Friday, September 30, 2005

PDAs and Tablet PCs

All I have heard has been how the number of PDAs (Palm or PocketPC) are growing and how doctors and other medical professionals are using them to provide more effective and efficient medical care. For example yesterday's article (9/29/2005) on CNNMoney PDAs prove major aid in health care touts that PDAs now commonly used for clinical drug information could one day evolve into true expert systems. They could "access information from many sources simultaneously, match it with the patient's current medical record and past medical history, apply prediction rules, calculate clinical equations and integrate it into an overall information package to help the doctor make a sound, evidence-based decision."

I honestly thought it is just a matter time before PDAs will be in the pockets of every patient care giver. The only question would be whether it would be a Palm or PocketPC. So naturally I was little confused when I hear our IT person talking about Tablet PCs.

What is a Tablet PC? A Tablet PC is basically a laptop computer with a screen that can swivel and fold onto the keyboard to create the tablet which you can write on using a stylus.

There are some hospitals that are adopting the use of Tablet PC to improve access to patient information. For example, Wisconsin-based Marshfield Clinic evaluated PDAs, desktop PCs and Tablet PCs as potential tools for improving patient services at the point of care. "While PDAs are highly portable, the screens were deemed too small to properly view most medical information. A desktop PC solution was not cost effective because it would require a PC in each patient room and doctor's office. The clinic also predicted that most patients would prefer the unobtrusive note-taking enabled by the Tablet PC as opposed to providers turning away from patients to key data into a desktop computer. "

There are many reasons for using Tablet PCs in health care as illustrated in The Case for the Tablet PC in Health Care, based on a Microsoft White Paper.

However, there are drawbacks to the Tablet PC as the article Not quite ready for prime time, (scroll midway down) indicates. "They're too heavy, too expensive, too limited in healthcare applications and too hard on battery power." Additionally the handwriting software recognition is still too inaccurate and doctors find it can be time consuming making corrections flipping between modes.

No system, PDAs or Tablet PC seem to be perfect for the health care world yet. Personally, I think the winner will actually be who has the most software.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Presenting and Publishing

Rachel Singer Gordon's column "Publish, Don't Perish" this month features presenting and publishing, how to present already published work and how to publish your presentations.

"Our publishing efforts mesh better with our careers as librarians when we see how writing both interacts with and directly benefits our other professional activities. One of the easiest moves for librarian authors is into presenting, whether this be at workshops, poster sessions, panel discussions, or conference sessions. Publishing and presenting easily complement one another, allowing audiences to benefit from different types of learning, and allowing authors to market their existing work and glean ideas for their next piece."

If you are interested in publishing Rachel's column "Publish, Don't Perish" and book, Librarians Guide to writing for Publication are great resources. They are easy to read and make the idea of publishing less scary for first timers. Reading her book inspired me to try publishing myself. I started of small (book reviews) and gradually worked my confidence up to submitting an article for publication (which got accepted...yeah). So for all you new medical librarians out there who might be interested but are a little intimidated by publishing, I say go for and share your knowledge with the profession.

Electronic Document Delivery Funding Available

(courtesty of Dragonfly)
Over the past two years, email delivery of documents has increased from 4.5% to 27%, and document delivery by mail has dropped from 64% to 36%.

Are you looking for financial assistance in implementing or improving EDD at your library? Five awards of up to $2,000 each are now available from the NN/LM PNR for DOCLINE libraries in AK, ID, MT, OR, and WA. This funding is to support implementation of Internet and/or Web EDD service or improvement of existing EDD services. Purchase of computers or printers is outside the scope of this award.
This funding can be used for:
* scanning or document imaging equipment and/or
* software for Internet or Web-based transmission of documents

Need some ideas or inspiration? Since 2003, 12 libraries in the Pacific Northwest Region have been successful in securing funding in order to improve their EDD. Read about some of them here.

Submissions are due on October 31, 2005. For a link to the online submission form and more information, please visit the full announcement.
Questions? Please email Andrea Ryce ([email protected]).

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Nominate a Medical Librarian for Library Journal's Movers and Shakers

I got this on Medlib and thought I would pass this along. Let's get some Medical Librarians in there. I know there are some pretty great emerging leaders in medical libraries, if you know one, nominate her/him!


Please pass this message on. They are looking for nominations for new Movers and Shakers and would like to have some medical librarians in the group.
Becky Hebert

The editors of Library Journal need your help in identifying the emerging leaders in the library world. Our fourth annual Movers & Shakers supplement will profile 50-plus up-and-coming individuals from across the United States and Canada who are innovative, creative, and making a difference. From librarians to vendors to others who work in the librar field, Movers & Shakers 2006 will celebrate the new professionals who are moving our libraries ahead.

Deadline for submissions is November 1, 2005
To nominate someone for Movers & Shakers 2006, please print out the form at
and return it to Ann Kim, Library Journal, 360 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010
or fax to 646-746-6734.
Movers & Shakers 2006 will be distributed with the March 15 issue of Library Journal.

Poor Health Literacy Associated With Poorer Physical and Mental Health

In this week's Archives of Internal Medicine (September 26, 2005) there is an article on the association between health literacy and self-reported physical and mental health functioning and activity among new Medicare managed care enrollees. They surveyed 2923 people from Cleveland, Ohio; Houston, Tex; Tampa, Fla; and Fort Lauderdale–Miami. It was determined that individuals with inadequate health literacy had worse physical and mental health, more difficulty with daily activities (due to health) and more pain that interfered with work activities.

