As we highlighted in a previous blog post, telehealth/telemedicine services have come into their own during the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing patients to connect with their clinicians in a way that’s fast, convenient and safe. However, remote consultations often have their limitations, including how to perform diagnostic tests and take medical measurements. But now researchers from the University of Washington have devised a way to measure patients' pulse and breathing rates via a smartphone's camera. The researchers say the advancement will make telehealth more accurate and useful. According to UW News, the system, called MetaPhys, can detect a patient’s pulse or respiration rate using in real-time using video of their face. "Machine learning is pretty good at classifying images. If you give it a series of photos of cats and then tell it to find cats in other images, it can do it," Xin Liu, the study's lead author and a student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering doctoral student, told UW News. "But for machine learning to be helpful in remote health sensing, we need a system that can identify the region of interest in a video that holds the strongest source of physiological information — pulse, for example — and then measure that over time." The team's original iteration of MetaPhys was presented last December at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference. However, the first iteration had some pitfalls, most notably that it struggled with certain lights, backgrounds and skin colors. The second version, the researchers say, improves upon the first and overcomes these limitations. *Image courtesy of tookapic from Pixabay
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, telehealth/telemedicine services were more of a convenience than a necessity for most patients. They offered (and still do offer) a way for a patient to consult with their clinician without having to make a trip to the doctor’s office. But it was when the Covid-19 pandemic struck that telehealth really came into its own, with more patients than ever taking advantage of such services to receive non-emergency healthcare from the safety of their own homes. Now, new research from Sykes reveals that most consumers – having experienced telehealth services during the pandemic -- want them to remain post-Covid. According to the Sykes survey, which polled 2,000 Americans in March on how their opinions on virtual care have changed within the past year, more than 61% had undergone a telehealth visit come March this year. In comparison, less than 20% had utilized telehealth by March 2020. Furthermore, in March 2020, around 65% of Americans felt hesitant or doubtful about the quality of telehealth services, while 56% did not believe they could afford the same level of care compared to in-person appointments. However, now, almost 88% want to continue using telehealth for non-urgent consultations after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. Moreover, almost 80% agree it's possible to receive quality care via telehealth services. *Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
Telehealth solutions have come into their own during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, adoption of telehealth services has increased by more than 2,000% since last year. With both physicians and patients alike reaping benefits from telehealth solutions, it’s inevitable that some ambulatory care and services will never return to being face-to-face. However, as solutions mature and become more readily adopted, healthcare providers need to realize that a one-size-fits-all approach to telehealth will not afford the best outcomes for patients. Before implementing any telehealth services at all, healthcare providers need to understand: - Who their consumers are? - Where do these consumers live? - What Internet access do they have? - And what is their level of technological literacy? These four considerations are key in helping healthcare providers develop telehealth solutions that are both intuitive and meet their patients’ varying needs. Failure to address these four considerations could lead to telehealth solutions simply not being utilized. Here at France Surgery, we pride ourselves on the transformational telehealth services we provide. It’s our goal to provide our patients with access to SMART healthcare wherever they are and whenever they need it. We understand that what works for one patient won’t necessarily work for another, which is why we never look to take a one-size-fits-all approach.
A new survey from a healthcare cybersecurity firm has revealed that telehealth services are being widely accepted as the preferred alternative to face-to-face consultations. However, security remains a top concern. According to the research by CynergisTek, a leading cybersecurity firm in the healthcare space, more than 54% of patients have utilized telehealth services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those people, 73% said they will continue using telehealth services even after the pandemic has subsided. However, the security of such systems is a top concern for many people, with 48% of the 5,000 adult respondents saying they would be unlikely to use virtual care again if their own protected health information was compromised due to a security breach. Interestingly, individuals from different generations view cybersecurity with varying importance. For example, so-called Baby Boomers (generally defined as people born from 1946 to 1964) and The Silent Generation (generally defined as people born from 1925 to 1942) were most likely to abandon telehealth services following a data breach, 62% and 65%, respectively. Nevertheless, most patients s believe that telehealth services can fill pandemic-era gaps for routine care, such as chronic care check-ups (29%) or annual physical and children's wellness exams (27%). Speaking about the findings of the research, Caleb Barlow, president and CEO of CynergisTek, said: “The rapid growth of telehealth has accelerated to a level we wouldn't have expected to see over a 10-year timeframe.”
