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Technology Forum 2009

The GMR Technology Forum was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Midwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association in Columbus, OH on October 5, 2009.

The speakers discussed mobile technology, Personal Health Records (PHRs) and social sharing websites. The second part of the program was an open forum with technological questions taken from the audience and answered by the panel.

The presenters: Eric Schnell, Catherine Arnott-Smith and Michelle Kraft

Three technologies have begun to make an impact on users and how the access health information. Mobile devices, Personal Health Records (PHRs) and social sharing sites such as Facebook and Twitter have taken the health care industry by storm. Each of the three panelists will discuss what hospital and academic medical libraries should know and how they might be able to take advantage of these things to help their patrons utilize these resources to effectively find, organize or communicate health information. More than ever, library users are using mobile devices for a wide variety of purposes including voice and text communication, network access, and research. It is expected that in 10 years mobile devices will be the primary tools to connect to the Internet. Since users are already expecting to access information on their mobile devices, it is essential that libraries begin to providing resources. Eric Schnell will discuss this trend and how librarians can take advantage of the technology.

Personal health records (PHRs) are the latest electronic incarnation of a very old print technology that allows consumers to self-document their healthcare experiences. Currently unstandardized in form and function, PHRs can appear as flash drives, commercial websites, portals permitting access to healthcare provider websites, free tools (Google Health), free environments (Microsoft HealthVault), and templates provided by federal agencies. What are the pros, cons, challenges and implications of PHRs for librarians? How can and how should medical librarians be involved? Prof. Catherine Arnott Smith will present findings from a large study of PHRs in public libraries and suggest some new directions.

Facebook and Twitter have extended their reach into the professional realm and age groups. More and more people are sharing personal information about themselves and their activities. These two applications have experienced rapid growth and also are becoming a preferred method of online communication among groups of people. As patients, medical students, residents, and hospital employees join these online communities it is important for libraries to be aware of these opportunities to communicate and advertise resources and information to their user groups. Michelle Kraft will discuss the trend of hospitals and other medical health professionals joining Facebook and Twitter and how librarians can determine their social networking path. external website This icon designates a link outside the NN/LM GMR Web site and indicates a non-GMR hosted resource.