Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Press release] NLM Releases RxClass Drug Class Application. NLM Technical Bulletin. 2014 Sep–Oct

NLM Releases RxClass Drug Class Application. NLM Technical Bulletin. 2014 Sep–Oct.

From the 22 October 2014 press release

RxClass is a new application from researchers in the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM). RxClass allows users to search and browse drug classes and their RxNorm drug members through a simple Web interface (see Figure 1). Unlike RxNav, a related application from NLM LHNCBC which focuses on browsing and searching individual RxNorm drugs, RxClass provides a class-centric view of the drug information in RxNorm.

RxClass Homepage.
Figure 1: RxClass Homepage.

Drug Class Sources
RxClass includes drug classes from the following data sources:

  • ATC – The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) drug classification is a resource developed for pharmacoepidemiology purposes by the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology.
  • MeSH – The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), developed by NLM, provides a rich description of pharmacological actions for the purpose of indexing and retrieval of biomedical articles.
  • NDFRT – The National Drug File-Reference Terminology (NDFRT), developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), provides clinical information about drugs, such as therapeutic intent and mechanism of action.RxClass includes six sets ofNDFRT drug classes:
    1. Established Pharmacologic Classes (EPC)
    2. Chemical Structure (Chem)
    3. Disease
    4. Mechanism of Action (MoA)
    5. Physiologic Effect (PE)
    6. Pharmacokinetics (PK)

Drug Class Relationship Sources
RxClass includes five sources which assert relationships between drugs and drug classes from ATC, MeSH, and NDFRT:

  1. ATC – provides relationships between ATC drugs and ATC drug classes.
  2. MeSH – provides relationships between MeSH drugs and MeSH pharmacologic actions.
  3. DailyMed – provides relationships between substances in DailyMed Structured Product Labels (SPLs) and NDFRT EPC, Chem, MoA, and PE classes.
  4. NDFRT – provides relationships between NDFRT drug concepts and NDFRT Chem, Disease, MoA, PE, and PK classes.
  5. FDA SPL – provides relationships between NDFRT drug concepts mapped to DailyMed SPL substances and NDFRT EPC, Chem, MoA, and PE classes.

Drug Source
RxClass includes drugs from the sources mentioned above, which are mapped to ingredients (IN), precise ingredients (PIN), and multiple ingredients (MIN) in RxNorm. RxNorm is a normalized naming system for generic and branded drugs developed by NLM to allow computer systems in hospitals, pharmacies, and other organizations to communicate drug-related information efficiently and unambiguously.

Browse Drug Classes
RxClass provides a simple tree browser for navigating through drug class hierarchies. You can click on the orange arrow next to a class to reveal its subclasses in the tree. Clicking on the name of a drug class populates the results area under the search box with the members of that class, if applicable, and the name, source identifier, class type, and contexts for that class (see Figure 2).

RxClass Class Browser. Navigate drug classes by clicking the arrows or class names.
Figure 2: RxClass Class Browser. Navigate drug classes by clicking the arrows or class names.

Search by Drug Class/RxNorm Drug
RxClass also provides access to drug classes and their RxNorm drug members through a simple search box (see Figure 3). You can search RxClass by:

  1. Drug class name or source identifier
  2. RxNorm drug name or RxNorm identifier (RXCUI)

For drug classes and RxNorm drugs in multiple contexts, RxClass presents all of the contexts, allowing you to select the desired drug class context to populate the results area.

Search RxClass by drug class or RxNorm drug name.
Figure 3: Search RxClass by drug class or RxNorm drug name.

Results Display
When browsing or searching RxClass, the results display is populated with the drug class you selected and the RxNorm drugs that belong to the class (see Figure 4). For each RxNorm drug, RxClass displays the:

  • Type (RxNorm term type)
  • RXCUI
  • RxNorm Name
  • Source ID (Unique identifier from drug class source)
  • Source Name (Name from drug class source)
  • Relation (Relationship between the drug and the selected drug class (direct or indirect))
  • All classes (All drug classes of which this drug is also a member)

RxClass results display: Shows RxNorm and drug class source data for your results.
Figure 4: RxClass results display: Shows RxNorm and drug class source data for your results.

Application Programming Interface (API)
Behind the RxClass Web application is a set of API functions. The RxClass API can be used independently for integrating drug class information into programs.

See the RxClass Overview and RxClass FAQ for more information about browsing and searching drug classes on RxClass. An RxClass turorial is forthcoming.

For questions, comments or feedback about these resources, please contact us at rxnavinfo@list.nih.gov.

By Patrick McLaughlin
MEDLARS Management Section

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October 24, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Engage with McGovern Lecturer Prior to MLA 14

From the Krafty Librarian blog (May 2014)
Engage with McGovern Lecturer Prior to MLA 14

It is crunch time and I know everybody going to MLA 14 in Chicago is scrambling to tie up lose ends at work or for Chicago.   But as you go over your schedule for MLA you might want to check out the McGovern Lecturer, Dr. Aaron Carroll’s blog or his Facebook page. Dr. Carroll has invited MLA members and attendees to begin a conversation with him in advance of the annual meeting on topics of interest by posting on his blog, friending him on Facebook, following him on Twitter, or emailing him.

For his lecture, Dr Carrol will be addressing issues on the Affordable Care Act and health care policy.  His blog, “The Incidental Economist: Contemplating health care with a focus on research, an eye on reform,” is “mostly about the U.S. health care system and its organization, how it works, how it fails us, and what to do about it.”  Dr Carroll is one of the Editors in Chief of the blog which also has several contributors who have “professional expertise in an area relevant to the health care system” as researchers and professors in health economics, law and other health service areas.

The Affordable Care Act and its impact on libraries and how librarians can help hospitals deal with certain aspects of it is a bit of a interest for me.  I have taught several classes to library groups in the past year about librarians can better align their goals to that of the hospital.  Since many hospitals goals are now focused around parts of the Affordable Care Act it makes sense that medical libraries develop strategies to support their institution’s Affordable Care Act goals.

For example…How can the medical library help the hospital

  • Prevent readmissions
  • Increase focus on preventive care
  • Improve patient satisfaction
  • Deal with Meaningful Use (not exactly ACA but very entwined)

Depending on the focus of the library or librarian, we might be able to help more than we or our administration realize.  Here is what some libraries are doing already…

  • Partnering with IT or CIO to provide evidence based medicine resources within the EMR
  • Partnering with IT or CIO to make sure that order sets are based on best available evidence
  • Embedded librarians rounding with patient care teams to help provide necessary information for patient care
  • Help provide patient education documents and information and make them accessbile to patients through the patient portal
  • Work with doctors to provide a prescription for health information to the patient through the EMR

Not only is it important the librarians do these things to help their institutions (BTW no one librarian can do it all but they should be doing something) achieve their goals, but it is equally important that we need to be MEASURING our impact.  If we don’t measure it, it didn’t happen.  Measuring can be tricky but it is necessary, especially if you want to keep your library and your job.  Gone are the days where you can say I did 103 MEDLINE searches for doctors and that helped them treat patients.  Really? How do you know those MEDLINE searches helped them? Did you ask what became of the search? Did you track how your information was being used?  All you know is that you did 103 searches. You don’t know whether that was a benefit to the institution or not.  We assume it was, but administration doesn’t assume anything.

I am looking forward to hearing Dr. Carroll speak.  But before I see him at MLA, I am going to try and start to engage with him to find out what we librarians can do to help our institutions deal with the ACA and make our ourselves more valuable to the institution.  I encourage everyone else to do the same with their own thoughts and questions prior to MLA.

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May 6, 2014 Posted by | Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Who is making your medical app?

Who is making your medical app?.

Buyer beware!!
iMedicalApps was created for health professionals. The reviewed apps are basically for professional use.
However, there the Forum section (now offline for revision) did at one time include a health science librarian section which I believe included consumer level app reviews/advice.

From the [15 ?] December blog at iMedicalApp

Medical apps are one of the fastest growing sectors in the app market. Medical apps broadly encompass any mobile app that is health related whether targeted to patients, physicians, students, etc. These apps range from providing easy accessibility to previously published texts, health advice, health monitoring for chronic diseases, treatment and dosing guidelines, etc.

 

A new responsibility that arises in the medical app world is management of transparency and conflict of interest issues. Generally, medical professionals are sensitive to concerns of industry involvement in medical education. There are policies in place that manage issues surrounding COI. These include regulating free drug samples, dinners, financial compensation, etc.

However, despite astute awareness when it comes to the aforementioned examples, there remains the question of why there is not more COI sensitivity in the medical app world. Consider for example an app made by a pharmaceutical company – it can suggest its own medicine for a specific disease, or even more subtly, list its drug first.

A recently published book, Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education and Practice(Lo and Field, 2009) lists potential sources of conflict by the pharmaceutical industry. Within medical subspecialties, medical professionals are beginning to notice the importance of authorship disclosure and transparency of the role of the industry (dermatologypsychiatry, to name a couple).

The paper sheds some light on the ethics surrounding increasing transparency for the medical app consumer. The paper points out the need for an increased awareness by all for the need for transparency as more and more of these apps are targeted at non-professional individuals who are potentially more susceptible as they are often not aware of COI issues in this context.

The utility of medical apps is clear–they will provide increasing value in management of patient care as we continue to move to electronically based medicine and medical recording. The need for increased transparency of authorship and industry relations is also clear. Medical apps have been added to the healthcare provider’s armamentarium to provide quality care. Just as we exert caution in avoiding biases with medications, treatments, and medical technologies, we must treat apps we recommend for our patients with the same good conscience.

 

 

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

Resources from the Association of Health Care Journalists

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From the Resource page

The Association of Health Care Journalists offers a wide range of resources – many of which are available exclusively to members.

AHCJ publications include our newsletter, HealthBeat, as well as several guides to covering specific aspects of health and health care.

Members share ideas and ask questions of fellow members on the AHCJ electronic mailing list. Tip sheets are prepared for our conferences and workshops, often offering sources and information about covering specific stories.

Contest entries are from the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, recognizing the best health reporting in print, broadcast and online media. We have links to past winners and information culled from questionnaires submitted with the entries about how each story was researched and written.

We include links to some recent reports and studies of interest to our membership, as well as links to Web sites relevant to health care.

Members and other journalists write articles specifically for AHCJ about how they have reported a story, issues that our members are likely to cover and other important topics.

 

 

 

 

December 8, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Medical and Health Research News, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Purdue Library Website] Good Resource Tools for Medical and Health Information

Of particular note in the health/medical area….

Under the tab Health Information

DISEASES

Needless to say, I’ve added a link to this at my Health Resources for all Web site

 

December 3, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

[FDA program aimed at health care providers] Truthful Prescription Drug Advertising and Promotion

This page is geared towards health care providers, but it may be of interest to others.

From the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Web page 

FDA’s Bad Ad program is an outreach program designed to educate healthcare providers about the role they can play in helping the agency make sure that prescription drug advertising and promotion is truthful and not misleading.

The Bad Ad Program is administered by the agency’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The program’s goal is to help raise awareness among healthcare providers about misleading prescription drug promotion and provide them with an easy way to report this activity to the agencye-mail BadAd@fda.gov or call 855-RX-BADAD.

Continuing Medical Education Video itself is free for anyone to view (http://www.sigmatech.com/BadAd/courses/index.htm)It covers what is legal/illegal for pharmaceutical companies and their representatives when advertising their products at different venues

Prescription drug advertising must:

  • Be accurate
  • Balance the risk and benefit information
  • Be consistent with the prescribing information approved by FDA
  • Only include information that is supported by strong evidence

What types of promotion does OPDP regulate?

  • TV and radio advertisements
  • All written or printed prescription drug promotional materials
  • Speaker program presentations
  • Sales representative presentations

OPDP does not regulate promotion of:

  • Over-the-Counter Drugs
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Medical Devices

Common Violations:

    • Omitting or downplaying of risk
    • Overstating the effectiveness
    • Promoting Uses Not Addressed in Approved Labeling
  • Misleading drug comparisons

 Examples of Violations

Example of Omission of Risk

You attend a speaker program which features a slide show that presents efficacy information about Drug X, but no risk information.

This presentation would be misleading because it fails to include a fair balance of benefit and risk information for Drug X.

Example of Uses Not Addressed in Approved Labeling
You are in a commercial exhibit hall and a company representative tells you that a drug is effective for a use that is not in the FDA-approved product labeling.

This presentation would be illegal because it promotes an unapproved use.

Example of Overstating the Effectiveness

“Doctor Smith, Drug X delivers rapid results in as little as 3 days.”

This presentation is misleading because the majority of patients studied in the clinical trials for Drug X showed results at 12 weeks, with only very few showing results in 3 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I report anonymously?

Yes, anonymous complaints often alert FDA to potential problems.  However, complaints accompanied by names and contact information are helpful in cases for which FDA needs to follow-up for more information.

2. Will OPDP be able to stop the misleading promotion?

In many cases, yes, especially if the appropriate evidence is provided.  Evidence can include the actual promotional materials or documentation of oral statements made by company representatives.

3. What will happen to my complaint once I have contacted OPDP?

The information you provide will be sent to the Regulatory Review Officer in OPDP responsible for this class of drugs.  The reviewer will evaluate it and determine if it may serve as the basis for a potential enforcement action or as valuable information for our ongoing surveillance activities.

4. How do I learn more?

To learn more about OPDP in-service training for large medical group/hospitals call 301-796-1200.

November 5, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

PubMed Commons – A New Way to Share Information and Research Processes

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From a recent email  by Holly Ann Burt, Outreach and Exhibits Coordinator of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) Greater Midwest Region

NCBI has released PubMed** Commons, currently in pilot phase, which is a new system that enables researchers to share their opinions about scientific publications indexed in the PubMed database. This is intended to be a forum for open and constructive criticism and discussion of scientific issues.