You can’t switch on the news right now without hearing the word ‘coronavirus’. But coronaviruses are actually nothing new and most people will be infected with one at some point in their life. But don’t worry, most coronaviruses cause only moderate symptoms. In fact, of the seven known coronaviruses that affect humans, four are endemic (found regularly) and rarely cause severe disease on their own. These four are called 229E, OC43, NL63, and HKU1. Coronaviruses 229E and OC43 usually result in the common cold most of us experience from time to time, particularly during the winter. However, there are also three known coronaviruses that cause more severe symptoms: SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and the one we are dealing with now, SARS-CoV-2. What SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus have in common is that they are more dangerous for people with underlying medical conditions. And while SARS and MERS have significantly higher case fatality rates than COVID-19, the latter is more infectious. Finally, it is worth noting that there have been no new SARS cases for over a decade. However, MERS remains a public health concern, with a handful of cases cropping up every year. Two of the biggest challenges with the current SARS-CoV-2 outbreak are that many people are asymptomatic and our lust for international travel and the ease with which we can do it have allowed the virus to spread rapidly around the globe. [Related reading: Why COVID-19 hits some people harder than others]
With the COVID-19 pandemic still causing chaos in many countries around the world, much focus has turned to developing a vaccine to prevent the horrible respiratory disease. But how far off is a coronavirus vaccine and what’s taking so long? At present, estimates on how long it will take to develop a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine range from one year to 18 months, with some experts warning it would take even longer. The reality is that in vaccine years that is extremely fast and the likelihood is that a coronavirus vaccine will take longer. Right now, no less than 35 companies and academic institutions are racing to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus. At least four have candidates that they are currently testing in animals. One, produced by Boston-based biotech firm Moderna, will begin human trials very soon. One of the reasons why some companies had a head start creating a vaccine is because coronaviruses have caused two other recent epidemics: the 2002-2004 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in China and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak, which was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. In both cases, work began on vaccines, but these were later shelved when the outbreaks were contained. Some of those vaccines are now being repurposed to help in the fight against Sars-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe and effective in humans has been approved, another challenge will be producing it in the vast quantities needed. In the meantime, thoroughly wash your hands regularly and follow COVID-19 advice.
A new mobile phone app that helps speed up the detection of a potentially fatal kidney condition has been described as a “potential lifesaver” by hospital staff. The app, known as Streams, is able to detect acute kidney injury in 14 minutes (on average). Until now, this process would have taken at least several hours. This is highly significant as acute kidney injury can begin to affect other organs if it is not treated quickly. One in five people who are admitted to hospital develop acute kidney injury and it leads to around 100,000 deaths in the UK each year. The app works by looking for a waste product called creatinine, something that is normally filtered out by a person’s kidneys. It then sends warning signals to front-line clinicians’ phones if a patient’s blood tests indicate they have acute kidney failure. Streams was developed by the Royal Free Hospital in London and technology firm DeepMind, which is owned by Alphabet. Speaking to the BBC, Mary Emerson, lead nurse specialist at the Royal Free Hospital, said: “It's a huge change to be able to receive alerts about patients anywhere in the hospital. Healthcare is mobile and real time, and this is the first device that has enabled me to see results in a mobile real-time way.” The findings of the app trial are published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine.
In 1906, a German doctor called Alois Alzheimer performed an autopsy on a 55-year-old lady who had profound memory loss. What he discovered was that she had an abnormally shrunken brain, as well as abnormalities in and around her nerve cells. It was the first time that such brain abnormalities had been witnessed and led to the coining of the term “Alzheimer’s disease.” At the time of Alzheimer’s discovery, dementia was rare and something that wasn’t subsequently studied for decades. Fast-forward to today and someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every three seconds, making it the number one cause of dementia. In some wealthier nations today, Alzheimer’s is one of the biggest killers – mainly due to the fact that it’s completely untreatable. In England and Wales, one in eight death certificates nowadays lists dementia as the cause of death, while it is estimated that 50 million people globally are living with the condition. However, as populations in developing countries age, the number of people living with dementia globally is set to soar to 130 million by 2050. But why is dementia more common today? Simply because we are all living longer and age is the biggest risk factor for dementia. Speaking to the BBC recently, Hilary Evans, chief executive of the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, said: “Dementia certainly is the biggest health challenge of our time. It's the one that will continue to rise in terms of prevalence, unless we can do something to stop or cure this disease."
