A Review of the Health O Meter Line of Weighing Scales

Health o meter has developed a reputation as a popular weighing scale manufacturing company. They offer a long line of various scales, including dial scales, digital scales and larger, balance-beam scales that are well-known for medical use. When choosing a scale that will fit your specific needs, keep a few things in mind when shopping. Budget, display type (digital or dial) and spring-based or balance-beam weighing functionality are all key things to consider. Fortunately, Health o meter features a long line of scales that can fit any bathroom d├ęcor or health need.

Bathroom Scales

For the standard bathroom scale, you have a plethora of choices to fit the bill. Health o meter focuses its retail arm on this type of scale, so you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect bathroom scale. The two main types of bathroom scales in use today are dial and digital displays. Both tend to be spring-based because they use a spring system to measure weight. The only difference is the display, which can be digitally shown on an LCD screen or with an old-fashioned dial. Both tend to have similar accuracy, so most users usually opt for the digital variety. The display shows a large, easily read number that users can quickly interpret. Dials can be a bit harder to get an exact reading for those with poor eyesight. So, if anyone in the family has eyesight issues, digital display scales are the way to go.

You’ll find that design choices are plentiful when selecting a bathroom scale. Glass-topped bathroom scales are all the rage these days, and for good reason – most people think they look modern and high-tech. Again, accuracy plays no part here, so just go with the look that makes you happy. You can even find some scales with a wooden grain pattern on them if your bathroom has a heavy wood theme. Health o meter offers plenty of glass-topped models to fit any budget.

Medical and Balance Scales

For those that want premium, physician-quality accuracy, the balance-beam scale is the way to go. Health o meter offers its popular 402KL upright balance-beam scale for users needing the ultimate in accuracy. This is the most popular choice for retail customers looking for a balance scale, and the price is pretty competitive at around $200. This unit features a measuring stick as well, just like the doctor’s office medical scale.

Balance beam scales are extremely accurate when they have been calibrated. Technically, they can even withstand changes in the Earth’s gravitational pull – something that flat, spring-based scales cannot claim. Since the scale is measuring your weight versus a known, smaller amount of weight on the opposite side of a balance-beam, the gravitational pull will always be equal on both sides, therefore rendering the comparison accurate regardless of the pull. Thankfully, wild fluctuations in the Earth’s gravitational pull don’t occur often, but the fact remains the balance-beam scales are very popular when accuracy is integral.

Conclusion

Health o meter is one of the most popular brands of scales in the world, and they offer a wide range of scales to meet any need. They are wholly recommended, but you should choose your scale wisely so that it reflects your budget, tastes and needs.

Beyond Incentives – Seven Strategies to Drive Utilization of Your Medical Travel Benefit Plan

Medical Travel Benefits

You may have noticed that many U.S. employers are investigating whether they can reduce health care expenses by using medical travel. But how does this work? Can your business reduce healthcare costs by using foreign providers? The answer is complicated.

Medical travel is the practice of patients receiving care for certain procedures in foreign countries. Medical travel professionals have built networks of distinguished providers in India, Costa Rica, Singapore and Thailand who are accredited and serving American patients. These providers offer the same procedures by similarly qualified surgeons at state of the art hospitals for 30% to 50% off of negotiated prices in the U.S.

Employers and medical travel professionals are putting their heads together to design health plans that allow employees to travel for care and save. The employers who are embracing medical travel generally either go at it alone or collaborate with a medical travel company to design a benefit add on. Medical travel companies and other industry experts have a lot of experience and expertise to contribute to this process and should be consulted while building a medical travel benefit.

Here’s why. Medical travel experts generally focus on financial incentives to drive utilization of foreign providers. However, your business will see better results if you invest early in the process to understand the employee population. By analyzing your employee demographics and understanding health consumer behavior, you can design a plan that connects with your target beneficiary group and changes their behavior.

The Anatomy of a Medical Travel Benefit Package

Health care consumers, both individuals and groups, are demanding competitive prices, more transparency and better quality care. Beneficiaries and patients have become health care consumers. The movement is called consumer-driven health care. Employers that offer health benefits are responding to this phenomenon with packages that let beneficiaries to take greater responsibility for their care and consumption decisions.

