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The American healthcare system is one that seems to be under constant scrutiny. If we’re being honest, pretty much every healthcare system in the world seems to be under scrutiny. Unless you’re paying to go private, there always seems to be something wrong. But with millions of people to treat each day, and the population growing each day, it is easy to see why sometimes the healthcare system does mess up. But is it fair of us to use this as an excuse for their wrong doings? Well this is something that has long been debated for years. A lot of people believe the healthcare system should always be doing its best and never making mistakes, this is what they’re there for after all. Others realise the strain that it is put under on a daily basis, and believe that issues are going to keep arising whether we like it or not. But what are your views? If you’re undecided about whether our healthcare system is doing more bad than good, then we’re here to help you make a decision.

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The Bad

We might as well start with the bad first. There is a fair amount of bad going on in the healthcare system, and don’t the media let us know about it. One of the biggest issues we’re facing at the minute is the shortage of staff compared to the rising number of the population. But how can this be helped when doctors have to go to college for seven years before they qualify, and nurses have to attend college before they can too. It is this long winded process that can sometimes put people off the prospect of becoming either a nurse or doctor. The UK’s healthcare service, the NHS, is in an ever worst state of affairs in terms of staffing. They’re having to bring over nurses and doctors from foreign countries, but now even that is not working due to the fears they will be thrown back out again due to brexit. But, the US isn’t far off this. The only difference is the fact that our healthcare service is privatised. This generally means there is more people pumping money into the service to try and find the best service possible. But due to the staffing issues, the best service is not always given.

The staffing issues leads us on to another common issue found in the healthcare service. Blunders made by the doctors and nurses. This could be anything from the wrong diagnosis, the wrong medication given, or releasing a patient too early. You’d be surprised at how many people actually have this done to them. But this is where the argument comes into play that it is not the doctors or nurses fault. They’re doing the best they can, and they spend 12 hour shifts rushing around constantly trying to make sure everyone is cared for. Surely this is going to lead to a mistake or two along the way? But then this is where the bad press comes from.

The press rarely ever seems to focus on the good and hard work the healthcare service is doing. They just wait for something to go wrong so they can scrutinise them. A lot of people go down the route of suing as well, and so they should. Even though it is nearly always the case that it was a complete accident, medical negligence is still a huge issue, and one that needs to be solved sooner rather than later. A medical malpractice lawyer will see hundreds and hundreds of cases each year about different things that have gone wrong with people due to medical negligence. The healthcare system then ends up having to pay out large amounts in order to cover the compensation. It is often the case that they pay more than they should just to try and keep the victim from going to the press about their issue. The last thing they need is bad press.

The Good

The good often outweighs the bad when it comes to our healthcare service. They save millions of lives each year, without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. One of the best things about our healthcare service is also one of the worst. Having it privatised and having to pay for medical treatments means you see a lot less people walking in with really minor injuries that could be treated at home. One of the biggest issues the NHS has is their waiting rooms being clogged up with people who don’t even need to be there. This is purely because it is free. But, the fact that you do have to pay so much for healthcare treatments is one of the reasons why so many people in the US die each year.

One of the best things our healthcare service brings us is the cure and prevention of injuries and diseases. There’s so much extensive research going on each year that saves the lives of people all around the world. America is renowned for its medical capabilities, so many people fly out here year round to get the specialist treatments their countries can’t offer. The fact we’re at the forefront of medicine is pretty great. The money being pumped into the research is constant, and each day big strides are being made to cure some of the worst diseases known to man.

One of the final things that is just so great about healthcare is the hard work and dedication the staff put in to make sure they give the best care possible. At this time of year most of us will be off for the holidays and enjoying time with their family. But this is something nurses and doctors and other healthcare professionals just don’t get to do. They work hard and long shifts, and are often on their feet for most of the day or night. They’re always striving to make sure they do the best for the people they’re caring for, and that’s something that really needs to be admired.

