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CDC Launches Blast Injury Mobile App!

CDC Ad for Blast App in Google Hangout

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the release of a new CDC Blast Injury mobile application, which may be downloaded for free from the iTunes store. The program is designed to assist in the response and clinical management of injuries resulting from terrorist bombings and other mass casualty explosive events. The application provides clear, concise, up-to-date medical and healthcare systems information to assist healthcare providers and public health professionals in the preparation, response, and management of injuries resulting from terrorist bombing events. CDC is hosting a Google+ Hangout on Monday, June 30, at 8:30 AM PDT to discuss this new tool.

Check with NLM Before Discarding Journals

The National Library of Medicine’s Journal Donation System makes it possible for libraries to determine whether NLM needs any volumes of the print journals they plan to discard. The system can be used by DOCLINE and non-DOCLINE libraries to offer any title, including titles not owned by NLM. The system can be accessed directly through the web site or by searching “Journal Donation System” on NLM’s home page. In the system, click on “Help” for detailed instructions. For additional assistance, contact NLM at (301) 496-0081 or NLMJournalDonation@mail.nlm.nih.gov. NLM will pay shipping for needed volumes. For donations of pre-1871 journal volumes, contact the NLM History of Medicine Division.

Since the beginning of the online donation system in April 2009, over 10,000 gifts have been added to the NLM collection. With the help of libraries planning to discard journal volumes, NLM can build on the success achieved to date.

NLM VSAC Publishes Annual Update for 2014 Eligible Professional CQM Value Sets

The National Library of Medicine Value Set Authority Center (VSAC), in collaboration with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has published the annual update for the 2014 Eligible Professional Clinical Quality Measure (CQM) Value Sets. The update includes revised value sets to address deleted and remapped codes in the latest terminology versions, as well as new codes for addressing CQM logic corrections and clarifications. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) update these electronic reporting specifications annually to ensure that the specifications align with current clinical guidelines and terminologies, and that they remain relevant and actionable within the clinical care setting.

The VSAC offers a Downloadable Resource Table, accessible from the Download tab on the VSAC Web page, that provides prepackaged downloads for the most recently updated and released 2014 CQM Value Sets, as well as for previously released versions. Access to the Value Set Authority Center requires a free Unified Medical Language System® Metathesaurus License. NLM also provides the Data Element Catalog that identifies data element names (value set names) required for capture in electronic health record technology certified under the 2014 Edition of the ONC Standards and Certification Criteria. The NLM update of the VSAC coincides with the CMS posting of the official updated 2014 Eligible Professional Clinical Quality Measures.

The following resources are available to help health care providers and vendors navigate the 2014 CQMs:

  • NLM: Value Set Authority Center (VSAC) Provides downloadable access to all official versions of vocabulary value sets contained in the 2014 Clinical Quality Measures.
  • AHRQ: United States Healthcare Knowledge Database (USHIK) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Web site with 2014 eCQMs and other health information technology resources. This site provides a number of formats for viewing, downloading, and comparing versions of eCQMs and their value sets.
  • CMS: eCQM Library Guidance for understanding and using Eligible Hospital and the Eligible Professional Clinical Quality Measures.
  • ONC: Clinical Quality Measure Feedback System ONC encourages the EHR technology developer and user communities to provide feedback regarding the implementation, structure, intent, and data elements pertaining to CQMs.
  • Questions? Contact NLM Value Set Authority Center Help.

NLM Mourns William G. Harless, PhD, Creator of the First Natural Language Computer Patient Simulation Model

William G. Harless, President and CEO of Interactive Drama Inc. and former National Library of Medicine employee and contractor, passed away this past May. Dr. Harless’ contributions to the NLM were many, including the creation of the first voice-activated interactive video patient simulation model in the mid-1980s. As Director of NLM’s Technological Innovations in Medical Education (TIME) Project, he received the 1986 NLM Regents Award for Scholarship or Technical Achievement and an award in the category of Best Educational Achievement at the University of Nebraska, both for the development of his model which combined voice recognition, interactive video, and computer technologies.

