Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

The Social Life of Health Information, 2011

Excerpts from the Pew Report summary

The internet has changed people’s relationships with information. Our data consistently show that doctors, nurses and other health professionals continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, but online resources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information in the U.S.

These findings are based on a national telephone survey conducted in August and September 2010 among 3,001 adults in the U.S. The complete methodology and results are appended to this report.

The survey finds that, of the 74% of adults who use the internet:

  • 80% of internet users have looked online for information about any of the 15 health topics asked about such as a specific disease or treatment. This translates to 59% of all adults.
  • 34% of internet users, or 25% of adults, have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website or blog.
  • 25% of internet users, or 19% of adults, have watched an online video about health or medical issues.
  • 24% of internet users, or 18% of adults, have consulted online reviews of particular drugs or medical treatments.
  • 18% of internet users, or 13% of adults, have gone online to find others who might have health concerns similar to theirs.
  • 16% of internet users, or 12% of adults, have consulted online rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers.
  • 15% of internet users, or 11% of adults, have consulted online rankings or reviews of hospitals or other medical facilities.

Continue reading the full report at pewinternet.org.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Health Statistics | , | 1 Comment

Solving the Online (Youth Health Information) Health Equity Problem

Pediatrician and public health expert Dr. Kishan Kariippanon believes that while computers and mobile phones are overall giving youth greater access to health information, they are creating health disparities.

For example, youth today are increasingly using the Internet to find information about their symptoms before doctor appointments.

Dr.  Kariippanon proposes five ways to reduce this health disparity gap at his blog posting Youth, Healthcare & Online Communication 

1. Create health information in video and audio format accessible via mobile phone in small bite sizes, i.e.Miwatj Health videos

2. Data and statistical information should be provided in visual format i.e. Hans Rosling’s Gapminder 
3. Health information needs to appeal to young people through contemporary design, innovative websites and the use of social networking sites i.e. http://www.tuneinnotout.com, Fully Sick Rapper (TB).

4. Youth drop in centres need to be redesigned to incorporate the creation of health resources for youth by youth in their core business, i.e. Studio 34

5. Youth organizations and drop in centres need to promote a service component in their youth programs that will allow young people to connect with each other through joint community development projects.

Reference

1. Gwen Van Servellen, Communication Skills for the Health Care Professional, Concepts, Practice and Evidence. 2nd Edition 2009.

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , | 3 Comments

JAMIA reports on people, their information needs and social networks

From the 6 May 2011 Eureka news alert

The May issue of JAMIA, the top-ranked journal reporting on informatics in biomedical and health informatics, features new scientific research—in print and online—on healthcare’s hottest HIT-related topics, written by prominent experts working in health and biomedicine.

[The online May issue may be found here. Most articles are by paid subscription/fee only.
For suggestions on how to get articles for free, click here.]

Editor-in chief Lucila Ocho-Machado bullets some of the rich content in the newly released, current issue:

  • “A secure protocol for protecting the identity of providers when disclosing data for disease surveillance” (Editor’s Choice, available free online) — Lead author Khaled El Emam of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, proposes a protocol to protect the privacy of providers who disclose data for public health purposes. A related online appendix describes the technical details.
  • “Rank-based spatial clustering: an algorithm for rapid outbreak detection” — Lead author Jialan Que of the RODS Laboratory at the Department of Biomedical Informatics at University of Pittsburgh describes a new algorithm for rapid outbreak detection that ranks regions according to risk, then uses these rankings to define clusters, in contrast with other techniques that search for predetermined cluster shapes around a high-risk area.
  • “Social disparities in internet patient portal use in diabetes: evidence that the digital divide extends beyond access” (Editor’s Choice, available free online) —Lead author Urmimala Sarkar of University of California’s Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, describes disparities in patient usage of a diabetes online resource, and indicates that the gap cannot be solely justified on the basis of differences in access to technology.
  • “Can poison control data be used for pharmaceutical poisoning surveillance?” — Lead author Christopher A. Naun of Intermountain Injury Control Research Center in Salt Lake City, reports on the pros and cons of using poison control data for decision support related to pharmaceutical surveillance.

Other JAMIA content includes examination of:

  • electronic health records in small physician practices
  • the quality and safety of diabetes-related online social networks
  • information needs of case managers caring for people living with HIV
  • the accuracy of a computerized clinical-decision support system for asthma assessment and management

“This issue provides a sample of the diversity of approaches and disciplines that make our field so fascinating,” says Dr. Ohno-Machado, introducing the current issue. She reminds readers that “informatics is as much concerned about people, their information needs, and their social networks, as it is about algorithms and systems.”

