According to the report “since 2010, the proportion of hospitals having a basic electronic health record (EHR) has tripled.” With “more than 38 percent of physicians reporting having adopted basic EHRs in 2012.” With incentive programs for health information technology (HIT) adoption, such as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Incentive Program many hospitals were able to take steps and move toward EHR system adoption. The report shows that while adoption in hospitals was large, the increase in adoption of EHR systems by physicians in private practice was not as large. Small practices continue to lag behind in EHR adoption and will likely need continued support from agencies such as Regional Extension Centers (RAC).
In a positive finding the report shows that “physicians and hospitals alike appear to be adopting EHRs with more sophisticated capabilities that enable improvements in the delivery of care and management of patient populations.” The report also suggests that many hospitals are adopting at least as basic EHR system (44 percent) while only 16.7 percent of hospitals have already adopted a comprehensive EHR system.
According to the report four areas where most organizations which have adopted EHRs lag behind are related to patient clinic summaries and include the ability for the patient to view quality data, receive guideline reminders, receive patient e-copy of health information, and provide patient clinical summaries.
The report goes on to compare HIT implementation in the US to HIT implementation in other countries as well as provide additional insights into the development of Health Information Exchanges and their role in healthcare.
The final chapter of the report deals specifically with “Improving Patient Education with EHRs” an area many hospital and consumer health librarians are familiar with. According to the report “little is known about best approaches for using EHRs to provide patients with materials that are understandable and actionable for patients, especially those with limited health literacy and English proficiency.” The report provides a good study of vendors in the EHR industry and specifically looks at patient health information portals and delivery.
The report suggests that “U.S. providers could do more using HIT to engage patients with educational materials tailored to an individual’s diagnosis and health literacy level.”
Overall, this is a valuable report for those involved in HIT and EHR implementation. Using the data provided in this report librarians can demonstrate the value of consumer health information resources such as MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus Connect in meeting Meaningful Use objectives.
Mobile devices including smart phones and tablets are enabling both the general public and emergency responders to stay connected to important information in times of crisis. According to the report mobile devices provide early warning systems, aid in the coordination or emergency response, and improve public communications.
The report provides real world situational examples of how mobile technology has been used in response to natural disasters such as earthquakes and as well as for emergency preparedness. According tot he report, mobile devices are also playing an important role in alerting the public to events such as terrorist attacks and shooting incidents. The report includes examples of smartphone applications that have been created to help individuals in an attack scenario find safety. The use of mobile devices for improved public safety has also led to the development and use of mobile applications for sending alerts to notify users of events happening or reported in their area.
The report includes many examples of applications and uses of mobile technology for emergency preparedness, disaster recovery, emergency education, alert systems, and other forms of communication. The global reach of mobile devices continues to transform disaster response efforts around the world.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heat kills an average of 1,500 people a year in the US—a number higher than any other weather-related event. The Red Cross defines some terms that you may hear regularly during hot weather months:
Excessive Heat Watch - Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Index values are forecasting to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs=105-110° Fahrenheit).
Heat Advisory - Heat Index values are forecasting to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs=100-105° Fahrenheit).
During times of extreme heat everyone–but especially infants, children and adults over the age of 65–are at an increased risk of suffering from a heat-related illness. Some of the most common include heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke (or sunstroke).
So what can you do to stay safe during the hot weather?
Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol, which causes you to lose fluid more quickly. Always keep water on hand.
Take it easy on outdoor physical activity—if you can, do outdoor chores in the morning or evening when it’s less hot. Take frequent breaks.
