Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records" (29 CFR 1910.1020)”, which is one of the OSHA’s regulation, necessitates retentions of medical records of occupations for not less than 30 years after a worker is terminated. This is necessary for getting access to the employee’s record even after leaving the job or being terminated. As per the regulation, both exposure and medical records need to be retained. Employers are supposed to provide these records to the employees within a fortnight of request, without charging any thing to the employees. For further information, you can refer to OSHA Publication’s Medical and Exposure Records [1 MB PDF*, 8 pages].

Recordkeeping Regulation, as is mentioned in the OSHA 300 Log
According to this regulation, (29 CFR 1904) binds the employers to maintain document specific information that are related to work related injuries or illness, provided the employee number is more than ten and the occupations are not in the categories of real estate, insurance, finance, low hazard retail etc. Employers may consult the clinicians for deciding about the mandatory and non-mandatory references to be made in their (employers) logbooks. Every type of work related illness or injuries that require medical interventions, above the first-aid stage, must be mentioned in the record book. Other than this, all types of work related fatalities must be entered in to the record. For further reference, Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements page of OSHA can be of much use.

OSHA & Workers' Compensation
OSHA & workers’ compensation are distinctly definable. The following information can be vital for all the clinicians, especially for those who are newly related with the occupational health; because every single jurisdiction is different, so naturally, all the clinicians must be well aware of local procedures and policies. Any one can refer to the lists of federal & state agencies and their websites. Besides this, Department of Law and OWCP (Office of Workers' Compensation Programs) can be contacted for further information about workers’ compensation for all types of federal employment, including for the coal miners, nuclear energy workers, harbor workers and long offshore workers.

Clinicians must also be careful of avoiding non-work-related medical examination & the related medical recording for maintaining workers’ confidentiality. Clinicians must know that personal medical records and the medical records that are related to workers’ compensation must be kept separately.

Reporting a Dangerous Workplace
It is the responsibility of the clinicians to report about he health hazards to the employer, if the former finds the working conditions of a working place to be unhealthy or unsafe. It is also the responsibility of a clinician to maintain the patient’s confidentiality while discussing with the employer. For further information, refer to (Ethics and Confidentiality in Occupational Health).
Clinicians are empowered to complain at any time to OSHA about the unhealthy or unsafe or hazardous working condition. OSHA has toll free number 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) for 24 X 7 hours of contacts, especially for emergencies.

In case of any work related death of an employee or if three or more employees are hospitalized as inpatient due to work related incident, employers are supposed to contact OSHA within 8 hours after death.

Setting up a dependable Outpatient Office
All the employers are supposed to maintain OSHA standard in their workplaces. One of the mandatory resource offices related to Dental & Medical office, [as is mentioned in 238 KB PDF*, two pages], is necessary if the employee strength is even 2 or 200. OSHA’s Safety & Health topic page is also helpful for the employers and clinicians. OSHA has also digital platforms such as Nursing Home eTool and Hospital eTool.

Further & Additional OSHA Resources
OSHA maintains an office for Occupational Medicine in the name of OOM, which include those medicine physicians who are board certified and attached with OSHA for providing public health and other medical related expertise. The physicians who are in need of knowing different information health and safety can call the office. Professionals like Occupational Medicine Residents, with the interest in OSHA’s Training rotation must contact the residency program director at 202-693-2323 (OOM office).

Another office, OOHN (Office of Occupational Health Nursing) under OSHA, makes uses of foundations of occupation related health nursing by collaborating with OSHA and other related departmental agencies. They also take interest in initiating projects and develop programs that can develop programs pertaining to work related injury and illness. A few of the selected areas include workplace violence, blood borne pathogens, recordkeeping, ergonomics, occupational health surveillance and occupational health management. Further to this, you can contact at (202) 693-2120 for more information.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trend-spotting: 3 Learning and Development Movements You Need to Watch

The world is experiencing massive changes in eLearning, so the related craze for it is increasing accordingly. Many social learning platforms are making the eLearning environment better accessible and better manageable.  The mobile phones are no more the simple phones; they are the smart phones with multi utilities and many attractive features. With the advent of smart phones, learning and development are seeing new types of its patronage. Learning and development is a renaissance, if we talk about optimizing the internet facilities.

