Dog Health Care for Pet Owners

As pet owners, we all want to improve the health and well-being of our family dog. Dog health care makes both animals and owners more pleased. It can certainly be a little difficult understanding problem dog health signs and symptoms, however it’s also fun and helpful to you and also your own family dog. Healthy and balanced dogs are usually content dogs and makes for a wonderful companions!

Understanding about various types of signs and symptoms, as well as just how to take care of your own family pet in a normal and also nurturing method will give you a much better lifestyle for your friend. As you handle your dog and make its health better, a closer connection is formed. We now have a few tips to assist you with dog illness diagnosis and also to give a more natural health for any dog which will totally strengthen your friendship with your furry friend.

1) Oral health and nutrition is of the utmost of importance to your dog’s overall health. If a pet dog doesn’t have strong teeth, then it can’t eat properly. For nutrition, one can consult a dog breed guide, as differing breeds have different food needs. For the teeth, there’s regular old cleaning or perhaps dental food products that can help.

2) What food you provide (or don’t provide) your pet, both people and dog food will go quite a ways in the direction of ailment avoidance. Fresh fruit similar to grapes is just not good for the dog. Another rule is that most vegetables are great for your pup. Look for additional info from your local veterinarian in case you are unclear. Dogs are usually omnivorous along with a blend of vegetables and necessary protein is wonderful for them – simply check to be sure which ones.

3) Do not provide the dog chocolate. It’s not really good dog care to begin with, but chocolate contains Theobromine. Keep on hand a few wholesome alternative snacks that they can enjoy. You can even find unique bakeries for most dogs today.

4) Arthritis can be quite a discomfort in the important joints for both pet dogs and humans. Needless to say, medications and therapy are very different with animals and humans. A veterinarian will make good quality suggestions if the medical diagnosis suggests arthritis. You will find nutritional vitamins, supplements, prescription drugs, as well as special pet food which supports your dog’s arthritis.

5) Physical exercise. This can be a easy and free of charge method to boost the health and fitness of your pet. If your dog is actually obese it can lead to most of the identical pathologies humans may build up. Exercising your pet is a symbiotic relationship as you’ve got to do a similar thing your dog is performing (for example walking or even jogging) so that you may also experience the benefit!

Take your pet to regular veterinary appointments, take care of him or her your self on a daily basis, and ensure that you workout – both of you, that is! Continue to keep a journal for your own dog and this may really help the vet if a thing critical arises.

Health Care 101 – Philips Defibrillation Electrode Pads and Heart-Related Problems

AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) are installed in schools, malls, shopping centers, theaters, offices, health clubs, government buildings, factories, airports, etc. to provide first aid to the victims of sudden cardiac arrest. The victim is given a biphasic defibrillation shock with the AED which helps to bring back the heart beat to normal. As the AED equipment is used in case of emergency where it is a matter of life and death the accuracy rate of the equipment plays a major role. It is advisable to use equipment that complies with standards of organizations like Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and the American Heart Association’s (AHA).

AED Maintenance

Apart from using the good quality AED equipment, it is very important to take care of it to ensure its reliability during need. Regular maintenance of the AED is very essential for the proper functioning of the equipment. The AED equipment must be timely tested in accordance with guidelines formulated by the manufacturer and the American Red Cross and American Heart Association. The maintenance and testing should be in compliance with rules and regulations set by US Food and Drug Administration. A check list should be maintained and a strategic maintenance program should be implemented in every organization where the AED is installed. This will help to keep the AED in ready-to-use condition and save many precious lives in case of emergency.

o The AED analyzes the rhythm automatically and the voice prompt informs the rescuer not to touch the patient during the process. If a shock is required, the voice prompt will inform the responder of it. The voice prompts guide the responder through the process of defibrillation and CPR and re-analyze the rhythm to determine whether defibrillation is needed or not.

o If the patient gains consciousness after defibrillation and CPR, make the patient comfortable until the EMS personnel arrive. Apart from this, the responder should know how to maintain the AED device properly so that it’s ready for use in case of emergency.

o It is important that the victim gets CPR until the EMS personnel reach the spot. Most people are not aware of the fact that not all the victims of sudden cardiac arrest require defibrillation. Around half of the victims can be revived by CPR which involves chest compressions. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is essential to help in flow of oxygenated blood to brain and other vital organs. It is important to learn CPR techniques and using an AED as most sudden cardiac victims die because bystanders are unaware of what they should do to help the victim.