A new study has revealed that half of UK adults cannot name a single dementia risk factor. If asked, how many could you name? The study by Alzheimer's Research UK found that just 1% of UK adults could name the seven known dementia risk or protective factors. Heavy drinking, smoking, genetics, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes are the six dementia risk factors, while physical exercise is a protective factor. According to the study, more than half of UK adults know someone with dementia, yet only half also recognised that the disease is a cause of death. Furthermore, a fifth of people quizzed for the report incorrectly said that dementia is an inevitable part of getting old. Right now, there are more than 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and that number is expected to top one million by 2025. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for around two-thirds of all cases. Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “It is a sad truth that more people are affected by dementia than ever before and half of us now know someone with the condition. Yet despite growing dementia awareness, we must work harder to improve understanding of the diseases that cause it.” You can read the full Alzheimer’s Research UK report here: https://www.dementiastatistics.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Dementia-Attitudes-Monitor-Wave-1-Report.pdf#zoom=100
People who have a heart attack sometimes experience heart muscle damage. As a result, many live with heart failure and may require a heart transplant in the future. But what if there was a way for human hearts to heal themselves? Scientists say an exotic fish could perhaps hold clues to making such an occurrence a reality. The Mexican tetra fish, which lives in freshwater, can, quite amazingly, repair its own heart. Popular with aquarium owners because of its unique coloring, the tetra fish has many different species, most of which can heal their own hearts following damage. To understand how the tetra fish do this, a team of researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK travelled to the Pachón cave in Mexico to study a tetra subspecies, the “blind cave tetra”. This remarkable fish has not only lost its ability to see, but also its color. Moreover, it can no longer regenerate heart tissue. By studying the blind cave tetra alongside other species of tetra, the team of researchers was able to create genetic profiles for both, allowing them to better understand what gives the tetra its amazing heart regeneration abilities. The team, led by Dr. Mathilda Mommersteeg, an associate professor at the University of Oxford, identified three separate genomes relevant to the tetra’s self-healing. Further analysis revealed two genes, lrrc10 and caveolin, were far more active in the river tetras. “A real challenge until now was comparing heart damage and repair in fish with what we see in humans. But, by looking at river fish and cave fish side by side, we've been able to pick apart the genes responsible for heart regeneration,” said Dr. Mommersteeg. Going forward, the research team hopes it may be possible to develop a way for heart attack patients to repair their own heart tissue.
Sancheng Digital, Europe to China marketing company and France Surgery, France's leading medical tourism company signed a partnership deal this week. The signing took place at TBSeeds - Toulouse Business School's start-up incubator. (Sancheng Digital and France Surgery have strong links to Toulouse Business School, the founders of both companies having studied at the institution.) Chinese outbound medical tourism is growing year on year as Chinese consumers seek to access medical treatment unavailable to them in their home country. Hanya Cao co-founder Sancheng Digital: "Sancheng Digital are excited to be working hand in hand with France Surgery to enable them to strengthen their position in the Chinese market." Carine HILAIRE co-founder France Surgery: "Sancheng Digital's expertise in China focused marketing made them a perfect business partner for France Surgery in our quest to build strong relationships with Chinese clients." Annexe: “Chinese outbound tourism figures continue to grow. Estimates show 500,000 outbound Chinese medical travellers spend at least $10 billion a year, lucrative for medical tourism destinations in Southeast Asia, Europe and the USA.” https://www.imtj.com/news/130m-chinese-holiday-abroad-outbound-medical-tourists-estimated-05m/ Sancheng Digital和France Surgery签署战略合作协议 2018年9月11日，Sancheng Digital 和 France Surgery 在法国图卢兹商学院创业孵化中心签署了一项重要合作协议。Sancheng Digital立足法国南部，致力于中欧贸易合作和国际市场营销服务。在协议签署后， France Surgury 将在其助力下进一步打开中国境外医疗旅游市场。 据报道，随着中国经济稳步增长，中国出境医疗旅游市场也成为各国看好的新蓝海。医疗体检和疗养旅游深受中国中产阶级青睐，除此之外，在癌症等恶性疾病治疗领域，欧美等国往往拥有更充足的医疗资源和更先进的研发治疗手段，因此也吸引着越来越多的中国患者前往海外接受治疗。 France Surgery的创始人凯莉.希拉里 (Carine HILAIRE) 说: "目前我们已经为许多来自欧美，中东，北非地区的病患提供了系列帮助，中国将会是我们的下一站，很高兴我们能和Sancheng Digital成为战略合作伙伴，相信在他们的支持下，我们能更好的了解中国病人的需求，推广法国的医疗旅游品牌，帮助更多中国病患在法国接受相关治疗，重获健康。"