Bill Harless held a PhD degree in psychology and learning theory. He also had held faculty positions at five major universities and the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities, where accredited doctorate degrees are awarded from a multidisciplinary, experientially based curriculum. He developed the first natural language computer patient simulation model at the University of Illinois School of Medicine in Chicago in the early 1960s. Dr. Harless published over 50 articles on natural language interactive simulation as a learning strategy and was a recognized expert in the field. In 1991, he was awarded a patent for his voice-controlled video simulation model. He was awarded a second patent in 1996 for his dynamic prompting system. In 2005, a third patent was awarded on a method of distributing his model over a computer network, and in 2010 he was awarded a patent for his method for analyzing natural language text to yield a meaningful response to a free-speech inquiry.

June 2014 Issue of NIH News in Health is Now Available!

Illustration of a girl blowing into a peak flow meter while sitting alongside her mother. Check out the June 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:

  • Managing Asthma: Learn To Breathe Easier
    Most people have little trouble climbing a flight of stairs or taking a brisk walk, but these simple activities can be tough for someone with asthma. Although there’s no cure, you can breathe easier by knowing how to keep the condition under control.
  • Patient’s Own Cells Helped Fight Cancer
    An experimental therapy developed at NIH used a patient’s own immune system to attack and shrink her tumors. With further research, this type of immunotherapy might be used to treat many common cancers.
  • Videos and Eye Health Resources for Kids
    Ever wonder how optical illusions work? Are you curious about colorblindness? Do you have an inquisitive mind? Curiosity is a key ingredient to becoming a scientist.
  • Featured Website: Know Stroke
    Trouble walking, weakness on one side, trouble seeing, trouble speaking. Get to know these warning signs of stroke so you can get fast medical attention, which is key to successful recovery. This site has educational videos, brochures, and other materials to help you learn more about stroke.

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!

How to Use Hashtags to Increase Social Media Presence

If you have determined that the use of social media channels is appropriate for your organization, you will quickly encounter hashtags, which are user-controlled categories prefaced with a pound sign. Hashtags were once limited to Twitter but are now used on most social media sites, including Facebook and Google+. Conversational, concise, and consistent use of up to two hashtags per social media message can result in double the amount of user engagement compared to messages without them. For more statistics specific to Twitter and user engagement, Buffer’s blog provides an excellent overview.

What are some of the ways to show that hashtags increase user engagement with your organization’s message? Look for performance indicators of reposts (the use of ‘Share’ on Facebook or retweets on Twitter), replies (comments under the message from Facebook followers, replies to the tweet from Twitter users), the number of clicks to any links included in your message (ideally to your organization’s website and resources), and hashtag usage frequency. For tips on how to track these performance indicators and additional statistics regarding hashtag creation and use, check out this helpful infographic.

AIDSinfo and infoSIDA Web Sites Now Optimized for Display on Mobile Devices!

AIDSinfo and infoSIDA on mobile devices

AIDSinfo, a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently updated its AIDSinfo (English) and infoSIDA (Spanish) Web sites. They are now automatically optimized for display across all devices, including desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones. Visitors to the AIDSinfo and infoSIDA Web sites will now be able to access all of the content on any device they are using. AIDSinfo offers access to the latest, federally approved HIV/AIDS medical practice guidelines, HIV treatment and prevention clinical trials, and other research information for health care providers, researchers, people affected by HIV/AIDS, and the general public.

NLM decided to create a responsive design Web site, a site that automatically adjusts to any device, because of a shift in the ways that people are accessing the Internet. Between 2010 and 2014, mobile traffic to the AIDSinfo Web site increased tenfold, and almost 90% of health care providers surveyed on the AIDSinfo Web site have Internet access at the point of care, and of those, more than two-thirds use a mobile device when seeing patients. With this redesign, health care providers, researchers, people with HIV/AIDS, their family and friends, and anyone who visits the Web site will now be able to access the HIV/AIDS medical practice guidelines, drug database, fact sheets, clinical trials search, HIV/AIDS glossary, and all of the other features in an easy-to-navigate format no matter what device they are using.