Global health benefits (as it is referred to by some in the industry) generally follow the health care consumerism model of high deductibles, behavior-inducing co-payments, and a health savings account. Global health benefits go one step further and offer financial incentives for patients who travel abroad for certain procedures.

The Role Of Incentives

Generally global health benefit plans use three types of incentives: financial incentives for patients to use preferred providers, non-use dependent incentives to attract beneficiaries. Like other low-cost health plans, global health benefits give patients more responsibility for health-related decisions. Enrollees choose from a network that includes preferred out-of-country providers. Financial incentives encourage patients to choose foreign providers for specific procedures.

Financial incentives reward patients who have certain procedures performed abroad. Employers may have a lower co-pay for foreign providers, pay enrollees cash for choosing foreign providers and/or cover the cost of travel to and from the location of the procedure. Employers may also let employees use non-vacation or personal time for in-country recovery.

Non-use dependent incentives attract new beneficiaries with low cost premiums and reward patients for taking advantage of preventative services like annual health check-ups, mammograms, prostate screenings and immunizations. While non-use dependent incentives won’t directly drive utilization of foreign providers, they support the structure of plans that encourage patients to take control of their health consumption.

There are limits to the ability of financial incentives to increase utilization of preferred foreign providers. Incentives do not address what drives health care consumption. Without understanding the decision drivers at work, global benefit plans may not reduce health care cost significantly. A benefit plan must narrowly tailored to the target beneficiary demographic to change their behavior.

Beyond Incentives: Seven Strategies to Designing Medical Travel Benefits That Work

Below are seven strategies to help employers design a medical travel benefit that will achieve better results than incentives alone.

1. Assemble A Team Of Medical Travel Experts

As with all projects, it is critical to assemble the right team. Designing a medical travel benefit is no different. Identify medical travel experts and third party benefit administrators who want to collaborate with you. Having an experienced and knowledgeable team of experts is imperative.

2. Analyze Beneficiary Demographics

The foundation of a successful global health benefit is a complete understanding of the covered population, the group’s demographics and behaviors, and what drives their health care decision-making. Approach the benefit design process from the ground up.

Start by identifying and analyzing the demographics and health care consumption patterns of the employee population. You may want to survey the group to find out their opinions about their current doctors, traveling to certain countries, and about health care in those countries. You may also want to find out how the group spends its health care dollars now and what types of incentives are most likely to work. The answers to these questions will help you build the right global provider network and design an appropriate beneficiary education campaign.

3. Build A Benefit Program That Responds To The Needs Of Your Beneficiaries

Armed with the information learned during the investigatory phase, build a benefit plan and a global provider network that reflects the needs and consumption patterns of the beneficiary population. For example, if you learn that the beneficiary population is generally over weight and has a proclivity for travel in Latin America over Asia, that information may be used to build a plan that encourages beneficiaries to investigate weight loss surgery in Costa Rica and Mexico. Surgeons in these countries are expert in bariatrics. You may also learn that your employee population is more likely to have orthopedic issues and favors Asia. In that case, a plan that highlights the orthopedic expertise of doctors in India, Singapore and Thailand is more likely to be utilized. Either way, the plan should specifically address the beneficiary population to increase the likelihood of utilization.

4. Educate Employee About The Benefits Of Medical Travel

Work closely with medical travel experts to design and implement a comprehensive employee education campaign that demonstrates the advantages of using foreign providers and the added incentives and benefits available through the medical travel plan.

5. Create A Tiered Provider Network

Create a tiered provider network that favors higher quality, lower cost providers with lower co-payments. Enrollees that select preferred foreign providers for specific treatments may have lower or no co-payments associated with that service. Tiered provider networks are a common health care benefit strategy that can be utilized to encourage beneficiaries to use foreign providers for certain services.

6. Increase Provider Transparency And Patient Responsibility

Increased transparency and patient responsibility enhances savings. Enrollees can make cost savings choices about whether or not to see a doctor (with information about disease self-management), which doctor to see (with information about provider quality, success rates, and costs), and disease treatment and management (with information about symptoms, treatments, risks, and costs). Plan providers should be encouraged to be transparent with their quality data and pricing. Giving enrollees the information necessary to make important care decisions aligns their interests with the payer. By aligning the interests of the consumer and payer, excesses can be eliminated and costs can be contained.