From Friday, drinks manufacturers in the UK will have to pay a levy on the high-sugar drinks they sell, following the implementation of the ground-breaking sugar tax in the country. While ministers and campaigners say the tax is already driving positive results, with many manufacturers cutting the amount of sugar in their drinks ahead of the change, others say it’s still too early to tell. Indeed, while Fanta, Ribena and Lucozade have cut the sugar content of their drinks, Coca-Cola hasn’t. The UK joins a small handful of countries, including France, Mexico and Norway, which have introduced similar taxes in an attempt to reduce sugar consumption. Manufacturers will need to pay the levy – equivalent to 24p per litre - on any of their drinks that contain more than 8g per 100ml. It is not yet known whether the costs will be passed on to consumers in the form of price increases. Drinks containing 5-8g of sugar per 100ml will be subject to a lower rate of tax of 18p per litre. Pure fruit juices that do not contain any added sugar will be exempt, as are drinks with high milk content (due to the beneficial calcium they contain). The new tax is expected to raise around £240 million a year, which will be invested in schools sports and breakfast clubs.
Whether cycling has a negative impact on a man’s sexual health and/or urinary function has been the subject of several studies over the years. But now new research suggests that the sexual and urinary health of cyclists is comparable to that of runners and swimmers, and that the benefits of cycling “far outweigh the risks.” According to the authors of the new research, previous studies that looked at how cycling affects men’s sexual and urinary health lacked comparison groups. Benjamin Breyer, lead investigator from the University of California-San Francisco's urology department, said: "Cycling provides tremendous cardiovascular benefits and is low impact on joints. "The health benefits enjoyed by cyclists who ride safely will far out weight health risks." However, the study did show that cyclists had a greater chance of experiencing genital numbness, but that this could be significantly reduced by standing up while cycling for more than 20% of the time. The researchers are now interested in planning future work that looks at whether genital numbness is a possible predictor for future health problems.
French President Emmanuel Macron has just wrapped up his first official state visit to China – an event that experts say highlights his commitment to cementing positive relations between Beijing and Europe. One of the key messages conveyed during the French President’s visit related to the enormous possibilities and opportunities that exist for cooperation between China and Europe. Macron said that he is ready to work to “get the Europe-China relationship into the 21st Century” and will visit the country at least once every year while he is still the President of France. China’s president, Xi Jinping, said the two countries will look to deepen their “strategic cooperation,” a vision that was underlined by the fact the two countries signed a number of major trade deals during Macron’s visit, that included fields such as food, aerospace, online retailing and nuclear power. Macron also met with Alibaba founder Jack Ma, as well as a number of other officials from Chinese and French companies. He offered to open France to Chinese investment in exchange for greater access to China's markets for French companies. Talking about trade relations between the two countries, Alicia Garcia-Herrero, chief economist for Asia Pacific at French bank Natixis, said Chinese consumers have a growing hunger for what France has to offer.