(Archives of Internal Medicine article)
Health Literacy and Functional Health Status Among Older Adults
Michael S. Wolf; Julie A. Gazmararian; David W. Baker
Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:1946-1952.

Obviously there is a role for health information libraries here. Check out my recent post on Physicians and Health Libraries Helping Patient Literacy where doctors have teamed up community centers and libraries to help improve patient health by improving their literacy skills. Donna Beals also authored a recent article Health Literacy: The Medical Librarian's Role, in the Journal of Hospital Librarianship.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Proquest To Offer Over 2000 Medical e-Books

ProQuest will use the MyiLibrary platform to distribute more than 2000 medical and health e-books. This agreement with MyiLibrary continues ProQuest’s ongoing strategy to expand its STM content pool with highly respected and authoritative titles. The company recently signed licensing agreements with Nature Publishing Group, NewsRx and Alliance Publishing.

In the past six months, ProQuest has added more than 150 new journal and other periodicals to ProQuest Medical and Health Complete. Beginning immediately, a range of the Oxford Textbooks and Oxford Handbooks will be available on the MyiLibrary platform along with many other key titles from Medical Publishers such as Wiley, Elsevier, Springer, Blackwells and others. Users can choose to purchase individual medical titles, or subscribe to complete collections.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Librarians Without Borders

Librarians Without Borders (LWB) is an organization founded in February 2005 at the Faculty of Media and Information Studies at the University of Western Ontario. LWB is composed of Master of Library and Information Science students and LIS professionals from across Canada and the United States.

LWB's mission is improve access to information resources regardless of language, religion, or geography, by forming partnerships with community organizations in developing regions.

LWB's Inaugural Project
Biblioteca Tutangi, a Portuguese language library in Huambo, Angola
LWB and Angolan partners are working to create medical and nursing collection that will support the learning needs of university students in Huambo. The university students were without access to a library until the Catholic Mission acquired and renovated a building in early 2004. Their goal is to fill the library's empty shelves, populate it with skilled support staff, and establish a plan that ensures its long-term viability.

Check out ways you can help:

Librarians Without Borders (LWB) does not accept unsolicited donations of books and other materials. If you have materials that you believe are appropriate for the Portuguese medical collection in Angola, please e-mail: [email protected].
Be sure to include details about the materials you wish to donate.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Prescription Drug Programs

There are many people who can not afford their prescription drugs so here are two good free web sites that helps connect people with prescription drug programs.
A non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded by Libby Overly, a home health social worker, and Richard J Sagall MD, a family physician. Provides information on patient assistance programs and other programs that help people obtain health supplies and equipment. does have a manual that it sells, but it contains the information on the website and is intended to be a "tool for healthcare providers who often find it more convenient to have the information on the website in 'hard copy' format, especially if they work in the field or do not have constant internet access."

You can search for information on assistance programs by drug, state, or other local programs. It has information on Fee for Service programs and Discount Drug Cards. It provides information on assistance programs (descriptions of programs, contact information, application materials and web addresses) for people all ages and families. directs people to the programs then the person must apply to each of those agencies.

Is an online service to screen for federal, state and some local private and public benefits for older adults (ages 55 and over). It contains over 1,300 different programs from all fifty states (including the District of Columbia). On average there are 50 to 70 programs available to individuals per state. It provides descriptions of the programs, contact information and application materials.
This site has two main parts.
1. BenefitsCheckUpRx gives information on Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage, qualifying for extra help, and other federal, state and private programs.
2. BenefitsCheckUp gives information to find help with rent, property taxes, heating bills, meals and other needs.

BenefitsCheckUp has users fill out information about the drugs they are using, their age, and financial information so that it can sort through the data recommend various programs. The information is kept confidential but some people may feel uncomfortable giving it out.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Making Print Journal Cancellation Decisions

For those of who are looking at the possibility of making some major journal holdings changes you might want to read the following article.
Evidence-based librarianship: Utilizing data from all available sources to make judicious print cancellation decisions
Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services, Volume 29,
Issue 2, June 2005, Pages 169-179; John Gallagher, Kathleen Bauer and
Daniel M. Dollar.

As the cost of periodicals continues to rise, libraries must consider the value of titles currently acquired or subscribed to. At Yale University's Cushing/Whitney Medical Library (CWML), staff employed an evidence-based librarianship (EBL) approach that combined use data from several disparate sources to make the best decisions regarding the cancellation of specific journals' print format. These best-evidence sources include the following: a 3-month usage study of 1249 current unbound print journals; statistics about 3465 MEDLINE-indexed electronic journals accessed via ExLibris' linking tool SFX; statistics from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the American Association of Health Sciences Libraries; and various traditional library statistics.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What is the Library's Value

Libraries and librarians are under more pressure to justify their existence as value to their company/community/school. The September 2005 MLA News (pg. 10) has a list of various web sites that can help you determine and prove how much you and your library is worth to those who have the purse strings.

I found two listed sites to be particularly helpful and interesting.
Measuring Your Impact: Using Evaluation to Demonstrate Value
The course materials from a workshop include information on methods and tools for assessment, evaluation planning, creating logic models, data collection, data analysis and reporting.