7. Implement Internet-Based Care Management Tools

Finally, easy-to-use internet-based care management tools encourage efficient use of wellness programs, on-line nurses, on-line training and more. Recent studies indicate that patients welcome more and better information that is easily accessible. Patients indicate that they will use salient and easy-to-use information to make informed choices about their health care consumption.* By making relevant information accessible and easy-to-use, patients can make more efficient health care consumption choices.

Conclusion

Consumer-driven health care is here to stay. The ability to maximize the benefit of cost containment strategies depends on the ability to innovate and respond to new information. Health care consumers should not be underestimated. They are discerning and scrutinizing. Their behavior is not monolithic. To predict future consumption, health care payers should carefully analyze beneficiary demographics and consumption patterns and employ sophisticated benefit design strategies that address those findings. Without a firm understanding of the covered population, incentives alone are insufficient to drive the kind of utilization necessary to realize measurable savings from medical travel.

* Consumer-Oriented Strategies for Improving Health Benefit Design: An Overview, Prepared by Stanford University-UCSF Evidence-based Practice Center, Stanford, CA for Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, July 2007.

You Plan For Parties, But Do You Plan For Your Health?

I find myself easily distracted this time of year. It’s mid November, and in my mind I am planning a Thanksgiving gathering with friends and family. Then I am fast forwarding to the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, the lights that will decorate the house, and the joyous feeling, the spirit that surrounds December and the new year.

This got me thinking…

We plan for Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday parties, vacations, our kid’s after school activities, and even our work week, but we don’t plan for our own health.

You know the saying, “prevention is key”, but in my line of work, it often takes a health emergency for someone to actually seek my services. I hear a slew of woes:

  • “I was diagnosed with (put major medical diagnosis here), and my doctor says that if I don’t change what I am doing then I will probably die in the next couple of years.”
  • “My anxiety has gotten so bad that my (significant other) said he/she will leave me if I don’t get help.”
  • “My (insert diagnosis) is so bad that I have used up all my sick days at work and I worry about losing my job.”
  • “My friends avoid me now because I am too tired / emotionally unavailable and keep declining their invites.”

Why does it take something major to happen for us to actually DO something about our health?

Here are the excuses:

  • I am too busy.
  • I don’t have the time.
  • I don’t have the money.
  • It costs too much.
  • Insurance doesn’t pay.
  • I would rather have/do ____________.
  • It is too hard to change my diet / lifestyle / habits.
  • I need something quick and easy.
  • The kids need all my attention.

The truth is, when you use these excuses, you are basically saying your health just isn’t a priority. And for some it isn’t. And that is OK. But most people I know don’t want to be sick, don’t want to feel like crap or emotionally overwhelmed, and don’t want to leave this earth prematurely.

Saying your health isn’t a priority is backwards thinking. If you aren’t physically and emotionally healthy, you can’t keep a job to make money, you don’t have the time to attend to your family, and you are shelling out more money to now address the problem.

There is a really, really, good reason that in case of an airplane emergency, you are instructed to put on your oxygen mask first and then attend to your child or loved one.

What is the cost to not buying into prevention or nipping things in the bud before they get out of control?

1. You actually end up spending more $ in the long run.

  • supplements
  • co-pay at doctor’s visits
  • extended therapy sessions,
  • lab work bills
  • pills, etc.

2. You actually end up spending more of your time focusing on your health problem.

  • doctor’s visits
  • extended therapy sessions
  • lab work
  • attempts to self-medicate
  • trying different pills or supplements, etc.

3. Your stress level increases, which in turn, just adds to your poor health.

  • Avoidance and procrastination suck a lot of energy!
  • It is exhausting carrying around emotional baggage all day long.
  • You are just too tired and don’t get anything done, which = anxiety.

4. Your family suffers.

  • If you don’t feel well, or if you are emotionally overwhelmed, you are unavailable to your kids, your spouse, and your 4-legged babies.

5. Your social life suffers.

  • If you don’t feel well or are emotionally pre-occupied, you isolate yourself from your friends, you turn down parties, dinners out, and recreational activities.

So next time when your inner voice says to you, “you know, you should probably deal with _________________ before it gets worse”, you may want to listen.

Is it time to rearrange your priorities?