Three sub-themes, pertaining to learning and development are being spelt out below:-

1. Our world is the mixture of many things

Every industry experiences ups and downs. It can otherwise be understood as swing of a pendulum. The trend being volatile, the word trend and pendulum are merged together to give the versatile meaning, “trendulum”. Obviously the modern swing of trendulum is more towards eLearning. The system of eLearning is considered as the one of the pivotal training delivery systems. Many researches have already seen and also foresee the obviousness of eLearning. The system is gaining momentum as a vital means of learning, of course with the wings of the internet power.

The beauty of eLearning lies in the confluences of mentorship programs, performance support tools, webinars, classroom training, targeted eLearning and above all, the learner generated contents function as the topping of the pudding. Since social learning platforms are becoming the very popular tool, the trendulum swings more towards the learning and development.

The best part of it: - all those who are sailing on this eLearning business now, must reap the best, because, due to the learner-centric tools and strategies, the tide is high.

2. Data, the all-powerful source

Although, business decisions in these days are fully dependent on data analysis, many do not fully support the theory. The supporters of data do never bother for any negativity of the data analysis; they rather throw their hats on to the positive sides of the eLearning prospects. It is the execution of strategic performance, in association with the strategies of improving and finding the solution, which is fully supported by qualitative evidence.

The best part of it: As far as the business pertaining to learning and development is concerned, you can extract the best from your data analysis. Sometimes there may be matters of concern such as: some companies may face reduced sales. More sales training are needed here. In some other cases you may face that deals are being closed, it is most likely due to some customers’ objection or dissatisfaction. Here again training to the sales team is only the solutions.

3. You need to admit

Any one, implementing eLearning, is fathoming a technology solution. The power of learning and development can usher in developing dynamic learning solution by harnessing latest technology platforms. The strength of learning and development through eLearning platform is fully reliant on the designing, developing, deploying and maintaining it professionally.

The new generation love to remain attached with the peer groups. The new trend also engages each and every one from diverse group or diverse background to share the learning while utilizing the lesson. The amazing part of eLearning is that it converges from different users’ learning experiences that are retrieved from various content driven courses.

About emPower

emPower  is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit http://www.empowerbpo.com.

Media Contact (emPower)
Jason Gaya

12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
Ph: 502 -400-9374

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Friday, March 15, 2013

The Future of Teaching and Learning Will Always Need the Humanities

Study of humanities was relevant in the past and is equally relevant in the present. The study of humanities is the unavoidable discipline and it is beyond any argument that study of humanities will remain equally important in the future too. The fact is our world is shrinking day by day due to the prominence of scientific inventions and the dominance of information technology. But there is no science in this world which is not for humanity or which does not remain inclined to the needs of humanity.

The term ‘humanities’ has been derived from the Latin word ‘Humanus’. In Latin the word signifies human, who also means “cultured’ and “refined’ too. Irrespective of any linguistic assertion human beings do possess tenderness, kindness and rationality. All these latent qualities bring forth different connotations being carried by the vehicles of beliefs, values, environments and experiences.

All these qualities contribute to the refinement of the basic qualities of a human being. So the thought and belief about the study of humanities has the power of “walking an extra mile in some other’s moccasins”. The illustration of this quotation is, if you are literate in ‘humanities’ you can market your product more than those who are not. No body will deny that cross-cultural understanding will be powerful booty to make use of it in this global village. That is why teaching and learning will always need the humanities, in a substantial way.

Humanities constitute many variables. By studying humanities we become closer to many horizons that our life can offer through the profoundness of literature, philosophy, art, music and history. So, any solid grounding to any / many of these studies followed by its perseverance enriches our existence. Any nation can be politically liberal or conservative, independent studies of humanities can lead the people towards better thought processes. It also enables one to catapult the general synthesis of rational of happenings of things.