Practical Tips to Help You Prove Your Value
This article covers guidelines and tips for creating, explaining, and communicating the value of the library and librarians.

Unfortunately three studies on the value of hospital libraries
(listed in the MLA News as a resource) are fairly old (1992, 1987, 1994). I don't mean to take anything away from these great studies, but online access and wireless technology have completely changed the playing field, so articles on The contribution of hospital library information services to clinical care (1987) and on the Effect of online literature searching on length of stay and patient care costs (1994) are not as helpful any more.

Just from casually watching my email I have noticed a greater amount of medical librarians who are in hospitals that are working with the Studer Group (or similar consulting entities) to provide "Service Excellence." These librarians are now being asked to create quantifiable performance initiatives to show how they/the library are serving hospital's mission of providing excellent service. Great in theory, but just from reading the emails it seems Studerized librarians are having a hard time developing these performance initiatives.

This leads to me to wonder. All of the resources we librarians have used to prove our value have all been based on what he have already done. For example, we helped reduce hospital costs
by reducing the library's interlibrary loan expenses by 10% through more library cooperative agreements. Was that a goal of ours before the beginning of the year? Or did that simply happen and we submitted it to our administrators as an example of the library's contribution to helping the bottom line? If there was a goal to reduce expenditures such as interlibrary loans, did we have a target and were we evaluated on whether we hit that target?
It seems what we need is more information on proving our potential value and how can we hit those target goals to realize our true value the organization.

As far as I know libraries have never been asked to increase circulation by X%, increase literature searches by X%, increase home page activity by X%. We have all looked at everything at the end of the year and said this what we have done see how we are a valuable. We haven't been asked set quantifiable goals for our services to become a more valuable asset to our organization.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

iPod Helps Radiologists Manage Medical Images

While looking for medical podcast I ran accross a very interesting way iPods are being used by radiologists.,39024649,39127655,00.htm

Radiologists are using iPods to store medical images. Dr. Ratib and Antoine Rosset, M.D., a radiologist in Geneva, Switzerland, recently developed OsiriX, Macintosh-based software to display and manipulate of medical image data.

"Radiologists deal with a very large amount of medical imaging data," Dr. Ratib explains. "I never have enough space on my disk, no matter how big my disk is—I always need more space. One day I realized, I have an iPod that has 40 gigabytes of storage on it. It's twice as big as my disk on my laptop and I'm using only 10 percent of it for my music. So, why don't I use it as a hard disk for storing medical images?"

Normally, radiologists rely on specialized workstations, costing $100,000 each, to view high resolution 3D images. Dr. Ratib says the iPod platform "has similar functionality [to the high-end workstations], it's accessible to the rset of the medical community and you don't have to spend $100,000,$200,000 to view images."

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Medical Podcasts

You know when you buy a new car you are suddenly aware of all the cars on the road that are exactly like yours? I bought a silver Honda Civic when I got my first "real library job" and within that same week I spent 1/2 hour going up and down the mall parking lot looking at every silver Civic trying to find my car.

I wonder if the same principle is happening to me sine I just recently bought my iPod. I have known about podcasting but it wasn't until recently (after I bought an iPod) that I began to "discover" all of these medical podcast sites. I don't know if it is my recent purchase that opened my eyes or if there has been a recent rash of medical podcast sites springing up. But when I saw that McGraw-Hill's AccessMedicine is now offering a medical online service to launch free podcasts, I decided to try and come up with a list of sites offering podcasts for the medical professional.

For those unfamiliar with podcasts, they are audio files that you can download into your iPod or mp3 player. You need an podcast aggregator (similar concept to RSS aggregators) such as iTunes, iPodder, iPodderX, or MedReader in which you copy the podcast's feed link and paste it into the add feed or subscribe to podcast area of the podcast aggregator. Once the feed is added your iPod or mp3 player will download the audio program.

I looked specifically for sites that specialized in medical podcasts, there are some great science podcast sites that have medical topics every so often, however, I did not include them. I also briefly looked at iTunes podcast area and searched under Health to try and find some medical podcasts. But it generated a list of 257 programs, and sifting through obvious false hits such as Fetish Radio in the health section, just was too time consuming to deal with.
So here is what I found on the web (alphabetic order), warning this might be a long post.

ABC's Health Report The Health Report produced by Australian Broadcasting Corporation national radio.

Primary audience: "specialist and mainstream audiences" Starting Date: August 2005

Recent podcasts programs include:
  • Stress and Breast Cancer
  • The link between gum disease (periodontitis) and heart disease
  • Cox 2 Inhibitors: Non steroidal inflammatory medications
  • Exercise and Genotype

Access Medicine produced by McGraw-Hill. Plans to do weekly podcasts.

Primary audience: doctors Starting date: September 9, 2005

This is very new and as of September 16, 2005 has only one podcast, unfortunately there is no list of program topics. Additionally these podcasts often refer to accompanying slide presentations that are exclusive to paid subscribers to Access Medicine. So it may not be ideal for somebody who isn't at a computer to look at slides.

