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Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

Assessing Patient Health Information Needs

On May 7th, the Health Information Technology section of AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) sponsored the presentation A National Web Conference on Assessing Patient Health Information Needs for Developing Consumer Health IT Tools. Featured speakers included:

  • Wanda Pratt, Ph.D., Professor, Information School, University of Washington
  • James Ralston, M.D., Associate Investigator/Physician, Internal Medicine, Group Health Research Institute
  • Patricia Flatley Brennan, Ph.D., Moehlman Bascom Professor, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin- Madison

The presenters described projects to improve communication of safety concerns among hospitalized patients, promote effective management of patients with diabetes, and improve asthma care in children. Presentation slides from the talks are now available on the Health Information Technology website.

San Francisco General Hospital Library Receives NLM Grant to Reduce Health Disparities!

Congratulations to Stephen Kiyoi, Library Director at San Francisco General Hospital, who is a Principal Investigator on a newly awarded three-year, $300,000 NLM Information Resource Grant to Reduce Health Disparities (G08) from the National Library of Medicine. The project, Patient Engagement with Personal Health Records, will support the research and development of better ways to engage safety net patients with personal health records.

Partnering on the grant are Courtney Lyles, PhD, and Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH, from the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations (CVP). The CVP is an internationally recognized leader in health communication and health policy to reduce health disparities, with special expertise in the social determinants of health. The team will also partner with Yemila Alvarez, Community Outreach Manager at the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL). SFPL will help disseminate and scale project interventions across its 27 branch locations.

May 2015 Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available!

Illustration of a man, woman, and child walking with bags from a local grocery storeCheck out the May issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this issue:

  • Opportunities Abound for Moving Around: Get Active, Wherever You Are
    You know that physical activity can help you live a longer, healthier life. But did you know you don’t need to join a gym or use costly equipment to be physically active? No matter where you live, work, or go to school, you can find ways to move more and sit less throughout your day. In addition to helping your health, you might have fun without spending a lot of money.
  • HIV Therapy Promising in First Human Study
    Just one dose of an experimental antibody significantly reduced HIV levels in infected people for up to 28 days. This promising approach, called immunotherapy, might help to combat many strains of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • Add NIH’s Free Content to Your Website
    If you have a website or blog, or manage one for your organization, NIH has a new way for you to get trusted, up-to-date health information added directly to your site. It’s called “content syndication,” and it’s an easy way to share high-quality articles, images, infographics, videos, podcasts, and other credible material that updates automatically on your site.
  • Featured Website: Allergens & Irritants
    This website can help you survive the seasons by learning more about asthma, allergies, and the common substances that trigger breathing problems. Get tips on preventing exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke, cockroaches, animals, pollen, and dust mites, so you can keep breathing easier.

NIH News in Health is available online in both HTML and PDF formats. Print copies are available free of charge for offices, clinics, community centers, and libraries within the U.S. Visit the NIH News in Health Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like to see covered, or share what you find helpful about the newsletter!

NLM and FDA Launch Public Access to Global Unique Device Identification Database

The FDA, in partnership with the National Library of Medicine, has announced that data submitted to FDA’s Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID) is now publicly available through a website called AccessGUDID. By using AccessGUDID, anyone can search or download information that device labelers have submitted to the GUDID about their medical devices. Because the UDI system is being phased in over the next several years, labelers are currently submitting data on only the highest risk medical devices, a small subset of marketed devices. But as the system is implemented according to the UDI compliance timeline, the records of all medical devices required to have a UDI will be included.

With the launch of this beta version of AccessGUDID, everyone is encouraged—health care systems, clinicians, patients, researchers, industry and others—to explore its contents, assess its functionality and provide feedback. This feedback will shape future enhancements, including advanced search and web services. To submit feedback, use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the AccessGUDID landing page or the FDA UDI Help Desk.

MedlinePlus Releases New Responsive Web Design Interface!

New responsive design of MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en Espanol

MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español are now available with a fresh look and feel and a completely redesigned web site. The new release uses responsive design for ease of use on any device, whether that is a desktop monitor or mobile touchscreen. Responsive pages automatically change their layout to fit your screen. Further details are available by visiting the NLM announcement page.

Since this latest version enables all users to access a layout of MedlinePlus.gov optimized for their device, there is no longer a need for the separate mobile (m.medlineplus.gov) sites. These sites are now retired, and visitors to them will be redirected to the new version of MedlinePlus.gov. NLM invites you to try out the MedlinePlus full responsive design on your smartphone, tablet or desktop. A two-minute tour of the redesigned site is also available in English and Spanish. Feel free to send your feedback and comments about the new design via the “Contact Us” link that appears on every MedlinePlus page.

NLM Project to Improve Malaria Diagnosis Wins HHS Funding

Researchers at the National Library of Medicine are collaborating on a software tool to speed up the diagnosis of malaria. They’ve developed an automated system for detecting and counting parasites in blood films. The goal is to develop a version for smartphones so it can be used in the field. The project, Watch it, Parasite!, is an idea so promising, the US Department of Health and Human Services will provide support from the HHS Innovation Ventures Fund Program to take this early-stage idea to the next level.