Business world is grateful to teaching and learning humanities

The need of teaching and learning humanities is more prevalent in this virtual world. The more you are exposed to the world, the more you need to learn many languages and foreign cultures. Every country is expanding its business throughout the world. The product may be a simple “pin” or the “powerful medicinal or defense product”, hence knowing or not knowing the local language or local culture will make the difference. Since the vendors are many, the aptness of marketing will be seen through the deal. There are many countries that do not use a single language as the medium of correspondence, rather they oblige and prefer those who come under their language or cultural folds. Japanese audience will love the Japanese speaking vendors. Spanish speaking countries compel the English speaking businessmen to become closer in the language they prefer to. Many such examples can be sited when, albeit many resources, the business world need the support of humanities.

Even if there is no obligatory part involved as above, your business can only grow in this global environment if you can communicate freely and frankly with your business partners across thee world. Here comes the benevolence of humanities.

Education and Research world is grateful to teaching and learning humanities

Other than business world, scholars / scientists / researchers and such luminaries do not want to be called as ‘awkward social geek’ due to their linguistic problems. They feel relieved if and when they can communicate their ideas to the wider audience. A few may contradict the idea and argue that why the luminaries need the orientations of humanities?

The answer is simple, teaching and learning humanitieswill introduce us to the ideas and thoughts to the specialist and outside world where we can enjoy our relevance, attain new directions and also increase our creativity. If a society is to be successful, it has to be assorted with the refined integration of generosity, compassion, civility, charity, altruisms where the characteristics of emphasized and evaluated humanities make its presence felt.

Read on: How can you establish the relevance of studying humanities for today and also for future

About PracTutor

Started in April -2012, PracTutor (www.practutor.com) is an adaptive learning platform to help students excel in Math and English. PracTutor is part of emPower Training Solutions (www.empowerbpo.com) that has been providing online compliance solutions to 100+ healthcare practices and hospitals since the last 4 years.

To learn more about PracTutor follow us at:
12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Does the cloud provide an easier route to HIPAA compliance?

A lot of confusion has been raised regarding the compliance of cloud to the HIPAA. On the contrary, the healthcare community itself is not very sure of it and is looking at it as a double edged sword. The cloud presents you a shimmering picture of cost-effective option. It provides you a solution due to which analyzing massive data and the ability to store will become affordable. But the other side seems be bleaker as there are many who are yet to come to terms with this new rule-set of HIPAA, especially those that are now part of the recently published HIPPA omnibus rule. It is better to dig deeper on this to understand instead of merely speculating on the fringes whether to migrate or not to the cloud?

The omnibus rule that was put forth in the last month has further tightened the grip of HIPAA on those who are entrusted with responsibility of protecting the health information.The rule also has increased penalty on the business associates and covered entities, who fail to comply with the HIPAA. At present, there a lot of misconceptions as well as fear regarding use of the cloud. As a result many healthcare organizations and health service providers are shying away from switching over to the cloud. Not taking rescue under the in the latest cloud technology umbrella might result in loss a good deal in terms of both compliance and finances for organizations that wish to play safe.

Can Cloud Computing Really Rescue Health Care And Make It HIPAA Compliant?

Recent times has revealed to the health care sector the various weird and amazing ways in which data breaches can occur and do occur. Many times it occurs due to infrastructure loss, physical theft, or due to sheer negligence (when someone forgets a laptop or forgets to shutdown their PC).

The above scenario of data exploitation and data theft is easily manageable through use of cloud technology. Cloud computing can be more helpful in such cases because herein you can stop the breaches by using services of physical security policies such as the Amazon wherein all the things that can be carried out with the data can be published. Cloud technology is most certainly is far more efficient than what a single group running its infrastructure can accomplish after a lot of personal investment. Of course, reduction in the amount of health data breach is the first benefit of cloud computing.

Deft monitoring of security and the privacy of the infrastructure through automation is the second benefit of cloud. Basically, when the infrastructure program is being written, the infrastructure is coded and thousands of tests are conducted on various levels. Such through levels of tested programs provide a secure base that everything is done in order to automate the expected results and that the infrastructure automatically works the way in which you want it to. Hence, when things start showing changes in the infrastructure code you immediately smell smoke and try to find out the reason for it. Trying to search for the reason for changes in your infrastructure ultimately makes you provide more security to your data.