Future podcasts segments may include:

  • Harrison's Grand Rounds are audio lectures, from world-renowned academic physicians, addressing key medical topics in internal medicine.
  • Harrison's Updates are the latest, most important advances in medicine written by highly regarded academicians in the medical field.
  • Hurst's the Heart Updates are examinations and reviews of the most recent cardiology news from medical journals written by distinguished medical physicians.

As Seen From Here a CME-accredited ophthalmology podcast sponsored by the New York University School of Medicine weekly radio show program of interviews with recent authors of articles in ophthalmology peer-review journals.

Primary audience: Ophthalmologists Starting Date: March 2005

Recent podcasts programs include:
  • Understanding Wavefront: a podcast special.
  • CNV and Anti-VEGF Therapy (parts 1 and 2)
  • Post-Operative Endophthalmitis: a population-based study
  • Genetics and AMD

CTisus-Computed Tomography Podcast produced by the Advanced Medical Imaging Laboratory (AMIL). AMIL is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to research, education, and the advancement of patient care using medical imaging with a focus on spiral CT and 3D imaging. The AMIL is headed by Elliot K. Fishman, M.D., and includes several radiologists, a computer scientist, multimedia developer (Melissa Garland), a medical illustrator (Frank Corl), and a graphics assistant (Chris O'Keefe). The AMIL is part of the Department of Radiology at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, MD. For a good list of podcast topics

Primary audience: Radiology and CT professionals Starting Date: July 2005

Recent podcasts programs include:

  • Pancreatic Imaging
  • Future Directions in Radiology
  • Kidney Stones, Hematuria, and Beta Blockers
  • Incidental Adrenal Mass

MedicineNet presents Doctors On Health

Primary audience: doctors. Starting Date: May 2005 volume 1.

Podcast segments include:

  • Health Beat - MedicineNet doctors will put the news in perspective and clarify the often conflicting issues presented by popular media.
  • Monitoring Medicine - covers condition specific health trends and tips based on patient questions and concerns experienced in the daily practice of medicine.
  • Research in Perspective - translates leading-edge research into valuable information you can use.
  • Checking Your Pulse - MedicineNet doctors answer viewer questions and discuss important viewer comments.

SCCM Syndication iCritical Care produced by the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM).

Primary audience: critical care professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, etc.) Starting Date: ?

Recent podcasts include:

  • Critical Care Pharmacists Bringing Unique Viewpoints to the Multiprofessional Team
  • PICU Care of Children with Cancer
  • The Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) Advocacy Caucus

Sound Medicine is produced by the Indiana University School of Medicine and WFYI Public Radio. Contains searchable archives of their hour-long show.

Primary audience: general public Starting Date: 2001

Sound Medicine's podcast and RSS feed page can be tricky to find ( to get information on how to add it to your podcast aggregator such as iTunes.

Recent podcasts include:

  • Hurricane Katrina Special Report
  • Lung Sparing Approach to Treating Lung Cancer
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Human Growth Hormone

SoundPractice.Net produced by the Journal of Medical Practice Management.

Primary audience: doctors Starting date: May 2005

Podcast segments include:

  • Financial Management: example of podcast programs: Financial Advice on Medical Building Construction, Time-of-Service Payment: Customer Service and Cash Management
  • General Practice Management: example of podcast programs: Organizing Your Practice for Success: Vision Setting, Decision Making, Governance, and Communications, Negotiate Contracts Carefully With Part-time Doctors
  • Healthcare Policy: example of podcast programs: The Importance of Private Practitioners in the Education of the Next Generation of Physicians, Discussion about HSAs and Consumer Driven Health
  • Law and Medicine: example of podcast programs: Keeping Internal Chart Reviews from Being Used Against You: 11 Useful Strategies, Developing Personnel Policies to Keep You Out of the Courtroom: The Role of the Office Policy Manual
  • Technology: example of podcast programs: Physician Use of E-mail, It's the Right Time to Move to the Electronic Health Record

Friday, September 16, 2005

New Online Book Titles on Ovid

Ovid has added more than 160 medical, scientific, and engineering titles from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Pharmaceutical Press, McGraw-Hill, others to its electronic book collection, bringing the total number of Ovid ebooks to 350.

The medical books include books in various medical specialties, such as neurology, endocrinology, infectious diseases, surgery, and cardiology

Some key new titles include:
  • Joslin's Diabetes Mellitus and Hospital Epidemiology of Infection -LWW
  • Clarke's Analysis of Drugs and Poisons -Pharmaceutical Press
  • Williams Obstetrics and Schwartz's Principles of Surgery -McGraw-Hill

In order to attract a larger users base Ovid is also expanding its ebooks into the humanities, social sciences, and engineering.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

NIH Public Access Plan And One Association's Experiences

This email came to me from Liblicense and I found it to be an interesting report of what one association's experience has been regarding the NIH Public Access Plan.
I thought it might be interesting to share the American Diabetes Association's experience with the PMC system for author manuscripts, since ADA is fairly unusual in allowing authors to post their accepted manuscript immediately upon acceptance. Thus, the posting of Diabetes and
Diabetes Care papers on PMC shows how successful the NIH system is absent any publisher-mandated delay. The success of the system with articles in our journals goes to the question of whether author failure to comply with the system can be attributed to publishers, or rather to the resistance of researchers and universities to comply with the system.

