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Healthy Roster provides patient engagement, care coordination, telemedicine and outreach tools for Sports Medicine, Orthopedics and other medical specialties. We enable patients to communicate with providers, reducing communication gaps, phone tag, and readmissions. Use with Home Health & SNF’s to manage CJR and Cardiac bundled payments.

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Seven Tips for Attending #NATA2019

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7 Tips for Attending #NATA2019

Have you noticed that this week has a touch of that magical, night-before-Christmas-and-you-can’t-fall-asleep feeling to it? We have, too. After all, next week is one of the biggest events in the world of athletic training, as thousands of ATs, technological innovators, and other industry professionals will be descending on Las Vegas, Nevada, for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s 70th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo. If you’re as excited as we are, you’ve probably been X-ing out the days on your calendar ever since the 2018 convention wrapped up.

The gathering promises to be informative, engaging and fun, featuring the world’s largest sports medicine exhibit (over 350 companies will be showcasing their products and offering hands-on demos), as well as a diverse slate of speakers and educational events. Not to mention, #NATA2019 is likely the biggest networking opportunity for those within our industry. As thrilling as that all sounds, you might also feel a little overwhelmed by the importance and potential packed into these four days. Well, fear not! To prep for the 2019 convention, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you make the most out of your journey to Nevada.

1. Schedule Ahead

We’ll start with the bad news: You won’t be able to experience everything #NATA2019 has to offer. With a schedule this stacked, even the most experienced convention-goer couldn’t check it all off the list. That said, you can optimize your time in Vegas by planning out your schedule before you even step on the plane. Take a look at the convention schedule, analyze the Expo floor plan, research the speakers, and peruse the educational programming in order to decide which events will be your highest priorities. Once you’ve made your list, write out a detailed schedule (including meals, breaks, and downtime) to follow throughout the week. This might seem like overkill, but the last thing you want is to leave your schedule open, lose track of time, and realize you’ve missed out on a speaker or demo you needed to see. If something isn’t on your itinerary, save it for next year.

Pro Tip: Download the NATA Events app before arriving. Not only will help you network and stay up-to-date on convention communications, but its built-in scheduler will help you personalize your agenda.

2. Sit in the Front Row

Gone are the middle school days when all the cool kids congregated in the back of the room. The people getting the most out of a conference are the ones sitting right up front at every speaker event. The benefits of securing a seat in the front row are countless: you’ll see the speaker better (and, not to mention, the font on their presentation); you’ll likely get called on if you have a question at the end; you’ll be engaged and won’t be tempted to check your phone every couple of minutes; and because other speakers and go-getters often sit in the front row as well, you’ll make some great connections. Plus, if you’re typically more reserved, being proactive and sitting in the front row will give you a confidence boost you can carry through the rest of the week. So do your best to get to each event 10 minutes early and snag a spot up front!

3. Pack your Day Bag Strategically

The last thing you want is to realize in the middle of an event that you forgot your business cards or your notebook so you have to waste precious networking time by running back to your hotel room. That’s why it’s essential that you make sure you have everything you need in your day pack before heading out the door in the morning. Here are some suggestions of items you might need throughout the day:

  • Laptop

  • Notebook

  • Pens (Bring extra — you’ll probably lose yours at some point, or if someone else forgets theirs, you’ll be able to save the day)

  • An extra charger or power strip (another surefire way to make friends)

  • Water bottle

  • Business cards

  • A light jacket or sweater (“But it’s the desert!” you say. Yes, but you never know how chilly those convention centers might get — better to be safe than sorry.)

  • Chapstick

  • Mints

  • Hand sanitizer/lotion

  • Snacks

4. Take Care of Yourself

Like an undergrad during finals week, sometimes convention-goers get so focused on optimizing their schedule that they forget to make time for the essentials. Even though #NATA2019 lasts only four days, pushing yourself too hard might earn you a one-way ticket to burnout. So, make sure that you’re turning in early (save the late-night casino runs for a different Vegas trip), eating healthy and not skipping meals, and making time to go for a run or hit the hotel gym. If you can, maybe carve out some personal time to relax and experience the city as well — some shows are even offering discounted tickets to NATA attendees. By taking care of your physical and mental well-being, you’ll ensure that you’re ready to take on everything the convention has to offer.

