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Archive for June, 2013

LA Health Sciences Librarians Visit National Hansen’s Disease Museum

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

2013-05-31 16.02.06

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).

SCR Programs at ALA in Chicago

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Cheryl Presenting in Oklahoma

If you’re going to the ALA (American Library Association) conference this weekend, attend these programs with NN/LM SCR panelists!

Different Strokes: Serving the Health Information Needs of a Diverse Community (RUSA RSS Health and Medical Reference Committee & ACRL)
Sunday, June 30, 2013 – 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Medical and health questions at the reference desk can be loaded with unspoken meanings, especially when the patron has different cultural or physical attributes than the librarians. Panelists in this program will include librarians with expertise in providing medical information to patrons who are from different cultures, speak different languages, are disabled or have literacy issues. Attendees will learn about health issues facing diverse populations, and resources to assist them in providing reference services.
SCR Presenter: Cheryl Rowan, Consumer Health Coordinator

ACRL Health Sciences Interest Group Meeting
Sunday, June 30, 2013 – 8:30am to 11:30am
As part of the meeting, Karen Vargas will do an hour-long  presentation on finding medical statistics.
SCR Presenter: Karen Vargas, Outreach and Evaluation Coordinator

There’s An App for That: The Use of Mobile Devices, Apps and Resources for Health and Sci-Tech Librarians and Their Users (ACRL STS & HSIG)
Monday, July 1, 2013 – 8:30am to 10:00am
Mobile devices are changing how library users access information, and applications (apps) for mobile devices are being released at a rapid rate. This program will discuss the range and functionality of mobile and tablet applications available to librarians and end users and how librarians can play an integral role in providing access to quality applications. The program will also address how mobile technologies can be implemented and offer a clearer understanding of the usefulness of these tools. Guidelines for using apps for teaching and assessment of available apps will be also be presented.
SCR Presenter: Emily Hurst, Technology Coordinator

And don’t forget to stop by the National Library of Medicine booth to see your NN/LM friends!


Tablet Ownership Up

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Tablet device touchscreen

According to results from the Tablet Ownership 2013 survey from the Pew Internet and American Life project, today 34% of adults (ages 18 and older) in the United States own tablets. This is a 9% increase from the survey taken in August 2012. Trends in demographic groups owning tablets demonstrate that currently 56% of owners live in households earning at least $75,000 per year and 49% are college graduates. Also of interest, the survey found that adults aged 35-44 were more likely to own a tablet (49%) compared to younger and older adults. Older adults (55-64 and 64+) are currently the least likely to own tablet devices.

Another trend reported in the survey found that among parents with minor children living at home, tablet ownership rose from 26% in April 2012 to 50% in May 2013.





Affordable Care Act Panel Discussion at ALA

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

insurance form

Is your library prepared to deal with the rush of patrons who will need help completing Affordable Care Act health form applications this year? In October, patrons are expected to come to public libraries in great numbers to learn about new insurance requirements and options available. Libraries will need to know about the resources that will help library patrons.

The upcoming American Library Association’s Annual Conference will include a panel discussion entitled, Libraries & Health Insurance: Preparing for October 1. The session will take place Sunday June 30 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm in the McCormick Place Convention Center Room S501BCD. Speakers include Jackie Garner, Medicaid consortium administrator; Susan Hildreth, director of Institute of Museum and Library Services, Ruth Holst, associate director at the National Network of Library of Medicine Greater Midwest Regional Medical Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Kendra Morgan, senior program manager, OCLC Webjunction.





NIH Data Sharing Repositories

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Screenshot of NIH Data Sharing Repository

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently made available a list of data sharing repositories. The NIH Data Sharing Repositories is a searchable list of NIH-supported data repositories that accept submissions of appropriate data from NIH-funded investigators (and others). Also included are resources that aggregate information about biomedical data and information sharing systems.

Also available, NIH Data Sharing Policies, provide a list of data sharing policies in effect at the NIH, including policies at the NIH, IC, division, and program levels that apply to broad sets of investigators and data. Individual requests for applications (RFAs) and program announcements (PA) may specify other data sharing policies for specific projects.

The data repositories and sharing policies provided by the NIH are the work of the NIH Trans-NIH BioMedical Informatics Coordinating Committee (BMIC) which was established in the Spring of 2007 to improve communication and coordination of issues related to clinical- and bio-informatics at NIH. The Committee provides a forum for sharing information about NIH informatics programs, projects, and plans, including their relationship to activities of other federal agencies and non-government organizations.