A new NCBI Insights Blog post provides more information and explains how researchers can join in!

For more information, please see:

PubMed Commons Homepage – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedcommons
NCBI Insights Blog post: “PubMed Commons – a new forum for scientific discourse”-http://ncbiinsights.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2013/10/22/pubmed-commons-a-new-forum-for-scientific-discourse/

Here’s a mock-up

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**PubMed  (a US government funded database) is the largest database of biomedical journals in the world. It comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

October 23, 2013 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Quality and Safety Concerns for Medical Apps

From the 18 September 2013 post by Michelle Kraft at the Krafty Librarian 

I just read a brief perspective article in the journal Evidence Based Medicine, “Medical apps for smartphones: lack evidence undermines quality and safety.”  It is a quick little read and it brings up some very real and interesting points which I will try to summarize.

  1. There is no official vetting system for medical apps – Some apps are blatantly wrong and dangerous, some are out of date therefore also dangerous.
  2. Lack of information and clinical involvement in the creation of the apps – There is a paucity of information regarding the creator of the app. Some apps have no physician involvement.
  3. Companies (authors specifically mention Pharma) creating apps could create conflicts of interest and ethical issues – Pharma apps could produce drug guides or clinical decision tools that subtlety push their own products.

The FDA will regulate some apps but not all.  The FDA will regulate apps that control a medical device or displays, stores, analyzes patient data (example: electrocardiogram).  They will also regulate apps that use formulas or algorithms to give patient specific results such as diagnosis, treatment, recommendation or differential diagnosis.  Finally they will regulate apps that transform a mobile device into a medical device (example: apps that use attachments or sensors to allow the smartphone to measure blood glucose).

That still leaves a ton of medical apps hanging out there in the app stores which are largely unregulated.  The article states, “Until now, there has been no reported harm to a patient caused by a recalled app. However, without app safety standards, it is only a matter of time before medical errors will be made and unintended harm to patient will occur.”  Basically it is the Wild West in the medical app arena.

There are two groups that are trying to evaluate medical apps.  iMedicalApps.com and the Medical App Journal review various apps directed toward medical professionals.  I take issue with the article authors who state these sites are a “good starting point for peer-reviewing apps, the current assessment criteria do not address the scientific evidence for their content, but rather matters of usability, design, and content control.”  While I don’t use the Medical App Journal as often,  I use iMedicalApps.com quite often and they do more than just assess the usability and design. I have read reviews where they question the medical correctness of apps, intended audience, and have even pushed for more information regarding authorship/responsibility.  Several of their reviews questioned an app’s update schedule and updated content.  They have also investigated, questioned, and reported instances of fraud and plagiarism with medical apps.  I think iMedicalApps does a very good job in a very flooded market, but there are areas for improvement.  As with any website that relies on a large number of reporters/reviewers, there is some variance in the quality based on the reviewer.  I haven’t found any reviews that are bad, just some are better and more thorough than others.  Perhaps a little more explanation or transparency regarding how they determine the accuracy or validity of medical app might be helpful, or a standardized checklist about the things they look at.  I realize evaluating the latest UpToDate app is different compared to an app on EKGs.  UpToDate already has an established proven product where as there is more to investigate and validate with an app that isn’t a version of an already established product.

The authors believe the medical community needs to be more involved with regulating medical apps.  They suggest:

  1. Official certification marks guaranteeing quality
  2. Peer review system implemented by physicians’ associations or patient organizations
  3. Making high quality apps more findable by adding them to hospital or library collections

1.  I like the idea of having an official certification indicating quality, but there are two things that must be addressed prior to that.

First you have to get the organizations to actually take responsibility for looking at apps that are in their area of expertise. The field is already cumbersome, I am not sure many organizations are able to handle that. Although I have found that several journals have now included app reviews.  While they can’t come close to scratching the surface of medical apps, these journals often have MDs, RNs, MPTs writing reviews and evaluating the content.  Specifically I have found some good reviews in the physical therapy and nursing journals.

Second, there is growing problem with fake certifications. If an app is created by a company or people who already don’t care about its accuracy or is a plagiarizing a product, they probably have no qualms about lifting the image of the certification and posting it on their website.  They could create their own certifications to fake (but legit sounding) orgs and post those on their app’s site too.  Official certification is a good idea and I like it but there needs to be more to it to make sure it truly represents quality.

2. I personally believe the writers at iMedicalApps.com are on their way to something of a peer review system.  Right now they only have one person review an app.  While that completely makes sense from a writing perspective, perhaps they can implement some sort of peer review process where more than just one person is reviewing the app, yet still retain the one voice post for ease of reading.  Perhaps they could  reach out to a few medical professionals who are leaders in their field to review specific apps.  Thus giving the reviewed app a little bit more weight.  This along with astandardized check list or illustrating how they review the medical accuracy of an app would make the information on their site even more important and provide an excellent way of separating the wheat from the chaff.

3. An online repository of approved apps would be great.  Some hospital IT departments that have mobile device policies have this, but they seem to be only hospital type apps like Citrix or database subscription apps like LexiComp, PubMed, UpToDate, etc.  While these apps are important, there is little worry about apps like LexiComp, UpToDate, or PubMed because they were well established medical information products before their app.  Their app is just an extension of their verified product.  I don’t see a lot of  IT departments that have investigated having a pool of apps that aren’t hospital specific or from database subscriptions.  Additionally, IT would either need to rely on an outside sources like iMedicalApps or content experts within the field in that hospital to build the app pool.  IT would have no way of verifying the authenticity and validity of an app on pediatric emergency medicine.

Finally, getting hospitals to buy bulk licenses to apps is tricky at best.  With exception of a few places like Epocrates, Unbound Medicine, Inkling, and Skyscape (many of those companies dealt with institutional subscriptions before app stores….remember PDAs?) there are very few places that sell or license apps to a group of people.  The purchasing of apps was created as an individual service.  Now academic medical centers may have a foot in the door with iTunes U, but I have heard that discussions with Apple and their app store and hospitals is an “interesting” process.  The same principle applies to library repositories.  Instead of IT aggregating the apps, the library would do that.  There are a lot of library’s that already have great lists suggesting various medical apps.   But the vast majority of medical libraries have app resources guides, suggesting apps that the individual must buy.  Also just like with an IT repository of apps, the librarian must rely on sites like iMedicalApps.com or their own physician suggestions to ensure they are listing quality apps.

Like I said it is the Wild West when it comes to medical apps.  That is because the whole app industry is a new frontier.  There are quality and accuracy problems with other apps in the app stores. A pedometer app with errors is not going to kill somebody, but an inaccurate medical app can.  Yes, the medical community needs to get involved in evaluating apps, but so does Apple and Google.   Right now Apple’s iTunes store feedback and ranking system while good for games, is not adequate for medical apps and can easily be subject to fraud.  Additionally, Apple is extremely tight lipped about its app store rules and regulations.  Some apps have extreme difficulty getting approved, while others fly through approval process only to be mysteriously removed later.  There is no transparency to the Apple App Store.  For example, there is no information about the app Critical APPraisal which was determined to be a plagiarized version of Doctor’s Guide to Critical Appraisal.  The app was available in the App Store July 2011.  However, if you searched today for the app, you wouldn’t be able to find it in the App Store, it simply disappeared.  Unless you happen to read the article in BMJiMedicalApps.com, or a few other British publications, you would have no clue as to why the app was removed.  When it comes to dangerous apps, disappearing them from the App Store is not good enough. You must have transparency when it comes to medicine.

**Update**

According to an updated BMJ article, the doctors accused of plagiarizing The Doctor’s Guide to Critical Appraisal to use in their app Critical APPraisal, have been cleared of plagiarism by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

“A regulatory panel rejected charges by the General Medical Council (GMC) that Afroze Khan, Shahnawaz Khan, and Zishan Sheikh acted dishonestly in knowingly copying structure, contents, and material from a book, The Doctor’s Guide to Critical Appraisal, when developing their Critical APPraisal app, representing it as their own work, and seeking to make a gain from the material.”

Shahnawaz Khan and Afroze Khan were also accused of dishonestly posting positive reviews of the app on the Apple iTunes Store without disclosing that they were co-developers and had a financial interest in the app.  The GMC found that Shahnawaz Khan  no evidence that he knew that the app, which was initiallly free, would later sold for a fee. His case was concluded without any findings.  However, the GMC panel found that “Afroze Khan’s conduct in posting the review was misleading and dishonest.” Yet they considered this type of dishonesty to be “below the level that would constitute impairment of this fitness to practise.”  The GMC panel said it was an isolated incident and did not believe it would be repeated in which they “considered his good character and testimonials attesting to his general probity and honesty and decided not to issue a formal warning.”

Related Resources

Health Apps (Free and Low Cost)

 
Free and low cost Health Apps in this section include:
 
 
And these may be helpful when selecting health apps
 
  • Set realistic expectations
  • Avoid apps that promise too much
  • Research the developers
  • Choose apps that use techniques you’ve heard of
  • See what other users say
  • Test apps before committing
  •  iMedical apps has mobile medical app reviews and commentary by medical professionals. Most apps are about  apps geared toward professionals and are not free.

         The iMedical app forum now includes a medical librarian corner, with some patient/consumer apps

 

October 15, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, health care, Librarian Resources | , , | Leave a comment

[Not just for librarians!] Healthy Aging at Your Library: Connecting Older Adults to Health Information

My volunteer position at the NW Ohio Area Office on Aging brings me in contact with many older Americans with health issues.
The past few months I’ve been making follow up phone calls to screen folks for eligibility for the Extra Help Medicare Prescription Drug program **through the Social Security Office.   Quite a few screenings went beyond the rote answering of  about 15 questions related to income, resources and current prescription drug coverage. At times I got quite an earful of their present medical conditions, financial conditions, and inability to fully take care of themselves and others.  Was usually able to refer folks to in-house and area resources.

This morning I came across a training class for librarians on how to assist older Americans on how to locate health information.
While information doesn’t cure or assist on it’s own, it does empower people.  At the Area Office on Aging, we do not advise, but present information so they can make their own best possible decisions.

The class material is online and free. I’ll be going through the materials on my own. Partly so I can be a better volunteer.
Also, I’ll be adding some of the material to my Google site, Health Resources for All.

Some interesting factoids from the online class, Healthy Aging at Your Library, specifically the Power Point presentation

  • The number of Americans aged 65 years or older during the next 25 years will double to about 72 million.
  •  By 2030, older adults will account for roughly 20% of the U.S. population.
  • 2 out of 3 older Americans have multiple chronic conditions, and treatment for this population accounts for 66% of the country’s health care budget ***
  • Heart Disease – #1 cause of death adults over age 65
  • Cancer – #2 cause of death adults over age 65
  • Patients with low literacy skills were observed to have a 50% increased risk of hospitalization
  • Only 3% of older adults surveyed had proficient health literacy skills

**Medicare beneficiaries can qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year. To qualify for the Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia.

To see if you qualify, and apply… do one of the following

  • Go to  the Extra Help screening tool/application page
  • Call the US Social Security Office 1-800-772-1213 (somtimes one can bypass menu options by saying “Customer Service”_
  • Contact your nearest Area Office on Aging, United Way, or similar agency

*** Right now at the Area Office, I am doing Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D (Prescription Drug) plan comparisons. Part of the comparison includes entering all prescription drugs used. This can get quite lengthy. Averages around 8 drugs, the record for me was 27 prescription drugs entered for one person.

I encourage folks to compare Medicare Advantage Plans/Part D plans every year. Even if one is happy with one’s plan, it does not hurt to look at others.
Medicare.gov (the official government site) has a tool where one can compare plans for free. The results are in an easy to read chart, which includes prices, coverage, co-pays, and more.

Need assistance in doing the online comparisons? Contact your local Area Office on Aging, United Way, or other related social service agency.

October 3, 2013 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

New Resource from the NLM: Subject Guides (Health Statistics, Library Statistics, Conference Proceedings)

New Resource from the NLM: Subject Guides

The NLM Reference and Web Services Section, Public Services Division, compiled a select set of subject guides. These guides can serve as research starting points for health professionals, researchers, librarians, students, and others. Each guide lists a variety of resources, many of which are Internet accessible and free. These subject guides consist of many resources but should not be considered completely comprehensive.

Released guides cover Health Statistics, Library Statistics, and Conference Proceedings. Two additional guides will be available in late fall covering Drug Information and Genetics/Genomics.

The topics for these Subject Guides are drawn from the most frequently asked questions the Reference and Web Services staff encounters in e-mails and onsite. The staff plans to update the guides, reviewing them as needed to maintain their links and content. We hope you find the Subject Guides useful, and we welcome your comments or suggestions.

From the NLM Site

  • Health Statistics (Listed here, just some of the information at the site)
    • Scope –
      • The Health Statistics and Numerical Data subject guide includes some of the major sources of health and general statistics in the United States and a brief list of international resources.
      • Selected Resources sections consist of a small number of resources chosen from the great number available. Resources include print and online publications, databases, datasets, online tools, and Websites. The majority are from U.S. Government agencies.
    • Websites and Portals
    • General selected resources
    • Specific health conditions and concerns
    • Special populations

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, health AND statistics, Health Statistics, Librarian Resources | , | Leave a comment

[Journal Article] The Emergent Discipline of Health Web Science -with related links and articles

Tim Berners-Lee: The World Wide Web - Opportun...