5. Practice Your Elevator Pitch

As with any networking event, a convention is a place that will see you having the same conversation over and over again. So, before you get to Las Vegas, you should rehearse your clear and concise answer to that age-old question, “What do you do?” That said, don’t be afraid to be flexible if people don’t seem to be engaging with your pitch. Edit on the fly by testing out new angles or anecdotes and seeing how the other convention-goers respond. Most importantly, however, you should be listening to your peers and asking them follow-up questions about what they do — networking is a two-way street, after all. Make sure that you’re repeating peoples’ names in order to remember them, exchanging business cards or contact info to stay in touch, and following up (either on LinkedIn or, even better, with a handwritten card) after the convention.

6. Use the Convention Hashtag

Conventions are all about making connections, and in 2019, the best vehicle for doing that is social media. By following and using the #NATA2019 hashtag, you can engage with your peers and stay abreast of the latest news and happenings. Feel free to tweet out your thoughts on a speaker’s presentation in real time, to publish a blog post on your favorite demos at the Expo, or to take pictures with your new connections and post them on Instagram. You might even run into Twitter famous athletic trainers like Mike Hopper, MS, ATC from Texas, so make sure to take a picture and make your followers jealous :) Everyone at the convention will be following the hashtag as well, so use it liberally to join the conversation!

7. Enjoy It

As this post has laid out, getting the most out of a convention requires constant engagement and a lot of meticulous planning. But don’t get so caught up in your agenda that you forget to have a good time. After all, this is one of the biggest celebrations of athletic training all year, and you’ll be among some of the most accomplished and intelligent minds in the industry. So take a breath, carve out some downtime where you need it, and go out and make the most of #NATA2019 !

BONUS: Make sure to visit Healthy Roster at Booth 3351 in the AT Expo!

Not only are we launching SAFE Athlete, sports medicine’s first active mental health and screening platform, we’ll also have games, seating, and giveaways! See you in Vegas!

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Healthy Roster Mental Health Series: Mental Health and Sports

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Mental Health & Sports

Healthy Roster Mental Health Series: Part 1

To coincide with Healthy Roster’s launch of SAFE Athlete, sports medicine’s first active mental health screening and alerts platform, we’ll be featuring a series of mental health related articles and personal stories. In this first installment, learn more about mental health in relation to sports and athletes.

When an athlete suffers a physical injury, the road to recovery is never easy, but it at least feels familiar. We know, for instance, that a football player who breaks their leg is most likely going to tell somebody about it, and that athletic trainers and other medical professionals will step in to assess and diagnose the injury before initiating immediate care and establishing a plan for rehabilitation. Eventually, the injury will heal, and the athlete will be cleared to play once again.

But when it comes to mental illness, the process is rarely so cut and dried. Not only are the procedures for treating mental health typically more dynamic and complex, but the stigma surrounding these conditions will often prevent athletes from expressing what’s bothering them in the first place. Furthermore, a lack of education and awareness surrounding mental health concerns can sometimes prohibit medical professionals from recognizing symptoms and administering proper diagnoses.

Make no mistake, however — for ATs, monitoring their athletes’ mental and physical health are equally important aspects of the job description. This is especially true at this moment in time, when rates of mental illness, behavioral disorders, and suicide among children and adolescents are increasing each year. While this crisis is present across all adolescent populations, the unique stressors faced by student athletes place them at an increased risk.

It’s with all of this in mind that we’ve decided to launch our new mental health initiative, SAFE Athlete, a new feature of Healthy Roster that is a secure, automated platform to Screen, Alert, Facilitate, and Engage athletes right when they need support the most. We hope that by contributing to this conversation and providing a space for further education and discussion, we can help to break down the stigma surrounding mental health in the athletic world.

A Behavioral Health Crisis

While we’ve made great strides in recent years to raise awareness about mental health issues and establish resources for students struggling with conditions such as depression and anxiety, there is still much work to do. Children and adolescents across the United States are facing a behavioral health crisis greater than ever before.