The current standard method for malaria diagnosis in the field is light microscopy of blood films. About 170 million blood films are examined every year for malaria, which involves manual counting of parasites. To improve malaria diagnostics, the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, an R&D division of the National Library of Medicine, in collaboration with NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Mahidol-Oxford University, is developing a fully-automated system for parasite detection and counting in blood films. While existing drugs make malaria a curable disease, inadequate diagnostics and emerging drug resistance are major barriers to successful mortality reduction. The development of a fast and reliable diagnostic test is therefore one of the most promising ways of fighting malaria, together with better treatment, development of new malaria vaccines, and mosquito control.

Read more about this project by visiting NLM in Focus.

NLM Launches Two New Traveling Exhibitions!

1880 advertisement for a children's remedy

The National Library of Medicine has launched two new traveling banner exhibitions, Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures & Medical Prescriptions and Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Collection. Pick Your Poison explores the factors that have shaped the changing definition of some of our most potent drugs, from acceptable indulgences to bad habits, or vice versa. While some mind-altering drugs have remained socially acceptable throughout the history of America, such as alcohol; others, like heroin and cocaine, are now outlawed because of their toxic, and intoxicating, characteristics. These classifications have shifted over time, influenced by the intentions and societal status of those endorsing each drug’s use, and will continue to change. The exhibition features photographs and images of rare books, ephemera, and historical objects from the collections of the National Library of Medicine. Pick Your Poison is available for booking now. Check the Pick Your Poison traveling exhibition services website for more booking information.

Pictures of Nursing presents a selection of historic postcards from NLM’s recently-acquired Zwerdling postcard collection, an archive of over 2,500 items spanning a century of nursing imagery. Nurses and nursing have been the frequent subjects of postcards. These images are informed by cultural values; ideas about women, men, and work; and by attitudes toward class, race, and national differences. By documenting the relationship of nursing to significant forces in 20th-century life, such as war and disease, these postcards reveal how nursing was seen during those times. The traveling banner exhibition is available for booking now. Visit Pictures of Nursing traveling exhibition services for more information.

NLM Toxicology & Environmental Health Information Update: TOXMAP and TRI Data

Both versions of TOXMAP, classic and beta, now include the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) 2013 National Analysis data, as well as recent cancer and disease mortality data from NCI SEER. This is the first version of the TOXMAP beta with health data, whereas mortality data in TOXMAP classic has been updated. To view national county-level cancer and disease mortality data from 2007-2011 in TOXMAP beta, bring up the US Census & Health Data window and navigate to the Mortality tab. Two sub-tabs list cancer and disease mortality layers that can be overlaid on the map (one at a time).

TOXMAP maps the TRI chemicals reported to the EPA, as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). A complete list of TRI chemicals required to be reported to the EPA can be found on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program website.

Tox Town Updates the “Town” Neighborhood Scene

The National Library of Medicine’s Tox Town resource now has an updated Town neighborhood with a new photorealistic look. All of the location and chemical information is the same, but the new graphics allow users to better identify with real-life locations. The Town scene is now available in HTML5 so, in addition to computers, it can be accessed on a variety of personal electronic devices, including ipads, ipad minis, and tablets. Regardless of where you live, you will definitely want to visit the updated Town neighborhood and learn about possible environmental health risks in a typical town.

NLM Announces Pill Image Recognition Request for Information (RFI)

As part of its ongoing work to develop an infrastructure and tools for identifying prescription pills, the National Library of Medicine has announced a new Request for Information (RFI). This is NOT a solicitation for proposals, proposal abstracts, or quotations. The purpose of this RFI is to obtain knowledge and information for project planning purposes. The government will not award a contract on the basis of this notice, or otherwise pay for information solicited by it. Proprietary information should be clearly marked. The requested information is for planning and market research purposes only and will not be publicly released. This Request for Information (RFI) is a pilot for a forthcoming Pill Image Recognition Challenge for visually identifying pills. The Challenge has as its main objective the development and discovery of high-quality software that matches images of unknown prescription pills to images in the RxIMAGE database. The pilot will help ensure that the Challenge is successful.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Computational Photography Project for Pill Identification (C3PI) is developing infrastructure and tools for identifying prescription pills. The infrastructure includes NLM’s RxIMAGE database of freely available, high quality prescription pill images and associated pill data. One tool is the freely accessible RxIMAGE API (Application Programming Interface) for text-based search and retrieval of images and data from the RxIMAGE database.

NLM now seeks to expand the toolset to include smart phone apps to visually search for and retrieve pill images and data. A person will photograph an unknown prescription pill, possibly under poor lighting conditions, from an angle, or at low resolution. The app will return one or more RxIMAGE images and data that are most likely to match the photographed pill. Respondents to the RFI are asked to submit executable software that matches consumer images – photos of pills taken by cell phone digital cameras – with reference images obtained from images in the RxIMAGE database.

The start date for accepting responses to this RFI is April 6, 2015. The end date for accepting responses to this RFI is May 15, 2015. For full information about the RFI, visit the NLM News & Events and NLM Pill Image Recognition Pilot (PIR Pilot) websites.