Larger image –>http://www.flickr.com/photos/40726922@N07/4702688723

Came across this article through an online professional health community.  It describes how the Internet is changing approaches to healthcare issues.  Current evidence shows Web sites can empower professional and lay alike through informational Web pages, social media, health record annotations and linkages for exploration and analysis. However, these applications can be built on to better serve the health care related needs of all.  The Web can be better” engineered for health research, clinical research, and clinical practice. In addition, it is desirable to support consumers who utilize the Web for gathering information about health and well-being and to elucidate approaches to providing social support to both patients and caregivers. Finally, there is the motivation to improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of health care.” The paper goes on to outline channelling further efforts in these areas.

  • Social networks
  • Patient Engagement Through Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing
  • Sensors, Smart Technology and Expert Patients
  • “Big Data”, Semantic, and Other Integration Technologies
  • Rapid, Automated, Contextualized Knowledge Discovery and Application

From the full text of the article

Abstract

The transformative power of the Internet on all aspects of daily life, including health care, has been widely recognized both in the scientific literature and in public discourse. Viewed through the various lenses of diverse academic disciplines, these transformations reveal opportunities realized, the promise of future advances, and even potential problems created by the penetration of the World Wide Web for both individuals and for society at large. Discussions about the clinical and health research implications of the widespread adoption of information technologies, including the Internet, have been subsumed under the disciplinary label of Medicine 2.0. More recently, however, multi-disciplinary research has emerged that is focused on the achievement and promise of the Web itself, as it relates to healthcare issues. In this paper, we explore and interrogate the contributions of the burgeoning field of Web Science in relation to health maintenance, health care, and health policy. From this, we introduce Health Web Science as a subdiscipline of Web Science, distinct from but overlapping with Medicine 2.0. This paper builds on the presentations and subsequent interdisciplinary dialogue that developed among Web-oriented investigators present at the 2012 Medicine 2.0 Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

Read the entire article here

Related links

The Health WebScience Lab is a multi-disciplinary research initiative between Moray College UHI, NHS Grampian, HIE OpenFinder and Sitekit Solutions Ltd based in the Highlands of Scotland committed to improving health locally, nationally and internationally.

This initiative will lead, connect and collaborate on research in the emerging discipline of WebScience and Healthcare to create communities which take responsibility for their own wellbeing and self-care. This will be achieved through the application of information and other communication technologies via the internet across a whole range of functions that affect health care thereby stimulating novel research between health care professionals, the community at large and industry.

studies ” the effects of the interaction of healthcare with the web, and of the web with healthcare” and how one can be effectively harnessed to change the other

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Consumer Health, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Web 2.0 Assignments | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthcare Bots and Subject Directories

Fairly comprehensive.
Annotations and ratings would have been useful, however.
Still, am thinking most of the search engines would give more focused results than general search engines.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 12.50.03 PM

From the directory

This white paper link compilation is designed to give you the latest resources available to find selected and niched information in the healthcare field for healthcare research both professional and personal. It is divided into two categories: a) Search Engines and Selected Bots, and b) Directories, Subject Trees and Subject Tracers. These resources allow you to begin your research using the latest sources that are available on the Internet. Using both bots and subject directories to initialize your healthcare research allows one to create a broad spectrum approach to the information available.

Click here to view the directory

And from a summary of the directory

Healthcare Bots and Subject Directories

Healthcare Bots and Subject Directories is a 30 page research paper listing selected resources both new and existing that will help anyone who is attempting to find the latest information about healthcare search engines and subject directories available on the Internet. It is freely available as a .pdf file (319KB) at the above link from the Virtual Private Library™ and authored by Marcus P. Zillman, M.S., A.M.H.A. It was completely updated, reviewed and link validated on September 1, 2013. Other white papers are available by clicking here.

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , | Leave a comment

Some Prescription Drug Cost Assistance Programs

Recently I updated my Health Resources for All Web site.

If anyone has any suggestions (including additions), please let me know in the comments section or email me at jmflahiff at yahoo dot com.

 

Here’s the list from Prescription Drug Cost Assistance

[Sorry, it did not copy/paste very well!!]

General Guides

BenefitsCheckUp, a service of the National Council on Aging, can help you find public and private programs that may be able to help pay for your prescription drugs.

Government Programs

Extra Help (sometimes called the Low-Income Subsidy, LIS)

Find a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
Helps find prescription drug coverage regardless of income, health status, or how you pay for prescription drugs today.Click here for when you may enroll.  Additional information on Part D prescription drug plans here.

Nonprofits and Commercial Programs

NeedyMeds

  • Non-profit information resource devoted to helping people in need find assistance programs to help them afford their medications and costs related to health care. Includes coverage gap programs.

(More at their About pagePrintable brochure here)

             Contact them through their Web site or by telephone (800-503-6897)
 
  • A way to receive discounts on prescription drugs at participting pharmacies. 
  • Printable coupon at Web site
  • Contact by email or phone (1-888-412-0869). FAQ page here.
  • How it Works
    1. Use FreeRxPlus® Bin and Group numbers for FREE access to savings on prescriptions, lab tests, and imaging services.
    2. For access to Lab Test savings: Locate a lab or order your test call toll-free 1-888-412-0869
    3. For access to Imaging Savings: Locate an imaging center or order your service call toll-free 1-888-412-0869
    4. For access to Prescription Savings: Click HERE and locate a participating pharmacy or search for medication pricing. Then simply present your FreeRxPlus® card to the pharmacist for immediate saving
 A collaboration of pharmaceutical companies, health care providers and advocacy organizations. 

Use their services online or contact them at 1-888-477-2669Prescription Assistance Page includes


 PatientAssistance.com, Inc

PatientAssistance.com is a free resource designed to help connect patients who can’t afford their prescription medications with patient assistance programs. Generally for the uninsured and underinsured.

 Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)

1-800-532-5274

The PAF helps to solve health insurance and access problems. The website has information on resources, programs, and provides personal help. PAF offers assistance to patients with specific issues they are facing with their insurer, employer and/or creditor regarding insurance, job retention and/or debt crisis matters relative to their diagnosis of life threatening or debilitating diseases.

Services provided by PAF include:

  • CINV CareLine

    CINV (chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting) CareLine is a patient hotline designed to provide case management assistance to patients diagnosed with cancer and experiencing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting who are seeking education and access to care.

  • Co-Pay Relief Program

    The Co-Pay Relief Program currently provides direct financial support to insured patients, including Medicare Part D beneficiaries, who must financially and medically qualify to access pharmaceutical co-payment assistance. The program offers personal service to all patients through the use of call counselors; personally guiding patients through the enrollment process

RxAssist

RxAssist is a website with information, news, and a database that are all designed to help you find out about ways to get affordable, or free, medications. The database includes information on the pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programs, or programs that provide free medication to low-income patients. RxAssist was created by Volunteers in Health Care, a national, nonprofit resource center for health care programs working with the uninsured.

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) Patient Assistance Program may be able to help you find free or reduced-fee prescription drugs for your condition.

Prescription Drug Assistance Programs(American Cancer Society)

RxHope: Patient Assistance Information(Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America)

 

 

August 30, 2013 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Libraries Resist Assisting ObamaCare – Some Librarians Express Concerns

images-2

 Reblogged from 21st Century Library Blog:

While I’ve been busy with other things, I let this issue raised at ALA slip past unnoticed. Issues in library world don’t go unnoticed for very long, especially when they deal with government intrusion. Apparently, during ALA 2013 Conference a video was played in which there was a White House appeal to public librarians to help Americans understand the new Affordable Healthcare Act insurance system that goes into effect whenever – maybe.

Read more… 1,597 more words

I am hoping that the federal government can do a bit more to provide resources for librarians about ACA.

Back in my public library days, it wasn’t easy working with patrons when the topic was against my views!

However, I always tried to address people’s information needs without bias and as completely as possible with factual information.

“ObamaCare” questions are in the same arena.  While librarians cannot advise or fill out forms, they can at least lead folks to factual information. However, this would work best if the federal government would do everything possible to lighten the load for libraries.  This would include providing readable materials for consumers, as well as “pathways” for librarians.

Also, libraries can welcome trained volunteers and organizations to give in-depth information to folks. Many already do this around tax time with IRS trained volunteers.

Here in Toledo, folks from legal aid organizations “set up shop” in public libraries to assist folks. Representatives from the Ohio Benefit Bank do likewise. These volunteers screen people for government assistance programs as SNAP and the Medicare Savings Program.

It sure would be great if government employees and/or trained volunteers could do likewise for “ObamaCare”.  Areas could include the health exchange marketplace, Medicaid expansion, free preventative care, and more.

And with articles as this, there is a real need for information professionals, including librarians!

Ohio insurance department claims Obamacare premium rates to rise 41 percent (Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 1, 2013)

Ohio insurance regulators Thursday released rates for health insurance to be sold on the new state marketplace and said premiums for individuals will rise an average of 41 percent compared with 2013 rates.
That average brought immediate condemnation from critics of the Affordable Care Act, with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a southwest Ohio Republican, calling it “irrefutable evidence” that the law known as Obamacare is driving up costs and hurting the economy……..

Related articles

“…only 11 percent of respondents presented with a traditional insurance plan incorporating all four of these elements were able to compute the cost of a four-day hospital stay when given the information that should have enabled them to do so…

“”The ACA deals with the problem of consumer misunderstanding by requiring insurance companies to publish standardized and simplified information about insurance plans, including what consumers would pay for four basic services,” noted lead author Loewenstein. “However, presenting simplified information about something that is inherently complex introduces a risk of ‘smoothing over’ real complexities. A better approach, in my view, would be to require insurance companies to offer truly simplified insurance products that consumers are capable of understanding.”

August 2, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, health care, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Libraries Resist Assisting ObamaCare – Some Librarians Express Concerns

 

I am hoping that the federal government can do a bit more to provide resources for librarians about ACA.

Back in my public library days, it wasn’t easy working with patrons when the topic was against my views!

However, I always tried to address people’s information needs without bias and as completely as possible with factual information.

“ObamaCare” questions are in the same arena.  While librarians cannot advise or fill out forms, they can at least lead folks to factual information. However, this would work best if the federal government would do everything possible to lighten the load for libraries.  This would include providing readable materials for consumers, as well as “pathways” for librarians.

Also, libraries can welcome trained volunteers and organizations to give in-depth information to folks. Many already do this around tax time with IRS trained volunteers.

Here in Toledo, folks from legal aid organizations “set up shop” in public libraries to assist folks. Representatives from the Ohio Benefit Bank do likewise. These volunteers screen people for government assistance programs as SNAP and the Medicare Savings Program.

It sure would be great if government employees and/or trained volunteers could do likewise for “ObamaCare”.  Areas could include the health exchange marketplace, Medicaid expansion, free preventative care, and more.

And with articles as this, there is a real need for information professionals, including librarians!

Ohio insurance department claims Obamacare premium rates to rise 41 percent (Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 1, 2013)

Ohio insurance regulators Thursday released rates for health insurance to be sold on the new state marketplace and said premiums for individuals will rise an average of 41 percent compared with 2013 rates.
That average brought immediate condemnation from critics of the Affordable Care Act, with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a southwest Ohio Republican, calling it “irrefutable evidence” that the law known as Obamacare is driving up costs and hurting the economy……..
Related articles

21st Century Library Blog

While I’ve been busy with other things, I let this issue raised at ALA slip past unnoticed. Issues in library world don’t go unnoticed for very long, especially when they deal with government intrusion. Apparently, during ALA 2013 Conference a video was played in which there was a White House appeal to public librarians to help Americans understand the new Affordable Healthcare Act insurance system that goes into effect whenever – maybe. This federal initiative to get public libraries involved in assisting people to sign up goes into effect October 1.

As much as I dislike relying on news media for any valid information, a Washington Times online article “Librarian foot soldiers enlisted to help with Obamacare enrollment” published June 29 states:

CHICAGO — The nation’s librarians will be recruited to help people get signed up for insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Up to 17,000…

View original post 1,492 more words

August 2, 2013 Posted by | health care, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

[Repost] The ACA Countdown

From the 26 July 2013 post at The Cornflower, The Blog of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act Health Information Marketplace, formerly referred to as the “Health Insurance Exchange”, begins October 1, 2013. But did you know that you and your patrons can start collecting information now? According to the HealthCare.gov Marketplace Application Checklist, the following items will be needed for those planning to apply for coverage:

  • Social Security Numbers (or document numbers for legal immigrants)
  • Employee and income information for every member of your household who needs coverage (for example, from pay stubs or W-2
    forms—Wage and Tax Statements)
  • Policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering
    members of your household
  • A completed Employer Coverage Tool for every job-based plan you or someone in your household is eligible for.

You can see the checklist as well as the complete Employer Coverage online at the following URL:https://www.healthcare.gov/downloads/MarketplaceApp_Checklist_Generic.pdf

To find out more about the Marketplace, see https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/individual/. Librarians and other professionals can find marketplace outreach information on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) site: http://marketplace.cms.gov/

  • Washington & The Affordable Care Act (seattle.cbslocal.com)
  • Ohio & The Affordable Care Act (cleveland.cbslocal.com)
  • More ACA Delays (cdphphealthcarereform.wordpress.com)
  • Texas & The Affordable Care Act (dfw.cbslocal.com)
  • ACA Exchange Coverage Notice Due October 1, 2013 (sheakleyhrsolutions.com)
  • Education hurdle to implementing Obamacare (onlineathens.com)
  • DC & The Affordable Care Act (washington.cbslocal.com)
  • NY “Poster Child” for Necessity of Individual Mandate under ACA (hofstrabioethics.wordpress.com)
  • In Some Deeply Red States, Figuring Out How To Enroll In Obamacare Is Like ‘Searching For A Unicorn’ (ThinkProgress)
    …many states have been busy launching public awareness campaigns so their residents will know how to gain access to Obamacare coverage in the fall. But that’s not necessarily the case in deeply red states that remain stubbornly resistant to President Obama’s health reform law, where Americans may not have any idea what their options are in October.