People who are overweight or obese will often do anything to help them lose weight and that includes taking food supplements, slimming teas and other so-called weight loss drugs. But now the UK’s medicines watchdog has issued a warning against the use of slimming pills bought online as they can cause serious health problems. A survey of 1,800 slimmers by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Slimming World found that one in three had bought weight loss pills online and two-thirds had experienced side-effects. When quizzed about why they had purchased such drugs online, 40% said it was because they had not wanted to speak to a GP or pharmacist. Some of the side-effects associated with slimming bills bought online include heart problems, blurred vision and diarrhoea. Some even contain banned ingredients. The MHRS has stressed that people should always go to their GPs for advice in the first instance. As part of its #FakeMeds campaign, the agency has also warned that buying from websites also increases the risk of being ripped off or having their identity stolen. MHRA senior policy manager Lynda Scammell said: "Quick fixes for losing weight may have serious health consequences in the short or long term, including organ failure and death. "It's essential you know what you're buying online and what the risks are. "If you don't, your weight could end up being the least of your worries."
People who eat browned toast, chips and potatoes could be increasing their risk of cancer, according to the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA). That's because the chemical acrylamide - which is known to be toxic to DNA and cause cancer in animals - is produced when starchy foods are roasted, fried or grilled for too long at high temperatures. For example, when bread is warmed to make toast the sugar, amino acids and water present in it combine to create colour and acrylamide. The darker the colour of the toast, the more acrylamide is present. The FSA admits that it does not know exactly how much acrylamide can be tolerated by people, but it does believe we are all eating too much of it. As a result, the FSA has launched a new campaign advising people to make some small changes to the way they prepare and cook food: Always aim for a golden yellow colour when toasting, frying, baking, or roasting starchy foods like potatoes, bread and root vegetables Store raw potatoes in a cool, dark place above 6C and not in the fridge. Carefully follow cooking instructions when heating oven chips, pizzas, roast potatoes and parsnips Make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet which includes five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, as well as starchy carbohydrates In addition to the campaign, the FSA is also working with the food industry to reduce the amount of acrylamide found in processed food. Steve Wearne, director of policy at the FSA, said most people were not aware that acrylamide even existed. "We want our campaign to highlight the issue so that consumers know how to make the small changes that may reduce their acrylamide consumption whilst still eating plenty of starchy carbohydrates and vegetables as recommended in government healthy eating advice."
August in France - especially the capital city of Paris - is traditionally a very quiet time. That's because most of the locals shut up shop and head off on their holidays. But don't let that put you off. There's still plenty to do... Here are five things to do in France this August: 1. Paris Plages, until Aug 21 The Paris Plages is the French capital's beach festival, which sees the banks of the River Seine, Bassin de la Villette and the heart of the city transformed into beach paradises using 5,000 tonnes of sand. 2. Night of Stars, Aug 5-7 Across France, for three days, people are encouraged to "contemplate the sky" at over 300 bespoke events, which will attract both amateur and professional astronomers alike. 3. Rock en Seine, Aug 26-28 Rock en Seine is a three-day rock festival and Paris favourite. Held just west of Paris in the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Rock en Seine promises to be awesome this year, with acts such as Massive Attack, Chemical Brothers and The Offspring all headlining. 4. International Festival of Photojournalism, Aug 27-Sept 11 Held in southern France's Perpignan, the International Festival of Photojournalism is the biggest of its kind in the world, attracting around 230,000 visitors every year who come to France to see spectacular photos and the people behind them. 5. Festival de Musique, Menton, Jul 29-Aug 14 If classical music is your thing, the Festival de Musique in Menton is sure to be right up your street. The oldest classical music festival in France, the Festival de Musique has a rich and dynamic programme designed to appeal to wide range of people.
The benefits of following a Mediterranean diet have long been advocated by the people who live there, but now new research suggests that it may be true as the region’s food and drink regimen may boost levels of beneficial fatty acids. Produced by bacteria when fibre from dietary plant matter is fermented in the intestine, these so-called “short-chain fatty acids” (SCFAs) are believed to afford a number of health benefits, including a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease and inflammatory disease, according to the research which was recently published in the journal Gut. “We provide here tangible evidence of the impact of a healthy diet and a Mediterranean dietary pattern,” wrote the team headed up by Danilo Ercolini, a professor of microbiology at the University of Naples in Italy. The study, which focused on the dietary habits of 153 Italian adults, found higher levels of SCFAs in individuals who were vegans, vegetarians and those who followed a Mediterranean diet, including plenty of fibre-rich fruits, vegetables and legumes. While levels of SCFAs can vary naturally according to a person’s age and gender, the findings of the study definitely suggest that a high-fibre diet also boosts them. “The take-away message from this study is to head to your local farmers market, let the produce fill your plate and only use animal-based proteins as condiments,” said Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y.
