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Archive for May, 2012

“Branching Out: The MeSH Vocabulary” Video Updated

Branching Out: The MeSH VocabularyBranching Out: The MeSH Vocabulary is an introduction to the development, structure and use of the MeSH vocabulary. The video may be of particular interest to searchers of MEDLINE/PubMed, and is used in the PubMed search classes offered by NLM and the National Training Center and Clearinghouse. This 11-minute video has been updated to include new 2012 screenshots of PubMed and MeSH. Branching Out is also available in m4v format for iOS devices and as a text transcript.

2012 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects RFP Released!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced the solicitation of proposals for the 2012 HIV/AIDS Community Information Projects (RFP No. NLMLM2012384 B), from organizations and libraries to design and conduct projects that will improve access to HIV/AIDS related health information for patients, the affected community, and their caregivers. Awards are offered for up to $40,000. Proposals are due to NLM on Wednesday, June 20, 2012.

The solicitation for the 2012 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects is posted on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. Small Businesses can apply to a specific set-aside (NIHLM2012371 A). The Federal Business Opportunities Web site will also list all notices, updates, and modifications to the RFP.

Projects must involve one or more of the following information access categories: information retrieval; skills development, state-of-the-art resources; and/or resource development. Emphasis will be placed upon small businesses and the following types of organizations or arrangements for developing these programs: community-based organizations (CBOs) or patient advocacy groups currently providing HIV/AIDS-related services to the affected community; public libraries serving communities in the provision of HIV/AIDS-related information and resources; health departments or other local, municipal, or state agencies working to improve public health; faith-based organizations currently providing HIV/AIDS-related services; and/or multi-type consortia of the above-listed organizations that may be in existence or formed specifically for this project.

The NLM primary point of contact for the solicitation is Keturah D. Busey, Contract Specialist, and the secondary point of contact is Shari E. Shor, Contract Specialist.

New Podcasts in the Interview Series From the AHRQ Quality Indicators Toolkit for Hospitals

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released two new audio interviews, in a series focused on the use of quality improvement tools in the AHRQ Quality Indicators Toolkit for Hospitals. The toolkit is a free resource to guide hospitals through the process of using the AHRQ Inpatient Quality Indicators (IQIs) and Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) to improve care. The following interviews are now available for downloading, with an audio file and transcript.

  • Analyzing Your IQI and PSI Rates: Amelia Haviland from Carnegie Mellon University talks about several considerations involved in analyzing and working with your IQI and PSI rates.
  • Using the Documentation and Coding Tool: Kathy Vermoch and Suzanne Rogers from UHC discuss strategies that hospitals can put in place to improve their documentation and coding, both of which are critical to the accuracy of AHRQ Quality Indicator rates.

Future podcasts will address the following topics:

  • Identifying Your Improvement Priorities
  • Analyzing Your Barriers and Strategy Options
  • Implementing Changes to Improve Performance on the IQI or PSI Measures
  • Achieving Sustainable Improvements

The entire AHRQ Quality Indicators Toolkit for Hospitals may also be downloaded. Slide presentations and an audio recording from an introductory Webinar about the Toolkit are also accessible. For additional information, please visit the AHRQ Quality Indicators web site.

HHS Launches National Campaign to Educate Older Adults on Registering as Organ Donors

Cartoon of a woman in a hospital bed with family wishing her well.An effort to educate adults 50 and older about the importance of registering to be organ, eye, and tissue donors was launched in observance of Older Americans Month. The campaign was developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in partnership with the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging. The 50 plus campaign was developed to dispel the myth that there are age limitations for giving the gift of life through organ, eye and tissue donation or for being a transplant recipient. Adults well into their 90s have successfully donated organs, extending the lives of recipients. Campaign materials include a brochure in English and Spanish; an article; radio and print public service announcements; and web banners. For more information, please visit

NLM Tools for EHR Certification and Meaningful Use

Photograph of doctor and patientThe National Library of Medicine provides free access to vocabulary standards, applications, and related tools that can be used to meet US EHR certification criteria and to achieve Meaningful Use of EHRs. MedlinePlus Connect, RxNorm, SNOMED CT, and LOINC are resources either created by or supported by NLM that can be used for providing patient-specific education materials, e-prescribing, and creating, exchanging, and interpreting standardized lists of problems, medications, and test results. For additional information, please visit the NLM Tools for EHR Certification and Meaningful Use webpage.