Data sharing is becoming an important aspect of scientific research with benefits that include:

  • reinforcing open scientific inquiry,
  • encouraging diversity of analysis and opinion,
  • promoting new research, testing of new or alternative hypotheses and methods of analysis,
  • supporting studies on data collection methods and measurement,
  • facilitating education of new researchers,
  • enabling the exploration of topics not envisioned by the initial investigators,
  • permitting the creation of new datasets by combining data from multiple sources.

Benefits are not just limited to the scientific community. With data sharing everyone benefits, including investigators, funding agencies, the scientific community, and, most importantly, the public. Data sharing provides more effective use of NIH resources by avoiding unnecessary duplication of data collection. It also conserves research funds to support more investigators. The initial investigator benefits, because as the data are used and published more broadly, the initial investigator’s reputation grows.

Defining the EHR

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Image of Digital Charts

This is part one in a short series about Electronic Health Records (EHRs), meaningful use, and the connection between EHRs and librarians.

Electronic Health Records, or EHRs, as defined by are “digital (computerized) versions of patients’ paper charts” that combine past and present patient information into a single record. They contain a patient’s demographic and health information history including diagnoses, prescribed medications, as well as lab data and results. EHRs have the potential to streamline the amount of health information concerning a single patient, and therefore provide improved management of patient records by providers. In addition, most EHRs also have the ability to support evidence-based tools and software that assist in clinical decision-making and are able to integrate health information for patients (such as MedlinePlus Connect).

The term EMR (Electronic Medical Record) is often used interchangeably with EHR but the two are very different. The most important distinction to mention however is that EMRs, unlike EHRs, are not able to be modified across different provider offices or healthcare organizations. Another term often used is PHR, or Personal Health Record. A PHR is different from both an EMR and EHR in that it is a record of medical health information and history kept by the patient, rather than the providers.

Despite President George W. Bush’s 2004 initiative for all Americans to have EHRs, the rate of adoption has been slow. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorized the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide incentive payments to providers and hospitals who implement EHRs and are able to demonstrate meaningful use. More about meaningful use will be covered in the next EHR blog post.


Amatayakul, M.K. Electronic Health Records: A Practical Guide for Professionals and Organizations. 5th ed.  Illinois: AHIMA Press; 2012 (

NLM. Personal Health Records. MedlinePlus. Last updated May 13, 2013.  Accessed June 10, 2013.

Health, United States 2012 Edition

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Image of woman pointing to charts

The National Center for Health Statistics(NCHS) has published Health, United States for 2012.

Health, United States is an annual report on trends in health statistics. Visit the NCHS site for data on selected topics, at-a-glance tables, as well as the full report.





Health Datapalooza IV

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

starburst icon as a logo

Happening this week in Washington, DC, Health Datapalooza IV is a national conference that serves as a forum featuring the newest and most innovative and effective uses of health data by companies, startups, academics, government agencies and individuals. This year the conference included a keynote by Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. The Health Datapalooza LiveStream includes live feeds as well as videos of previously recorded speakers.

Health data has quickly become a multi-billion dollar business, with many start-up companies looking to leverage open data initiatives such as those provided by This year Health Datapalooza featured a “hack-a-thon” to see who could come up with a way to use Medicare claims data.

The overarching goal of events such as Health Datapalooza and open health data initiatives are to draw attention to the importance of data in healthcare and demonstrate how the use of data can lead to changes in healthcare including better treatment options, quicker response times, efficient practices, better guidelines, and much more.


New Titles Added to Lending Library

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Book Covers

The NN/LM SCR added a few new titles to the Lending Library this quarter. The materials are available for loan to any of our Network members.

The Art of Explanation: Making Your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand
Author: Lee Lefever
It’s time to rethink how you communicate. Every day, professionals struggle to make ideas easy to understand and it prevents them from accomplishing their goals.This book is a simple guide to solving this problem by turning complex ideas into easy-to-understand explanations. In The Art of Explanation, Common Craft founder and Chief Explainer Lee LeFever distills years of experience into practical, common sense approaches to communicating ideas, products and services.

A LITA Guide to Technology for Small and One-Person Libraries
Authors: Rene J. Erlandson & Rachel A. Erb
For those working in a small library, particularly one that may have little technical support, a foundational knowledge of technology is crucial. This LITA guide shows how to successfully develop, implement, sustain, and grow technology initiatives. The contributors draw from personal experience in rural libraries and regional state university libraries to offer guidance for making sound technology decisions. Whether looking for a quick answer or starting an in-depth technology project, readers will quickly find basic information on the full range of library technology, organized into chapters with numerous headings for easy scanning.

MLA’s Educational Webcast – Partnering to Prevent Diagnostic Error: Librarians on the Inside Track
Program Goal: The goal of this program is to raise awareness and encourage participation by medical librarians in diagnostic error (Dx) prevention and mitigation.

Use the online form to request any of our Lending Library books today.