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Another dark cloud of shortage has gathered over the U.S. health and care sector. This is perhaps due to the increasing number of senior citizens and a consequent spike in retirement figures, coupled with stricter qualification requirements for some healthcare professions.

As the US population ages, an increasing number of healthcare professionals are needed to take up jobs in hospitals, home care, healthcare facilities, and other places. Yet, there’s a short supply of qualified workers to fill those jobs. Statistics from the American Hospital Association show that more than 80% of hospitals are seriously in need of more healthcare staff, especially in nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, laboratory technology, radiology technology, and maintenance staff.

For example, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), the dentist-to-population ratio in the country is 60.8 to 100,000; although the number of practising dentists per capita is expected to grow steadily.

Also, there are presently 120,000 vacant positions for registered nurses throughout the country, which have seen emergency wards being shut down, an increasing delay in surgeries, and an a rise in the number of patients lacking adequate care.

Nursing is currently the largest profession in the US health sector. The recruitment of registered nurses has been estimated to grow by 16% from 2014 to 2024 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment of nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives are expected to grow by 31%.

The American Nurses Association, ANA has predicted that more than 1 million nurses may be needed by the U.S. by 2022 to cover for retiring nurses and provide care to the aged generation. The number of patients getting access to healthcare is outpacing the number of nurse influx in the sector.

Currently, there are roughly 1 million nurses above the age of 50 and in the next 10-15 years, one-third of the present workforce will have hit retirement. By 2024, the number of nurses evaluated to retire will be 700,000.

Though health care cost has been estimated to grow in the coming years, it does not reduce the number of people in need of it. For instance, over the 10 years, the senior population in Maines is expected to grow by 37%.

What all of these imply is that more healthcare professionals are leaving the sector than the number required to replace them, and with the increase in demand for health services, the result of the combination of both circumstances will certainly not be good.

The rise in nomadic healthcare staff

The shortage crisis is becoming a propellant for a looming exodus. Most healthcare staff are getting frustrated with the pile up of work and the lack of extra hands, which could see them leave their jobs for hospitals with stronger staff structure.

Some hospitals are suffering from this in the sense that bigger hospitals are poaching nurses with hefty sign-on bonuses and more tempting incentives.

On the surface, it’s good news that the number of vital healthcare staff that graduated and joined the labour force has more than doubled in recent years. However,  with the current developments, that number isn’t exactly sizing up.

Most hospitals have desperately turned to a makeshift workforce over the years due to a dip in registered key healthcare staff. During the recent shortage crisis, recruiting healthcare professionals and retaining them proved to be a nightmare and as such, nomadic staff were in high demand – touted as a 20-year high in 2015

For instance, travel nurses tend to be used by hospitals to fill the gap created by the absence of resident nurses, expansion of hospital wards, a large influx of patients or in cases of strikes and union boycotts.

They are qualified nurses that prefer the free and flexible work life. While some merely enjoy the prospect of broadening their experiences by working in several facilities, others give in to the pinches of wanderlust. Some travel nurses are those that have retired from traditional nursing and wish to still be in the profession, while others just get sick of hospital politics.

A regular travel nurse is employed by a staffing agency or a similar health care provider and normally commits to a 13 week contract, a duration which can be lessened, stretched or renewed at the demand of the institution engaging their services.

Generally, recruiting nomadic healthcare professionals removes the obligation to pay for staff entitlements such as pension, allowances, paid time off and the likes.

More so, specialized healthcare roles could be filled from the ambulatory workforce. Some positions over time have been branded hard-to-fill or difficult-to-fill, and nomadic healthcare staff are the answer to the issue. These specialists help to stop the coverage gap when turnover of patients are high in special-need departments.

Whenever a job duration has been completed, the nomadic healthcare professional naturally looks for job in another institution, and the cycle continues.

In the near future, with the current situation hovering around, the trend is expecting an impending boom.

And it could mean other things: The rise for their demand could also see an increment in payment and extra demands for bonuses and work flexibility.