    States had the option of either setting up their own insurance marketplaces under Obamacare, or leaving that work for the federal government to do. Many GOP-controlled states resisted cooperating with the health reform law under any circumstances and refused to set up marketplaces on their own. In Missouri, lawmakers actually went a step further and enacted measures to prevent state officials from providing “assistance or resources of any kind” to the federal government’s effort to establish a marketplace. The New York Times reports that’s essentially encouraged confusion among Missouri residents, who have no idea how to enroll in Obamacare plans….
    ……

    Across the country, Obamacare opponents have launched a coordinated misinformation campaign about the health reform law, confusing Americans about what the upcoming changes will mean for them. A survey of health care-related advertising in June found that Obamacare critics have outspent its supporters by a nearly five to one margin. And last month, the Koch Brothers poured millions more into a new Obamacare misinformation campaign. Anti-Obamacare groups are now launching grassroots initiatives to actively dissuade people from enrolling in the new insurance marketplaces — telling young Americans to “burn your Obamacare draft card.”

    These campaigns could have serious consequences for Americans across the country. There’s a limited enrollment period for the new Obamacare plans in the state-level marketplaces. The initial enrollment period will be extended until March 2014 — but after that, people will only be able to sign up for coverage in between October and December. If they can’t figure out how to do it, or if they’ve been persuaded to simply forgo health plans in the marketplaces, they’ll be forced to go uninsured for the rest of the year even if they end up changing their minds….

July 31, 2013 Posted by | health care, Librarian Resources | , , | Leave a comment

Blog Roll: Our Favorite Health Blogs

Includes areas as nutrition, healthcare, health communication, and health/medical resources

 

SurroundHealth Blog

With tons of health blogs out there today, it can be overwhelming trying to find solid ones to follow that are a good fit for your topic of interest. At SurroundHealth, we look for bloggers that align with our goals of sharing resources and best practices in areas such as: health education/communication, professional development and health careers, health and education technology, and current health events.

While this isn’t a FULL list of the blogs we follow, we thought it would be nice to share with our members and readers some of our favorite (in no specific order) health blogs out there!

Our ‘favorites’ blog roll:

Health ECareers NetworkHeCN is a really informative blog providing access to everything healthcare careers- news, information, events, career resources and employment opportunities – all specific to individual career paths. Definitely a good one to check out if you are looking to learn…

View original post 290 more words

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

How to Handle Mold/Mycotoxin Exposure at Home or at Work – Where To Get Help

I usually don’t reblog articles that endorse commercial products or alternative/complementary medicine (without biomedical evidence).
Still, this post had a lot of good information on testing and one’s rights.

A few years back at a library where I worked, some of the folks at circulation were having breathing difficulties. They believed it was the HVAC system, but did not report it. Now I wish I could have worked with them to report it….
The folks at the circ desk were union, I was not. So they were more protected than I…..

Resources

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, environmental health, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

BioEd Online- Science Resources from Baylor College of Medicine

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 2.29.28 PM

Not just for teachers!

From the About Page

Welcome to BioEd Online, the online educational resource for educators, students, and parents. BioEd Online utilizes state-of-the-art technology to give you instant access to reliable, cutting-edge information and educational tools for biology and related subjects. Our goal is to provide useful, accurate, and current information and materials that build upon and enhance the skills and knowledge of science educators. Developed under the guidance of our expert Editorial Board, BioEd Online offers the following high-quality resources.

  • Streaming Video Presentations – View timely presentations given by thought leaders on education in biology and related subjects, classroom management, science standards, and other issues in education. Presentation topics include content reviews for prospective biology teachers, content updates for experienced teachers, research lab technique demonstrations, inquiry science, and assessment. In addition, BioEd Online offers helpful presentations for teachers in training as they prepare for the classroom experience.
  • Slide Library – Customize exciting and relevant lesson plans and activities from hundreds of searchable slides developed by our Editorial Board and contributors. The slide library is updated regularly. Each slide is complete with talking points and references and can be downloaded into your own PowerPoint program for personal educational use.
  • Editors’ News Picks – Stay current with science news selected by our Editorial Board. Check back each week for new science stories and related discussion questions to complement your ongoing science activities, and to stimulate an exchange of ideas in your classroom. All Editors’ Picks are maintained in our archive for easy access whenever you need them.

BioEd Online is regularly updated with pertinent new slides in the slide library, presentations on breakthrough research, reviews, and virtual workshops on educational approaches and materials. Stay current with the latest research from top educators in the country by bookmarking BioEd Online for later use!

Other resources of note

  • A variety of free, interactive courses designed for science educators and other life-long learners seeking to increase their knowledge of key scientific subjects. Course offerings range from cutting edge genetics to topical environmental health content and the fascinating science of water. Materials are sorted by topic, making it easy locate the content most appropriate for you.
  • BioEd Online’s library contains student storybooks, magazines, supplemental materials and other items integrated with teacher’s guides and lessons found on this website. Some items may be used as stand-alone reading and language arts activities.

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health News Items, Librarian Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

Medicare Drug Program Fails to Monitor Prescribers, Putting Seniors and Disabled at Risk

Excerpt from
ProPublica, May 11, 2013, 9:06 p.m., by Tracy WeberCharles Ornstein and Jennifer LaFleur

….An analysis of four years of Medicare prescription records shows that some doctors and other health professionals across the country prescribe large quantities of drugs that are potentially harmful, disorienting or addictive. Federal officials have done little to detect or deter these hazardous prescribing patterns.

Searches through hundreds of millions of records turned up physicians such as the Miami psychiatrist who has given hundreds of elderly dementia patients the same antipsychotic, despite the government’s most serious “black box” warning that it increases the risk of death. He believes he has no other options….

…..

The data, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, makes public for the first time the prescribing practices and identities of doctors and other health-care providers. The information does not include patient names or the reasons why doctors prescribed particular drugs, so reporters interviewed the physicians to learn their rationales.

Medicare has access to reams of data about its patients, their diagnoses and the medical services they received. It could analyze all of this information to determine whether patients are being prescribed appropriate drugs for their conditions.

But officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say the job of monitoring prescribing falls to the private health plans that administer the program, not the government. Congress never intended for CMS to second-guess doctors – and didn’t give it that authority, officials said.

“CMS’s payments don’t go to physicians, don’t go to pharmacies. They go to plans, which is how our oversight framework has been established,” Jonathan Blum, the agency’s director of Medicare, said in an interview. The philosophy “really has been to defer to physicians” about whether a drug is medically necessary, he said.

Asked repeatedly to cite which provision in the law limits their oversight of prescribers, CMS officials could not do so.

The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Serviceshas repeatedly criticized CMS for its failure to police the program, known as Part D. In report after report, the inspector general has advised CMS officials to be more vigilant. Yet the agency has rejected several key recommendations as unnecessary or overreaching.

Other experts in prescription drug monitoring also said Medicare should use its data to identify troubling prescribing patterns and take steps to investigate or restrict unsafe practitioners. That’s what state Medicaid programs for the poor routinely do.

“For Medicare to just turn a blind eye and refuse to look at data in front of them . . . it’s just beyond comprehension,” said John Eadie, director of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Center of Excellence at Brandeis University.

“They’re putting their patients at risk.”

….

The Part D records detail 1.1 billion claims in 2010 alone, including prescriptions and refills dispensed. ProPublica has created an online tool, Prescriber Checkup, to allow anyone to search for individual providers and see which drugs they prescribe.

Typically in Medicare, the government is responsible for contracting with doctors, reviewing claims for treatment and paying the bills.

But Part D is different: Patients get their drugs through stand-alone drug plans, which cover only drugs, or through Medicare HMOs that also cover medical services.

Medicare pays private insurers a set amount per enrollee to run the program and pay for the drugs. All the insurance plans are supposed to alert pharmacies to potentially harmful drug interactions, query doctors who prescribe high levels of narcotics to individual patients and be on the lookout for fraud, among other things.

……

Potential for Fraud

Since Part D was launched, the HHS inspector general and the Government Accountability Office have grown increasingly worried that it lacks adequate oversight.

Several reports have found that Part D is vulnerable to fraud. Insurers have paid for prescriptions from doctors who were barred by Medicare. Separately, in 2007 alone, the program covered $1.2 billion worth of drugs prescribed by providers whose identities were unknown to insurers or Medicare, according to a June 2010 report.

The inspector general even found fault with the contractors Medicare hired to dig out fraud: The contractors generated few of their own investigations, relying on outside complaints for direction.

Although many reports focus on fraud, analysts also have found that the program was vulnerable to inappropriate prescribing that put patients’ lives in danger.

A May 2011 report said Medicare has not ensured that Part D paid only for drugs prescribed for FDA-approved and widely accepted off-label indications as federal law requires. About half of the 1.4 million antipsychotic prescriptions made to nursing home patients in the first six months of 2007 “were not used for medically accepted indications,” the report said.

“There’s certainly room for improvement,” Robert Vito, a regional inspector general who has directed many of the reports, said in an interview.

Medicare should, for example, require that prescriptions include a patient’s diagnosis as a way to monitor how Part D drugs were being used, his agency said.

But Medicare officials told the inspector general that neither state boards of pharmacy nor private industry requires this practice, so neither would they.

CMS also has rejected proposals to require insurers to report suspicious prescribing to its fraud contractor. Such sharing is now voluntary.

Medicare’s safeguards lag well behind those of many state Medicaid programs.

Louisiana requires that doctors include diagnosis codes when they write prescriptions for painkillers and antipsychotics. Similar checks have proved effective in other states. Florida found that antipsychotics given to children younger than 6 dropped when specialists reviewed prescriptions.

Even some of Medicare’s top prescribers think the program should do more to research unusual or suspicious prescribing patterns.

Indiana physician Daniel J. Hurley led the country with more than 160,000 prescriptions under Part D in 2010, ProPublica’s analysis shows. In an interview, he said nursing home pharmacies had credited him with prescriptions by other health professionals in his practice, a quirk Medicare should want to address.

It’s unclear how often this might happen, and some nursing home doctors do write lots of prescriptions on their own. Medicare said it recently addressed this issue, but according to Medicare’s own numbers, Hurley’s prescriptions have dropped only slightly.

“Why wouldn’t they call us up and ask us?” Hurley said. “If you hustled, you couldn’t come anywhere near that number, nor should you.”

 

July 7, 2013 Posted by | health care, Librarian Resources | , , , , | 1 Comment

Free Library Puts Resources About Minority Health Within Arm’s Reach – National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities

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Free Library Puts Resources About Minority Health Within Arm’s Reach

From the 9 April 2013 article at the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities

The Office of Minority Health Knowledge Center supports National Minority Health Month by highlighting many information resources available to the public. The Knowledge Center focuses its collection on consumer health and many other health equity issues, and builds on this year’s theme ofAdvance Health Equity Now: Uniting Our Communities to Bring Health Care Coverage to All.

Created in 1987, the Knowledge Center indexed and tracked the concept of health disparities in the available literature long before it appeared in the forefront of public health concerns. Today, the library offers both a historical and present day picture of the health status of minority populations and holds a collection of 10,000 reports, books, journals and media, and over 35,000 articles, which makes it the largest repository of minority health information in the nation.

Equal access to health care has long been a factor in health equity, and the Knowledge Center library catalog reflects those concerns. By searching our catalog, you will find many reports, books and fact sheets which explain disparities in access to health insurance and health care.

And the Knowledge Center is more than a library. We also contribute to the outreach and educational activities of the Office of Minority Health and reach out to other libraries to support their consumer health education initiatives. For example, a recent presentation and exhibit at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color highlighted our services and resources for public and academic libraries.

Other libraries have found ways to advance health equity, in keeping with objectives set by our National Partnership for Action (NPA).  As an NPA partner, the University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library developed a health advocates program for local high school students (read more about the program.)

With 35 languages represented in our collection, the Knowledge Center is open to the public for research about a variety of diseases and health topics and you can search the database right from your desktop.

We invite you to take a look at our online catalog and conduct a search. Enter the search terms “Affordable Care Act” and discover what OMHRC has to offer you.

For questions or search assistance, please contact us at KnowledgeCenter@minorityhealth.hhs.gov.

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Evidence based content for medical articles on Wikipedia?

ScienceRoll

I would love to get your feedback on a project I just came across on Wikipedia, the WikiProject Medicine/Evidence based content for medical articles on Wikipedia. The organizer of the project is the same as in Cochrane Students’ Journal Club. Please sign up if you are interested in helping us out.

Wikipedia has been accepted world wide as a source of information by both lay people and experts. Its community driven approach has ensured that the information presented caters to a wide variety of people. An article from 2011 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that a significant number of experts and doctors consult Wikipedia’s medicine related topics.

Medical information is very dynamic and conclusions and recommendations are turned on their heads based on new findings. Taking this into account it is important to ensure that Evidence Based content is a part of any medicine related…

View original post 26 more words

March 22, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Database Reveals Thousands of Hospital Violation Reports New Database Reveals Thousands of Hospital Violation Reports

Hospital

Hospital (Photo credit: Ralf Heß)

 

From the March 20, 2013 State Line article

 

Hospitals make mistakes, sometimes deadly mistakes.  A patient may get the wrong medication or even undergo surgery intended for another person.  When errors like these are reported, state and federal officials inspect the hospital in question and file a detailed report.

