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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

NLM to Promote infoSIDA & Latino Health Awareness on Valentine’s Day

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) will be promoting the infoSIDA website through a multi-platform media outreach effort culminating in a Twitter discussion on Valentine’s Day. The outreach efforts include two radio public service announcements that will air on Spanish radio stations nationwide. In addition, Fedora Braverman and Jean-Paul Rock will serve as the main NLM Spanish spokespersons, conducting interviews on infoSIDA and other Spanish-language consumer resources from NLM. Both will be featured on Bienvenidos a América (BAA), a weekly call-in radio show focused on providing immigration resources to Latinos. BAA airs weekly on Thursdays from 11am-12pm Pacific Time and is on 111 Spanish stations nationwide.

In addition to being on the air, the NLM specific segment on BAA will be streamed live on Thursday, January 30th online at bienvenidosradio.com. Finally, the online resources of infoSIDA will be shared and discussed in a Twitter “Tweet Up” on February 14, 2014, Valentine’s Day. NLM will be inviting all Latino-serving institutions, health and AIDS service organizations to participate and share resources for how to continue to keep loved ones healthy. Valentine’s Day is the holiday where we remind loved ones of how much we care about them and their well-being. This holiday serves as the perfect backdrop to raise awareness about health issues affecting our loved ones and the resources that are available to learn more about prevention and treatment. Twitter users are invited to follow or join the conversation by using the hash tag #infoSIDA2014.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 22% of the diagnoses of HIV infection among adults and adolescents in the United States and six dependent areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands) from 2008 to 2011 were in Hispanics/Latinos. The rate of new HIV infections among Latino men is almost three times that of white men (39.9 vs. 15.9 per 100,000), and the rate among Latinas is more than four times that of white women (11.8 vs. 2.6 per 100,000). Statistics like these and a need to reach vulnerable populations were a driving force in NLM recognizing the need to speak directly to Latinos on the issue of HIV/AIDS, in a culturally relevant manner.


ONC Releases Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) Guides

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has released the Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) Guides. These guides are a suite of tools that include checklists and recommended practices designed to help health care providers and the organizations that support them assess and optimize the safety and safe use of EHRs. Each SAFER Guide has extensive references and is available as a downloadable PDF and as an interactive web-based tool.

The release of the SAFER Guides marks an important milestone in the implementation of the HHS Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan, which was issued in July 2013. The SAFER Guides complement existing health IT safety tools and research developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and ONC. AHRQ’s Patient Safety Organizations (PSO) have explicitly identified health IT as a high priority area because of the enormous impact EHRs are having on patient safety right now. PSOs are charged to help their members improve patient safety, and the SAFER Guides give them an evidence-based tool to do so.

Rigorously developed by leading health IT safety and informatics researchers and based on the latest available evidence, expert opinion, stakeholder engagement, and field work, each SAFER Guide addresses a critical area associated with the safe use of EHRs through a series of self-assessment checklists, practice worksheets, and recommended practices. Areas addressed include:

  • High Priority Practices
  • Organizational Responsibilities
  • Patient Identification
  • Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) with Decision Support
  • Test Results Review and Follow-up
  • Clinician Communication
  • Contingency Planning
  • System Interfaces
  • System Configuration

Continuing Education Course Materials for MLA Disaster Information Specialization Available from NLM!

MLA Disaster Information Specialization Program logoDisaster health information courses and supporting materials are now available from the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) at the National Library of Medicine. The courses are open to anyone at no cost and are approved for Medical Library Association (MLA) continuing education credit. Completion of a series of courses may be used toward the MLA Disaster Information Specialization certificate. The application fee is $55 for MLA members and $75 for non-members. To earn the Basic certificate, students complete the following required 15 hours of courses:

An additional 12 hours of courses can be used toward the Advanced level certificate:

Course materials may be used and adapted by anyone giving presentations or classes on this content. When using or adapting materials, please give credit to the original course authors and NLM. DIMRC would like to hear about the use of these course materials and what they can offer (improve) that would make it easier to teach this material. If you are interested in being an online or classroom instructor for one or more of these courses, please send your name, title, organization, city, and state/country to Katie Chan.

Many thanks to MLA for coordinating the initial development of courses and for hosting the course materials and registration on their web site (with funding from NLM)!

