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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

Data, Clinical Outcomes, and Librarians – What’s the Connection?

Monday, February 29th, 2016

binaryheadtrimmed2What is the connection between data, clinical outcomes and the librarian?  Come and explore this connection with three of the nation’s leaders on big data and patient outcomes at the Using Data to Improve Clinical Patient Outcomes Forum on March 7, 2016.  Librarian participants will have the opportunity to explore how they can contribute to the use of clinical data mined from the electronic health record as evidence for patient care and to consider what skills they can develop to support health care organizations in the use of data. The Forum will be held in person in Seattle or Salt Lake City as well as in a live broadcast.  Registration is required.  

For more information see the website.  Professional development funding is available for PNR members.* https://nnlm.gov/data-forum
*Please register by Feb. 29th is you are seeking Professional Development funds.
Join us on Twitter at #NNLMdataforum

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 21-27)

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  Why focus the focus on eating disorders? According to the National Association of Anorexia and Related Disorders (ANAD),  over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.  ANAD also reports that eating disorders are the number one fatal mental health disorder. Mortality rates can vary and part of the reason why is that the causes of reported deaths are often listed for complications (organ failure, malnutrition, suicide, heart failure) resulting from rather than the actual eating disorder itself.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “An eating disorder is an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating.”

The three types of eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia nervosa: People with anorexia see themselves as overweight and are afraid to gain weight despite the fact that they are clearly underweight. Anorexia is more than just about food. It is a way to feel in control.  People will weigh themselves constantly, will weigh and measure and calculate the calories of the food they do ingest. For some, with anorexia, binge-eating may occur, they may become obsessed with excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, use diuretics, laxatives or enemas. Some with anorexia say that this control with food and weight is a way to gain more control in their lives and to ease the stress and anxieties they experience. The medical consequences of anorexia vary including in seriousness but it affects the heart, other organs, the bones, and a myriad other physical conditions.
  • Bulimia nervosa: People with bulimia have recurring episodes of overeating very large amounts of food followed by one or more of these methods to compensate for the over-eating: self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives, excessive exercise, fasting. Unlike those with anorexia, those suffering bulimia often have a normal healthy weight. They are often very unhappy with their bodies and fear gaining weight. They tend to binge and purge secretively (because they are disgusted with themselves and are ashamed) from several times a week to several times a day. A host of medical problems caused by bulimia include hair loss, dental problems, gastrointestinal conditions, and problems affecting the heart.
  • Binge Eating Disorder: Those with binge eating disorder eat huge amounts of food during which they feel they have no control.  Unlike those with anorexia or bulimia, people with binge eating disorder do not self-induce vomit, exercise excessively, eat only certain foods or small amounts. Therefore, those with binge eating disorder tend to be over-weight or even obese.  Often those with this disorder feel guilt and shame about their binge eating which leads them to continue the cycle. Many miss work, school or social events to binge eat. Those with binge eating disorders often report having more health problems, depression, stress, trouble sleeping, and suicidal thoughts than those without this disorder. It can increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other medical complications.

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Join National Leaders in Clinical Data Forum

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

binaryheadtrimmed2If you would like to learn from three of the nation’s leaders about the use of EHR-based data  to improve patient safety, quality of care, and evidence-based practice, plan to attend the in-person or live broadcast of the Using Data to Improve Clinical Patient Outcomes Forum on March 7, 2016, from 8:30-2:30 (PST).

Join us on Twitter at #NNLMdataforum. Registration is required. More information at the website https://nnlm.gov/data-forum

Join us in Seattle or Online!

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

binaryheadtrimmed2Using Data to Improve Clinical Patient Outcomes forum.

Join us on Monday, March 7th from 8:30 – 2:30 at the University of Washington or online as we explore this fascinating and timely topic with leaders in the field. More information is available on the website, and registration is open. Professional Development funds are available for PNR members.* https://nnlm.gov/data-forum
*Please register by Feb. 29th is you are seeking Professional Development funds.

African American Health Disparities

Friday, February 5th, 2016
http://familiesusa.org/

http://familiesusa.org

Take a look at this infographic.  Consider the numbers.  What does this say about race and health? About 610,000 people in the United States die of heart disease every year. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in most ethnic groups yet the health disparities for African Americans is cause for even more alarm.  African Americans have the highest prevalence of high blood pressure of any ethnic group which greatly increases the risk for stroke. Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney disease in African Americans. Minorities are affected by all sorts of health care issues that stem from a long history of disadvantage.  Segregation, racism, prejudice, ignorance, white privilege, discrimination, societal institutions, laws, socioeconomics, and more have all contributed to the poor health of many minorities in this country.

Unfortunately, like many societal issues, whether education, economic, legal, the focus tends to be on surface quick solutions rather than looking at the broader and deeper changes that need to happen.  It is easy to find tips to reduce heart disease such as exercise, healthy diets, quit smoking, and regular check-ups.  This is not to say that these tips are not good information but tend to ignore the greater and deeper understanding of the historical, political, socioconomic,  social-environmental and cultural factors that affect African American health.

History in medicine has not been kind to African Americans. Prior to the Civil War, African Americans were dependent upon their owners for healthcare and many received only a minimum amount of care. After the Civil War African Americans were often in separate hospital wards or not even allowed in hospitals. Many African Americans were not allowed into medical schools or if they were doctors already, could not practice in certain hospitals. Throughout much of history many African Americans were subjected to medical experiments, quite often without consent or without being given the full disclosure of the facts of the procedures of which they were participating. Even now with statistics regarding the health of African Americans so in contrast to non-Hispanic Whites, it is evident that segregation still remains. More must be done to reduce these alarming health disparities.

More research needs to be done regarding health conditions of African Americans and other minority groups. Research and clinical care must be done by more diverse professionals who could bring the cultural aspects to their work important to minority populations. Research and clinical care must be done with respect and understanding, with cultural competence of all racial and ethnic groups. African Americans are greatly underrepresented in healthcare so opportunities are needed for education and employment for those in minority populations so they can help bridge that gap and reduce medical mistrust.  A greater understanding of various cultural attitudes, behaviors, customs, practices and beliefs have benefits for all of us when seeking healthcare.  Changes are occurring at NIH and various health care and research institutions but we must all become more conscious about how our society and our health institutions affect those who need it most.

To learn more:

Registration open for the March 7, 2016 forum: Using Data to Improve Clinical Patient Outcomes

Monday, February 1st, 2016

When you hear “Big Data” what comes to mind? Research? That’s where the NN/LM focus has been–introducing health sciences librarians to the role they can play in managing and curating research data, introducing health sciences librarians to training resources and tools to teach students and researchers what should be considered when they produce data.

Big data does not just exist in the research setting. There is a lot of patient data that exists in each of our hospitals, medical centers, and healthcare systems. Doesn’t this quantity of patient data qualify it as big data too? Some of us say the answer is, “Yes.”  

On March 7, 2016 the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest (PNR) and MidContinental Regions (MCR) are sponsoring an event that will provide an overview of current and potential uses of patient data to improve patient safety, quality of care and evidence-based practice: Using Data to Improve Clinical Patient Outcomes. (more…)