A 2015 report by the Child Mind Institute estimated that 17.1 million American children have or have had a psychiatric disorder — that’s the highest number ever reported, and it’s greater than the number of kids with cancer, AIDS, and diabetes, combined. Most distressing is the report’s claim that 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder, 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression, and 40 percent of kids with diagnosable ADHD do not get treatment.

The cost of this lack of treatment is often fatal. According to the CDC, suicide is the third-leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds, resulting in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year — a number that has more than doubled since 2008. And those numbers only account for a fraction of the individuals affected by suicidal ideations. A nationwide survey of American high school students found that 16 percent of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13 percent reported creating a plan, and 8 percent reported attempting suicide. Each year, roughly 157,000 individuals between the ages of 10 and 24 go to the emergency room for self-inflicted injuries. Just this month, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Ohio’s suicide rate among children 14 and younger jumped 80 percent between 2008 and 2017. Given how devastating a single suicide or attempt can be to the friends and family of the affected individual, the human toll of these statistics are staggering.

The potential explanations for this developing crisis are many, varying from a rise in cyberbullying to the overwhelming information overload made possible by smartphones and social media. What is certain, however, is a pressing need for increased education and the breaking down of social stigma surrounding mental illness. Students can’t receive help if they can’t recognize their symptoms and feel comfortable to reach out.

Unique Stressors for Student Athletes

Given how many adolescents are affected by mental illness, it’s likely that any athletic trainer in a high school or collegiate setting will be treating students who suffer from conditions such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD. However, because of their unique schedules, responsibilities, and lifestyles, student athletes are actually at a greater risk for these types of psychiatric disorders. These additional stressors include pushing themselves (or being pushed) too hard during training, trying to balance their athletic pursuits with their academics and extracurricular activities, maintaining their weight and physique, being hazed as new members of a team, and fatigue and athletic burnout.

It’s imperative that athletic trainers are aware of the role that an athlete’s sense of identity can play in their mental health. Mental illnesses often manifest in self-critical thoughts, and because athletes are regularly encouraged to push themselves to be better, they are more likely than the average individual to subject themselves to those sorts of thought patterns. As athletic trainer Katie Ostrovecky explained in a 2017 article for the BOCATC blog, “struggling performance, chronic injury, or career-ending injuries can all negatively affect an athlete’s identity which can then lead to psychological responses such as depression, anxiety, or suicidal ideations.” Without a reliable support system, these athletes can fall deeper into the throes of mental illness.

The Role of the AT

So what can athletic trainers do to address these problems? As Ostrovecky explains, the AT’s three main goals for addressing mental health concerns should be to gain awareness and recognize the signs and symptoms, incorporate mental health assessments in pre-participation exams, and create a team plan for referral and treatment. What the implementation of these goals actually looks like within an athletic training facility can vary depending on a particular population’s needs. The Children’s Hospital Association has laid out five effective methods incorporated by adolescent health care facilities across the country to address the behavioral health crisis — these range from conducting re-education sessions with health care professionals (many providers worry that they haven’t received enough mental health training throughout their schooling and residencies) to instituting telemedicine systems to reach a greater population of affected individuals.

One tactic that has proven particularly successful among athletic trainers is the implementation of wellness screenings. Many students who are struggling with anxiety or depressive disorders don’t always recognize what they’re going through. Or, even if they do, they might not feel comfortable discussing it explicitly. By having student athletes fill out surveys with questions about their stress levels, sleeping and nutrition habits, relationships, feeling of hopelessness or lack of motivation, and levels of interest in doing things, athletic trainers can identify certain symptoms they might not have been able to recognize otherwise.

Another aspect of mental health that is unique to the athlete is the emotional stress and pain caused by medical disqualification. When an athlete’s self-worth is wrapped up in their identity as a competitor, getting sidelined can take a devastating mental toll on them. Athletic trainers should be prepared to help students through these types of situations and should familiarize themselves with different techniques and coping mechanisms they can offer to injured athletes.