New Project Announced for Collecting Health Data for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Populations!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched the first-ever, large-scale national health survey to collect detailed health information for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) households; the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander National Health Interview Survey. The information will be collected through the National Health Interview Survey, which is conducted by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, and is the nation’s largest in-person, household health survey. Never before has there been a study of this scale to assess the health needs of NHPIs, and this type of survey has long been called for by the NHPI community. This important effort will help improve understanding of the health concerns faced by this community and to identify areas of opportunity for the federal government to better address these concerns.

The Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders National Health Interview Survey will include a sample of approximately 4,000 households. Data collection for the survey begins in February 2014 and findings will be available in the summer of 2015. The data will help public health researchers to produce reports on a wide range of important health indicators for the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander population. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders comprise just 0.4% of the total U.S. population, which makes it difficult to include them in sufficient numbers in most national population-based health surveys. The lack of reliable health data for this population has made it difficult to assess their health status and health care utilization. However, the available data for this population indicates that they experience significant health disparities when compared to other groups, such as lower utilization of health care services and higher rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.

WISER for Windows 4.5 Now Available!

The National Library of Medicine’s WISER for Windows 4.5 is now available. This new version of WISER fully integrates Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM) content and updates the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) content to 2012.

Here’s a closer look at what’s new in this release:

  • Full integration of CHEMM content, which includes:
    • New hospital provider and preparedness planner profiles, along with a customized home screen for all WISER profiles
    • Acute care guidelines for six known mass casualty agents/agent classes
    • The addition of a wealth of CHEMM reference material
    • CHEMM Intelligent Syndromes Tool (CHEMM-IST), a new Help Identify tool designed to diagnose the type of chemical exposure after a mass casualty incident
  • ERG content is now updated to the 2012 release. This includes the full ERG 2012 tool.

WISER for Windows 4.5 can be downloaded directly from the WISER website.

Coming Soon

Look for these exciting additions in the coming months:

  • WebWISER 4.5, which includes CHEMM integration, ERG 2012 updates, and more
  • WISER for Android 3.1, which adds Help Identify Chemical and protective distance mapping to this popular platform

NLM Releases Enhancements to Its “Digital Collections” Repository

Redesigned homepage with informative images highlighting repository contentThe National Library of Medicine released several enhancements to Digital Collections, the free online archive of biomedical resources, at the end of September.

New features include:

  • Redesigned homepage with informative images highlighting repository content
  • Responsive sizing of homepage and search results to better accommodate the wide range of displays
  • More consistent, cleaner look and feel across the Web site, including the latest NIH & NLM branding
  • New “Refine by” feature on the left which allows users to limit searches to specific facets

In addition to these enhancements, technically inclined readers may be interested to know about these significant changes that improve system performance and flexibility:

  • Fresh indexing of metadata and full text for more efficient search & retrieval
  • Replacement of the Muradora front-end application with Blacklight, an open-source discovery interface which sits on top of the repository’s Solr index
  • Upgrades to all major software components supporting the repository, including the underlying Fedora Commons framework
  • New server architecture that better isolates components for improved security
  • More powerful hardware providing faster search and presentation responsiveness

In November, Digital Collections reached the milestone of providing access to 10,000 digitized resources. The repository contains over 12 million discrete files. NLM regularly deposits content from its digitization activities, including current projects focused on WWII-era materials and NLM-authored publications. For more information about Digital Collections, see the About Digital Collections page and Help Documentation.

New NLM Traveling Exhibition “From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry”

The Era of Antibiotics, painted by Robert A. Thom for Parke, Davis & Company, 1950s. Printed with Permission of American Pharmacists Association Foundation. Copyright 2009 APhA Foundation.NLM’s Exhibition Program has announced a new traveling banner exhibit, From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry, now available for booking! A link to the online exhibition is also available. From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry explores some of the processes, problems, and potential inherent in technologies that use microorganisms for health and commercial purposes. Over the past two centuries, scientists, in partnership with industry, have developed techniques using and modifying life forms like yeast, molds, and bacteria, to create a host of new therapies and produce better foods and beverages. The exhibition illustrates the history of this dynamic relationship among microbes, medicine, technology, and industry, which has spanned centuries.

For questions about the traveling exhibit, contact nlmtravelingexhibits@mail.nlm.nih.gov. For information on currently available and future NLM traveling exhibits, please visit the Exhibition Program website.

HHS Launches Second Video Game on Disaster Planning!