But not just for the itinerant healthcare staff. The regular professionals could also enjoy a decent pay rise. If their hospitals are unwilling to do so, they have the option to jump ship and embrace other opportunities.

According to Cecil Luong of Tigersmile Dentistry, “The trend is emerging as an industry and is also looking to become more powerful and change the face of recruitment. Nomadic healthcare professionals will get the best of both worlds since they are looking at a future where they can dictate the terms of their employment and workload.”

Finally


While the debate goes on among policy makers regarding long-term solutions, the gap in the availability of nomadic key healthcare staff is widening. Hospitals have no better alternatives than to recruit readily available qualified workers, even if they are the travelling ones.

The need to reduce healthcare staff-to-patient ratio has been there for a long time and this need might send more key specialists on the road.

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In an age where we have more access to healthcare and scientific literature than ever before, there is a curious desire from certain sections of society to buck the trend. Rather than immersing themselves in the relentless quest for further medical developments, people are turning instead to the old remedies that would once have been dismissed as old wives tales.

It’s an intriguing phenomenon, and one made all the more common thanks to the spread of information on the internet. So what’s powering this huge change in attitudes, and is it something we should be concerned about?

#1 – Alternative Remedies Can Be Beneficial

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First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge this simple truth: alternative remedies can be beneficial. What’s more, most people know them to use them in conjunction with medical advice rather than as a replacement for it.

If you’ve got a skin lesion, then applying honey to it is genuinely beneficial. If you’re wanting to lose weight, then switching to a paleo diet could actually help you. If you want to assist chemotherapy treatment, then you might find baking soda for cancer treatment to be an additional benefit. Provided people stay in touch with qualified medical professionals throughout, there’s little inherent harm to experimenting with what might work.

After all, humanity got to this point in its existence using these old, often dismissed, remedies. Aspirin is the product of tree bark, after all – so dismissing natural, alternative solutions can be damaging. When people try these things and see results, then of course they’re going to be inclined to continue using them – that’s the very basis of empirical thought.

#2 – Healthcare Is Expensive

Even in countries with healthcare provided by the government, it’s still not cheap to keep the human body going. The cost of seeing a doctor is prohibitive in times when economic growth is so sluggish and wages are stagnating the world over. So what do you do when you don’t have the option of conventional medical care? You see what you can come up with on your own.

#3 – Antibiotic Resistance Is A Real Danger

For many proponents of alternative remedies, there is a genuine concern for the growing issue of antibiotic resistance. The problem is just going to continue to get worse unless humankind addresses its over-reliance on these wonder drugs.

For conditions like throat infections and easing the symptoms of the common cold, turning to antibiotics is the common way of coping for most people. If this tendency were to be replaced by a focus on alternative strategies to deal with minor health concerns, then there could be a genuine worldwide benefit to be reaped from this. While people should always see their doctor if symptoms persist, there’s no doubt that a reduction in the number of prescribed antibiotics is something the world could genuinely benefit from.

#4 – Distrust Of Doctors

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It would be infantile to discuss this issue without talking of the high level of distrust that some sections of society have in the medical profession. The case of Charlie Gard in the UK is a perfect example of this. Gard – who is terminally ill with a rare mitochondrial illness – is being kept alive by life support. The hospital treating him, Great Ormond Street (one of the foremost children’s hospitals in the world) sought court action to withdraw his life support, which was granted and continued to be so at every appeal.

The fightback against withdrawing life support has been hugely based on a distrust of what the doctors of Great Ormond Street are saying. It permeates from all of the online discussion. Some people genuinely do seem to believe that doctors are constantly going against their oaths and seek to actively harm their patients.

Countering this distrust is a matter for the medical community and the media, but it shows no sign of abating at the present time.

#5 – Desperation

Finally, some undoubtedly turn to alternative therapies out of a sense of desperation as much as anything else. They may have been let down by conventional medicine, undiagnosed with conditions they actually have, and seek to take matters into their own hands. They might have been told there is no hope or nothing that standard medical practice could do for their plights, leading to a desire to seek help wherever they can. If alternative medicine offers them a solution and something to fight for, then it is hard for any bystander to tell them they shouldn’t do it. Ideally, things will never reach this point, but there is no doubt desperation laces many of the choices people make regarding their healthcare.