Joining the Conversation

In launching this new platform, we at Healthy Roster are joining the movement of organizations and initiatives aiming to raise awareness of mental health issues, make the resources for addressing them more accessible, and reduce the stigma surrounding seeking help.

We’ve been moved by the empathetic work of writers like Kate Fagan, whose groundbreaking book “What Made Maddy Runrevealed the struggles faced by college athletes with mental illness. We’ve been inspired by individuals such as Julia Paxton, who have bravely shared stories of their own struggles in order to make others feel less alone. We’ve taken notes from campaigns such as On Our Sleeves, Half of Us, and Fresh Check Day, who are fighting to normalize mental illness, promoting open dialogue as a way to form communities and show that there’s no shame in suffering. And we’ve been encouraged by other athletic organizations such as the NFLPA, who announced a new mental health and wellness committee earlier this month, and the NHL, whose embrace of the Bell Let’s Talk movement has helped raise millions of dollars for mental health initiatives while inspiring hockey players young and old to speak out about their personal struggles.

All around the world, athletes are learning to prioritize mental wellness, and we’re proud to join the movement.

This article is informational and should not be used as medical advice.

If you need to talk to someone immediately, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US from the Crisis Text Line.

Tips for Staying Safe and Active in the Winter

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Staying Safe and Active in the Winter

The cold season might have gotten off to a slow start, but given the chilly temperatures and intense snowfall that tore across the Midwest and the Northeast this past weekend, it’s safe to say — winter is here. But that doesn’t mean that you have to put a freeze on your training as well. Even though the days are shorter and the weather is nastier, you can still enjoy an active exercise regimen throughout the winter; you just have to take a few extra precautions to help reduce your risk of injury. Here are a few tips for staying safe until the spring!

Layer Up

Being outside in cold weather puts your body at risk for both hypothermia (a decrease in core temperature) and frostbite (freezing of body tissue). Thus, it’s imperative that you make proper clothing choices before you head out the door. Layering is key when it comes to winter attire, as it allows you to stay comfortable as your body heat rises. Rather than burrowing inside a bulky winter jacket, you should dress in a few layers of lightweight, synthetic material (always avoid cotton, as it will stay cold and damp as you sweat) Then, if you find yourself getting overheated during your workout, you can always shed a layer or two. Additionally, be sure to wear a hat, gloves, and warm socks to protect your extremities, and always pack an extra set of dry clothes.  

Warm Up Properly

To be sure, a proper warm-up should always be an essential part of your workout. Even if you play a winter sport (such as basketball or wrestling) that takes place in a temperature-controlled gymnasium, you can reduce your risk of high-incidence injuries with an active dynamic warm-up. But warming up is even more important when you face a chillier environment. Why? When the temperature drops, your body has to work harder to perform the same tasks, and this can cause your joints and muscles grow stiff. Not only can this make you more sore, but the lack of elasticity can put you at a greater risk for injury. Therefore, you should always start out with at least 10 minutes of stretching and exercises to loosen your muscles and increase your body’s temperature. Click here for more info on designing your dynamic warm-up.

Hydrate

You get thirsty when it’s hot out, so you should be fine leaving your water bottle at home in the winter, right? Think again! In fact, studies have shown an increased risk for dehydration in cold weather. Not only do our bodies work and sweat harder under the extra clothing, but we also lose more water to respiratory fluid loss than we would in warm weather. Additionally, our body adapts to the cold air by sending less blood to the extremities (hence, why our fingers and toes get so chilly) in an attempt to maintain core temperature. That warm blood in our core region can then lead to increased urine production which, in turn, contributes to dehydration. All of this is to say that it’s just as important to stay hydrated in the winter, even if you don’t feel as thirsty. So bring extra fluids and, if possible, cover your mouth and nose to decrease respiratory fluid loss.