Since the PMC system's debut, Diabetes has accepted 134 original articles, and Diabetes Care has accepted 122. In 2004, 39% of Diabetes manuscripts were NIH funded, as were 15% of
Diabetes Care manuscripts. Using those percentages, we would expect that 53 Diabetes manuscripts and 18 Diabetes Care manuscripts were NIH funded since the start of the PMC system.

To date, one author manuscript from either journal has been posted on PMC.

Chu K, Tsai MJ. Related Articles, Links Neuronatin, a downstream target of BETA2/NeuroD1 in the pancreas, is involved in glucose-mediated insulin secretion.
Diabetes. 2005 Apr;54(4):1064-73. PMID: 15793245 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

[Incidentally, it is the wrong version of the manuscript.]

My conclusion is that lack of compliance with the NIH plan is primarily the responsibility of NIH. I suspect that researchers are not at all convinced of the value of the system [researchers I know are openly hostile to it, and see it as yet another bureaucratic burden or little benefit to them]. It may also be that the manuscript submission system or the PMC site itself is not perceived as user-friendly.

Peter Banks
American Diabetes Association

I am wondering if we aren't asking too much of our authors? There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding NIH Public Access Plan.
  • Some publisher's support it while other do not, so what kind of message does that send to the author?
  • According to a FAQ from FASEB's Issues Authors Should Consider Regarding the NIH Enhanced Public Access Policy, "Unless you receive instructions from the journal regarding their participation in PMC, authors should assume they are responsible for submission if they opt to comply with the NIH policy." How many journals besides FASEB have told their authors this? Are some authors assuming the publisher will "take care of it?"
  • Copyright...ugh... Do authors want to even deal with the copyright issues regarding their articles? Authors are responsible for abiding by the specific journal's copyright agreement. So that means that the author must actually read it before they sign it and or contact their publisher to find out whether their copyright agreement allows them to submit manuscripts to PMC. This can be confusing for an author.

    For example:
    The Journal of Hospital Librarianship (copyright transfer form), I recently had a paper accepted for publication and I inquired with the editor as to whether I could prepublish the accepted paper on my website. I was told "certainly not before it is published." Yet section 1 C of copyright transfer form says, "retain PREPRINT DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS, including posting as electronic files on the contributors own Web site for personal or professional use, or on the contributor's internal university/corporate intranet or network, or other external Web site at the contributors university or institution, but not for either commercial (for-profit) or systematic third party sales or dissemination, by which is meant any interlibrary loan or document delivery systems. The contributor may update the preprint with the final version of the article after review and revision by the journals editor(s) and/or editorial/peer-review board."

    An author can get two different messages regarding copyright, so why risk it?

As you can see each publisher has their own policies regarding the NIH Public Access Plan, (Information regarding policy for Chest, APS, FASEB) it would not surprise me in the least if authors are confused and therefore do not wish to be bothered "dealing" with submitting to the PMC.

Backfile journal digitisation: Wellcome/NLM/JISC PubMed Central scanning project

I am reposting this from an my liblicense email.
Over the past 2 years the Wellcome Library, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) have been working together to digitise the backfiles of a number of historically significant medical journals. Once digitised, the archive is made publicly accessible through the NIH life sciences archive, PubMed Central (PMC). Titles that have been digitised (or are in the processing of being digitised) include the Biochemical Journal, the Journal of Physiology and Annals of Surgery. [Further details of the project, including a full list
of titles that will be digitised, can be found at:]

Though this project is well along the road to completion, there is still a small amount of funding available to pay for the digitisation of additional titles. Consequently if there are any medical
publishers/learned societies who are interested in participating in this project, I'd like to hear from you.
In brief, publishers who wish to participate in this project have to:
  1. Give the NLM permission to digitise the backfiles. Once digitised, the NLM will make the archive freely accessible through PMC.
  2. Agree to deposit future issues in PMC. Research articles can be embargoed in PMC for up to 12 months; all other papers (editorials, reviews etc), can be embargoed for 3 years. Full details available at:

In return:
  1. Wellcome/JISC/NLM fund the backfile digitisation in its entirety. [In addition to digitising the archive and making it fully searchable, the process also involves creating an XML citation for each article, that is added to the PubMed database.]
  2. Wellcome/JISC/NLM will host the file at PMC - and look after the dataset over time. In practice this means taking responsibility for converting digital files to new, future formats.
  3. Provide a copy of the digital archive to the publisher for hosting on the publisher site (if required)

If any publisher of medical journals is interested in participating in this project, please contact me as soon as possible, indicating the name(s) of the titles that might be interested in joining this project. I look forward to hearing for you.
Robert Kiley
Head of Systems Strategy & Acting Librarian
Wellcome Library.
210, Euston Road, London. NW1 2BE
Tel: 020 7611 8338; Fax: 020 7611 8726; mailto:[email protected]
Library Web site:

New MedReader 4.0

MedReader,, is a free RSS Reader and RSS Publishing Solution specifically for the Medical & Healthcare Industry. (What is RSS?) It is a free service that sits on your desktop and searching for the information in your specialty.

MedReader is four sections (Physicians, Business, Nursing, and Allied Health professionals) and each section of MedReader is then subcategorized to provide specialty specific information.
With MedReader 4.0 users are able to manage multiple folders, scrolling updates, and persistent searching.