You can save the victims of sudden cardiac arrest in your home, workplace or community by learning to use automated external defibrillator and delivering CPR. By performing AED emergency response drills, you can save a precious life in an emergency medical situation.

Health Care Marketing Series – Marketing Effectiveness and Efficiency – Warheads and Missiles

We have previously discussed the research needed to create a marketing strategy that identifies a target demographic. The purpose of this research is to allow us to compare our relative strengths and weaknesses verses our direct competitors strength and weaknesses within the marketplace. Once our relative position in the competitive marketplace has been researched, a strategy that pits our strength against our competitor’s weaknesses can be formulated. This process is called marketing strategy.

Part of the marketing strategy is to formulate headlines and ad copy based on our relative position in the marketplace. We want our marketing to highlight our relative strengths against the relative weakness of our direct competition. All of this positioning must be crafted within the context of the solution to a specific problem that exists in a coveted demographic within our marketplace. The ultimate goal is to create a perception within the collective minds of our demographic that we have the best answer to solve their specific problem. This well researched, well crafted message is our marketing warhead.

The more congruent our message is with the wants and desires of our coveted market demographic, the bigger bang we will receive from our marketing efforts. This “bang” is measured as our response rate. This process of marketing strategy sends us into battle (contention for potential patients) under advantageous conditions. The process we have just described is the definition of marketing strategy. The better the marketing strategy, more effective the headline and ad copy. Notice that we stated the better the strategy the more effective the headline and copy will be. We didn’t say the more effective the marketing campaign will be. This is because there is one more major consideration that helps to determine how effective or ineffective a marketing campaign will be. The other piece of the puzzle is your delivery systems.

If the strategy and the headlines and ad copy are the warhead of your marketing campaigns, the next step in successful marketing is the missile or delivery system.

The variables for marketing success are the quality of your research, the art and science of your strategy development, the alignment of your headline and ad copy with your marketing strategy and finally the efficiency and cost effectiveness of your delivery systems.

You can have a nuclear warhead when it comes to knowledgeable strategy, headline and ad copy, but will obtain mediocre results if you choose a weak delivery system. Conversely you may have the best most effective delivery system and obtain marginal marketing results if your strategy, headline and copy are weak.

Optimizing all three components and constantly testing and perfecting these aspects of your marketing campaign is the key to effective, efficient and profitable marketing that produces a handsome return on investment.

We have discussed the intricacies of developing marketing strategy in another paper. The marketing metrics required to evaluate the return on investment (which is another way to say the marketing efficiency) has been discussed in a previous paper. This paper will integrate marketing strategy and research with marketing metrics to create a framework with which to evaluate marketing delivery systems. This process is a real world method for first determining and then improving both marketing effectiveness and marketing efficiency.

Before we can evaluate our marketing effectiveness and efficiency we must first define marketing effectiveness and efficacy.

Marketing effectiveness is how well a campaign or the action steps within a campaign’s execution produce a favorable response. What is a favorable response and how do we know if we got one? Well despite what marketing aficionados might tell you, marketing execution can be measured. There are several tangible measurements that matter and they are new (or repeat) business depending on your strategy, revenue increase and profit

Your marketing strategy can be judged to be effective if 1. It produces new business, 2. It increases revenues and 3. It increases profit.

It has nothing to do with image, branding, awareness or intangible returns.

In the context of marketing a professional practice, new business would be “kept” new patient appointments. Revenue is the gross collections increase from previous months and profits means your return on investments, also expresses as increased revenue minus the cost of your marketing effort.

By themselves these measures can give you a good handle on the effectiveness or not of your marketing execution. The next step is to eliminate marketing action steps that are not effective and to optimize those marketing activities that are proven to be effective. Once marketing effectiveness and marketing efficiency are optimized you merely repeat the most effective and efficient action steps. Again and again.

This process is impossible without marketing metrics and return on investment measurement. In fact according to the Harvard Business School no marketing action plan is complete without steps to measure and evaluate the implementation of a campaign. (1)

(1) Harvard Business Essentials

Marketer’s Toolkit

Harvard Business School Press 2006

Let’s look at an example at how all this works. Let’s compare giveaway coffee mugs with a full color print on demand booklet. Online print on demand printers can produce a 6.5 x 9 inch full color saddle stitch booklet at a cost of $6.50 per unit. Let’s compare this against a custom imprinted coffee mug, available for an average cost for mugs of about $1.50

At first glance the mugs seem like a much better marketing investment.

