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Nestled between the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and the mighty North Atlantic Ocean, Antigua is a tiny island that makes up the second half of the country, Antigua and Barbuda.
With an area of 108 sq. km. and a fascinating landscape of low-lying limestone and coral islands with some higher volcanic areas, the island is a haven for people looking for a place to relax and have fun in their own tiny spot in the Caribbean.

The first people to inhabit Antigua were called the Siboney or “stone people” who stayed on the island until at least 2400 B.C. Later, the Arawaks, who were originally from Venezuela, followed the Siboney and came to settle on the chain of islands, now called the Lesser Antilles. However, the warlike Carib people drove the Arawaks out of the islands.

In 1493, Christopher Columbus discovered Antigua by accident and named it Santa Maria la Antigua, after a church in Seville, Spain. The first body of English settlers took possession of the island in 1632 but were soon driven out by the Carib Indians.

Since then, the island became a battleground for possession with the native Caribs on one side, the French and the British on the other. Finally, in the Treaty of Breda, the British regained Antigua and possessed it until 1981 when the island gained its independence, along with Barbuda.

Antigua has an average rainfall of 45.6 inches. However, due to great variations every year and the absence of rivers, the island is subject to frequent droughts. Even so, the soil, especially in the interior, is very fertile, producing export quality sugar and pineapples, plus local favorites like sweet potatoes, yams, maize, and guinea corn.

Temperatures on the island range from mid-seventies in the winter. In the summer, the temperatures rise up a notch to around mid-eighties. Antigua is considered as one of the sunniest parts of the Eastern Caribbean Islands with constant northeast trade winds. Its naturally rocky coast is much indented by bays and arms, providing excellent harbours that afford shelter during storms.

Antigua’s single airport, the V C Bird Airport, is serviced by several major airlines from all over the world, including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, USAirways, American Airlines, Continental, BWIA, and Air Canada. There are regular flights to the neighboring island of Barbuda from V C Bird.

Additionally, Antigua has an English Harbour on its southeastern coast which is famed as a “hurricane hole” because it provides a protected shelter during violent storms. Today, the English Harbour and the neighboring village of Falmouth are world famous for luxury yachting and sailing.

A vast portion of activities you can do in Antigua involves water excursions, such as sailing, boating, and yachting. But for the land-lubber, there is also a multitude of alternative activities available, including cricket, tennis, eco tours, golfing, hiking, bird watching, hunting, and riding.

If we all go to “Complete the Phrases” contest – 90% of us would like to complete “Health Care Delivery with Affordable“, “Costs with Efficient or Ultra-Low” and “Quality with World-Class“. As Care-Seeker we would want a World-Class Healthcare delivery which is affordable and preferably ultra-low cost.

Before addressing the spirit of the blog-title, let’s look at health care providers’ endeavor towards world-class delivery of health care services. How do they do it?

Our Sister Organization, 366Pi Consulting, consults health care providers and hospitals. Their they found that – Hospital Administration was continuously trying to protect wastage of the system without compromising on quality standards. Priorities and Focus of Health Care centers were to make their operation cost-efficient, continuously optimize inventory and deploy some great strategies to upskill the workforce without any significant more investments. The process related improvements was an ongoing activity with every passing month. We helped Consulting team to deliver on Technology related innovations utilizing our Health1 apps built on Salesforce platform enabling healthcare providers address both scale and volume. With doctor-starved countries like India, facilitation and adoption of technology becomes even more important.

Health1 app, allow recording of the diagnosis process; simplifying the routine treatment process and help to monitor follow-up care. Health1 helped health care providers to get localized for Indian scenarios and we observed an increased engagement between the care-seeker and provider. With the absence of Primary Health Care centers, learning to use Health1 – created a trusted channel between the care-seekers and providers.  Patients and care-seeker were eventually more aware of the treatment and preventions and hence, closing the communication gap which was getting created because of missing immediate attention.

Doctors and Physicians in health care centers have to manage a huge volume of patients and at times leading to even less-than-a-minute attention per patients. On the very moment, where Doctor has to prescribe the treatment – the old reports which you thought were not important is requested to be produced by a Consulting Physician. Thanks to Health1 built on Salesforce which can store medical images on the secured cloud. Physicians were empowered and efficient. Physicians can then read medical images remotely/real-time and discuss the findings with their patients.

With the use of Health1 apps, it reduced the barrier of treatments. Apps eventually led to larger patient volume to the health care center with better patient satisfaction levels. One important customization brought in the app was around scheduling of an appointment and managing the associated workflow. The doctors and physicians were often attending the emergency services leading to the last-minute changes to the schedule and even cancellation of an appointment – leading to annoyed Patient experience. This custom new feature allowed health care provider to manage their dynamic changing schedule and utilize collaborative platform to keep up with the status on appointments with Patients.

For another health care provider, Health1 built on Salesforce helped their Psychiatrists Department to drive appointments and communication over a web-based interface and tablets.  It was a self-service process where Patients, themselves, could create an online appointment and consult doctor online – following up with chatter communications for tracking & monitoring progress. Health1 let the particular healthcare provider manage delivery of health care services. Health Care provider could eventually become specialists in relatively rare sub specialties  of medicine.