MedReader also has a Podcast client allowing users to listen to music or other media through a single interface. Allowing users to manage both online written medical news as well as online medical audiocasts.

Librarians who are interested in keeping updated medical news on their library web pages this RSS feed manager might be quite helpful. One caveat is that MedReader must be installed on your computer so it is limited to those who primarily use one computer and have permissions to download on to their computer. For the privacy conscious people out there it is important to know, MedReader is "in the process" of developing physical, electronic, and management procedures to safeguard the information which they collect about you, with the aim of insuring appropriate use, preventing unauthorized access, and maintaining data accuracy. "These systems are not yet complete and any information you provide you do so at your own risk." So your guess is as good as mine as to what information the little software is collecting about you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

EBM for Librarians Continuing Education Class

Since I am in a continuing education kind of mood, here is another class for all of you who are interested in EBM.

EBM for librarians: Appraising the evidence for validity.
2-Day Class:
DATES: October 13 & 14, 2005
LOCATION: Library of the Health Sciences (Room 303),University of Illinois at Chicago, 1750 W. Polk (m/c 763),Chicago, IL 60612
COST: $225 includes textbook and materials.
CE HOURS: The two-day course has been previously approved for 14 MLA CEhours. An application has been submitted for renewal for 14 MLA CE hours.

Critically appraising the medical literature for validity: Diagnosis and Therapy
Taught by Jordan Hupert, MD; Leo Niederman, MD; Alan Schwartz, Ph.D. and Sandra De Groote, MLIS; Richard McGowan, MLIS; Kristina Howard

"An in-depth exploration of the third step of the EBM process, critically appraising the medical literature for validity will be presented at this workshop. Participants will examine therapy and diagnosis articles. This 2-day class is intended for health sciences librarians who wish to learn the evidence based medicine process of critically appraising articles for validity and analysis of results. This class will provide a more in-depth understanding of the statistical concepts used in the medical literature. This will be done in the context of analyzing journal articles and answering actual clinical questions with an emphasis on therapy and diagnosis during the workshop. A focus will be placed on the epidemiological concepts fundamental to understanding the clinical literature. These will include such terms as number needed to treat, absolute risk reduction, likelihood ratio, confidence interval and intention to treat.

By the end of the class participants should be able to:
  • Apply appropriate criteria in appraising an article for validity and evidence
  • Evaluate the quality of statistical methodology in the clinical literature
  • Produce a formal EBM analysis using the CAT (Critically Appraised Topic)
  • Lead a group through the process of appraising a diagnostic or therapy article
More information may be found at:

Education Institute Tech Tuesday Teleconferences

The Education Institute offers virtual programs and courses which are accessible on-line or by teleconference from your workplace or home.

The Education Institute has some pretty neat programs for those who are interested. Below is just a sampling.

Cost of each program varies, those who are members of these library associations receive a discount. No information on CE credits.

Lancet 200 Years of Articles Online (1823-1995)

The back issues of The Lancet (1823-1995) are now available online. The confusing part is that they are not at they are housed on Elsevier's ScienceDirect

"The Lancet Backfiles are available through Elsevier's ScienceDirect. All ScienceDirect customers are able to search the backfiles collection, the titles and abstracts as they become available, at no extra charge. Backfiles Subscribers are entitled to full-text access. References are linked to the full-text articles, and the collections are fully CrossRef enabled."

It appears from this information that ScienceDirect customers must subscribe seperately to the backfiles to get full text access.

I always think it is a shame that there are publishers such as Nature Publishing Group and Elsevier who make backfile access so expensive, when there are other publishers such as Journal of Biological Chemistry (back to 1905) and roughly 200+ journals through Highwire Press that offer free access to backfiles. Don't get me wrong I don't think journal publishers should be uncompensated for their backfiles. I think the APS Journal Legacy Content which is available online only and purchased separately offers a very logical and reasonable way to access the backfiles. Institutions pay a one-time charge of $2000 for online access to the backfiles (1898 to 1996-1998 depending on the journal), there is no maintenence fee, and you retain access if you cancel your subscriptions to APS.

Of course look how far we have come regarding online access. When I first started library school, online access was in its infancy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Librarians' Rx Moves On

Denise from the Librarians' Rx accepted another postition, outside of health sciences. Sorry to see you go Denise, you had a lot of helpful and insightful posts. All is not lost. Liza Chan, AHFMR Research Librarian, has taken up the charge and I look forward to reading her posts.

Making Sense Out Of Social Software

Online community, blogs, wikis, Flickr, and Jybe! That's all very cool,
but what does it have to do with libraries?

Find out by signing up for WebJunction's live online panel discussion,
Making Sense of Social Software in the Library. Panel members Aaron
Schmidt (Thomas Ford Memorial Library, IL), Andrea Mercado (Reading
Public Library, MA), and Regan Robinson (Stevens County Rural Library
District, WA) will talk about projects they've implemented at their
libraries and answer your questions about what, why, and how to enhance
your library's online presence.