But are they? Let’s say our coveted marketing demographic is women ages 35 to 55 and we have found through are research that this market segment has a health problem: menopause or perimenopause.

First let’s look at headline opportunities.

With the coffee mug you are severely limited by space. You’ll need to try to create a slick trendy and catchy headline. Something like:

“Got Hormones?”

There is not much room on a mug to do much else. What are our options with the print on demand booklet? With the booklet, space constraints are not an issue.

Here are several options:

– “A doctor’s guide to choosing the best treatment options for your perimenopausal symptoms”
– “Tired all the time, irritable, depressed, gaining weight? These are symptoms of perimenopause” “Learn about modern treatment options.”
– “What every women should know about perimenopause and how she can feel good again.”

Really with the space the booklet provides the headline can be extremely specific. You can use subtitles and even an excerpt from the content on the cover. So in terms of our warhead, which one do you think produces a bigger bang?

“Got Hormones?” or “Tired all the time, irritable, depressed, gaining weight? These are symptoms of pre menopause” “Learn about modern treatment options.”

With the coffee cup the story ends here. Because of space restrictions you can’t really get much more detailed. You might put your name on the mug, but you would be hard pressed to add much more information. The catchy headline “Got Hormones?” hopefully will start conversations about you and your services. The downside of this is obvious however. If you give your coffee cups to a patient or the owner of a trendy salon and if one of her customers sees the mug and asks the proprietor about hormone replacement, what are the odds that layperson can represent you and your services in a dramatic, appealing and informative way? Patients rarely remember to take their medications yet alone the reasons why they should and all available options you discussed with them.

In other words, the coffee cup doesn’t allow you to give enough information to sell your service to a prospect. It relies on third party information. The coffee cup hits a dead end rather quickly.

So in terms of a marketing warhead the coffee cup is more fizzle than bang. There is simply not enough space on the cup to allow you to create a headline that is in alignment with your target markets’ problem, yet alone enough space to educate her on how you have the solution to that problem. In other words, there is no way, using a coffee cup, to position you and your service in the mind of a prospective patient. Unless of course you sell coffee.

In terms of effectiveness, the coffee cup while seemingly relatively inexpensive is of dubious effectiveness. It doesn’t matter how cheep the mugs are, if they are not effective they are expensive.

Let’s go back to our full color booklet.

It’s full color so you can use appealing photos and graphics. There is plenty of room on the cover to place a well thought out headline that will stimulate your target to read the copy. Then there is the copy. With 15 pages you have plenty of time and space to sell yourself as the answer to your prospect’s problem.

You should always include a section that details your education and experience. This has been termed your unique selling proposition (USP) or your exceptional value statement (EVS). It is your chance to toot your own horn and you should toot it loudly. The purpose of the EVS is to position you in the prospect’s mind as the “go to” doctor. Your EVS must be powerful enough to motivate the prospective patient to drive by hundreds of other doctors on the way to your office. So spend some time on it and if you don’t feel comfortable talking about yourself, have someone read your CV and write your exceptional value statement for you.

Next let’s consider the body of your ad copy. This is where your research and marketing strategy comes into play. In your booklet you are going to list the basic approach of all your competitors. This may seem counter intuitive but remember you will be highlighting their weaknesses as you go. You are going to offer up alternatives to your own treatment approach, but frame them in a way that showcases their (your direct competitor’s) specific weaknesses. You slowly introduce your answer to the prospect’s problems. If your copy writer is talented, he or she should be able to bring the prospect along so by the end of your information booklet, the only logical conclusion for the reader is that you have the best answer to their problem. Never bash your competition, only frame your comparison highlighting the strengths of your approach compared with the relative weaknesses of your competition.

This shouldn’t be too difficult if you have developed marketing strategy as we discussed in previous papers.

Now within the booklet you should always include multiple ways for your readers to respond. Of course your office address and phone number, but also your web address and email. Perhaps an invitation to take an on line survey and of course your innovative Ask-the-Doctor program. How about a detachable postcard?

All of these methods of response should be interspersed throughout the text of your booklet. Not hidden at the very end.

The most important thing to remember is that your booklet should include valuable information. Don’t worry that you might be giving something away for free. If your information helps the patient they will consider you an expert. They will consult with you when they need help. They will already know that you can help them, because you already have.

Consumers are deluged with advertising offers. Research shows they are more likely to read marketing material if it contains valuable information that will likely benefit them. If your booklet is valuable it will have staying power. It may also be copied and passed around. It might be a good time to mention that you should waive the copyright and tell the reader to feel free to make copies and pass the booklet around.