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If you are thinking of running a healthcare business, then you need to be sure that it is going to do what it needs to do as well as possible. All healthcare businesses need to focus on looking after the patient – that is the most important thing of all, and as long as you are doing that you can be sure that you are on the right track overall. Of course, this is easier said than done, and anyone who has ever tried to run this kind of business will tell you that there is plenty to consider if you want to get it right. In this post, we are going to take a look at a few of the major concerns that you need to focus on if you want your business to succeed in helping its patients as well as possible.

Staffing

In any business, it can be said that the employees are among the most important aspects of that business. But in certain industries, it is particularly true, and healthcare is one such industry. If you want your healthcare business to be at its best, then you need to ensure that you are hiring the best – it’s that simple. Otherwise, you will find that the level of care you are giving to your patients is not what it should be – and at all times, care should be the top concern in your healthcare business. Make sure you spend a lot of time finding exactly the right people for your business, as it really does make a world of difference. With the right team on board, you might be surprised at what you can achieve, and how many people you can help.

Admin & Systems

 

Something that really helps to tie any business together is having a decent administrative team, coupled with the use of some good systems and technology to help them deliver on their goals. In a sense, the admin team really do hold it all together, and that’s why it’s so important to make sure that you get this aspect of your healthcare business just right. Make sure the staff you have in this area of the business are as well-trained as possible, ideally with a health care administration degree online or through another institution. Also ensure that the systems they are given to use are the best you can possibly afford, as these are almost as important as the technology which is actually used in helping patients. With the right admin and systems, your healthcare business will be able to deliver fantastic care every time.

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Location

Depending on the type of healthcare business you are thinking of operating, you will need to make sure that you find an appropriate location for it. If it is a doctor’s surgery or a hospital, by way of example, then try to ensure that you find a location which is likely to be able to be accessible to as many of the local population as possible. That way, you can achieve the central goal of delivering the best possible care to the greatest number of people possible.

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In the modern world, everything is online these days and you might be surprised to learn that this now includes healthcare. Next time you take a trip to the doctors, have a look around. You might be surprised at how much tech there is and the important role it plays in medicine. Of course, there are lots of benefits to bringing digital tech into medicine.

Better Customer Care

A recent report revealed how little time doctors spend with patients and it’s quite shocking. It can be anything from ten minutes to one and a half hours but most visits fall closers to the former duration. Is this really enough time to give patients the care they need and a comprehensive diagnosis? It might be, but only if tech is used to gain all the information needed before the appointment. That way, treatments can be far more effective.

Security

It is true to say that one of the greatest issues facing industries these days is data protection and the medical business is no different. Medical practices must be able to protect their patients and the only way they can do this is by handling data more effectively. One possibility is to make sure that data is no longer stored on hard drives. That’s why many clinics are now fully connected to the cloud.

Productivity

Of course, the main advantage of new medical tech is about keeping things fast, effective and efficient. As well as meaning great levels of care of patients, high levels of productivity also mean that costs stay low. You can find out more in the following infographic.

Created by  The George Washington University Online Healthcare MBA Program

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If you’ve got career goals that you want to achieve, but your working life feels overwhelmingly busy, it’s a good idea to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Rather than having way too many things to fit in, the issue may be the way you’re approaching them. Here are some great time management strategies that will help you to regain control.

Break Goals Down into Smaller Ones

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If you feel immediately defeated every time you think about your to-do list for the week ahead, try to break those big goals down into smaller, more manageable sections that you can tackle one at a time. If you focus more of your energy on working through these miniature goals, you’ll stand a much better chance of accomplishing your larger, overarching ones. Take some time to write down your smaller targets for the week ahead, and what you need to do to achieve each little milestone. Try to foresee any issues that will take things off track or push you behind schedule. Set out plans for getting around these issues, and organise people who can support you if needed.

