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Archive for 2009

Re-format Web Pages for Easy Reading

Have you ever wanted to “cut the clutter” from web page articles and just be able to read the content without the ads and other extraneous information?

A simple, free online tool called “Readability” will let you do this. Readability installs into your browser as a “bookmarklet.” When you’re on a web page you’d like to re-format, click the bookmarklet and Readability will replace the page with the content only. The content can be re-formatted in newspaper, novel, e-book or “terminal” styles, and you can pick the size of the text and the margin.

I found Readability did not work as well for “discussion thread” sites (it would only pick up the first thread in the page), but worked well for news sites and the other sites I tried. If you give it a try, post a comment about your experience!

ToxLearn — a new resource for learning about toxicology

NLM’s Specialized Information Services has released the first module of a new resource, ToxLearn. It is available at:

ToxLearn is a multi-module online learning tool that provides an introduction to toxicology. It can be used as an ancillary curriculum to a first-level undergraduate toxicology course, and can provide users of NLM’s toxicology databases with a working knowledge of basic toxicology principles. Only Module One has been released at this time. Additional modules will come later.

ToxLearn is an update of the earlier NLM ToxTutor, which was designed to provide a basic understanding of toxicology as an aide for users of toxicology literature contained in the National Library of Medicine’s toxicological and chemical databases. ToxTutor was available at ToxLearn will update and expand on that effort.

Public Health Informatics Competencies

The CDC has published a document containing recommended public health informatics competencies. The purpose of competencies is to “enable public health professionals to leverage the power of modern information technology in the science and practice of public health.” See:

Learn About the Rise of the E-Patient

Did you know that close to 20% of adults searching online for health information visit Internet and social networking sites to talk with medical experts and other patients? These e-patients are looking for tools to connect and share their medical data online. Listen to the National Public Radio interview with Susannah Fox of the Pew Internet and American Life Project regarding this growing trend.

Also, learn how librarians can find new ways to engage e-patients and their families with the Pew Internet online presentation The Rise of the E-Patient: Trends in the use of digital technology for health purposes.

New web site rates California long term care

The California HealthCare Foundation has released a new, free online service, Your Guide to Long Term Care in California. This site rates the care provided by California nursing homes, hospice programs, and home health agencies. Read more about it in this announcement.

Opportunity for public comment on draft Healthy People 2020 objectives

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services invites you to comment on the DRAFT set of objectives for Healthy People 2020. For three decades, Healthy People has provided a set of national ten-year health promotion and disease prevention objectives aimed at improving the health of all Americans. Comments will be accepted through December 31, 2009!

Visit to:

    • View proposed draft objectives for Healthy People 2020
    • Comment on the proposed objectives
    • Comment on the topic areas
    • Suggest additional objectives
    • Suggest topic areas you feel are missing from the draft set

Your comments will help ensure issues important to you are included in Healthy People. Establishing objectives and providing benchmarks to track progress motivates, guides, and focuses action. Be part of the change. Your feedback will help define the vision and strategy for building a healthier Nation!

2009 Report on Health Information Technology Adoption

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has published a new report on the rate of electronic health record adoption in hospitals. The report is entitled, “Health Information Technology in the United States: On the Cusp of Change, 2009.” The report discusses: “needed integration steps between performance measurement initiatives and HIT. Other topics covered include: adoption of electronic health records in U.S. hospitals, and specifically among hospitals that care for the poor; state roles in the advancement of HIT; and recent federal initiatives related to HIT.”

The report is available for download from

What will the web look like in 5 years?

What will the web look like in 5 years? Find out what Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, has to say about this. Some intriguing thoughts: the web will be dominated by the Chinese language and today’s teenagers will provide the model for how the web will work in the future. You can read highlights, along with a link to listen to the full 45-minute interview, here:

Free Training Video for Clinical Staff Working with Interpreters

The 19-minute DVD, Qualified Interpreting for Quality Health Care: A Training Video for Clinical Staff on How to Work with Interpreters, is produced by the Health Care Interpreter Network and Kaiser Permanente, in conjunction with Casa Madre Films. The DVD covers topics such as:

  • Why it is important to use a qualified interpreter instead of getting by with hand gestures and limited second-language skills
  • Key protocols for language interpreting, such as confidentiality and first-person interpreting
  • Cultural considerations
  • Tips for using remote interpreters (telephonic and video)

Since production and distribution of the video is funded by Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, the DVD is available to health care providers at no charge, with a $5 flat fee for shipping and handling. Ordering information, as well as an online preview of the video, is available from the Health Care Interpreter Network.

The redesigned PubMed is now live!

PubMed transitioned completely to the redesigned interface effective today. The NLM Technical Bulletin article has more details.

To keep up-to-date with major changes like this, sign up for automatic email messages by becoming a subscribed member of PUBMED-ALERTS, an announcement service available from the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). To subscribe, send e-mail to with “subscribe PUBMED-ALERTS [your full name]” in the body of the message.

And, if you subscribed to PUBMED-ALERTS, you would get the message later during the day that said: “We are having technical problems with PubMed. We have reverted to the old interface. We expect to transition to the redesigned version in the next few days.”