Just last week we told you about how a simple saliva test could be used to predict a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And now this year’s Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) in Washington, D.C., has heard how physical exercise not only has the potential to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, but also effectively treat it as well. Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer's Association, said: “Based on the results we heard reported today at AAIC 2015, exercise or regular physical activity might play a role in both protecting your brain from Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and also living better with the disease if you have it.” The randomised controlled trials sought to assess whether moderate to high-intensity activity had an effect on 200 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s symptoms. The team from the Danish Dementia Research Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark, led by Dr. Steen Hasselbalch, found that the group of patients following the exercise programme experienced significantly fewer of the neuropsychiatric symptoms often associated with Alzheimer’s disease. "While our results need to be verified in larger and more diverse groups, the positive effects of exercise on these symptoms that we saw in our study may prove to be an effective complement or combination with antidementia drugs," said Dr. Hasselbach. "This calls for further study of multimodal treatment strategies, including lifestyle and drug therapies." The study further highlights the importance of undertaking physical exercise on a regular basis. The list of proven health benefits is increasing all the time and just a little physical activity now could dramatically improve your life in the future. Photo credit: Medical News Today
A simple saliva test could predict a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study from a team in Canada. Led by Shraddha Sapkota, PhD, a neuroscience graduate at the University of Alberta, the team of researchers presented their findings at the 2015 Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC). Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in America and currently affects around 5.3 million in the US. By 2050, it is thought that 13.5 million Americans will suffer from the disease. At present, Alzheimer’s disease or a person’s risk of contracting it cannot be determined via a single test. A thorough medical evaluation is needed, which includes both physical and neurological tests. The University of Alberta researchers tested various saliva samples from 22 participants who had been diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s disease; 25 who with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) – an Alzheimer’s risk factor – and 35 whose cognitive functioning was normal. They found that certain compounds were more pronounced in the saliva of the patients who had Alzheimer’s and MCI. They verified their findings by conducting a subsequent study involving fewer participants. Talking about the findings of the study, Sapkota said: "Saliva is easily obtained, safe and affordable, and has promising potential for predicting and tracking cognitive decline, but we're in the very early stages of this work and much more research is needed. Equally important is the possibility of using saliva to find targets for treatment to address the metabolic component of Alzheimer's, which is still not well understood. This study brings us closer to solving that mystery." Photo credit: Healthy Women
The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has recently unveiled a set of new healthcare spending proposals, including an almost $69 million tax on health insurance policies – a step which is designed to fund the administrative costs of continuing New York’s health insurance exchange. The additional tax is being introduced in an attempt to aid the state’s health insurance exchange become self-sustaining this year – something which may prove difficult as New York has struggled to generate enough revenue to fund its annual operating costs. The “modest” tax will equate to an additional $25 per person insured under the plan; a cost that is almost certainly going to be passed on to consumers. President Obama’s Affordable Care Act helped state-based health exchanges launch initially, but now requires that they become self-sustaining this year. Opponents to Governor Cuomo’s proposals believe that consumers are the people who will ultimately suffer due to more costly premiums. Paul Macielak, president of the New York Health Plan Association, said: “The governor proposes to add a new tax on premiums to pay for New York’s health exchange, making health insurance less affordable for New Yorkers”. Health care costs in the U.S. are still rising and American households are approaching the limit of what they can afford. The additional cost burdens mean that many Americans could simply forgo care in the future. To find out how France Surgery can facilitate highly affordable, world-class medical procedures with minimal wait times, contact us today.