The event will take place on Wednesday, September 28, 10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET.
Space is limited so register soon:

This looks to be a great discussion. While WebJunction tends to focus primarily on the public library side of things, social software effects all types of libraries. Medical librarians might be able to learn a few things that they can adapt to the medical library world.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Physicians Divided on Impact of CAM on U.S. Health Care

A survey of more than 700 physicians revealed that approximately 36% believe it has a negative impact, 35% believe it has a positive impact and 20% feel complimentary and alternative medicine has no impact.
  • 59% believed that acupuncture can be effective to some extent.
  • 48% believed that chiropractic can be effective, while 29% indicated that it is ineffective, and 57% of physicians reported that massage therapies can be effective.
  • Only 10% of physicians reported aromatherapy to be effective. Similarly, only 12% indicated that electromagnetic field therapies were effective, and 16% of physicians believed that homeopathy and naturopathy were effective to some degree.
  • 46% felt that alternative approaches could be helpful to patients in some cases, 28% felt that they could be harmful. Thirteen percent believed that the putative helpfulness of CAM was due to the placebo effect.

To view this poll go to:

Friday, September 09, 2005

Search MEDLINE/PubMed in French and Spanish

I received this email from Medlib and I decided to repost it and try out searching PubMed in French.
----From Medlib Email----
Search MEDLINE/PubMed in Spanish and French

We are developing a MEDLINE/PubMed search page in French and Spanish. French or Spanish medical terms or phrases can be entered in the search form; the citations returned will be in English.
The search page will provide suggestions of words or phrases currently in the database, but the user does not necessarily have to use them. However, a successful search is greater using the suggested terms.

The search form and results retrieved are in text-only, so it is suitable for those with low-bandwidth connections to the Internet. Terms may be combined, such as: 'vacuna y paludismo' or 'tratamiento por dengue' 'tratamiento por enfermedad de chagas'.

This tool is still under development; let us know your experience through the Feedback link. Tell us how we can make it better. Please forward to others who might be interested.

Paul Fontelo
As the database page states, "when searching for information, it is often easier to use the language with which one is most familiar with. Translations of "MeSH" might be helpful to persons not too familiar with English."
Makes sense so, I decided to try out searching PubMed in French to see how well the database performed.
I minored in French in college and participated in a few student exchanges to France and Quebec when I was in high school and college. While I might know more French than the average Clevelander, I rarely get a chance to use it and I am quite rusty. Additionally, I really only know normal French, by that I mean that I do not know medical terminology French. Just as there is medical terminology in English, there is the same in French. Some words are the same or similar but some are not. The website is exactly right in saying that it is easier to search a database using a language you are familiar with. Wow, my hats off to all you librarians who are not native English speakers and search the medical literature in English.

The first thing that is very helpful is that the search page will provides suggestions for words you type in the search box. Simply typing coeur (heart) brings a drop down menu listing coeur, coeur artificiel, coeur croise, coeur foetal, coeur mecanique, coeur pulmonaire, coeur pulmonaire chronique, coeur triatrial.

One problem I noticed with coeur is that coeur pulmonaire and coeur pulmonaire chronique are both listed as Pulmonary Heart Disease in the search results, which is not quite accurate. Coeur pulmonaire=pulmonary heart (disease) while coeur pulmonaire chronique=chronic pulmonary heart (disease) and there is no specific MeSH term labeled chronic pulmonary heart disease. My understanding of the email and the web site was that they were translating the English MeSH to French so that people could search MeSH francaise.

Currently, la traduction francaise de "MeSH" n'est pas complete, the french translation of MeSH is not complete in the database. For example: if you type cancer you get the same drop down menu as you would for coeur, but absent from the list are veprevalentent cancers such as cancer du sein (breast cancer), cancer du cerveau (brain cancer), etc. I did check the term neoplasme to see if any of the missing cancer terms would be listed as neoplasme, after all since French is not my native language I was not sure if breast cancer could also be le neoplasme du sein. However, all that was listed was neoplasie cervicale intraepitheliale (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia).

Since this tool is still underdevelopment I wouldn't be too concerned with the fact that many MeSH terms have yet to be translated, it is a BIG project. However, it should be noted somewhere on the site that they are still working on translating the MeSH terms and perhaps give an idea as to how far they are in the process. After all one of the strongest ways to search Medline is by using the MeSH.

How the site works.

I search both PubMed in French and PubMed to determine if there were any differences in search results.
First I searched just cancer de la peau (skin cancer). PubMed in French yielded 63120 results. When I searched PubMed for skin neoplasms I got 64709. Confused as to why the different results I searched PubMed just typing in skin cancer, and got 63120. Ah Ha a match! Since there is no details button in the PubMed in French, I can only guess that it performs the same mapping as PubMed did when I typed in skin cancer.

PubMed Details for skin cancer:
("skin neoplasms"[TIAB] NOT Medline[SB]) OR "skin neoplasms"[MeSH Terms] OR skin cancer[Text Word]

Combining Search Terms:
I decide to try a search on cancer de la peau et grossesse (skin cancer and pregnancy). (I really wanted do something like breast cancer and pregnancy but breast cancer was not a term).
Both PubMed in French and PubMed (when I searched it as skin cancer AND pregnancy) yield 641 results.

I decided to get a little tricky and do a search with OR's and AND's, I decided to search for (cancer de l'estomac OU cancer du pancreas) ET grossesse ((gastric cancer OR pancreatic cancer) AND pregnancy). Whoops PubMed in French hit a big bump in the road, I got 576692 results. It turns out that it ignored the terms in parentheses and just gave me results from grossesse (pregnancy). If you are curious, searching (gastric cancer OR Pancreatic Cancer) AND pregnancy in PubMed yielded 545 citations. Due to the presumed mapping in PubMed French, I chose the english search terms that were literal meanings and yielded the same amount of results between databases (cancer du pancreas=pancreatic cancer not pancreatic neoplasms).