HIPAA omnibus rule has placed great emphasis on the factors that can risk the health data and the breach notifications. The cloud services developers provide you with the documentations that carry highly detailed processing systems due to which remaining HIPAA compliant as well as cost-efficient does not seem as uphill task. All the instructions that are part of the cloud computing program are written in plain and simple readable English which can be easily defined by anybody in the health business. This gives the HIPAA operators full knowledge about the compliance and non-compliance and related decision. It also helps even the non-technical staff to gain an insight into overall work pertaining to the HIPAA compliance owing to which the overall efficiency of an organization is certain to elevate.

Only six months are left for the covered entities and the partners to become HIPAA compliant and hence it is important that they take steps to understand these benefits of the new cloud computing.
Data breaches in health sector have been damaging the credibility of many health institutions and many times the culprits were left untracked as they were much smarter than the security system of the institutions. Shifting to the cloud is a major decision, which can be taken by the entities only when they thoroughly understand its contribution in lessening the burden of finance as well as maintaining to the strict rules of the HIPAA compliance.

One wonders, what is keeping these people at the fences when one way or the other they are not left with any other alternative than to migrate to the cloud!

About emPower

emPower  is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit http://www.empowerbpo.com.

Media Contact (emPower)
Jason Gaya

12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
Ph: 502 -400-9374

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Safeguard the potential of the Contingent Workers

We all are aware of the fact that today workers or employees are not safe at their working premises, as they confront a wide range of emerging health and safety issues that requires to be noticed. OSHA has introduced its future direction towards the health and safety of contingent workers. The health section comprise of threats from operating respiratory illness, combined exposure to latest mixture of harmful chemicals, and exposures to radical fine particulates, as well as amphibious and unreal vitreous fibers. Within the safety space, rising problems embody, fall hazards from wireless communications and high-definition television tower construction, noise in construction, and difficulties in reaching the increasing population of mobile employees.


OSHA provided safety and health support for 1st response, salvage and recovery operations, and hygiene operations in hazard analysis, monitoring, and refinement. Extra activities are already current to boost OSHA's readiness. This space would require continued attention throughout the look amount. OSHA tenders a good choice of training compliance courses and academic programs to assist broaden employee and leader information on the popularity, avoidance, and interference of safety and health hazards at their workplace. OSHA, in addition to this also tenders training and academic materials that facilitate businesses train their employees and suit the activity Safety and Health Act

OSHA plays a vital role in supporting contingent workers by polishing off programs designed to save lots of lives, stop injuries and diseases, and shield the health of America's employees.

These 7 Strategies comprise of:

*    Emerging leadership qualities and standards for work safety and health,
*    Supervising employment premises and coping with employers and staff,
*    Offering guidance to small businesses,
*    Providing training compliance help, outreach, academics, and different cooperative programs for employers and staff,
*    Providing matching grants to help states in administering consultation comes and approved activity safety and health social control programs, and
*    Developing friendly relationships with different agencies and organizations in order to cope with vital safety and health problems.
*    Exercising sturdy, efficient, and honest social control
    OSHA additionally supports contingent workers by making certain that its rules effectively address policy problems which they are doing not produce inessential restrictive burden.

    OSHA Strategic Management set up, focuses on serious hazards and dangerous workplaces and includes ways that emphasize:

    Increasing partnerships and charitable programs
    Providing and extending academics and training compliance help.

    OSHA's mission is to delve and make sure work safety and health safety for contingent workers.
    OSHA, along side its valued state partners, achieves its mission through varied means that, as well as work social control of applicable laws and rules, inspections, consultation services compliance help, outreach, education, cooperative programs, and supplying of standards and steerage. So as to extend its effectiveness, bureau collaborates with a spread of organizations fascinated by activity safety and health.

    About emPower
    emPower  is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

    Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

    For additional information, please visit http://www.empowerbpo.com.