If you have saved the mobile site URLs (http://m.aidsinfo.nih.gov/ and http://m.infosida.nih.gov/) as a Bookmark or Favorite on your tablet or smartphone, you will be automatically redirected to the responsive design Web site. Please send your questions or feedback about the responsive design Web site to: ContactUs@aidsinfo.nih.gov.

NIH Disaster Research Response Project Workshop June 12-13 in Bethesda

Disaster Research Response Workshop: Enabling Public Health Research During Disasters will be held June 12-13, 2014, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, MD. There is no registration cost. This workshop will examine strategies and partnerships for methodologically and ethically sound public health and medical research during future emergencies. Discussions will include issues with obtaining informed consent, obtaining approval from Institutional Review Boards, coordinating research efforts with emergency response, and ensuring timely collection of data. The workshop is a collaboration of the NIH Disaster Research Response Project, the IOM Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The NIH Disaster Research Response Project is a pilot project led by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), aimed at developing ready-to-go research data collection tools and a network of trained research responders. The project’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for researchers to begin collecting health and other data following a major disaster. The focus is on data collection tools and protocols, the creation of networks of health experts also trained as research responders, and integration of the effort into federal response plans for future disasters. Although initially focused on environmental health issues, the hope is this project will be a model for timely collection of data supporting a range of medical and public health research.

As part of this project, NIEHS recently held a tabletop exercise in Long Beach, CA, to test how a “research response” might work and what would be expected of researchers choosing to be trained research responders, i.e. first on the scene to begin collecting data once it is safe and reasonable to do so. The article “Tsunami exercise helps prepare research community for disaster response” describes the exercise and there is also a video. The “Disaster Lit” section of the Resource Guide for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (from NLM) now includes records for research tools, such as online surveys and interview scripts, to aid researchers in quickly selecting appropriate measures.

Federal Pain Research Database Launched: Interagency Pain Research Portfolio

The Interagency Pain Research Portfolio website. Users can search the database for information about federally funded pain research projects.The Interagency Pain Research Portfolio (IPRP), a database that provides information about pain research and training activities supported by the federal government, has been launched by six federal agencies. Pain is a symptom of many disorders; chronic pain can present as a disease in of itself. The economic cost of pain is estimated to be hundreds of billions of dollars annually in lost wages and productivity.

Users of the database easily can search over 1,200 research projects in a multi-tiered system. In Tier 1, grants are organized as basic, translational (research that can be applied to diseases), or clinical research projects. In Tier 2, grants are sorted among 29 scientific topic areas related to pain, such as biobehavioral and psychosocial mechanisms, chronic overlapping conditions, and neurobiological mechanisms. The Tier 2 categories are also organized into nine research themes: pain mechanisms, basic to clinical, disparities, training and education, tools and instruments, risk factors and causes, surveillance and human trials, overlapping conditions, and use of services, treatments, and interventions.

The database was developed by NIH staff and members of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC). The IPRCC is a federal advisory committee formed to increase understanding of pain and improve treatment strategies by expanding pain research efforts and encouraging collaboration across the government. Four of the agencies that played a role in developing the IPRP are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration. The other two agencies are the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.

NLM to Update MEDLINE/PubMed Daily!

Beginning June 2, 2014, the National Library of Medicine will add new and updated citations to PubMed seven days a week. Daily updating is a welcome enhancement to PubMed. Prior to this change, NLM updated PubMed five times a week on Tuesday through Saturday.

Likewise, new MEDLINE/PubMed update files for NLM data licensees will appear on the ftp server daily by noon ET. More than one update file may become available on the same day. The update files are available all hours seven days per week throughout the year.

For more information, visit the NLM Technical Bulletin.