Now, for the first time, this vital information on the quality and safety of the nation’s hospitals has been made available to the public online.

A new website, www.hospitalinspections.org, includes detailed reports of hospital violations dating back to January 2011, searchable by city, state, name of the hospital and key word.  Previously, these reports were filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), and released only through a Freedom of Information Act request, an arduous, time-consuming process.  Even then, the reports were provided in paper format only, making them cumbersome to analyze.

Release of this critical electronic information by CMS is the result of years of advocacy by the Association of Health Care Journalists, with funding from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.  The new database makes full inspection reports for acute care hospitals and rural critical access hospitals instantly available to journalists and consumers interested in the quality of their local hospitals.

The database also reveals national trends in hospital errors. For example, key word searches yield the incidence of certain violations across all hospitals.  A search on the word “abuse,” for example, yields 862 violations at 204 hospitals since 2011. …

 

 

March 20, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, health AND statistics, Health Statistics, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CDC Releases Data on Interpersonal and Sexual Violence by Sexual Orientation (A First in this Area)

nisvs_coverFrom the 25 January 2013 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) press release

The first set of national prevalence data on intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking victimization by sexual orientation was released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that lesbians and gay men reported IPV and SV over their lifetimes at levels equal to or higher than those of heterosexuals; with sexual orientation based on respondents’ identification at the time of the survey.

The survey also found that bisexual women (61.1 percent) report a higher prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner compared to both lesbian (43.8 percent) and heterosexual women (35 percent). Of the bisexual women who experienced IPV, approximately 90 percent reported having only male perpetrators, while two -thirds of lesbians reported having only female perpetrators of IPV.

The data presented in this report do not indicate whether violence occurs more often in same-sex or opposite sex couples. Rather, the data show the prevalence of lifetime victimization of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking of respondents who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual at the time of the survey and describe violence experienced with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners. …

Other key findings include:

  • The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators.
  • Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

CDC will work to create resources to bring attention to these issues within lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

For more information about NISVS, including study details, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/index.html.

To watch webinars that discuss the NISVS 2010 Summary findings, please visit PreventConnectExternal Web Site Icon, a national online project dedicated to the primary prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

 

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing a three-part series on medical journal ghostwriting

Gary Schwitzer, at HealthNewsReview.org, presents a three part series on medical journal ghostwriting.

Good overview on how to spot ghostwriting and two examples of how ghostwriting may introduce conflicts of interest and skewed results.

 

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

2011 EPA Toxic Release Inventory is releaed

From the EPA Web page

The TRI National Analysis is an annual report that provides EPA’s analysis and interpretation of the most recent TRI data. It includes information about toxic chemical releases to the environment from facilities that report to the TRI Program. It also includes information about how toxic chemicals are managed through recycling, treatment and energy recovery, and how facilities are working to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals generated and released.

WASHINGTON – Total toxic air releases in 2011 declined 8 percent from 2010, mostly because of decreases in hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions, even while total releases of toxic chemicals increased for the second year in a row, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report published today.

The annual TRI provides citizens with vital information about their communities. The TRI program collects information on certain toxic chemical releases to the air, water and land, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities by facilities across the country. TRI data are submitted annually to EPA, states and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste facilities.

What’s new in the National Analysis this year?

  • An investigation into declining air releases;
  • More information about pollution prevention activities conducted at TRI facilities;
  • Updated risk information;
  • Enhanced Indian Country and Alaska Native Villages (ANVs) analysis.

What tools are available to help me conduct my own analysis?

A variety of online tools are available to help you access and analyze TRI data. When using TRI data, you may also want to explore the other data sources and information listed on the TRI Data and Tools webpage.

Where can I get downloadable files containing the data used in the 2011 National Analysis?

  • Basic Data Files : Each file contains the most commonly requested data fields submitted by facilities on the TRI Reporting Form R or the Form A Certification Statement.
  • Basic Plus Data Files : These files collectively contain all the data fields submitted by facilities on the TRI Reporting Form R or the Form A Certification Statement.
  • Dioxin, Dioxin-Like Compounds and TEQ Data Files : These files include the individually reported mass quantity data for dioxin and dioxin-like compounds reported on the TRI Reporting Form R Schedule 1, along with the associated TEQ data.

January 18, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Curēus, an open-access medical journal with crowdsourcing

[Reblog] Curēus, an open-access medical journal with crowdsourcing December 23, 2012

Posted by Dr. Bertalan Meskó in MedicineWeb 2.0Medical journalism,Medicine 2.0e-Science.
trackback
John Adler who is a neurosurgeon at Stanford just launched Curēus, an open-source medical journal that leverages crowdsourcing to make scientific research more readily available to the general public. What do you think?

Based in Palo Alto, California, Curēus is the medical journal for a new generation of both doctors AND patients. Leveraging the power of an online, crowd-sourced community platform, Curēus promotes medical research by offering tools that better serve and highlight the people who create it, resulting in better research, faster publication and easier access for everyone.

We make it easier and faster to publish your work – it’s always free and you retain the copyright. What’s more, the Curēus platform is designed to provide a place for physicians to build their digital CV anchored with their posters and papers.

The Curēus site also has..

Currently, a relatively few number of papers online. The concept is good, here’s hoping this is not a flash in the pan, but the wave of the future.

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deficiency Symptoms and Signs – A Referenced Resource for Professionals and the Public

This morning I came across this nutrition deficiency guide while doing a (somewhat) focused Web search on a Quora question about nutritional deficiencies.
The table (rather longish) lists signs/symptoms along with possible nutritional deficiencies and other possible causes.

According to the terms and use, I am not allowed to copy/paste the table, or provide a direct link to this very informative table.
(This is a commercial site, but ad free).

Here’s how to get to the table

This site has, well, to me, an overabundance of unbiased, reliable nutrition from a medical doctor.

Dr. Stewart is medical practitioner in 1976 from Guy’s Hospital London and became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1979.  He was a founding member of the British Society for Nutritional Medicine.

 

October 31, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Resources in Multiple Languages

Those of you who follow my blog notice that from time to time I highlight multilingual health information Web sites as Healthy Roads Media.

Recently (via a US govt listserv- PHPartners) I ‘ve come across a wonderful list of general health information resources in multiple languages. This resource list is a subset of the larger  Multi-Cultural Resources for Health Information. Multi-Cultural Resources includes links in the following areas

Oh, I haven’t forgotten. Here is the list of Health Resources in Multiple Languages.

 

 

October 27, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , | Leave a comment

NIH launches free database of drugs associated with liver injury

 

From the 12 October 2012 news release

A free source of evidence-based information for health care professionals and for researchers studying liver injury associated with prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbals, and dietary supplements is now available from the National Institutes of Health. Researchers and health care professionals can use the LiverTox database to identify basic and clinical research questions to be answered and to chart optimal ways to diagnose and control drug-induced liver injury.

Drug-induced liver injury is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States, accounting for at least half of cases. It occurs at all ages, in men and women, and in all races and ethnic groups. Drug-induced liver disease is more likely to occur among older adults because they tend to take more medications than younger people. Some drugs directly damage the liver, while others cause damage indirectly or by an allergic reaction. The most important element to managing drug-induced liver injury is to identify the drug that’s causing the problem and appropriate steps to eliminate or reduce damage to the liver.

“Because drug-induced liver disease is not a single, common disease, it is very difficult to diagnose, with each drug causing a somewhat different pattern of liver damage,” said Jay H. Hoofnagle, M.D., the major creator of LiverTox and director of the Liver Disease Research Branch at NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). “Doctors have to rule out all other causes of liver disease before saying that a patient has drug-induced injury liver.”

LiverTox has a searchable database of about 700 medications available in the United States by prescription or over the counter. Over the next few years, another 300 drugs will be added. The database offers these features:

  • An overview of drug-induced liver injury, including diagnostic criteria, the role of liver biopsy, descriptions of different clinical patterns and standard definitions.
  • A detailed report of each drug, including background, case study, product package insert, chemical makeup and structure, dose recommendations and references with links.
  • An interactive section, allowing users to report cases of drug-induced liver injury to the LiverTox website. Reports will be automatically forwarded to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch program. MedWatch allows the public and health care professionals to report adverse events, product defects, or product use errors. The FDA uses the information to monitor product safety.

“LiverTox is the result of a significant scientific collaboration between the national and international clinical and research communities, the NIDDK and the National Library of Medicine (NLM),” said Steven Phillips, M.D., co-sponsor of LiverTox and director of NLM’s Division of Specialized Information Services. “LiverTox demonstrates the importance of using informatics to provide easy access to evidenced-based information to clinicians and researchers that will improve the health and well-being of all and help prevent unnecessary morbidity and mortality, worldwide. I hope the dynamic LiverTox model can be used to create a new suite of databases that can identify drug-induced injury to other organs such as the heart, kidney, and lung. The National Library of Medicine is honored to be part of this significant scientific endeavor.”

 

October 15, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consumer Health Digest Archive (and Links to Related Health Fraud Information Sites)

From the archive http://www.ncahf.org/digest12/index.html

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H.. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; other news items; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; research tips; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making. The Digest currently has 11,082 subscribers. Items posted to this archive may be updated when relevant information becomes available.


Issue #12-35, October 11, 2012

  • Pediatricians warn against home trampoline use
  • High-quality fluoride information posted
  • “Life coach” loses suit against nutrition licensing board
  • FTC halts dubious insurance plan

Issue #12-34, October 4, 2012

  • Romney campaign embraces Lyme quackery
  • Vitamin D supplementation fails to prevent colds
  • Quantum quackery criticized

Issue #12-33, September 27, 2012

  • Stem cell scammers plead guilty
  • Prominent psychiatric critic dies
  • Medifast subsidiary settles FTC charges

Issue #12-32, September 20, 2012

  • Portland City Council votes to fluoridate.
  • Physicist details why homeopathy is impossible
  • Massachusetts will post more about disciplinary actions

Issue #12-31, September 6, 2012

  • IOM publishes health-care system critique
  • Ginkgo flunks another big Alzheimer’s prevention trial
  • AMA specialty journals will be renamed in 2

 

Related Resources

  • Don’t be fooled by health fraud scams (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
  • Evaluating Health Information on the Internet (US National Cancer Institute)
    This fact sheet contains information to help people decide whether the health information they find on the Internet or receive via e-mail from a Web site is likely to be reliable.
  • Quackwatch (a private corporation operated by Stephen Barrett, MD)
  • Consumer’s Guide to Taking Charge of Health Information (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis)
  • The Penn State Medical Center Library has a great guide to evaluate health information on the Internet.
    • The tips include
      • Remember, anyone can publish information on the internet
      • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
      • If the Web site is primarily about selling a product, the information may be worth checking from another source.
      • Look for who is publishing the information and their education, credentials, and if they are connected with a trusted coporation, university or agency.
      • Check to see how current the information is.
      • Check for accuracy. Does the Web site refer to specific studies or organizations?
  • The Family Caregiver Alliance has a Web page entitled Evaluating Medical Research Findings and Clinical Trials
    Topics include

    • General Guidelines for Evaluating Medical Research
    • Getting Information from the Web
    • Talking with your Health Care Provider
  • And a Rumor Control site of Note (in addition to Quackwatch)
     

    National Council Against Health Fraud

    National Council Against Health Fraud is a nonprofit health agency fousing on health misinformation, fruad, and quackery as public health problems. Links to publications, position papers and more.

 

October 15, 2012 Posted by | Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Information Connections – website for parents of children with developmental disabilities and chronic diseases

 

From the web page at the National Network of Medical Libraries

Connect with Information Connections

By Nalini Mahajan
Director, Medical Library
Marionjoy Rehabilitation Hospital

Information Connections is a website for parents of children with developmental disabilities and chronic diseases with a special focus on Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Down Syndrome, and Traumatic Brain Injury. The informative website was developed and launched by the Marianjoy Medical Library with funding from the National Network of Library of Medicine, Greater Midwest Region (NN/LM GMR) and is sponsored by Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital. It is accessible to anyone from anywhere and it is free.

Since its initial launch in April 2011, InformationConnections.org has helped thousands of families seeking help on these topics. Website usage and feedback in our first year has been exceptional.

We would love to promote our Web site to everyone who could benefit from this wonderful resource and would appreciate any help from you. Please spread the word around; like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, feel free to blog about us, and place a link to us on your website. Our goal is to have 500 friends by the end of 2012. Once we reach the magic number of 500 friends, 3 winners be selected randomly and each will receive a $25.00 gift certificate.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 at 12:45 pm and is filed under Consumer HealthFundingNews from the RegionOutreach. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

 

 

September 5, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VaccineEthics.org – A Great Source for Summaries, News, Links to Published Items, and Additional Resources

Came across this Web site via a blog posting at Life of a Lab Rat  (imho a great blog to follow- well grounded and informative on a nice range of topics)

Here’s a brief breakdown of Vaccines.org

  • Issue Briefs -essays that review significant topics, developments, and controversies in vaccine ethics and policy.
    these summaries reflect facts, ethical issues, and varied opinions by professionals (including policy makers)
  •  News Blog
  • Bibliography -over 1300 items published since 1995 in scholarly journals, government reports, the popular media, and books; searchable
  • Resources include links to vaccine research institutions and programs, relevant government (US and other) agencies, professional organizations, and more
  • To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate? (education.com)
  • We need an app for credible information on vaccines (kevinmd.com)

    “…

    What if we had real time information about our schools? About our neighborhood? What if Google mapped our rates of protection from vaccinations? What if we had a smart phone app that provided us yearly data on school immunization/exemption rates when we selected a kindergarten? Why not an app for that?