    Media Contact (emPower)
    Jason Gaya

    12806 Townepark Way
    Louisville, KY 40243-2311
    Ph: 502 -400-9374

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    Friday, February 15, 2013

    7 Strategies to Improve Safety for Contingent Workers

    Construction workers, farm laborers, warehousing employees and hotel workers are more likely to be employed on a contingent basis in the United States, which may make them vulnerable to occupational hazards. In a new white paper, the Center for Progressive Reform highlights the occupational safety and health concerns faced by contingent workers and shares strategies to improve their working conditions.
    The white paper “At the Company’s Mercy: Protecting Contingent Workers from Unsafe Working Conditions,” by CPR member scholars Martha McCluskey, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro and Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Shudtz, highlights the occupational challenges facing contingent workers in the United States and suggests strategies to improve their working conditions.

    “Their shared experience is one of little job security, low wages, minimal opportunities for advancement, and, all too often, hazardous working conditions,” the white paper says of workers whose employment is contingent upon short-term fluctuations in demand for employees. “When hazards lead to work-related injuries, the contingent nature of the employment relationship can exacerbate the negative consequences for the injured worker and society.”

    Employers of contingent workers often do not pay for workers’ compensation or health insurance and can simply hire replacements when workers are injured – factors that give these employers little financial incentive to eliminate safety hazards or help injured workers return to work. Additionally, employers sometimes misclassify contingent workers as “independent contractors” in order to claim the workers will pay their own taxes and insurance – a practice that reduces the employer’s expenses while also removing the incentive to create a safe workplace, the paper states.

    The white paper includes case studies on contingent workers in four industries: farming, construction, warehousing and hospitality. The construction industry, for example, employs a disproportionate number of contingent workers in the United States. Most of these workers are young men, and many are Hispanic or Latino, performing dangerous jobs that have a high risk for falls, nail-gun injuries, musculoskeletal injuries and more.

    7 Ways to Protect Contingent Workers

    The CPR white paper offered seven strategies to ensure the contingent work force is protected:
    1. Empower workers with a stronger right-to-know. “Well-educated and well-trained workers are the most empowered – they know their rights, they know when they have been wronged, and they know the best way to correct a hazardous work environment,” the report states. “Contingent workers do not get enough education and training.”

    2. Empower workers with a right-to-act.“Under current law, workers lack the power to commence legal action on their own accord against an employer that is breaking the law; instead, they must make a formal complaint to OSHA compliance and await the agency’s response ...Workers need to be able to wield power that is proportionate to their huge stake in the game. That power should come in the form of an amendment the OSH Act that would create a legal vehicle for enforcing worker rights against employers,” the paper asserts.

    3. Strengthen OSHA enforcement. The paper claim that “OSHA could make a significant impact on health and safety in contingent workers’ lives through modifications to existing enforcement policies ... In addition, OSHA has the ability to test the new policies for effectiveness by implementing them in discrete geographical areas or selected industries.”

    4. Create ergonomics standards. “Since ergonomic hazards pose significant risks in industries and occupations that employ many contingent workers, OSHA should establish regulations to eliminate those hazards,” the paper states. “...OSHA could issue a series of industry-specific ergonomics rules, geared toward particular hazards. Starting with industries that employ a significant number of contingent workers would lead to better protections for millions of workers without coming close to the alleged $4 trillion price tag that prompted the congressional veto of the broader standard in 2001.”

    5. Reform voluntary and consultation programs. “As the contingent workforce grows, OSHA has an obligation to revisit existing programs to ensure that they meet the needs of contingent workers,” the paper asserts. “First, OSHA should revise the minimum criteria that companies must meet to be part of the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) ... Given the health and safety concerns raised by employer decisions to place contingent workers in new and high-hazard jobs, VPP entry criteria should be revised to require that VPP employers only use contingent workers in low-hazard occupations such as clerical work.”

    6. Build a case to close statutory loopholes. “OSHA should also determine if there are data that support closing loopholes in the OSH Act that limit the statute’s applicability to domestic workers and farmworkers on small farms,” the white paper added.