As a health care provider, non-adoption of Technology could be a serious mis-step. In this era where there’s a need for Mass Production of Healthcare services, you would need to innovate on – Process and Technology – simultaneously. You would need a three-fold strategize to make sure a world-class delivery of health care services –

  • It has to be both Top-down and bottom-up approach,
  • Health care provider should be clear with growth and reach strategies and
  • Yes, Skill upliftment and training should be an integral part

Health1 and Salesforce could let you have a sustainable strategy and build on an approach where tasks are clearly identified and delegated to the right roles. When done right – efficiency and productivity improvement with Physicians is the most important gratification. Connect to us to find out more on our offerings around Health1. We are helping health care providers improve by improving physicians productivity and promoting innovations that suits the local conditions.

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All the health benefits of whiskey you wish you knew earlier… you’re welcome:

Whiskey is one of the best alcohols you can drink. Not only is it the least likely to give you a hangover, but it’s also one of the healthiest around. You’ll find that having a few fingers of whiskey every week can help to:

  1.  Avoid Weight Gain — Whiskey is a low-calorie alcohol, especially when compared to the many cocktails, beers, and wines you can find on supermarket shelves. You can drink a tumbler of whiskey without worrying about packing on the pounds thanks to its low sugar content.
  2. Boost Heart Health — Did you know that drinking whiskey can actually make your heart healthier? Aside from wine and dark beer, what other alcohols can claim that? Not only will whiskey reduce the risk of blood clots, but it will lower your stroke and heart attack risk as well. The antioxidants in whiskey stop cholesterol from clogging your arteries, and it can even boost your good cholesterol.
  3. Fight Cancer –– Whiskey is rich in antioxidants, particularly one known as ellagic acid. This antioxidant stops your body’s DNA from coming in contact with cancer-causing compounds, reducing the risk of carcinogens forming. It can also protect your body from chemotherapy, and will reduce oxidation in your body.
  4. Improve Brain Health — A study conducted in 2003 discovered that drinking whiskey reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you’re worried that your brain is slowing down in your old age, it’s time to start drinking whiskey to protect your very important organ from damage.
  5. Reduce Stroke Risk –– Whiskey not only helps to prevent cholesterol from building up in your arteries, but it can actually help to get rid of any cholesterol present in your blood vessels at the moment. It will also help to relax the walls of your arteries, ensuring that your blood can flow without obstruction. One of the greatest health benefits of whiskey is the reduced stroke risk, and we can all drink to that!
  1. Fight Stress — Stress can cause a wide range of health problems in the human body, but thankfully we’ve got whiskey to kick stress’ butt! Whiskey helps to reduce anxiety and stress, calming your nerves and helping to relax your body. It can increase circulation throughout your body, providing your organs with fresh, oxygenated blood. A serving or two of whiskey can help to calm stressed nerves effectively!
  2. Boost Memory — The antioxidants in whiskey can help to improve the health of your brain, and the circulation-boosting effects of this alcohol will boost your memory at the same time. The same properties that help to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia will also keep your brain active and young.
  3. Aid in Digestion –– Did you know that whiskey has long been drunk as a digestive aid? It was usually consumed after a meal, helping to relax the body after eating heavy food. It can also help to shut down your appetite, preventing you from overeating. Best of all, it will aid in digestion, reducing your risk of stomach ache or indigestion after a heavy meal.
  4. Lengthen Lifespan –– Whiskey is loaded with healthy antioxidants, and these nutrients can help to increase your lifespan by reducing your risk of disease. By protecting your body against disease, you prevent the slow breakdown of important cells in your body–thereby helping you to live longer.
  5. Great for Diabetics –– Whiskey is a zero-carb alcohol, so you can drink it without worrying about the effect it will have on your blood sugar levels. If you suffer from diabetes, a finger or two of whiskey will be the right choice for you!

[fanmob id=”07353c7c-a07b-4aeb-98e1-5f6db075ddd8″]

Resources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1489648/Whisky-helps-fight-cancer.html, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/alcohol-full-story/,http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/234957.stm, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9805220,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12636463, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00311.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false, http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1031484,

Columnist for The Reliable Source

Watch out, Santa: Former president Barack Obama is coming for your sleigh.

With a fluffy red cap and a bulging bag slung over his shoulder, Obama delivered presents (and more than a few gasps) to the young patients at Children’s National hospital in Northwest Washington on Wednesday.

First on Obama’s list was a group of patients 4 and up who were making snowflakes in one of the hospital’s playrooms. After the excitement died down, the former president handed out jigsaw puzzles (which were his grandmother’s favorite, he told the crowd), Hot Wheels sets, remote-control cars, and glittery nail polish, among other goodies collected by Obama and his staffers. Hey, the guy knows his audience.

“I know they will be talking about it for years to come,” said Kurt Newman, chief executive and president of Children’s National Health System. “At such a busy time of year, when no one wants to be in the hospital, his natural warmth lifted the spirits of those kids, their parents and of each staff member he met along the way.”


Obama takes a selfie with a patient at a Washington-area children’s hospital. (Courtesy of the Personal Office of President Barack Obama) (Chuck Kennedy)

Obama Claus also dropped by individual patient rooms for one-on-one visits with children and their parents. He gifted one 12-year-old patient who was nervous about heading to high school next year a piece of advice: “Even the cool kids don’t have it all figured out.”

Before leaving, Obama thanked the staff for working during the holidays and recorded a video message to be played on the hospital’s internal TV system for those he wasn’t able to visit during the trip.

Only a handful of the Children’s National staff knew that the president was coming to town, but word spread quickly during the 90-minute visit. By the time he was headed for the door, a crowd had gathered at a nearby nursing station. The group of doctors, residents and nurses cheered for Obama before busting into an impromptu rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”


A crowd greets Obama on his Dec. 19 visit to Children’s National. (Courtesy of the Personal Office of President Barack Obama) (Chuck Kennedy)