    So what if we gave new parents the tools to help educate Aunt Judy who refuses the Tdap shot. …

    We have an opportunity to harness the tools of social media to affect real change and deconstruct barriers. Patients don’t only want more credible science, they want the truth from a trusted partner. The real story, the real facts. We patients want access to why/what/how to protect our children. Doctors need to be communicating online as a part of their day. We already know that parents trust the pediatrician more than anyone else when it comes to questions about vaccine safety. And we’ve known this for a long time. Dr. Diekema hints at online opportunity here:

    Fourth, clinicians, health care organizations, and public health departments must learn to use the tools of persuasion effectively. In The Art of Rhetoric, Aristotle argued that persuasion requires not only a reasonable argument and supporting data, but also a messenger who is trustworthy and attentive to the audience and a message that engages the audience emotionally.

  • Childhood Immunizations and Vaccinations | Special Edition | Education.com (education.com)
  • How bacteria behind serious childhood disease evolve to evade vaccines (jflahiff.wordpress.com)

February 12, 2012 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Live Science – Commercial Site of Science, Health, and Technology News since 2004

 

This morning I stumbled upon LiveScience.com while perusing January’s Internet Reviews at College and Research Library News.

Live Science provide news in the areas of science, health, and technology for a general academic audience, especially undergraduates.It is a commercial site that is part of the TechMedia Network (which also includes TechNews Daily and Business News Daily). LiveScience content is often featured at partner sites including Yahoo and MSNBC.com. Most of the professional journalists on the editorial staff  hold advanced degrees in technology or the sciences.

The site can be a big overwhelming at first with its images and video links, but there is wealth of information for the patient!
The features include:

  • 11 subject areas in the bar at the top of the page – “Space,” “Animals,” “Health,” “Environment,” “Technology,” “History,” “Culture,” “Video,” Strange News,” “Images,” and “Topics.”
  • “Top Stories” section typically presents five current news items along with a variety of rotating images.
  • Images  (containing considerable archives)  with links to albums, infographics, and wallpapers

 

 

 

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health News Items, Librarian Resources, Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Elsevier’s Publishing Model Might be About to Go Up in Smoke – Forbes

Elsevier’s Publishing Model Might be About to Go Up in Smoke – Forbes 

From the 28 January 2012 article

Academic publishing is a very good game indeed if you can manage to get into it. As the publisher the work is created at the expense of others, for free to you. There are no advances, no royalties, to pay. The editing, the checking, the decisions about whether to publish, these are all also done for free to you. And the market, that’s every college libarary in the world and they’re very price insensitive indeed….

There’s not much new about this analysis and investors in Reed Elsevier, the owners of Elsevier, either do or should know all of this.

However, there’s something happening that might change this, for Reed Elsevier shareholders, quite delightful position. That is, a revolt of the academics who provide both the papers and the readership.

A start was made by British mathematician Tim Gowers, in a blog post here. That wasn’t the very start, but it looks like one of those pebbles that starts the avalanche rather than the one that just tumbles down the hillside. And there’s a great deal to be said for a scientific post which references Spike Milligan‘s superb book, Adolf Hitler, My Part in his Downfall.

As he says:

“I am not only going to refuse to have anything to do with Elsevier journals from now on, but I am saying so publicly. I am by no means the first person to do this, but the more of us there are, the more socially acceptable it becomes, and that is my main reason for writing this post,”

There is now a petition running for academics to sign up to this, here….

Read the entire article here

January 31, 2012 Posted by | Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

New Federal Policy Initiatives To Boost Health Literacy Can Help The Nation Move Beyond The Cycle Of Costly ‘Crisis Care’ [With Related Resources]

Health literacy used to be thought of as a problem individuals had in understanding health information and making health decisions. Now health literacy is beginning to be viewed in more holistic terms. For example, health care providers (from nurses to institutions) now view themselves as having roles in providing relevant understandable information to patients and the public.
What brought about this change in focus? According to the article below, major health policy initiatives at the federal level, including the “Plain Writing Act of 2010, which requires all new publications, forms, and publicly distributed documents from the federal government to be written in a “clear, concise, well-organized” manner.”

A good summary of this change in direction and focus may be found within the article…
New Federal Policy Initiatives To Boost Health Literacy Can Help The Nation Move Beyond The Cycle Of Costly ‘Crisis Care’

Here is an abstract of the article (in the journal Health Affairs, January 12, 2012)

Health literacy is the capacity to understand basic health information and make appropriate health decisions. Tens of millions of Americans have limited health literacy—a fact that poses major challenges for the delivery of high-quality care. Despite its importance, health literacy has until recently been relegated to the sidelines of health care improvement efforts aimed at increasing access, improving quality, and better managing costs. Recent federal policy initiatives, including the Affordable Care Act of 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, and the Plain Writing Act of 2010, have brought health literacy to a tipping point—that is, poised to make the transition from the margins to the mainstream. If public and private organizations make it a priority to become health literate, the nation’s health literacy can be advanced to the point at which it will play a major role in improving health care and health for all Americans…

In years past, clinicians and researchers alike largely viewed these issues and outcomes in terms of individual patient deficits—that is, a patient’s lack of knowledge and skills regarding health issues. We now recognize that health literacy is a dynamic systems issue,2 reflecting the complexity of both the health information being presented and the health care system being navigated.3 As summarized by the Institute of Medicine, addressing the challenge of health literacy requires system-level changes for both health professionals and organizations…

It is impossible to list all relevant related resources here!
A small sampling..

Health Literacy Library Guides (while aimed at professionals, librarians, etc, some have links to materials for the rest of us)

Great places to start for health information on many topics (diseases, conditions, talking with health care professionals, etc)

(More Great Places here)

  • MedlinePlus – Over 750 topics on conditions, diseases, and wellness.  Information ondrugs, herbs, and supplements. Links to directories (health care providers, health care facilities, etc) and organizations which provider health information. Surgery videos, informative slideshows, and more.
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – Consumers and Patients
    the latest evidence based information for improving your health, including podcasts and videos
  • Familydoctor.org includes health information for the whole family
    Short generalized information on Diseases and Conditions (with A-Z index), Health Information for Seniors, Men, and Women, Healthy Living Topics, pages geared to Parents & Kids, and videos.  Numerous health tools in the left column (as health trackers, health assessments, and a Search by Symptom page.

  • KidsHealth provides information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years. Material is written by doctors in understandable language at three levels: parents, kids, and teens
    KidsHealth also provides families with perspective, advice, and comfort about a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral issues that affect children and teens.

Understanding Health Research

  • “Summaries for Patients”  are short summaries of studies and clinical guidelines (how medicine is best practiced) are  published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
    [Go to Summaries for Patients, scroll down a little, the right column has  link to all summaries and a search box ]Summaries about studies describe how researchers did the published study and what they found.
    Summaries about clinical guidelines describe the official recommendations for patient care
  • patientINFORM plain language summary Web sites are provided by participating publishers to help patients or their caregivers more fully understand the implications of research and to provide links to the full text of research articles they’ve selected from participating journals. The publishers allow readers following links from patientINFORM material on the health organizations’ sites to access the full text of these articles without a subscription, and they provide patients and caregivers with free or reduced-fee access to other articles in participating journals.
  • Cochrane Collaboration provides systematic reviews (thorough summaries) of the strongest evidence available about healthcare interventions (as drugs and medical procedures).  It does not cover all interventions, but those covered were reviewed  in-depth by experts in the medical and library fields.
    • Here is how to find plain language  and audio summaries of Cochrane reviewsGo to the Cochrane Collaboration home page and scroll down to Browse Free Summaries.
      Topics include Breast Cancer, Dementia and Cognitive Improvement, and Complementary Medicine.
      Click on To the Cochrane Library in the upper right corner of the Cochrance Collaboration home page.
      This Cochrane Library search page has a Help page , and an Advanced Search option.
  • HealthNewsReview.org – Independent Expert Reviews of News Stories
    The site is dedicated to

    • Improving the accuracy of news stories about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures.
    • Helping consumers evaluate the evidence for and against new ideas in health care.

Health News Review includes

January 28, 2012 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Study: For Now, Web-Based Healthcare Tools [and Possibly Health Apps] Are Mostly Ineffective [With Links to Reviewed Health Apps For All]]

Health apps designed for the general population have potential in tracking health indicators (as food eaten, glucose levels) and also  communicating information and support among users. For example, Spark People  provides answers from dietitians & fitness trainers on message boards. One may connect with other members in support teams.

While it is very easy to find Health apps (iTunes, I believe,  is the largest supplier), it is very challenging to find easy to use apps that have been professionally reviewed.  The article below highlights one drawback of most present web-based healthcare tools- usability. It seems highly likely, that by extension, that health care apps are largely lacking in usability also.

Here are a few resources I used to create short lists of reputable easy to use health apps.

  • Hasman, Linda An Introduction to Consumer Health Apps for the iPhone Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet2011 Oct-Dec, 15(4):322-329.  “The 19 apps listed in this article are culled from approximately 350,000 total apps”.
     [Article available by subscription only,  I got this (for free!) through the interlibrary loan dept at my local library, it contains about 19 good sites, some I will add to my health apps page]
  • iMedicalapps – Medical Librarians corner iMedicalapps includes medical app reviews and commentary by medical professionals
    The Medical Librarians corner included these great resources

Study: For Now, Web-Based Healthcare Tools Are Mostly Ineffective

From the 13 January 2012 ReadWriteWeb column

study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association accents the limits of web-based health management tools that are currently available.

Researchers focused specifically on tools for managing diabetes, but the drawbacks could extend to other tools designed to help patients do everything from lose weight to quit smoking. The study concluded that “despite their abundance, few practical web-accessible tools exist.” In many case, the tools suffered from poor design that made them difficult to use….

….Of the 92 web tools analyzed in the study, 60% had three or more usability errors, included limited use of visual interaction and navigation that was not intuitive. Just 6% had no usability errors..

..The study recommended companies offering such tools work on improving attrition, standardizing quality indicators and making indicators transparent for patients and doctors choosing the best web-based tool.

“Web-based tools have the potential to improve health outcomes and complement healthcare delivery, but their full potential is hindered by limited knowledge about their effectiveness, high prevalence of usability errors and high attrition rates,” Yu wrote….

One of the biggest problems facing web-based health tools is patients often use them inconsistently.

January 25, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , | Leave a comment

Greenhouse Gas Data Publication Tool from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Greenhouse Gas Data Publication Tool

http://summitcountyvoice.com/2012/01/12/epa-makes-greenhouse-gas-data-more-transparent/

From the EPA 11 Janaury press release

2010 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data from Large Facilities Now Available / First release of data through the national GHG reporting program

WASHINGTON – For the first time, comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) data reported directly from large facilities and suppliers across the country are now easily accessible to the public through EPA’s GHG Reporting Program. The 2010 GHG data released today includes public information from facilities in nine industry groups that directly emit large quantities of GHGs, as well as suppliers of certain fossil fuels…

…..EPA’s online data publication tool allows users to view and sort GHG data for calendar year 2010 from over 6,700 facilities in a variety of ways—including by facility, location, industrial sector, and the type of GHG emitted. This information can be used by communities to identify nearby sources of GHGs, help businesses compare and track emissions, and provide information to state and local governments.

GHG data for direct emitters show that in 2010:

•Power plants were the largest stationary sources of direct emissions with 2,324 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (mmtCO2e), followed by petroleum refineries with emissions of 183 mmtCO2e.

•CO2 accounted for the largest share of direct GHG emissions with 95 percent, followed by methane with 4 percent, and nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases accounting for the remaining 1 percent.

•100 facilities each reported emissions over 7 mmtCO2e, including 96 power plants, two iron and steel mills and two refineries.

Mandated by the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, EPA launched the GHG Reporting Program in October 2009, requiring the reporting of GHG data from large emission sources across a range of industry sectors, as well as suppliers of products that would emit GHGs if released or combusted. Most reporting entities submitted data for calendar year 2010. However, an additional 12 source categories will begin reporting their 2011 GHG data this year.

Access EPA’s GHG Reporting Program Data and Data Publication Tool:http://epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgdata/

Information on the GHG Reporting Program: http://epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html

Information on the U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Sources and Sinks:http://epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/usinventoryreport.html

 

 

 

 

January 15, 2012 Posted by | environmental health, Librarian Resources | , , , | 2 Comments

[Online Resource]Digital Librarian: a librarian’s choice of the best of the Web

Digital Librarian: a librarian’s choice of the best of the Web.

Digital Librarian is a carefully selected list of great resources on just about every t0pic one would expect covered in a public library setting.

Librarian Margaret Vail Anderson updates this listing almost every month.

Of particular interest in the health/science areas are

December 30, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , | Leave a comment

Fee based health info may be free online through your library’s Web site

The Internet has a wealth of health information from trusted, reliable sites.
(I’ve noted quite a few in this blog and at my Google site – Health and Medical News and Resources)

However, it is not always easy to locate health information, especially on specific topics.

Your local public or academic library just may have the online sources you need.
Although quite a few online resources require paid subscriptions, your library may have included them at their Web site.
All you have to do is register for borrowing privileges (get a library card) at your local library.
Alternatively, you may be able to just go to the library and get access through their computers.