    7. Improve foreign-language capabilities. According to the white paper, “the high number of Hispanic workers in the contingent workforce suggests that language barriers can create challenges for education and training ... In addition to hiring more bilingual inspectors, OSHA must increase the foreign-language capabilities of staff who develop education and training materials. The agency should establish a goal of making all of these materials available in multiple languages and formats, reflecting not only the spectrum of workers’ native languages, but also differences in culture and literacy.”

    “As the contingent worker population grows, the occupational safety and health community will have to adapt,” the paper concluded. “OSHA Compliance Training can lead the way with new rules and better enforcement, but the agency will also need the help of other advocacy organizations, from union-affiliated campaigns to worker centers to faith-based groups. Because the contingent workforce is particularly vulnerable to unfair treatment and poor working conditions, empowering these workers to act will take the support of many advocates.”

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    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    Does the cloud provide an easier route to HIPAA compliance?

    Within the healthcare community, the cloud has been perceived as a double-edged sword. On one side, the cloud represents a cost-effective solution to the problem of affording the capacity to store and analyze massive amounts of data; on the other, it presents concerns about remaining compliant with HIPAA Training while making strategic use of cloud services, especially following the publishing of the HIPAA omnibus rule last month. But is this apprehension warranted? And could it potentially being doing more harm than good for covered entities on the fence about migrating to the cloud?

    “We sort of lead with BAA conversation because people are not even interested in talking at all without one,” says David Rocamora, Vice President of Development Operations for Control Group, about the increased interest of covered entities to sign business associate agreements when working with cloud-services providers. “The BAA opens a lot of the doors, but when we really start getting down to work, most of the people who end up moving to the cloud decide that the BAA thing isn’t an issue for them anymore because they find ways to resolve it.”

    Given that the HIPAA omnibus rule tightens responsibilities for those working with protected health information and increases penalties for covered entities and business associates who fail to remain compliant, misconceptions about the cloud may prevent healthcare organizations and providers from considering what could in reality be a sound decision in terms of both finances and compliance.

    According to Rocamora, the cloud should prove a valuable resource for two reasons. “Those kinds of things have changed people’s perceptions of whether or not cloud computing is appropriate for healthcare data,” he argues.

    The first is the reduction of potential health data breaches:
    When you look at the number of patients affected by a breach, most of the time it was because of physical theft or loss of real infrastructure — someone loses a laptop in a cab or something like that. That’s a huge win for cloud computing because we can rely on someone who has physical security policies like Amazon where they’ll publish all of the things that they can do to their data centers. That’s above and beyond what a lot of clients running their own infrastructure can do.
    The second is the ability to monitor their security and privacy infrastructure more easily through automation:
    When we build infrastructure, we’re basically writing programs that automate the infrastructure. My team writes the automation of this infrastructure as code and we also write tests to prove that we’re doing actually what we’re doing. So we can go to someone and say, “Your infrastructure is working exactly the way it was designed or it’s not because someone changed it and let’s figure out why.” Suddenly these tools give businesses a lot more visibility into what’s going on with their infrastructure or why things are changing.
    Considering the emphasis the HIPAA omnibus rule places on breach notifications and the factors used to assess the risk to PHI mitigated by covered entities, the documentation provided by cloud-services developers detailing their systems and processes should make the challenge of both remaining HIPAA Compliance and cost-efficient less burdensome moving forward.

    “The tests that we’re writing are readable in plain English and definable by the business. They can see exactly what they’re doing — what’s out of compliance or in compliance — and make decisions like that,” explains Rocamora. “It has helped people who are not technical visibility into what really is happening on the technical side of things, which is helpful to increasing efficiencies in any kind of organization.”

    With less than a month having passed since the publishing of the HIPAA omnibus rule, healthcare organizations and providers are still making sense of what the final ruling means their business practices and organizational workflows. And with little more than six months remaining until covered entities and their partners are required to be compliant, further understanding of the implications of the ruling will push organizations to revisit the idea of migrating to the cloud.

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