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) Office of the Chief Privacy Officer (OCPO) has released its second web-based security training module, CyberSecure: Your Medical Practice. This latest game focuses on disaster planning, data backup and recovery, and other elements of contingency planning. Contingency planning helps providers and staff prepare for power outages, floods, fires, or weather related events such as hurricanes or tornadoes. These events can damage patient health information or make it unavailable. Planning for these events can help ensure that patient health information is protected and that patient information can be accessed when the disaster is over. This training module uses a game format that requires users to respond to privacy and security challenges often faced in a typical small medical practice. Users choosing the right response earn points and see their virtual medical practices flourish. But users making the wrong security decisions can hurt their virtual practices.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and is an opportunity for ONC to remind providers about the need to create contingency plans to assure a safe and secure cyber environment. Contingency Planning is also required by the HIPAA Security Rule.

New ACA Resources Available on WebJunction!

WebJunction recently updated its website to help library staff connect patrons to available resources and community experts that can provide assistance:

Local Help

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has soft launched LocalHelp.healthcare.gov, where individuals or organizations can enter their geographic location to identify local ACA consumer assistance destinations in their area. Local consumer assisters, including Navigators, Certified Application counselors, etc., can provide personal help in applying for healthcare coverage through the ACA. This resource is also available in Spanish. CMS has also made English and Spanish widgets available for those that may be interested in hosting this resource as a widget on their website.
  • Please be advised that, according to CMS, many consumer assistance organizations are still completing the training and certification process. The database will be regularly updated to add new locations as they become available, so check back frequently. Please also note that states operating independent health insurance marketplaces may have more details about customer support networks at their state’s individual marketplace site. Unsure what type of marketplace is operating in your state? Visit the Get State Information page on HealthCare.gov to determine your state’s approach and access the most relevant source for local marketplace information.

Printed Publications and Forms

  • If your state is participating in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has an online ordering system for print materials. Libraries are welcome to request these print materials from CMS, however, it is important to note that quantities are limited and stock is constantly changing. You will need to create an account to be able to view and order materials. Once you have an account, search on the keyword “marketplace” to see the available publications.
  • In the near future, CMS expects to add an option to order and/or download print versions of the Federal Application form (not available until open enrollment begins on October 1). While print forms will be an option, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online because they will see real-time eligibility and available health insurance options.

Papers of Lawrence Kolb Sr., Addiction Research Pioneer, Now Digitized!

The National Library of Medicine has announced the completion of its third collaborative digitization project with Gale/Cengage Learning’s Archives Unbound service. Narcotic Addiction and Mental Health: The Clinical Papers of Lawrence Kolb Sr., a searchable online collection of 15,000 images drawn from the personal and professional papers of a pioneer in the medical approach to narcotics addiction treatment, and in public health research and treatment of mental illness, is now freely available within the NLM’s History of Medicine reading room and via local libraries with subscriptions to Archives Unbound.

The National Library of Medicine’s previous collaborations with Archives Unbound, completed in 2012, include AIDS Crisis: Records of the National Commission on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, 19831994 and Development of Environmental Health Policy: Pope A. Lawrence Papers 19241983. The newly-digitized Kolb collection deals chiefly with the subjects of drug addiction, alcoholism, juvenile delinquency, and mental health. Although parts of the collection were not digitized due to the patient privacy, privacy of Kolb’s coworkers, and copyright concerns around specific documents, the entire collection is available to researchers at the National Library of Medicine. The complete finding aid for the Kolb papers is available free from the National Library of Medicine, and researchers are cordially invited to visit the Library to consult the collection directly.

Dr. Lawrence Kolb was born in Galesville, Maryland, on February 20, 1881, and graduated from the University of Maryland medical school in 1908. The next year he was commissioned an Assistant Surgeon in the Public Health Service. From 1913 to 1919, he was stationed at the Ellis Island, New York Immigration Station, specializing in the mental disease and illness of incoming immigrants. During this same period, he also developed a program for the study and treatment of post-World War I patients suffering from war-caused neuroses. In 1923, Dr. Kolb came to Washington, D.C. and spent five years studying drug addiction and its relationship to crime. He was one of the first to advocate treating drug addicts as patients, not criminals. By 1934, Dr. Kolb was an international expert in the study of psychiatry and narcotics, and was appointed head of the Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky to lead the U.S. government’s first experimental unit for treating drug addicts. His final duty station was as Chief of the Public Health Service Mental Hygiene Division from 1938–1944. He was promoted to Assistant Surgeon General in 1942. His work there, along with that of Dr. Thomas Parran, led to the creation of the National Institute for Mental Health in 1946.