Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Medical libraries in Afghanistan

from the NY Times today:
Imagine cutting out a diseased appendix without ever having seen a Gray’s Anatomy diagram, or calculating drug doses without a Physicians’ Desk Reference, and you’ll have an idea what it’s like to practice medicine in Afghanistan.

Nearly three decades of war and religious extremism have devastated medical libraries and crippled the educational system for doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Factions of the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, singled out medical texts for destruction, military medical personnel say, because anatomical depictions of the human body were considered blasphemous.

“They not only burned the books, but they sent monitors into the classroom to make sure there were no drawings of the human body on the blackboard,” said Valerie Walker, director of the Medical Alumni Association of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ms. Walker is helping lead an ambitious effort by American doctors and nurses, both civilian and military, to restock Afghanistan’s hospitals, clinics and universities with medical textbooks and other reference materials.

The project, called Operation Medical Libraries, began modestly in 2007 with a plea for books from a U.C.L.A. medical graduate serving in the Army. It has since been embraced by 30 universities and hospitals, more than a dozen professional organizations and scores of individual doctors and nurses.
See the rest of the story here

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Information literacy and nursing - new resource

From the webpage: "The ACRL IS Information Literacy in the Disciplines Committee has gathered links and citations to information literacy standards and curricula developed by accrediting agencies, professional associations, and institutions of higher education in Nursing."

ACRL is the American College and Resource Libraries Association. They also have an entire page of links to information literacy standards for professions, including those included under arts and humanities, cultural studies, professional studies, and more. Professional studies does - yes! - include Library Science! - along with a number of health professions (and please note that I have not included the entire list of professions for this category, just those most pertinent):

Professional Studies

Library Science
Physical Education & Health
Social Work

Information literacy is defined:

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." 1 Information literacy also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Information is available through libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the Internet--and increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. In addition, information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it. The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively.
Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. An information literate individual is able to:
  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally
source for this quote and more information

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

PubMed Health: a new site for consumer-level, evidence-based health information

From a post on the Medlib-L listserv:
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is currently developing a new site called PubMed Health, which is intended to focus on consumer-level, evidence-based health information.  Though PubMed Health is still under development, NCBI has released some of its initial content, provided by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), to be searchable through search engines such as Google.  NCBI is currently reviewing some development decisions for the PubMed Health site to determine how these particular pages are being used.  Once the site is ready for production release, PubMed Health will have its own search function as well as links to other NLM online products.  An NLM Technical Bulletin article about PubMed Health will be published once the site is ready to be launched.

PubMed Health does not replace MedlinePlus (http://medlineplus.gov/), NLM’s premier health Web site for patients and their families and friends.  MedlinePlus continues to be expanded, including a full site redesign launched this July as well as a new mobile interface, MedlinePlus Mobile (http://m.medlineplus.gov/) that was released in January 2010.  MedlinePlus provides reliable up-to-date health information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language the public can understand.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Evidence-based cancer information on the Web for consumers

This article, published in the most recent issue of the journal Consumer Health on the Internet, is an example of collaboration across disciplinary boundaries for the benefit of consumers.The same issue includes articles about reliable web-based resources on pregnancy for women and their families and healthy heart information.

Development and Evaluation of a Cancer Information Web Portal: The Impact of Design and Presentation on User Engagement

Authors: Katherine Schilling - Katherine Schilling, MLS, EdD, AHIP (katschil@iupui.edu) is Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Library and Information Science, 755 West Michigan Street, UL3100E, Indianapolis, IN 46202. Anna M. McDaniel, DNS, RN, FAAN (amcdanie@iupui.edu) is Assistant Dean of Research, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN 46202.a; Anna M. McDanielb


Although cancer is one of the most prevalent chronic illnesses in the United States, many consumers do not have access to reliable, state-of-the-art cancer information on the Web. The Cancer Information portal translates evidence-based disease prevention and management information for text-based and multimedia delivery for diverse and low literacy citizens. Open-ended “key informant” interviews with consumers provided feedback on content presentation, and the portal's look, feel, and navigation. Evaluation assessed the portal's (1) readability, (2) required expertise, (3) user satisfaction, and (4) user comfort. Recommendations include improvements in key design areas to increase user efficacy and strengthen the portal's identity.
Copied from the publisher's website

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Comparative Effectiveness Research - resources

Posted by Deborah Lawless on the MedLib-L listserv, the major listserv for health science librarians. Says she: "This is being discussed as part of the national health reform debate as a mechanism for improving the quality of health care and for decreasing health care spending.

I have been doing some reading on this topic, especially as to how it compares to evidence-based medicine.  Here are some articles that I found particularly helpful."

Luce, BR.  EBM, HTA, and CER:  clearing the confusion.  Milbank Quarterly,  2010, vol. 88 no. 2, pp. 256-76

Tanenbaum, SJ.  Comparative effectiveness research:  evidence-based medicine meets health care reform in the USA.  Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 2009, v.15, pp.976-84.

Defining evidence-based medicine and comparative research. http://www.npcnow.org/Public/Issues/i_cer/cer_toolkit/Defining_Evidence-Based_Medicine_and_Comparative_Effectiveness_Research.aspx Accessed 8/1/2010  (I had problems accessing it today)

Sox, HC.  Comparative effectiveness research:  a report from the
Institute of Medicine.  Annals of Internal Medicine, 2009, v.151, #3,
(Sox seems to be a leader in this area)

Sox, HC.  Comparative effectiveness research:  challenges for medical
journals.  Trials, 2010, v.11, p.45
full text available at http://www.trialsjournal.com/content/11/1/45

NLM resources for informing comparative effectiveness research.  NLM
Technical Bulletin, April 21 2010, no. 373.

Rich, EC.  The policy debate over public investment in comparative
effectiveness research.  Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2009,
v.24 #6, pp. 752-7.
available full text online

Reaching Patient Safety Goals Through Collaborative Learning Support: Librarians as Partners

"To work toward achieving the Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs), healthcare organizations need to develop effective ways to provide staff with patient safety alerts. It is important for organizations to establish and maintain a system for ongoing learning in patient safety.The Medical Library Association encourages librarians to become partners in the patient safety activities of their organizations.This article describes one method for librarians to apply their expertise to learning efforts."
Chastain-Warheit C. Collaborating to Promote Learning Focuses Organizations on National Patient Safety Goals. Focus on Patient Safety. 2010:13(2):5-7.


HHS Launches New Consumer Focused Health Care Website

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled an innovative new online tool to enable consumers to take control of their health care by connecting them to new information and resources that will help them access quality, affordable health care coverage.

HealthCare.gov is the first website to provide consumers with both public and private health coverage options tailored specifically for their needs in a single, easy-to-use tool. HealthCare.gov combines information about public programs with information from more than 1,000 private insurance plans.  Consumers can obtain information about options specific to their life situation and local community.

In addition, the website will provide information about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as well as other health care resources.  The website will connect consumers to quality rankings for local health care providers as well as preventive services.

The complete press release from HHS may be viewed at: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/07/20100701e.html. Visit the website directly at: http://www.healthcare.gov/ .

- from http://nnlm.gov/scr/blog/?cat=2

About Evidence-Based Practices KITs: Shaping Mental Health Services Toward Recovery

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and its Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) provide Evidence-Based Practice KITs (Knowledge Informing Transformation) to promote the use of evidence-based practices in mental health. The KITs were developed as one of several SAMHSA/CMHS activities critical to its science-to-services strategy.
- from  SAMHSA's Mental Health Information Center