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat if possible. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Patient safety in hospitals is a topic important to everyone, but it can be difficult to understand all of the issues involved. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Patient Safety Network provides a series of Patient Safety Primers to guide people through key concepts in patient safety: http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primerHome.aspx
There are over 20 Primers available. Some of the topics are:
Adverse Events after Hospital Discharge: Nearly 20% of patients experience an adverse event in the first 3 weeks after discharge, including medication errors, health care–associated infections, and procedural complications. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=11
Checklists: Though a seemingly simple intervention, checklists have played a leading role in the most significant successes of the patient safety movement, including the near-elimination of central line–associated bloodstream infections in many intensive care units. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=14
Diagnostic Errors: Thousands of patients die every year due to diagnostic errors. While clinicians’ cognitive biases play a role in many diagnostic errors, underlying health care system problems also contribute to missed and delayed diagnoses. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=12
Disruptive and Unprofessional Behavior: Popular media often depicts physicians as brilliant, intimidating, and condescending in equal measures. This stereotype obscures the fact that disruptive and unprofessional behavior by clinicians poses a definite threat to patient safety. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=15
Error Disclosure: Many victims of medical errors never learn of the mistake, because the error is simply not disclosed. Physicians have traditionally shied away from discussing errors with patients, due to fear of precipitating a malpractice lawsuit and embarrassment and discomfort with the disclosure process. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=2
Nursing and Patient Safety: Nurses play a critical role in patient safety through their constant presence at patient’s bedside. However, staffing issues and suboptimal working conditions can impede nurses’ ability to detect and prevent adverse events. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=22
Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, and Wrong-Patient Surgery: Few medical errors are as terrifying as those that involve patients who have undergone surgery on the wrong body part, undergone the incorrect procedure, or had a procedure intended for another patient. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=18
Patients also have a part to play in ensuring that they have safe healthcare, as described in the following Primer:
The Role of the Patient in Safety: Efforts to engage patients in safety efforts have focused on three areas: enlisting patients in detecting adverse events, empowering patients to ensure safe care, and emphasizing patient involvement as a means of improving the culture of safety. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=17
Last month, the NN/LM SCR was invited to attend the spring meeting of the HSLAL (Health Sciences Library Association of Louisiana), held at the National Hansen’s Disease Museum in Carville, LA. This fascinating Museum, located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, was the only National Leprosarium in the United States, and today the Museum collects, preserves, and interprets the medical and cultural artifacts of the Carville Historic District and promotes the understanding, identification and treatment of Hansen’s Disease (for more information, see MedlinePlus Health Topics page on Hansen’s Disease or leprosy).
The Museum today is a monument to those who battled Hansen’s Disease (HD) – researchers, health care professionals and patients who suffered from the affliction. Today, a patient diagnosed with HD is treated as an outpatient. In 1894, when the Louisiana Leper Home was established on an old plantation site, a diagnosis of leprosy meant forced quarantine, little treatment, and no cure, as well as separation from family, home and community. The federal government took control of the facility in 1921, and continued to house patients until 1999. Currently, the Louisiana Military Department occupies the 400-acre site and only a handful of elderly patients remain at the facility.
Learn more about this interesting U.S. Public Health Service site and part of U.S. history by visiting in person or through virtual tours on the website. The autobiography of Stanley Stein (an alias chosen to protect his family from stigma), Alone No Longer, provides great insight into the life of millions of leprosy patients around the world in the 20th century. Within months of his arrival at Carville, Mr. Stein had founded a newspaper to campaign for the rights of leprosy patients around the world. “Hansen’s disease victims who today may enjoy a normal life owe much to the efforts of one man – Stanley Stein” (from the forward to the book by Lawrence G. Blochman).
Public libraries play an important role in the community year round, but during or after an emergency or disaster the public library is also an important resource for first responders. Public libraries provide important information centers in a community and are often equipped with computers, meetings spaces, and possibly access to the internet. After an emergency or disaster first responders working with their community public libraries can provide safe shelter spaces for survivors. In addition, public library technologies including computers, phones, printers, and internet access may serve as vital communication tools for survivors and first responders.
The video below was created by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Center Region (NN/LM SCR) to demonstrate how public libraries and first responders can work together to ensure community well-being and safety before and after a disaster or emergency.
Greetings all! My name is Naomi Gonzales and I am so delighted to be the newest member of the fabulous NN/LM South Central Region team as the Public Health Coordinator. I graduated in spring of 2012 with my MLS from the University of North Texas (UNT) but I’ve always had a passion for outreach and literacy. I’ve been working with the public (in all kinds of settings) since 2006 and quickly learned to love the rollercoaster ride that is creating lasting connections with community members.