At my local library, I discovered the following…some or all just might be at your library also…ask a reference librarian or check the library’s Web site

  • Alt Health Watch 
    Offers information about Alternative Health issues, including complementary, holistic and integrated approaches to health care and wellness. Provides full text articles form a number of sources, including: journals, reports, consumer newsletters, pamphlets, booklets, special reports, original research and book excerpts. This database is provided by OPLIN, the Ohio Public Library Information Network.
  • ConsumerReports.org
    Ratings and reviews, recommendations and buying advice for thousands of products and services. Users will also find in-depth advice, tips and trends written by Consumer Reports experts. Frequently updated articles, blogs and video content allow consumers to peruse the latest consumer news — whether they’re looking to learn more about budget-friendly home improvement plans, understanding the benefits and risks of retirement options, or searching for the latest recalls of baby products. This database provided by the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.
  • Health & Wellness Resource Center
    Provides up-to-date reference material as well as full-text magazines, journals, and pamphlets from a wide variety of authoritative medical sources. Includes streaming videos featuring medical experts plus links to key health websites.
  • Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition
    Provides scholarly full text journals focusing on many medical disciplines and featuring the Lexi-PAL Drug Guide, which covers 1,300 generic drug patient education sheets with more than 4,700 brand names. This database is provided by OPLIN, the Ohio Public Library Information Network.
  • MEDLINE
    Offers medical information on medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system and pre-clinical sciences among many subjects. This database is provided by OPLIN, the Ohio Public Library Information Network.
  • Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection
    Covers many psychological topics, including emotional and behavioral characteristics, psychiatry and psychology, mental processes, anthropology, and observational and experimental methods. This database is provided by OPLIN, the Ohio Public Library Information Network.
Related Resources

December 29, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) announces new partnership with PubMed Health

https://i2.wp.com/www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/techbull/so11/graphics/pm_health_fig1.gifCRD announces new partnership with PubMed Health.

From the 9 December press release (at Eureka News Alert)CRD announces new partnership with PubMed Health

A new partnership between the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) at the University of York and PubMed Health is launched today.

PubMed Health is a new online service provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) – the world’s largest medical library. The service provides summaries and full text of selected systematic reviews and also provides information for consumers and clinicians based on those reviews

Systematic reviews are widely recognised as reliable sources of information about the effects of healthcare interventions. But as with individual research studies, they can be hard to find, may have flaws and can be difficult to interpret.

Since 1994, CRD has been producing and maintaining DARE, a database which uniquely provides access to over 11,000 abstracts of quality assessed and critically appraised systematic reviews. The database has become a key resource for health professionals and policy makers as it provides its users with a ‘bottom line’ on the overall validity and reliability of each review.

The new partnership involves CRD providing DARE content to PubMed Health.

Deputy Director of CRD Dr Amanda Sowden said: “CRD aims to produce and disseminate high quality evidence to inform health care decision making in the UK and internationally. Our partnership with PubMed Health is an exciting and prestigious development that will help give our database content truly global reach.”

 

—————

and…from the NLM (US National Library of Medicine’s December Technical Bulletin)

Update — PubMed Health December 2011 Release

With its December release, PubMed® Health grows to over 18,000 systematic reviews and health technology assessments in the last 10 years. With the inclusion of the Database of Reviews of Effects (DARE) from the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination in England, PubMed Health is getting close to comprehensive coverage of reliable systematic reviews on clinical effectiveness.

Other new features and content additions in this release include:

  • Evidence-based, regularly updated information on cancer for consumers and health professionals from the National Cancer Institute (NCI®) Physician Data Query (PDQ®) database.
  • Two full-text books under “Understanding research results” from the “Understand clinical effectiveness” tab:
    Irwig L, et al. Smart Health Choices: Making Sense of Health Advice. London: Hammersmith Press; 2008. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK63638/

    Evans I, et al. Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare. 2nd edition. London: Pinter & Martin; 2011. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK66204/
  • Simplified and broadened — display of medical encyclopedia search results.

Addition of Over 12,000 Reviews from DARE

A new section in the “Contents” drop-down box on the homepage has been added for the DARE reviews (see Figure 1). This new content type rounds out PubMed Health’s coverage of systematic reviews on clinical effectiveness in the published biomedical literature, joining over 4,500 Cochrane reviews and hundreds of systematic reviews by health technology assessment agencies.

Screen capture of Contents drop-down box
Figure 1: Contents drop-down box.

DARE is a key database produced by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) and funded by England’s National Institute of Health Research. Information specialists at CRD regularly search an extensive group of electronic databases, supplemented by hand searching, to identify published systematic reviews that meet their set of scientific criteria.

For about half of the reviews that qualify for DARE, a CRD summary with critical appraisal of the scientific quality of the review is added. These may raise caveats about the reliability of the review, as in the example featured in Figure 2.

PubMed Health displays the title of the review and its citation (see #1 in Figure 2). For those reviews with a full CRD summary and appraisal, the conclusion is then displayed, followed by a link to the complete version (see #2 in Figure 2). This is followed by the abstract of the review itself, if one is included in PubMed (see #3 in Figure 2).

Screen capture of Example of a DARE review with CRD summary
Figure 2: Example of a DARE review with CRD summary.

Each PubMed Health record from DARE includes a link to an explanation of CRD’s process and assessment criteria.

Currently, DARE is added to weekly, and new records and summaries will appear shortly afterward in PubMed®Health. The records will not yet appear in PubMed.

Changes to Display of Search Results

DARE reviews are returned with all results, and can also be viewed under their own content type (see #1 in Figure 3).

Medical encyclopedia content has been simplified, with some content text also appearing (see #2 in Figure 3). Previously, only medical encyclopedia content for diseases and drugs were shown on the search results page. Relevant medical encyclopedia content for procedures and other types of searches now display.

The parallel “Clinical Queries” filter search for systematic reviews in PubMed remains (see #3 in Figure 3). This search continues to return results chronologically.

Screen capture of Search results
Figure 3: Search results.

NCI cancer information for patients and health professionals appears under the “For consumers” and “Clinical Guides” links, respectively.

Twitter followers can learn more about PubMed Health content and additions by following @PubMedHealth.

By Hilda Bastian
National Center for Biotechnology and Information

December 10, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The White House Calls for Information on Public Access to Publications and Data « The Scholarly Kitchen

Office of Science and Technology Policy

The White House Calls for Information on Public Access to Publications and Data « The Scholarly Kitchen.

From the blog article at the Scholarly Kitchen

f you’re reading this blog, you likely have an opinion aboutopen access to journal articles and research results. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has put out two formal Requests for Information; one on the subject of “Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications” and the other on “Public Access to Digital Data.”

While most of us enjoy the seemingly endless back and forth discussion online (or ranting and raving, as the case may be), this is a chance for all stakeholders to have a direct influence where it matters most.  The White House is crafting requirements for recipients of federal research funding and the information received here will be crucial to setting policy.

There are two separate issues here, public access to journal articles from federally-funded research, and the tricky question of how to make the most of the raw data collected in those federally-funded experiments….

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

National Library of Medicine Launches YouTube Channel

From the announcment

New Outlet Will Allow Access to Lectures, Training, Special Events and Other Video Content

 

The National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is pleased to announce the launch of its new YouTube channel, at http://www.youtube.com/nlmnih.

YouTube is a free video-sharing Web site, created in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos. Unregistered users may watch videos, and registered users may upload an unlimited number of videos.

The NLM YouTube channel will post videos of database training, NLM exhibitions (such as an overview of the new Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness), public service announcements, lectures and more.  Interested parties can subscribe to be notified whenever new content is posted on the NLM channel. The NLM site also features links to NIH YouTube channels and other federal health resources.

Although figures for the number of YouTube users worldwide vary, most studies list it as the third most popular Web site, following Facebook and Google. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and now operates as a subsidiary of Google.

 NLM utube home page

November 29, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , | Leave a comment

Mobile Health Slideshow and Infographics (with related resources)

From the November 28th 2011 Science Roll blog item by Dr. Bertalan Mesko

Since around 2009, it has been quite clear that mobile phones would not only change the way we check healthcare information online, but the way we do anything online so relevant statistics and analyses are crucial in order to be able to analyze the situation and draw useful conclusions. I’ve recently come across a great presentation focusing on mobile health by Daniel Hooker, health librarian.

And Andrew Spong shared an infographics by Manhattan Research that presents the state of mobile health. 85% of people use social media for health-related reasons on mobiles. Click on the image for larger version.

Related Resources 
  • Health Apps (free and low cost) at jmflahiff.wordpress.com

November 28, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reminder: NLM Gateway Changing

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From NLM Technical Bulletin, November 23, 2011 [posted]

Reminder: NLM Gateway Changing

On December 1, 2011, the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC) will complete the transition of the NLM® Gateway to the new LHNCBC pilot project. The new site will retain the Web address of the former NLM Gateway. It will have two databases: Meeting Abstracts and Health Services Research Projects in Progress (HSRProj). HSRProj also remains available via a separate search engine through the portal HSR Information Central.

The Meeting Abstracts database contains abstracts from HIV/AIDS, Health Services Research, and Space Life Sciences meetings and conferences. The final update to the Meeting Abstracts database is the addition of the abstracts from the 2010 18th International AIDS Conference which will be completed in December 2011. After this addition, no new meeting abstract data will be loaded.

For additional information on the transition to the pilot project, see the article NLM Gateway Transitioning to New Pilot Project Site.

========
May 27, 2011 [posted]

NLM Gateway Transitioning to New Pilot Project Site

On December 1, 2011, the NLM® Gateway will transition to a new pilot project from the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC). The current version of the NLM Gateway provides search access across multiple databases; however, all but one of these databases is available from other NLM sources, and most users of those databases search them directly and do not use the NLM Gateway. Only one database, Meeting Abstracts, is uniquely located on the Gateway system. Although NLM has invested in and supported the NLM Gateway for eleven years, based on current budget limitations and the results of evaluations of the use of NLM Gateway, the Library has recently decided to discontinue this service, as currently configured, and transition to a new pilot project site.

The new site will focus on two databases: Meeting Abstracts and Health Services Research Projects in Progress (HSRProj). A forthcoming NLM Technical Bulletin will provide more information on this new service from the LHNCBC. Once the new pilot system is available in December, the current Gateway URL will redirect any visitors to the new Web site. The Meeting Abstracts database will still be unique to this site, while HSRProj will continue to be accessible from its home site.

The Meeting Abstracts database contains selected abstracts from meetings and conferences in the subject areas of AIDS, Health Services Research, and Space Life Sciences. The last update to the Meeting Abstracts Database is anticipated to be the addition of the 2010 18th International AIDS Conference, which is expected to be loaded in the fall of 2011. After this addition, the Meeting Abstracts database will still be accessible, but no new data will be loaded.

All of the other resources currently accessed through the NLM Gateway will be available through their individual sites (see Table 1). The home sites for these systems are listed on the NLM Databases & Electronic Resources page. This directory of resources is easily located by clicking on the “All NLM Databases” link in the Databases column on theNLM homepage.

Table 1: The NLM Resources, and homepage URLs, that will no longer be available through the NLM Gateway.

NLM Resources Formerly on the NLM Gateway URL
Bookshelf http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books
Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System (CCRIS) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?CCRIS
ClinicalTrials.gov http://clinicaltrials.gov/
Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology Database (DART) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?DARTETIC
Directory of Health Organizations (DIRLINE®) http://dirline.nlm.nih.gov/
Genetic Toxicology Data Bank (GENE-TOX) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?GENETOX
Genetics Home Reference http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/
Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB
Household Products Database http://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/
Images from the History of Medicine http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/ihm/index.html
Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?IRIS
International Toxicity Estimates for Risk (ITER) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?iter
MEDLINE®/PubMed® http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
MedlinePlus® http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/
NLM Catalog http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog
Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/omim
Profiles in Science® http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/
TOXLINE® Subset http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?TOXLINE

If you are accustomed to the NLM Gateway cross file searching function you may want to try using the cross database features provided by TOXNET® and by the NCBI Entrez system.

The search box on the TOXNET homepage offers a cross database search function for the databases in the Toxicology Data Network (see Figures 1 and 2).

Screen capture of TOXNET homepage with Search All Databases feature.
Figure 1: TOXNET homepage with “Search All Databases” feature.

Screen capture of TOXNET Search Results Page.
Figure 2: TOXNET Search All Databases Results Page.

The NCBI global query feature on the NCBI homepage provides a cross database search feature for all of the Entrez databases (see Figures 3 and 4). Selecting “All Databases” in the search box will return a summary search page identifying possible results across all of the NCBI Entrez databases, including PubMed, PubMed Central, BookShelf, NLM Catalog, and the genetic and protein databases such as Gene, OMIM, BLAST, dbGaP, and others.

You can simply bookmark the Web page http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gquery to access the global query search feature. However, going to the NCBI homepage may be the easier way to access this function; the NCBI logo on the top left corner of any Entrez-based system links to the NCBI homepage.

Screen capture of NCBI homepage and All Databases option in the search box
Figure 3: NCBI homepage and “All Databases” option in the search box.

ENTREZ global query search results page
Figure 4: Entrez global query search results page.

By David Gillikin
Bibliographic Services Division

November 26, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apple Makes Finding Medical Apps for Professional A Little Easier

From the Krafty Librarian post Apple Makes Finding Medical Apps for Professional A Little Easier.

According mobihealthnews, Apple quietly launched a new section on the AppStore directed just towards healthcare professionals.  The section which was referred to as an “iTunes Room for Healthcare,” has apps for both the iPhone and iPad intended specifically for healthcare professionals. (There appears to be about a dozen apps that are also for consumer use.)

Not only will this section be dedicated to apps for healthcare professionals but it will also internal categorization as well.  There are six categories for the medical apps: reference, educational, EMR and patient monitoring, imaging, point of care, and personal care (for consumers).  Mobihealthnews thinks that the “personal care” apps may have been included “as a means to help care providers recommend popular health apps to their patients.”

