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Archive for January, 2012

SEA Tech: Consumer Health Apps of Interest

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Consumer Health Apps of Interest

by Terri Ottosen

Throughout the year, as Consumer Health Coordinator, I gather information from a variety of resources to keep abreast of interesting happenings in the field of consumer health. In this gathering of information, I’ve found one of the most interesting aspects of consumer health is the explosion of health apps for health-conscious consumers.

According to the Health Care Blog, there are about 9000 consumer health apps in the iTunes store that offer an astonishing array of creative tools that help consumers take control of their health and health care. These include apps that calculate calories burned during exercise, create soundtracks to help people fall asleep, and display pictures that can elicit memories from Alzheimer’s patients. If the store doesn’t offer something for what ails you now, it probably will soon. The selections will proliferate within the next year, with an additional 4,000 consumer apps expected by next summer, industry experts say.[1]

The blog post also points to the problems this can create, as consumers have trouble finding what is available and evaluating information for scientific validity. The government is starting to regulate these apps and recently the Federal Trade Commission brought its first cases against the makers of two health apps who claimed to cure acne with colored lights emitted from cell phones.[2]

Just as health sciences librarians help consumers and health professionals to evaluate health websites, we can assist in the evaluation of health apps. To that end, here are five selected apps that are potentially of value to the health consumer:

  1. iTriage
    Users can evaluate symptoms, learn about possible causes, find appropriate medical facilities, and get quality reports and information to make better, more informed health care decisions.
  2. Vitals.com
    This app provides federal, state, provider-supplied, patient-supplied and private data to help web users make intelligent decisions about finding the health care provider that is right for them. Vitals gathers the data, normalizes it, benchmarks it, applies quality metrics and presents it to web users as an aid in deciding which health provider to choose.
  3. Asthmapolis
    (in design process and not yet available)This app helps asthma suffers to track symptoms, triggers, and use of medications to learn more about and manage the condition. Physicians, public health workers and scientists can also use the app for various remote monitoring and better control uses.
  4. Fooducate
    As someone who continually strives to eat healthier, I think using this app will make it easier for me. This app lets users scan the barcodes of food products and receive more information about it, including how much sugar is added, any ingredients or preservatives to watch for, and a letter grade that rates the nutritional value. Healthier alternatives and the ability to compare products are also provided.
  5. Glucose Buddy
    This application is ranked #1 Diabetes iPhone Application by the founder of TuDiabetes.com and has been featured in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Forecast magazine, as well as Wired magazine. Diabetes patients can keep logs on the foods they’re eating and track activities, which are integrated with calorie and nutrition information. There are over 100,000 food items and 200 exercise activities.

What’s your favorite consumer health app?

About Us: Outreach and Access Coordinator (OAC) - PJ Grier

Friday, January 27th, 2012

PJ Grier
With the new 2011-2016 NN/LM SE/A contract, my position migrated from Network Access Coordinator to Outreach and Access Coordinator with additional duties to target outreach and education efforts to health science professionals which includes hospital librarians, health science librarians, and others in the health professions workforce. My continuing functions include maintaining and expanding member relations, network services, emergency preparedness & response, teaching, exhibiting, and monitoring/tracking funding awards.

Education and Outreach

As an organization, we are working to promote in-person and online training to health sciences librarians and health professionals. We want to make sure that this population has up-to-date access to training in evidence-based medicine, electronic medical records, health literacy and an awareness of the ever-changing landscape of healthcare reform. Along with encouraging these populations to include NLM resources in their training materials, we will make sure they are referenced in our own materials, and partner with them whenever possible to help meet their educational and outreach needs.

Member Relations and Network Services
Through email, social networks, mail, or phone (1-800-DEV-ROKS), we are responsible for answering questions from prospective and existing members about our services. If the staff member processing the request cannot answer the inquiry, it is transferred to me for more detailed information. I also promote the advantages of free network membership, especially the availability of NLM services and products, at exhibits, conferences, classes, site visits and whenever possible. An example of an organization which would benefit from network membership is community colleges that have adopted allied health sciences and health IT programs. Network services include managing DOCLINE, LinkOut referrals, monitoring scholarly communications, e-licensing activities, library digitization & preservation, collection development, encouraging consortia participation by members and resource sharing issues (repository development, ILL procedures, document delivery, publishing issues).

Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R)
It is my responsibility to communicate with state EP&R coordinators when adverse weather events occur that may impact libraries in our states or territories (some states, like FL and TN, have multiple coordinators). I also manage the NLM sponsored NN/LM Buddy Network with the Pacific Northwest Region (PNR): NLM has charged each NN/LM region to adopt a “buddy” in the event an RML office is unable to operate during an emergency where services and communications could be seamlessly transferred for the duration of the emergency. Internally, I maintain the SE/A emergency preparedness process, including call trees and staff contact information, and assure that it complements the University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library’s process. Additionally, I teach The 10 Steps to Service Continuity class to library associations in the region and continue to support and answer network member questions on developing viable disaster plans. One of the primary suggestions of this class is that all library associations secure a buddy library in the event of a local emergency. As the ex-officio member, I also manage administrative tasks of the EP&R Regional Access Committee.

Funding
In the area of funding, I monitor and support awards targeting resource sharing, digitization, preservation/conservation efforts and emergency preparedness for hospital/health sciences libraries and health professions. Examples of these awards include the Express Planning and Assessment Award, Disaster Recovery Award, Express Library Digitization Award, Consumer Health Outreach Projects, Express Outreach Project Awards and Policy Awareness Award. Funded projects average one year in length and can be adapted to address various programmatic needs while encouraging collaboration.

I welcome your suggestions and assistance in helping me to address the needs of health sciences librarians, healthcare professionals, emergency preparedness/disaster planning, member relations and network services in the 13 states and territories of the Southeastern Atlantic Region.

The National Library of Medicine Training Center Needs Your Input

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) will be creating web based self-paced tutorials related to PubMed®, TOXNET®, and NCBI databases.

We need your input in order to inform topics, length, and format of the tutorials we will develop.  Please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ntctutorial to complete a short questionnaire.  The questionnaire should take 10-15 minutes to complete.

To say thank you for your time, we will give a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate to the first 50 people who complete the questionnaire.

Please complete the questionnaire by close of business on Friday, February 17, 2012.

Questions may be directed to Sharon Dennis, Assistant Director of the NTC, at sharon.dennis@utah.edu.

 

 

SE/A Funding Opportunities Now Available

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

SE/A Funding Opportunities Now Available

We are pleased to announce the availability of NN/LM SE/A award applications for the 2012-2013 year. The following RFPs and CFAs are now available on our website. Funding for these awards will begin May 1, 2012; however, the SE/A budget for 2012-2013 has yet to be determined, and all funding is dependent upon availability.

The due date for all applications (except exhibit, training, and disaster recovery awards, which will be awarded until allotted funds are spent) is March 9, 2012, close of business. All proposed projects must be completed by April 30, 2013.

In the meantime, anyone who anticipates applying for an Outreach to Health Professionals Project or Consumer Health Outreach Project should email J. Dale Prince (dprince@hshsl.umaryland.edu) with initial intent and estimated budget within the next two weeks (no later than Wednesday, February 17, 2012).

NN/LM SE/A award descriptions and applications are available at: http://nnlm.gov/sea/funding.

NLM and NN/LM, SE/A Region Offices Closed - January 16, 2012

Friday, January 13th, 2012

The National Library of Medicine and the NN/LM, SE/A Region offices will be closed on Monday, January 16, 2012 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.