Use A Timetable

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Setting yourself a timetable of the day can be very helpful, as it allows you to concentrate more on individual tasks, rather than having them all pile on at once. With time, you’ll also make it much easier to know what kind of tasks you can tackle, and how much time you have to leave yourself to meet certain deadlines. Trying to juggle the responsibilities of your day job, while keeping up with a demanding qualification like a healthcare administration bachelors, often requires strict time management. Just make sure you’re honest about how you spend your time. If you know you can’t resist a session on social media or reading the headlines, be sure to factor this in.

Step Back and Re-evaluate

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You may know from experience that setting yourself goals isn’t the only factor that goes into accomplishing things. Even after structuring your goals like this, if you feel that you’re still procrastinating over a certain task, it’s a good idea to step back and ask yourself why. Do you need some kind of extra support to remain on-task? Perhaps the task itself simply doesn’t feel all that important to you, or it feels too far away from the end-game rewards you’re actually gunning for. Perhaps one of your miniature tasks isn’t actually necessary, and there’s some other, better solution which you should be engaging in.

Appreciate your Own Achievements

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I saved the best tip until last: give yourself a break once in a while! Rather than dwelling on the things you haven’t achieved in the week for one reason or another, make a point of recognising what you have done. No matter how much you feel you’ve fallen short, there’s a fair chance that you’ve checked a lot of other things off in the process, and brought yourself at least a little bit closer to achieving your goal.

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We all know that technology has changed the way we live our lives. The growth in technology has helped shape the world in a certain way. Everyone is now so dependent on it to help them do their jobs. One industry that has benefitted from it the most is the health industry. These days, all healthcare professionals will use various technology to conduct their work. When I say ‘healthcare professionals’ I’m talking about a range of people. We’re not just speaking about doctors; we’re talking about anyone that works within healthcare.

More to the point, how are they using technology? What stuff are they using, and how does it make their life easier. And, are patients getting better treatment as a result of it? All these questions will be answered in just a few moments. All you have to do is continue reading down below:

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(Picture from Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/wGWDLp)

X-Rays

Over the years, technology has evolved to help create safer x-rays. Not only are they safer for patients, but they’re also much quicker too. Many dentists can now give a patient an x-ray and get the results on screen immediately. Whereas, in the past, you’d have to wait a few days for the results to become clear. Obviously, this benefits both the patient and the healthcare professional. Neither has to wait long for results, meaning action can be taken quickly. Being able to act quickly means you can help prevent bad things from happening.

Video Consultations

There are some simple advancements that have helped move the industry forward. For example, video calling is now quick and easy to do. You can have a chat with someone, via video, and it will be high-quality and smooth. This translates well into the health industry. Doctors can use it for telemedicine solutions. This refers to conducting consultations by video chats and still getting paid for it. How does this benefit the patient? It means they don’t have to go through the effort of popping into the surgery for a quick checkup. They won’t have to book time off work and can have a quick chat from their laptop. For the doctor, it means their waiting room doesn’t get clogged up, and they can see to more patients. All in all, it helps everyone involved.

Social Networking

Believe it or not but healthcare professionals are using social networks to provide better treatment. They don’t use the regular ones like Facebook & Twitter; they have special ones. Doximity is a social network that only physicians can access. On it, they can communicate and collaborate with one another. It means that a doctor can seek help and advice from thousands of fellow doctors. Doing this can help them solve tougher cases and come up with better solutions. As a result, patients will be receiving better treatment.

It’s evident that professionals are using technology for good reasons. We, as patients, can look to benefit from all the tech being used. We’re getting better healthcare, and things look to continue this trend. The most interesting thing to think about is how different things will be in a few years time. We’ll revisit this topic in a few years and see how much we’ve moved on since then.