In 2013, a staggering 84.7 million people voyaged to France. This number represents a two per cent increase on the previous year and ensures the country remains firmly at the top of the global rankings of most visited countries. The capital city of Paris leads the way as the most visited city in the world and, quite surprisingly, it’s a jump in visitor numbers from other parts of Europe that are accounting for the increased tourism. Also, France is attracting more Asian tourists than it did the previous year, with visitor numbers from the region rising by 12 per cent. However, the number of nights spent in France by Asian visitors actually experienced a drop compared to the previous year. Despite its vast size advantage, the United States could only manage second place with 69.8 million visitors. Spain came in third boasting 60.7 million – both figures a long way off France’s enormous tourist number. Furthermore, it seems that the French government wants to further increase France’s appeal and break the 100 million visitors mark. It seems that France is viewing its visitors as customers (quite rightly) and wanting to do everything to ensure they come back again and again. Their plan is simple: be friendlier to foreign visitors. Where better to undergo surgery than in the world’s number one tourist destination? Your recovery period is guaranteed to be full of fantastic sights and experiences – not to mention the exquisite food! Photo Credit: Jo Harrison
If you’re considering, or require, health treatment or surgery within the next couple of months, you may decide to choose the month of July at our clinic in Nice to take advantage of recovery during the Nice Jazz Festival. This annual festival is renowned by many, including Frommers, for being the “biggest, flashiest, and most prestigious jazz festival in Europe”. It begins on Tuesday 8th July and lasts for five fantastic days of jazz, soul, funk, pop and world music. Something to suit everyone! Since its beginning in 1948, the Nice Jazz Festival has seen the likes of Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis perform on its stages. This year the line-up consists of 10-time Grammy winner George Benson, Ben Harper, Esperanza Spalding and legends Earth, Wind & Fire amongst others. So why not speak to our International Patient Services team about your healthcare needs at our clinic in Nice, to ensure you make the most of this popular musical event. Photo credit: Flickr
France is a year–round destination that attracts a steady flow of visitors throughout the four seasons of the year. But if that’s the case, when is the best time to travel there for surgery? Well, the summer months are inevitably the most popular and afford the warmest weather. However, the low seasons draw fewer crowds and, therefore, can be a more pleasant time to visit; especially for surgery with its inevitable recovery period. Weather As we’ve said, summer months in France offer the warmest weather, but the country actually enjoys a pleasant and relatively temperate climate all year. Certain regions have their own microclimates, which can cause temperature fluctuations from town to town. For example, an oceanic climate with high humidity is afforded on the Atlantic and Channel coasts, while Paris and the central regions have an intermediate climate with relatively warm summers and cold winters. The south of France, as everyone knows, enjoys a Mediterranean climate that sometimes allows for super-hot summers and calm winters. Crowds School holidays and warm weather mean that May to September is often the busiest time to visit France. Remember though, that France has a reputation for romance and Paris in particular sees a large influx of visitors on and around Valentine’s Day. Two notable French sporting events that attract large numbers of visitors are the Tour De Franceand French Open tennis championships that are held in July and May to June respectively. Furthermore, the Paris Auto Show often entices huge numbers of car enthusiasts. The event, that takes place in October each year, is the pinnacle of the French automobile calendar and gives manufacturers an international audience to which to showcase their unique styles to. France really is a year-round destination, so anytime you are thinking of travelling there for surgery will be fine. However, it’s also worth noting that many small shops and restaurants in Paris and elsewhere, for that matter, often close for part or all of August, when residents take their yearly holidays. Remember though that large crowds may not be the perfect post-surgery prescription, so choose your dates with that in mind. Photo credit: Flickr
France is one of the most seductive countries in the world and allures travellers from all over the globe with its promises of total diversity. In fact, France is often lauded as the most diverse country in Europe and it’s not difficult to see why. After all, where else can you find celebrated mountains, some of the finest coastline on the continent and everything else in-between? In addition, 28 per cent of France is still covered in forest! A fact that will resonate with anyone who has been there previously and enjoyed some of the sparsely-populated villages that remain complete unto themselves – in other words, they’ve not bowed down to modern influences and haven’t become mere extensions of the inevitable urban sprawl that is often found in many other countries. All of this diversity coupled with the frozen in time picturesqueness of French villages, means that marked regional identities are retained even today. Looking for some inspiration? Check out the Top 25 Tourist Destinations in the Midi-Pyrénées