Finally!!!!!  That medical/health section had a lot of junk apps that people had to sift through to find good stuff, it is nice to see this professional section come about. My only question is how/who is adding and vetting the apps?  I hope it isn’t a free for all where app developers can just add their app if they feel like (meaning we could return to problem of chaff out numbering the wheat) but I would like it to be open enough that something that was good but accidentally left out or something newly created could be easily added.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

Using Social Media to Enhance Your Research

Excerpts from Using Social Media to Enhance Your Research, at the Krafty Librarian blog

Daniel Hooker posted some nice slides on Using Social Media to Advance Your Research that he presented to a group of PhDs and post-docs at the UBC Faculty of Medicine.  I gave a similar presentation to World Health Interest Group at Case Western Reserve University.  I spoke about using blogs, Twitter, wikis, etc. in scientific research.

During my presentation some of the attendees got hung up on the tools and technologies as toys and the idea of communicating was lost.  Social media is just one method people can use to communicate, share ideas, protocols, methods, lab notes, etc. In the very broadest of terms, email is sort of social media.  You can email many people who can then pass that discussion along to others. Listservs are a perfect example of this.  But email has been around with us for such a long time that there is no real discussion about its communication potential.  Yet, email was once a new fangled communication toy.

Read this abstract from Science 1982. 12;215(4534):843-52.

Computer networks are an integral part of the rapid expansion of computing. Their emergence depends both on evolving communication technologies, such as packet-switching and satellites, and on diverse experiments and innovations in the software tools that exploit communications. The tools provide computer users with facilities such as electronic mail, access to remote computers, and electronic bulletin boards. Scientists can both adapt and extend tools to meet the communication needs of their work, and several networks are developing to serve particular scientific communities.

……

Blog examples:

  • Useful Chemistry  -Chronicles research involving the synthesis of novel anti-malarial compounds. Closely tied to Useful Chemistry wiki

  • Cold Spring Harbor Protocols –Discusses current events in biology with emphasis on lab techniques, protocols are highlighted & discussed in detail

  • HUGO Matters  –Discusses topics relevant to human genetics and genomics

Lab Notes blogs:

 Wiki examples:

  • UsefulChem wiki –Synthesis of novel anti-malarial compounds, including experiments. It is completely open.

  • OBF wiki –Open Bioinformatics Foundation focused on supporting open source programming in bioinformatics

  • OpenWetWare –Promotes sharing of information, know-how and wisdom among researchers & groups working in biology & biological engineering. It is partially open.

  • WikiPathways –Dedicated to the curation of biological pathways

  • Yeast Genome wiki –Everything yeast including protocols, methods, reagents, strains

Lab or Research Group wikis:

 Twitter feeds:

Lists of scientists and researchers on Twitter:

The easiest way to have a rich and informative Twitter feed is to follow the people the leaders in your field are following and branch off from there.  By the way, Twitter’s site is ok for learning, but it really stinks for following any sort of conversation AND you always have to refresh the page (annoying). I highly recommend using Hootsuite or TweetDeck to monitor your Twitter feeds.  The thing I like about TweetDeck is that a little message pops up in the corner of my computer screen with the tweet. I can read it quickly and decide whether I want to ignore it, comment, or click on their link. Using Twitter on TweetDeck this way is very similar to how I use email because my email pops messages to my main screen too.

Really you need to sit down and figure out what your information needs are and the leaders in your field to follow.  This might be hard, but I bet there might be somebody in your field who is already doing it, so ask them, build off of what they are doing and tweek it to fit your needs.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , | Leave a comment

PubMed Health – A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

Screen capture of PubMed Health homepage.

From the November NLM Technical Bulletin article

PubMed Health — A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

PubMed® Health developed further as a resource for clinical effectiveness research with its August and September 2011 releases. Growing from around 200 items based on systematic reviews to over 5,000, PubMed Health has also begun a collection focused on helping people understand systematic reviews and their results. PubMed Health goals are: helping users find the evidence that could answer their questions about effects of health care and helping them understand what they find.

Making Systematic Reviews More Accessible
Systematic reviews that identify and interpret studies on the effects of health care form an essential research basis for informed decision-making. Systematic reviewing has been growing, especially with the advent of The Cochrane Collaboration and the increasing incorporation of this methodology in health technology assessment by public agencies and clinical practice guideline development.

Systematic reviews (including health technology assessments) are often lengthy and highly technical. Their evolution has been accompanied by a growth in knowledge translation activity. Along with traditional abstracts, various forms have been developed to help people use systematic reviews: executive and policymaker summaries, summaries or other forms for patients/consumers and summaries for clinicians.

However, these materials have been scattered widely on content providers’ Web sites without being collected centrally. Many of the systematic reviews undertaken by public health technology assessment agencies have also remained outside the National Library of Medicine® (NLM®) system. The PubMed Health initiative is gathering them together within a single searchable resource.

PubMed Health Content
PubMed Health contains systematic reviews and summaries of systematic reviews undertaken or updated in roughly the last ten years. The time limit is applied to publication date of around eight years, to allow for the time lag from the date of the evidence search. The cut-off currently is 2003.

New content incorporated in these releases include summaries from The Cochrane Collaboration and the National Health Service (NHS) National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme. There are also full text reviews from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), England’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines program, and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Evidence-based Synthesis Program. From NHS Choices comes “Behind the Headlines”, its educational service on the science behind the news. These new content providers join PubMed Health original consumer clinical effectiveness content for consumers content provided by AHRQ and the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

The reviews and review summaries now in PubMed Health account for perhaps one-third of the good quality systematic reviews published by public agencies and journals worldwide. Most of the remainder can be found in PubMed “Clinical Queries” Systematic Reviews search which runs simultaneously with a PubMed Health search; those PubMed results are presented as links on the right-hand portion of the results page (see #3 in Figure 4).

Organization
The re-designed homepage (see Figure 1) includes four key sections:

  • Contents: a complete alphabetical listing of all titles, sorted by type of content.
  • Behind Headlines: the NHS guide to the science behind health stories in the news.
  • New & updated: content added in the last 60 days.
  • Featured reviews: high quality reviews on interesting topics are selected and featured here. “Previously featured reviews” are provided in an RSS feed to which people can subscribe.
  • Understanding clinical effectiveness: an explanation of clinical effectiveness research along with a section focusing on resources to help people understand systematic reviews and interpret the results.

Screen capture of PubMed Health homepage.
Figure 1: PubMed Health homepage.

A drop-down box under “Contents” (see Figure 2) shows the categories of information currently included in PubMed Health where these are available:

  • For consumers: includes consumer summaries of systematic reviews as well as consumer information based on systematic reviews.
  • Executive summaries: executive or policymaker summaries of systematic reviews.
  • Clinical guides: clinician summaries of systematic reviews as well as clinical practice guidelines that are based on a fully reported systematic review.
  • Full text reviews: systematic reviews with full texts, including PDF versions.
  • Medical encyclopedia: medical and drug information for consumers for supplementary background information.

PubMed Health includes content that is currently also cited in PubMed, and PubMed Health will systematically be building in links to these citations. However, there will be some time lag for many items between inclusion in PubMed Health and citation in PubMed. Consumer content from PubMed Health is currently not included in PubMed.

Screen capture of Contents drop-down box.
Figure 2: Contents drop-down box.

At the top right-hand corner (see Figure 3), “About PubMed Health” explains the Web site and the National Center Biotechnology Information, NLM, with a full listing of content providers. “Help” includes explanation of basic functions, along with suggested citations for PubMed Health content.

Screen capture of About PubMed Health and Help features.
Figure 3: About PubMed Health and Help features.

Searching
The primary search (see #1 in Figure 4) returns clinical effectiveness content by relevance, with the option of viewing all (default) or only specified content types. Relevant medical encyclopedia results are shown at the right (see #2 inFigure 4), with the results of the “Clinical Queries” filter search for systematic reviews in PubMed showing below those (see #3 in Figure 4). “Clinical Queries” returns results chronologically.

Screen capture of Search results.
Figure 4: Search results.

Additional Features
With medical encyclopedia content, PubMed Health has enhanced the display of anatomical images and given this popular feature a more prominent position. There are links from the medical encyclopedia diseases and conditions pages to MedlinePlus® content.

PubMed Health now features “Add this” sharing for e-mail and social media. Coming in the fall, PubMed Health will begin a Twitter feed, announcing new content providers and features, as well as featured content.

PubMed Health full address: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/
Shortcut: http://www.pubmed.gov/health
Customer service contact: pmh-help@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

By Hilda Bastian
National Center for Biotechnology Information

 


November 16, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, health care, Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PubMed Health — A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

 

Logo for PubMed, a service of the National Lib...

Image via Wikipedia

From the November NLM Technical Bulletin article

PubMed Health — A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

PubMed® Health developed further as a resource for clinical effectiveness research with its August and September 2011 releases. Growing from around 200 items based on systematic reviews to over 5,000, PubMed Health has also begun a collection focused on helping people understand systematic reviews and their results. PubMed Health goals are: helping users find the evidence that could answer their questions about effects of health care and helping them understand what they find.

Making Systematic Reviews More Accessible
Systematic reviews that identify and interpret studies on the effects of health care form an essential research basis for informed decision-making. Systematic reviewing has been growing, especially with the advent of The Cochrane Collaboration and the increasing incorporation of this methodology in health technology assessment by public agencies and clinical practice guideline development.

Systematic reviews (including health technology assessments) are often lengthy and highly technical. Their evolution has been accompanied by a growth in knowledge translation activity. Along with traditional abstracts, various forms have been developed to help people use systematic reviews: executive and policymaker summaries, summaries or other forms for patients/consumers and summaries for clinicians.

However, these materials have been scattered widely on content providers’ Web sites without being collected centrally. Many of the systematic reviews undertaken by public health technology assessment agencies have also remained outside the National Library of Medicine® (NLM®) system. The PubMed Health initiative is gathering them together within a single searchable resource.

PubMed Health Content
PubMed Health contains systematic reviews and summaries of systematic reviews undertaken or updated in roughly the last ten years. The time limit is applied to publication date of around eight years, to allow for the time lag from the date of the evidence search. The cut-off currently is 2003.

New content incorporated in these releases include summaries from The Cochrane Collaboration and the National Health Service (NHS) National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme. There are also full text reviews from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), England’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines program, and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Evidence-based Synthesis Program. From NHS Choices comes “Behind the Headlines”, its educational service on the science behind the news. These new content providers join PubMed Health original consumer clinical effectiveness content for consumers content provided by AHRQ and the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

The reviews and review summaries now in PubMed Health account for perhaps one-third of the good quality systematic reviews published by public agencies and journals worldwide. Most of the remainder can be found in PubMed “Clinical Queries” Systematic Reviews search which runs simultaneously with a PubMed Health search; those PubMed results are presented as links on the right-hand portion of the results page (see #3 in Figure 4).

Organization
The re-designed homepage (see Figure 1) includes four key sections:

  • Contents: a complete alphabetical listing of all titles, sorted by type of content.
  • Behind Headlines: the NHS guide to the science behind health stories in the news.
  • New & updated: content added in the last 60 days.
  • Featured reviews: high quality reviews on interesting topics are selected and featured here. “Previously featured reviews” are provided in an RSS feed to which people can subscribe.
  • Understanding clinical effectiveness: an explanation of clinical effectiveness research along with a section focusing on resources to help people understand systematic reviews and interpret the results.

Screen capture of PubMed Health homepage.
Figure 1: PubMed Health homepage.

A drop-down box under “Contents” (see Figure 2) shows the categories of information currently included in PubMed Health where these are available:

  • For consumers: includes consumer summaries of systematic reviews as well as consumer information based on systematic reviews.
  • Executive summaries: executive or policymaker summaries of systematic reviews.
  • Clinical guides: clinician summaries of systematic reviews as well as clinical practice guidelines that are based on a fully reported systematic review.
  • Full text reviews: systematic reviews with full texts, including PDF versions.
  • Medical encyclopedia: medical and drug information for consumers for supplementary background information.

PubMed Health includes content that is currently also cited in PubMed, and PubMed Health will systematically be building in links to these citations. However, there will be some time lag for many items between inclusion in PubMed Health and citation in PubMed. Consumer content from PubMed Health is currently not included in PubMed.

Screen capture of Contents drop-down box.
Figure 2: Contents drop-down box.

At the top right-hand corner (see Figure 3), “About PubMed Health” explains the Web site and the National Center Biotechnology Information, NLM, with a full listing of content providers. “Help” includes explanation of basic functions, along with suggested citations for PubMed Health content.

Screen capture of About PubMed Health and Help features.
Figure 3: About PubMed Health and Help features.

Searching
The primary search (see #1 in Figure 4) returns clinical effectiveness content by relevance, with the option of viewing all (default) or only specified content types. Relevant medical encyclopedia results are shown at the right (see #2 inFigure 4), with the results of the “Clinical Queries” filter search for systematic reviews in PubMed showing below those (see #3 in Figure 4). “Clinical Queries” returns results chronologically.

Screen capture of Search results.
Figure 4: Search results.

Additional Features
With medical encyclopedia content, PubMed Health has enhanced the display of anatomical images and given this popular feature a more prominent position. There are links from the medical encyclopedia diseases and conditions pages to MedlinePlus® content.

PubMed Health now features “Add this” sharing for e-mail and social media. Coming in the fall, PubMed Health will begin a Twitter feed, announcing new content providers and features, as well as featured content.

PubMed Health full address: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/
Shortcut: http://www.pubmed.gov/health
Customer service contact: pmh-help@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

By Hilda Bastian
National Center for Biotechnology Information

 

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Librarian Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , | 1 Comment

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