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Barack Obama made fun of his healthcare policy, his political opponents and Vladimir Putin at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

The healthcare policy has serious IT issues, prompting the joke: “In 2008 my slogan was: <<Yes we can>>. In 2013 my slogan was: <<Control-alt-delete>>.”

Barack Obama ridiculed media commentators for their apparent obsession with Vladimir Putin’s bare chest.

Dozens of celebrities, journalists and politicians were at the dinner.

Barack Obama made fun of his healthcare policy, his political opponents and Vladimir Putin at this year’s White House Correspondents' Association dinner

Barack Obama made fun of his healthcare policy, his political opponents and Vladimir Putin at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner

The roll-out of healthcare.gov, Barack Obama’s main policy initiative of his second term, provided much of the humor.

The president made several references to computer malfunctions.

“Does anybody know how to fix this,” he asked, pretending that the overhead projector had failed to work.

Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who quit as a result of the IT issues, stepped up and said: “I got this. I see it all the time.”

The president used Vladimir Putin as a way of lampooning some conservative commentators and political opponents.

“Last year [conservative commentator] Pat Buchanan said Putin is headed straight for the Nobel Peace Prize… to be fair they give those to just about anybody these days. So it could happen,” he said.

Barack Obama was given the award in 2009 having been nominated for it after less than two weeks in office.

“[Republican] Mike Huckabee and [conservative commentator] Sean Hannity keep talking about his bare chest, which is kind of weird.”

The annual WHCA Dinner is traditionally used by presidents to ridicule their opponents, but also laugh at themselves.

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People who have accounts on the ObamaCare enrollment website are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government’s vulnerability to the confounding Heartbleed computer virus.

Senior administration officials said there is no indication that the HealthCare.gov site has been compromised and the action is being taken out of an abundance of caution. The government’s Heartbleed review is ongoing, the officials said, and users of other websites may also be told to change their passwords in the coming days, including those with accounts on the popular WhiteHouse.gov petitions page.

The Heartbleed computer bug has caused major security concerns across the Internet and affected a widely used encryption technology that was designed to protect online accounts. Major Internet services have been working to insulate themselves against the bug and are also recommending that users change their website passwords.

Officials said the administration was prioritizing its analysis of websites with heavy traffic and the most sensitive user information. A message that will be posted on the health care website starting Saturday reads: “While there’s no indication that any personal information has ever been at risk, we have taken steps to address Heartbleed issues and reset consumers’ passwords out of an abundance of caution.”

The Heartbleed computer bug has caused major security concerns across the Internet

The Heartbleed computer bug has caused major security concerns across the Internet

HealthCare.gov website became a prime target for critics of the ObamaCare law last fall when the opening of the insurance enrollment period revealed widespread flaws in the online system. Critics have also raised concerns about potential security vulnerabilities on a site where users input large amounts of personal data.

The website troubles were largely fixed during the second month of enrollment and sign-ups ultimately surpassed initial expectations. Obama announced this week that about 8 million people had enrolled in the insurance plans.

The full extent of the damage caused by the Heartbleed is unknown. The security hole exists on a vast number of the Internet’s Web servers and went undetected for more than two years. Although it’s conceivable that the flaw was never discovered by hackers, it’s difficult to tell.

The White House has said the federal government was not aware of the Heartbleed vulnerability until it was made public in a private sector cybersecurity report earlier this month. The federal government relies on the encryption technology that is impacted – OpenSSL – to protect the privacy of users of government websites and other online services.

The Homeland Security Department has been leading the review of the government’s potential vulnerabilities. The Internal Revenue Service, a widely used website with massive amounts of personal data on Americans, has already said it was not impacted by Heartbleed.

“We will continue to focus on this issue until government agencies have mitigated the vulnerability in their systems,” Phyllis Schneck, DHS deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications, wrote in a blog post on the agenda website.

“And we will continue to adapt our response if we learn about additional issues created by the vulnerability.”

Officials wouldn’t say how government websites they expect to flag as part of the Heartbleed security review, but said it’s likely to be a limited number. The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the security review by name.