video on our website, which is guaranteed to give you a fantastic insight into some of the region’s very best locations. But being a year-round destination, France enjoys a steady flow of visitors regardless of the season. However, it’s the summer months that often attract the most people and anyone fortunate enough to visit France at this time will be astonished by the sheer number of festivals that the country boasts. There are far too many great festivals to give an overview of them all, so instead we’ve compiled a short list that features three of our favourites. Enjoy… Festival d'Avignon With its roots in the city of Avignon, the Festival d'Avignon, or Avignon Festival, takes place annually in July and has done so since 1947. That’s the year when Jean Vilar founded this exuberant celebration of performing arts – now one of the biggest in the world. Predominantly set in the courtyard of the Pope’s Palace, the Festival d'Avignon plays host to some 3,500 performing arts professionals from around the world. In fact, the festival has become such a popular annual event that it has spawned an unofficial sibling festival, known as the ‘off’, which sees numerous companies performing various works on their own initiative. Carcassonne Festival A must for music lovers, the Carcassonne Festival is held every year from June to August and features some 100 concerts that showcase French and international music talent alike. Past performers include Diana Ross, Supertramp and Bob Dylan. However, the festival also sees live theatre shows, circus, dance and opera all on offer for the crowds to enjoy. This year’s festival will welcome acclaimed international stars like Elton John, the Jacksons and Franz Ferdinand. It really is a wonderful celebration of music from around the world and should definitely be a consideration for anyone travelling to France over the summer. Fêtes de Bayonne As it’s the largest festival in France, the Fêtes de Bayonne was always going to feature on our list. This annual event attracts more than a million visitors each year and is kicked off by the festival’s mascot King Leon. The keys to the city are tossed from the town hall balcony by the king, much to the delight of the massed crowd below. This action signals the start of five days and nights of non-stop partying. It’s not just a party atmosphere though as the Fêtes de Bayonne’s diverse nature means that there is literally something for everyone. Carnival-esque parades, nightly concerts, firework displays and giants roaming the streets are just some of the highlights. Did we mention the two official bullfights that take place in the city’s bullring? There really is no better time to visit France and experience some of the world’s best festivals than summer. Furthermore, July 14 is Bastille Day – the French national holiday and another significant event in the French calendar. Photo credits: Flickr
France is a beautiful country with a wealth of history and culture to be explored. Thousands of people choose to visit France each year to experience the weather, attractions and cuisine. It is therefore not surprising that when anyone who is interested in medical tourism is choosing which country to go to France is often near the top of the list. When the fact that France has the best healthcare system in the world is added to the information it is obvious why this is an incredibly popular medical tourism destination. Besançon is the capital and principal city of the Franche-Comte eastern area of France. With a climate that combines the oceanic and continental elements this area of France is perfect for people who like to experience snowy and frosted winters or warm, dry summers. When it comes to finding things to do in Besançon there is plenty. If you are thinking of having surgery through France Surgery and will be up and about fairly quickly then there is so much history to discover. From the Roman remains to the Citadel (which was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2008), the Cathedral of St Jean and the magnificent Renaissance-style buildings. With parks and museums to add to the list of reasons to get out of bed if you choose Besançon as your surgery destination you will be on the road to recovery in no time. Photo credits: Flickr
If you are seriously considering medical tourism or have already decided that it’s right for you but are undecided about where to go to then you have an exciting choice ahead of you. As the highest ranking healthcare system in the world France is the obvious choice, however, with so many clinics there is still a huge amount to think about. Lyon is in the Rhone-Alps region of France, situated in the east-central area between Paris and Marseille. This area of France has a humid subtropical climate which means that the winter is much colder than it is further down in the south of France and the summers are very warm without being unbearably hot. There are many tourist attractions in Lyon that can be enjoyed by patients who are recovering from surgery. Museums such as the Museum of Resistance and Deportation give a fascinating insight into the Resistance movement in World War II, whist the African Museum of Lyon is one of the oldest and popular attractions in Lyon. For people who like the opera Lyon’s Opera Nouvel is a must-visit and the Church of Saint Francis of Sales attracts visitors from around the world and is a great place to visit before returning home. Lyon is also famous for its world class cuisine and so for patients whose recovery leaves them unable to manage full days out, a simple meal in a fine dining restaurant will make leave them feeling thoroughly spolit. Photo Credits: Flickr