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JAMIA is jointly published by AMIA and the BMJ Group. Its content appears online at www.jamia.org

AMIA, as the voice of the biomedical and health informatics community, plays an important role in medicine, health care, and science, encouraging the use of data, information and knowledge to improve both human health and delivery of healthcare services. AMIA is an unbiased, authoritative source of information within the professional informatics community and the health care industry, committed to driving health improvements and improving healthcare delivery.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , | 1 Comment

IOM and NAE launch collegiate challenge aimed at solving health problems

IOM and NAE launch collegiate challenge aimed at solving health problems
Through creative technology development

Go Viral Challenge Image

From the February 17, 2011 Eureka News Alert

(National Academy of Sciences) “Go Viral to Improve Health: IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge” was launched today by the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering to promote interaction among future health professionals, engineers, and scientists and to spur interest in harnessing new technologies and data to solve vexing health issues.

WASHINGTON — “Go Viral to Improve Health: IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge” was launched today by the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering to promote interaction among future health professionals, engineers, and scientists and to spur interest in harnessing new technologies and data to solve vexing health issues. The challenge calls on university and college students studying engineering, computer science, and health disciplines to work in interdisciplinary teams to transform health data into new mobile apps, online tools or games, or other innovative products that can improve health at the community level.

The first place team will receive a $3,000 prize and the opportunity to demonstrate their product during the plenary session of the annual Community Health Data Initiative Forum on June 9, 2011. The second and third place teams will receive awards of $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, and both will have the chance to display their winning technologies in the exhibit hall at this national gathering of software engineers, developers, and health leaders. All winning teams will be reimbursed for up to $1,000 of their travel costs to the forum.

Participating teams must develop a web-based or mobile product that tackles a health issue in a creative way and encourages people in a community to interact with one another. The launch of the challenge coincides with the debut of the Health Indicators Warehouse, a vast collection of health data and indicator sets made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Teams must tap this online warehouse to create their interactive technologies. Entries will be judged on how well they integrate health data from the warehouse and other information sources as well as their creativity, design, usability, and potential for the product to make an impact on the health issue selected by the team.

Both undergraduate and graduate students may compete. Teams must consist of a minimum of two and up to five individuals and include at least one member pursuing a degree in engineering or computer science and at least one member pursuing a degree toward a career in any of the health professions. The submission deadline is April 27, 2011. A detailed description of “Go Viral to Improve Health: IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge” can be found at IOM website and NAE website and on Facebook. Questions can be directed to goviral@nas.edu.

“The IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge seeks to tap the creativity and skills of the nation’s brightest young minds because we believe they have the ability to harness health data in novel ways that will make a healthy difference to their communities and to the nation as a whole,” said IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg. “This challenge provides a unique chance to showcase the innovation that can result from interdisciplinary collaboration and also an opportunity for students to gain experience and skills that we hope they will carry into their careers.”

“The trove of health data made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a wonderful opportunity for creative young people to design the next ‘viral app’ — one that can improve personal health and extend lives,” said NAE President Charles M. Vest. “‘Advancing Health Informatics‘ was one of 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering identified by the NAE as game-changers in the 21st century, and the interdisciplinary collaboration being encouraged between the fields of engineering and health by this challenge is a key to meeting that goal.”

 

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The Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering along with the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. For more information, visit http://national-academies.org.

 

    February 19, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    IU Personalized Medicine Institute to develop targeted and individualized treatments

    IU Personalized Medicine Institute to develop targeted and individualized treatments

    David Flockhart, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Indiana Institute for Personalized Medicine

     

     

    From the February 9 2011 Eureka news alert

    Indiana University has announced a major commitment to research in one of health care’s most promising fields with the creation of the Indiana Institute for Personalized Medicine.

    The institute’s members will be drawn from the IU schools of medicine, informatics and nursing, with $11.25 million in funding provided by the School of Medicine, the school’s Department of Medicine, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the Indiana Physician Scientist Initiative and the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer. The Indiana Physician Scientist Initiative is funded by a $60 million grant from the Lilly Endowment.

    Building on modern research techniques that have made it possible to decipher the genetic code, detect slight genetic differences between patients and determine how those affect the way the body metabolizes drugs, physicians are beginning to be able to select more appropriate treatments for individual patients. Research to make such tools broadly available remains in the early but promising stages, institute leaders said.