Take Precautions

One of the most effective ways to prevent a winter athletic injury is to be prepared. In addition to what we’ve already covered (proper attire, warming up, hydration), this means understanding the particular dangers involved with your activity and knowing how to reduce those risks. Our friends at Children’s Hospital Colorado have compiled a helpful preparation guide for those looking to have some winter fun, so be sure to check it out before you go lace up the ice skates or pull the toboggan out of the shed. Finally, always be sure you understand the warning signs for serious exposure conditions. Though a trip to the ER for hypothermia might kill the high of your workout, it’s certainly better than letting it go untreated.

Now that you’re properly prepared, there’s nothing standing in between you and a wonderful winter workout!

Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act 101

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Becoming the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act

The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act was signed into law on October 5 after being introduced in January of 2017.  It was summarized on the Congress website as “This bill extends the liability insurance coverage of a state-licensed medical professional to another state when the professional provides medical services to an athlete, athletic team, or team staff member pursuant to a written agreement. Prior to providing such services, the medical professional must disclose to the insurer the nature and extent of the services.”

So what does that mean in plain English?

Health insurance for an individual is typically confined to one state.  Most healthcare professionals are therefore licensed in the state they live in, and no others.  Treating someone out of state is practicing without a license. Besides potential fines and loss of license, healthcare professionals had no liability insurance in case something went wrong.  For most healthcare professionals, particularly doctors, this is rarely an issue, but for athletic trainers, team physicians and other medical professionals who travel with sports teams, this could be a big problem, especially when treating a patient might lead to a loss of your job and financial consequences?

This bill protects that. It says that if a sports medicine provider is working across state lines, they will be protected by the law, and all of the practice will be treated as if it was in their home state.  So a doctor can treat an athlete on a team they travel with without fear they will be prosecuted for practicing without a license or that they will be financially accountable without the coverage of liability insurance. Much of the advocacy behind the bill came from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, who supported the bill through its passing through Congress and into the White House.

“At Healthy Roster, we're all about giving athletic trainers the best tools on the market to not only keep athletes active and healthy, but to also help validate the role they play in our communities,” Dan Fronczak, President of Healthy Roster said. “This Act allows our healthcare providers to do what they do best - treat patients - wherever their role takes them, and since Healthy Roster is web and app-based, our platform can go with them."

As a result of the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, athletes can be cared for by the same healthcare professional as always, and that provider will be covered risk-wise for whatever they get treated for. That’s a win regardless of who you’re rooting for.

Meet Our Medical Advisory Board

Healthy Roster

Tuesday was a big day for us here at Healthy Roster. We held the very first meeting of our Medical Advisory Board. We invited people from different areas of the healthcare landscape so we could gather a diverse range of opinions when it came to our company and the platform we're building.

We are fortunate to have the following people on our Medical Advisory Board:

- Chip Hubbs, CEO, Memorial Health

- Dr. Greg Bellisari, Orthopedic Surgeon, Orthopedic One

- Dr. Jason Dapore, Primary Care Physician, Ohio Health

- Bill Davis, Sports Medicine Director, OhioHealth

- Julie Brough, ATC, University Hospitals

We covered a number of topics, but we really focused on the following three areas:

  1. EHR/EMR Integration: Connecting to the health system's main EHR was incredibly important to everyone. With the amount of money invested in EPIC, Cerner and other EHR's, it's no longer OK to leave Sports Medicine outside of these systems. 
     
  2. Engaging Parents: Creating a relationship with parents is one of the main reasons hospitals commit to outreach. By inviting parents to Healthy Roster, you not only increase the communication around injuries, you can also communicate with parents who's kids aren't injured. 
     
  3. Easy Documentation: The overall consensus was that current documentation systems for Sports Medicine are not user friendly. They make the Athletic Trainer's life harder as keeping up with documentation - especially in the high school setting - very difficult and stressful.

Healthy Roster is committing to developing our platform to excel in these three areas. We've spent a considerable amount of time making sure we can now integrate Healthy Roster with over 25 EHR's. We're currently developing our marketing tools so you can have push notification and in-app messaging available before next school year. And we're going to continue to build out what we consider the best sports medicine injury tracking and communication platform on the market today.

We'll be meeting with our Medical Advisory Board twice a year to make sure we stay on top of the issues that matter most to your orthopedic/sports medicine departments.