So after reading this article do you still think that coffee mugs are an effective way to market? Are they efficient? They may cost less than a full color booklet, but do you think they are more cost effective?

If a marketing action step produces no return on investment, is it a good a deal at $100.00, $50.00, $5.00? Do you want to repeat it again and again? Conversely if you spend $2000.00 on action steps than returns $10,000.00 to your practice, is it expensive?

You can’t tell which actions steps are smart, effective and efficient marketing unless and until you measure.

This article provides a brief glimpse at the metrics and thinking behind the marketing metrics that will help your choose effective and efficient methods of marketing your professional practice. Refer to my other articles on marketing strategy and marketing metrics.

Characteristics of a Successful Leader in a Health Care Setting

I want you to think about the term Leadership for a moment. If I asked several of you to give your definitions I bet there would be many different points of view, some similar, perhaps, but most quite different. Do you envision someone who is strong and demanding with rigid concepts about getting things done? Do you envision someone who is a good listener, who leads by example? I think there are many valid ideas about leadership, and each probably has its place depending on the situation. I want to focus on what kind of leadership is necessary for changing an organization into a Lean organization or maintaining a Lean organization. The reason I choose to do so is that I am a member of a committee that is charged with developing a program to assist local physicians and physician organizations incorporate Lean healthcare with the Wagner Chronic Care Model. One of the milestones is to develop leadership locally; leadership in quality also came up as the primary identified need in a survey of the local physician organizations.

When changing an organization into a Lean one, the first thing I consider is the person at the top and his characteristics. Without firm support from this person the transformation will not be successful and will not endure. In a hospital this would be the CEO and in a primary care setting, the person making the major management decisions, whether the office manager of a physician. One characteristic of this leader should be persistence. Why? Changing the way an organization approaches quality requires a cultural change. Such change will encounter resistance; people tend to resist change because maintaining the status quo is comfortable. A leader at a hospital, for instance, might after much staff training in Lean tools succeed in getting the front line workers-the nurses, the aides and the doctors–to change only to have middle management sabotage the efforts. Only with persistence can this roadblock be overcome. Persistence mixed with patience and high standards will be necessary because the changes will take a considerable amount of time too. One year for a primary care office to embrace continuous quality improvement would not be unusual, whether the leader starts small by changing one part of the office at a time or whether the staff as a whole is trained and asked to change. By the way, in a November 19, 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal persistence along with attention to detail, efficiency, and analytical skills were named as the most important skills of successful CEOs.

Attention to detail means recognizing and understanding how the parts work together.  In order to lead change successfully this would mean understanding how different members of a quality improvement team work together.  Do they complement each other?  Do they clash?  The leader is responsible for integrating such a team.  Besides understanding team dynamics, a leader must understand how the different parts of the healthcare site function.  Does the support staff or administration complement the clinical?  For instance, is billing efficient?  If not, this has negative consequences in providing clinical care.

Efficiency in quality improvement cycles means understanding where waste exits in an organization and also understanding how to utilize staff ideas to eliminate these wastes.  For example, in a primary care site a leader should have a clear picture of how to reduce the time spent looking for misplaced patient histories, if paper histories are still being used.  Of course, if electronic health records are being used, this problem would be largely obviated.

A fourth skill very necessary for strong quality improvement leadership is analytical skills.  A leader should be able to weigh the cost of a quality improvement effort versus the return on investment.  Rarely are the success or failure of a quality improvement effort tracked in terms of cost and savings.  Focusing only on patient health means that sustainability is ignored.  With the increase of competition in health care and the advent of bundling of payment for services in Medicare the financial factor cannot be ignored.

Besides these four characteristics the leader guiding the Lean transformation must also understand some of the basic tools of Lean-process mapping, kaizen events, 5S and voice of the customer, among others. I don’t think that the leader needs to be the master of these; rather she should be able to recognize their correct application and through her vision of a quality organization see that these tools are implemented and the results communicated throughout the organization. One situation, for instance, in which the leader makes sure the tools are implemented correctly is by appointing people with Lean skills to teams; this team might be defining new processes to handle diabetes patients in a primary care setting. She should be able to select an able leader for this team and see that the ideas generated are sorted and disseminated with the best ones implemented. Once the process is implemented the leader should have the impact measured and if the impact is positive have the process maintained in spite of common roadblocks such as resistance from those who want to maintain the status quo, as mentioned above.