PCORI Seeks Applications to Fund $120 Million in Comparative Clinical Effectiveness Research in 2012

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) released its first primary research funding announcements to support comparative clinical effectiveness research that will give patients and those who care for them the ability to make better-informed health care decisions. PCORI will award $120 million this year for innovative projects that effectively incorporate patients and stakeholders in research teams and address the areas of focus of PCORI’s National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda. PCORI previously announced the approval of 50 Pilot Project Program awards, totaling $30 million over two years, to researchers in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Four funding announcements, involving up to $96 million in funding, correspond to the first four areas of focus outlined in PCORI’s National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda:

  • Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options – for projects that address critical decisions that patients, their caregivers and clinicians face with too little information
  • Improving Healthcare Systems – for projects that address critical decisions that face health care systems, the patients and caregivers who rely on them, and the clinicians who work within them
  • Communication and Dissemination – for projects that address critical elements in the communication and dissemination process among patients, their caregivers and clinicians
  • Addressing Disparities – for projects that will inform the choice of strategies to eliminate disparities

A fifth PCORI Funding Announcement (PFA) on Accelerating Patient-Centered and Methodological Research, involving up to $24 million in funding, will be issued during the summer. All application materials can be downloaded from the “Funding Opportunities” section of PCORI’s website. The deadline for Letters of Intent is June 15, 2012.

How Effective Healthcare Communication Contributes to Health Equity

Patient talking to her healthcare providers, a screenshot from How Effective Healthcare Communication Contributes to Health EquityThe Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has released a seven minute video: “How Effective Healthcare Communication Contributes to Health Equity.” This video offers a helpful introduction for all healthcare providers on how culture, language and health literacy support the elimination of disparities and promote health equity. Effective healthcare communication policies and practices, including provider health literacy, contribute to improving the quality of services for culturally and linguistically diverse populations, as well as people with limited health literacy skills.

Five Resources to Measure Hospital Performance

A recent article published in the Los Angeles Times by Scott J. Wilson listed the following data resources from government agencies and private organizations, designed to provide consumer information about hospitals.

  1. from the California HealthCare Foundation.
  2. Hospital Compare from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  3. The Leapfrog Group, an employer coalition that promotes hospital safety and quality.
  4. Quality Check, a site operated by the Joint Commission accrediting organization.
  5. The Medicare site has a feature to help compare kidney dialysis centers.

PubMed Adds Filters Sidebar and Computed Author Sorted Display!

Yesterday, two new features were added to PubMed: filters sidebar and computed author sorted display!

In order to provide users with a more visible and accessible way to narrow PubMed results, the Limits page has been replaced by a results filter sidebar. The filter sidebar options will work the same way as the limit selections; that is, once a filter is selected it will be activated for subsequent searches until the selection is cleared. The PubMed default Review and Free full text filters have been moved to the filters sidebar. The “Filter your results” portlet will eventually be incorporated into the filters sidebar. For additional information about the filters sidebar, please read the NLM Technical Bulletin article and PubMed trifold.

The PubMed Abstract display was modified to display results using a ranking algorithm when users click the author search link. Because an author may share the same name with other authors, the objective is to display more relevant results by disambiguating common author names. The author name disambiguation process compares citations with the same author name. The similarity for each citation pair is measured by examining the metadata for both citations, such as co-authors, journal, title, affiliation, abstract, MeSH terms, grants, and publication date. For additional information about the computed author sorted display, please read the NLM Technical Bulletin article.

National Library of Medicine Releases Free iPad App, “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness”

The splash page for the NLM Native Voices app shows the exhibition logo and four of the featured interview subjects.To give those who can’t travel to Bethesda, Maryland to see it in person a lively virtual experience, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces a new, free iPad app that captures the contents of its popular exhibition, Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness, currently on display. NLM is the world’s largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health.

The app lets users explore video interviews with tribal elders, healers and other prominent people who practice traditional medicine, Western medicine or a combination of both. From their unique experiences and perspectives, they weave a tapestry of stories of the vibrant and diverse cultures of and medicine ways practiced by Alaska Natives, Native Americans and Native Hawaiians. Other video clips provide an exhibition overview and highlights of the 4,400-mile journey of a totem pole specially crafted for the exhibition, from Washington state to the NIH campus in Bethesda.

The NLM Native Voices app works on all iPads with iOS4.2 and higher. The free app is available for download from the Apple iTunes store.