    “Much of the future of health care is in personalized medicine, meaning more precise targeting of the right medication to the right patient at the right time,” said David Flockhart, M.D., Ph.D., who has been named director of the institute.

    “We believe it should lead to cost benefits – it clearly will be better for patients,” said Dr. Flockhart, Harry and Edith Gladstein Professor of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology.

    “The Indiana Institute for Personalized Medicine is a not only a logical extension of our academic mission but is also part of our strategic plan to be a global leader in translational medicine,” said David S. Wilkes, M.D., executive associate dean for research affairs at the IU School of Medicine.

    Some of the earliest examples of personalized medicine have come in the field of cancer treatment. Oncologists now can test a breast cancer patient’s tumor to determine not only whether it is the type that is stimulated to grow by the hormone estrogen, but whether it is a subtype that can be treated with hormone therapy or another type that requires chemotherapy. Cardiology, pediatrics and obstetrics also will be important areas of focus for the institute, said Dr. Flockhart.

    “To identify more precisely which drugs are likely to be more effective — or less effective and more toxic — will have a substantial impact on optimizing health care delivery and rationally curbing costs. In no discipline is this more keenly needed than in cancer care where drugs can be extremely costly and toxic,” said Patrick J. Loehrer Sr., M.D., director of the IU Simon Cancer Center.

    IU scientists have been working on related research for at least a decade, but creating an institute “allows you to really jump start research and raise the level participation of an institution in both the laboratory and in the clinic, in a broad range of research interests,” Dr. Flockhart said.

    For example, Janet Carpenter, Ph.D., R.N., professor in the School of Nursing and a member of the institute, sees personalized medicine playing a key role in improving the treatment of menopause.

    “About 6,000 American women enter menopause every day yet personalized medicine has not been well-integrated into their health care,” she said. “The institute will play a very important role in ensuring that women receive the most appropriate and effective menopausal symptom management therapies.”

    Mathew Palakal, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate studies and research at the School of Informatics noted that “research in personalized medicine spans a broad spectrum from systems biology to nanomedicine to gene therapy. Our research in such areas as systems biology, biological network analysis and proteomics, along with our graduate programs in health informatics and bioinformatics, will enable informatics and the School of Informatics to play a significant role in the success of the institute.”

    “This science will enable physicians to prescribe the right medicines at the right dosages and intervals to maximize efficacy and prevent unwanted toxicity. It should be a very exciting next 10 years of research,” said D. Wade Clapp, M.D., chairman of the Department of Pediatrics…..

     

     

    February 13, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

    NLM announces MedlinePlus Connect

    From a posting by  GMRLIST – email list for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine-Greater Midwest Region (NN/LM-GMR) members. Written by Samanthi Hewakapuge, MA, MLS, Consumer Health Coordinator

    Today NLM [US National Libraries of Medicine) announces MedlinePlus Connect (http://medlineplus.gov/connect), a free service that allows electronic health records (EHR) systems to link users to MedlinePlus (http://medlineplus.gov), an authoritative up-to-date health information resource for patients, families and health care providers. MedlinePlus provides information about conditions and disorders, medications, and health and wellness.

    MedlinePlus Connect accepts requests for information on diagnoses (problem codes) and medications. NLM mapped MedlinePlus health topics to two standard diagnostic coding systems used in EHRs: ICD-9-CM and SNOMED CT CORE Problem List Subset.

    When an EHR submits a request to MedlinePlus Connect, the service returns the closest matching health topic as a response.  MedlinePlus Connect also links EHR systems to drug information written especially for patients. For medication codes, MedlinePlus Connect accepts RXCUIs and NDCs. The API for using this service conforms to the HL7 Context-Aware Knowledge Retrieval (Infobutton) Knowledge Request URL-Based Implementation specification.

    MedlinePlus responds to problem code requests in either English or Spanish. Currently, it supports requests for drug information in English only.  NLM is working on adding laboratory test responses to MedlinePlus Connect. We will also support an XML-based Web service at a future date.

    You can find more background and technical information at http://medlineplus.gov/connect. If you are an EHR owner or developer interested in staying up-to-date on technical developments with MedlinePlus Connect, or talking to other organizations that are using it, join the free email list athttp://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/connect/emaillist.html. To send questions or feedback, use the MedlinePlus Contact Us link athttp://apps.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/contact/index.cfm.


     

    November 10, 2010 Posted by | Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

       

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