For the past year, I worked as an Instructional Technologies Librarian at the Texas Medical Center Library and before that I worked with engineering and library science students at UNT, providing a variety of reference and instructional services in the library. I’m a member of the ALA Rainbow Book List committee and (true to my librarian nature) in my spare time will enthusiastically devour books in any form—including the audiobooks that often accompany me to the gym. Although reading will always be my first love, I also have more active pastimes such as yoga and the occasional attempt at being crafty. I look forward to working with and learning from such a great community of people!
National Nutrition Month is a nutrition information and education campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This year’s theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” encourages personalized healthy eating styles and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices. This year is the 40th Anniversary of National Nutrition Month.
The National Nutrition Month 2013 website (http://www.eatright.org/nnm) has a variety of materials for education and promotion, including a reading list, health tips, games and quizzes, and links to additional resources.
Other authoritative and up-to-date sources for nutrition information include:
The NN/LM SCR is pleased to announce the latest round of funding opportunities:
Disaster Preparedness Award ($10,000):
The purpose of the Disaster Preparedness Award is to help libraries prepare for disasters so that they can assist their communities with health information and other recovery needs after an emergency. Approaches can include, but are not limited to, activities that will integrate the library into their community’s emergency preparedness, response and recovery plan; equipment that will allow the library to have more flexibility in responding to the Internet needs of the community; and partnerships with city emergency planning groups, hospitals, public health organizations to enhance health information access in library settings.
Electronic Consumer Health Outreach Award($25,000):
The goal of this award is to connect health professionals, their patients and the general public to the health information resources from the National Library of Medicine. This solicitation will focus on projects designed to improve access to electronic health information for such groups and organizations as consumers, the underserved and minority health care professionals, public health workers, public libraries, and community-based and faith-based organizations.
Express Outreach Award ($5,000 per project):
The purpose of the Express Outreach Award is to support a wide range of outreach projects aimed at improving access to and use of the National Library of Medicine’s databases to improve access to health information.
Health Disparities Information Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Disparities Information Outreach Award is to support a wide range of outreach projects aimed at improving access to and use of the National Library of Medicine’s databases by populations which experience significant health disparities, including, but not limited to minority, rural and other medically underserved populations.
Health Information Literacy Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Information Literacy Award is to support Network member projects, particularly those from community-based organizations (CBOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs) and other organizations that serve minority populations, to develop innovative and creative ways to promote health literacy to these target populations.
Health Information Needs Assessment Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Information Needs Assessment Award is to improve health information outreach through increased knowledge of community needs. Thorough needs assessments serve to analyze community needs in depth, with respect to the community’s cultural, social, economic and physical situations. This award is designed to give organizations an opportunity to study a community in detail and to subsequently design strategies that promote the National Library of Medicine’s databases.
Hospital Library Promotion Award ($5,000):
The purpose of this award is to support projects that promote the value of the hospital library to the hospital administrators and staff. As hospitals expand their services and programs, hospital librarians can play a significant role in areas such as: education and training to address knowledge management, clinical information systems, patient safety programs, electronic health records, health literacy, or patient education.
Library Student Outreach Award (funding will cover all costs related to meeting attendance):
The award provides funding for students to attend the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SCC/MLA) Annual Meeting in Fort Worth TX and participate in meetings, conference sessions and other activities designed for them to learn about the importance of health information outreach and services conducted by librarians in the South Central Region.
Mobile Applications Project Award ($8,000):
The purpose of the Mobile Applications Project (MAP) Award is to provide an opportunity for Network members to provide outreach services and increase access to health information by utilizing mobile technologies. Projects may target health professionals, public librarians, public health workers, consumers, or the general public.
Professional Development Award($1,500 per event):
The purpose of this award is to enable individuals at NN/LM SCR Network member institutions to expand professional knowledge and experience to provide improved health information access to healthcare providers and consumers.
Technology Improvement Award ($5,000 per project):
The Technology Improvement Project (TIP) Award is intended to improve access to and increase use of free high quality health information including National Library of Medicine’s databases. It is designed to meet the health information needs of “underconnected” communities and increase access to health information services within the community.
See the NN/LM SCR Funding page for more information and for deadlines.