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Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs) were created in 2011 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a way for providers to focus on preventive care for patients. While these services are free to Medicaid beneficiaries, some patients may feel that AWVs are a waste of time. However, if done correctly, these visits can create valuable relationships between providers and patients, build trust, and lay out a roadmap for future screenings and referrals. Michael Cash, Senior Medical Practice Consultant with SVMIC, met with me to discuss more benefits, challenges, and important keys to successfully implementing AWVs into practice.

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One of AFMC’s recent blog posts, “Relying on A.I. Applications in the Medical Community,” discusses some of the main uses of artificial intelligence in medicine. While A.I. is pivotal to innovation, efficiency, and practice in the health care industry, the focus must remain on the patient, not the provider. Patients have begun taking charge of their health care decisions. While ease of access to health care is still a barrier for patients in rural areas, technological advancements have helped bridge that gap. Patients now have more control over their health care journey than before. Thus, it’s important that providers stay on top of recent trends in health care technology to remain ahead of the game.

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Reproductive health is often separated from primary care. Most people visit stand-alone clinics to meet their reproductive health needs. When Roe v. Wade was overturned in June, an access crisis was created. Abortion services are now entirely unavailable in 14 states, eliminating access not only to abortion services but also to other services that these clinics used to provide: cancer screenings, maternity care, and childcare. Though some clinics still offer reproductive health services, an influx of persons from other states where clinics closed down has caused extended wait times and staff shortages. Perhaps the first step toward widespread access to quality reproductive health care would be through its integration into primary care settings.

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January is cervical cancer awareness month. While the number of TDAP and meningococcal vaccinations have increased in recent years due to schools requiring children to get them before enrollment, the number of HPV vaccines is still low. Children are not getting their HPV vaccines. This year, state and national health care leaders are implementing new screening methods to increase the number of children vaccinated for HPV. One such leader, ImmunizeAR has worked to encourage providers to promote the HPV vaccine. Heather Mercer, the Executive Director of ImmunizeAR, knows first-hand the importance of this vaccine in preventing cervical cancer.

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Estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that two in three children and one in four adults have strong fears of needles. These fears may cause individuals to delay or even completely skip vaccinations altogether. In recent years, a nasal spray version of the flu vaccine has gained popularity. But should providers be wary of the nasal spray? Or is it just as good (or better) than the flu shot? AFMC’s epidemiologist Kristy Bondurant, PhD, MDH discusses the answers to these questions and more.

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Despite the precautions and prevention measures health care providers take, there has been a dramatic increase in data breaches over the past decade, with breaches reaching their peak in 2020/2021. With the pandemic being in full force during this time, there was a desperate need for quick technological services in the health care field. The speed at which this technology was being created caused data security and privacy issues. Thus, cybersecurity has become a hot topic in health care over the past decade. How can we all work to prevent data breaches in health care settings?

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