In order for a leader to become familiar (not an expert though) with these tools several approaches are possible. There are many conferences and trainings for lean management available in healthcare. The American Society of Quality offers such. Another approach is to contract with a consultant who is familiar with both healthcare and Lean techniques. Whatever the approach-workshops, conferences, online training or hiring of a consultant–I think it a good idea to follow up these with a reference text such as A Lean Guide to Transforming Healthcare by Thomas Zidel.

Lest you think that I miss the mark with my characterization of a Lean leader, let me relate one last story. Jaimie Houghton was the CEO of Corning Glass and implemented Total Quality Management in the early 90’s to Corning. He spent a great deal of time traveling to Corning’s units worldwide to drive his vision of a quality organization. In 1995 one of Corning’s units received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Mr. Houghton retired the next year after successfully imbedding TQM in Corning. His successor, however, did not have the passion for quality that Mr. Houghton had. The programs were not abandoned but other priorities and visions preempted Mr. Houghton’s legacy. The result was that sales dropped dramatically and the stock price fell from $113 to as low as $1.10. In 2002 Mr. Houghton was coaxed out of retirement to rescue this failing giant. This time, Mr. Houghton instituted quality using Lean and Six Sigma. He made sure that the programs would endure after he left again. Although the share price is considerably below the high of $113 of previous years, the company leads its competitors considerably in market value. Much of this is attributable to the persistence of Mr. Houghton in ingraining recognized quality approaches into the company.

Dog Owner’s Guide – How to Care For Dogs

High Quality Dog Food

Just like humans canines need to be fed on a high quality pet food. A combination of dry and wet dog food would be ideal. High quality food is very important for your canine friend as it will reflect on your pets overall performance, energy levels, motivation and mood.

Fresh Water

Must be available at all times.
Fresh water is essential for your four legged friend so it is advisable to make sure dogs have water available at all times and especially during hot weather dogs needs it.

Vet Visits

Since early puppy stages, advisable time would be to take your puppy to the vet at eight weeks old, and this is when your puppy will be fully vet checked and will receive ever so important and necessary dog vaccination which will help your dog to bust it’s immune system by fighting back any disease he / she can pick up outside from other animals.
Thereafter dogs should be taken for a vet check at least once per year. This can prevent any illnesses in the future and also dogs should be getting their booster from their vets too, which should boost their vaccination to stay effective.

Dog De-fleaing

Dogs should be defleaed every month to every three month, it depends which products you have decided to use. It is highly recommended to use products suggested by your vet. You can get either spray or you can get spot on formula. Especially in the summer it’s essential to take care of your dogs fleas on a monthly basis also to make sure you regularly clean your dogs room, bedding, the whole house should be cleaned and hoovered up as much as possible. By hoovering your house you are also reducing the amount of fleas in your house. Also combination of salt and soda bicarbonate mixed (equal amount of each ), should be sprinkled around the house on all the carpets and it should be left on for 24 hours. This will destroy any fleas in the house and their eggs.

Dog Toys

Dogs needs their toys to express themselves throughout the day. A variety of dog toys is recommended dog balls, dog Frisbee, any chew toys which are highly important especially at early stages of your dog’s life as it’s teeth are growing just like with us they need something to stimulate it’s teeth and help with their uncomfortable pain too.

Dog Exercise

Probably one of the most important things in your four legged friends life would be daily exercise. Exercise is essential to keep your dog healthy, fit, energized, in top form, it help with several health issues. Problem behaviours like barking, excessive barking, chewing, restlessness, unhappiness, problems with dog socialization, aggressive dogs, unfriendly dogs, depressed dogs, all this health issues often indicate the fact that dogs are simply not getting enough exercise. Sometimes dog owners automatically think that dog training will help to their dogs with their issues, but they don’t realise that their dogs needs fresh air, sun and exercise. It is also extremely important for their mental abilities, mood and mental and physical stimulation. Dogs should be taken out to the nearest parks and forests on a daily basis. It is highly recommended one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. By doing this and making this your canine’s friend part of every day life you are making sure your precious four legged friend is getting all that important exercise and you are increasing chances to have a happy and healthy dog.

Professional Dog Walkers

Due to the fact most of the people are busy dog owners and often work 12 hour shifts it is impossible for them to take their dogs out for an hour in the morning and hour in the evening. This is where professional dog walkers come in very handy. Professional dog walkers can become the best friend for your dog and will always make sure your canine friend gets all the exercise they need in order to live a long, happy and healthy life.