My thoughts on PubMed in French:
This site is a definite work in progress. If PubMed in French (or Spanish) could become an exact duplicate of the PubMed (complete with subheadings, limits, boolean searching, etc.) I can see it becoming a powerful tool to others. However, in its current state it is most likely best for people to continue to search the PubMed. It will be interesting to see how far this site advances, I hope it grows and becomes as advanced as PubMed.

Scopus vs. Web of Science: Review

Recently there have been a couple of postings on Medlib-l and SERIALST regarding Scopus. Most of these postings are asking for other librarian's opinions on Scopus, especially librarian who currently have Web of Science. So I thought I would post a few articles comparing Scopus and WoS.
  • Louise F Deis, Princeton, and David Goodman, Long Island University, published a comparative review of Web of Science (2004 version) and Scopus, in the Charleston Advisor v6 n3 January 2005 issue.
    (brief excerpt)
    "Each library will have to decide if it can afford to add Scopus. This is a case of elastic demand: if the price were half, the sales might be three or four times as many. One possible way of paying for it, that is, by ceasing to subscribe to more specialized indexes in areas well-covered by Scopus, has been discussed above. The likely alternative is to discontinue other material. This leads to an often-discussed question: which is more important, the journals or the indexes?"
  • One helpful post directed people to an article in Library Journal, E-Views and Reviews: Scopus vs. Web of Science By Cheryl LaGuardia — January 15, 2005
    (brief excerpt)
    "Scopus is a powerhouse for the sciences and seems to do a creditable job selectively in the social sciences. It's more suited for "subject" searching than Web of Science, and the content is more up-to-date. It includes web references but doesn't "reach back" as far as Web of Science (1966 for Scopus and 1945 for Web of Science), although for the sciences that may not be greatly important. Scopus rates a 9.75, with just one-quarter point off for the sensory overloading results screens."
  • Peter Jacso writes a free monthly column, Peter's Digital Ready Reference Shelf, and wrote a very in depth review of Scopus (September 2004).
    (brief excerpt)
    "One significant difference between the WoS and Scopus records is that the latter has abstracts for a larger percentage of their records than the former. The reason for this is that ISI does not create abstracts, it only includes them if they are present in the original documents. On the other hand, the Elsevier abstracting/indexing database records are enhanced by abstracts for many (but not all) of the articles that do not have abstracts in the source journal.
    This presence of abstracts may significantly increase the recall when searching by word, and also helps users in selecting the most pertinent items from the results list. It is another question that during my testing of a small subset I found that the quality of abstracts and the indexing terms assigned by Compendex left much to be desired."
  • SCOPUS: Profusion and Confusion By Susan Fingerman in Online v. 29 no. 2 (March/April 2005). While this article is more recent it is not a direct comparison of WoS and Scopus, but I found it to be very informative so that is why it is included on this list.
    "SCOPUS is Elsevier's new search product that offers access to 14,000 peer-reviewed journal titles. The search product can retrieve a lot of information and offers plenty of options. However, following too many of the product's multiple refinements can lead to confusion. Pricing, which is based on institution size, ranges from $20,000 to $120,000 per year."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Geaux Library Project (shelters) Need Your Help

Dear Librarians, Information Professionals and other Friends,

The Geaux Library Project will attempt to meet
the information needs at hurricane evacuee shelters around Louisiana and beyond. Using computers and networking equipment donated to the Red Cross and others by large commercial and local IT companies, we will be setting up small computer labs at Red Cross shelters and staffing them with librarians and other trained volunteers.

Our pilot locations in Louisiana will include the Gonzales, Baton Rouge, and Acadiana (Lafayette) areas. *We need your help!*

Specifically, we have openings for the following volunteer positions:

On-site positions

  • Geaux Getters
    You will do an initial needs assessment on the shelter(s) in your area. You
    will be provided with a questionnaire to determine the information necessary
    for the project. This will require you to visit the shelter physically and
    in put your findings into a web-based form.
  • Geaux Coordinators
    You will be responsible for determining and assigning the necessary amount
    of volunteers for shelter(s) that they oversee. Communications will take
    place over the phone, online, and possibly in person. Coordinators may need
    to periodically visit the shelter site to determine adequacy of
    resources. Coordinators can also double as Geaux Librarians.
  • Geaux Librarians
    You will be asked to supervise a small network of computers and volunteers
    in a shelter. This may include: reference, referring in-depth questions to
    our searcher network, data entry, instruction on computer use to a
    population with very limited computer skills, coordinating computer usage
    times among patrons, opening and/or closing the computer area, basic
    technical support i.e. turning on computer and maintaining a printer and/or
    fax machine, other duties as they arise. Shifts are flexible.
  • Geauxfers
    You will need to be available to do anything the Geaux Librarians or Geaux
    Coordinators need you to do.
  • Geaux Techs
    Hardware and network techs will be needed to troubleshoot any issues that
    may come up at the various sites, and setup new shelter computers. Some of
    the work may be done remotely depending on the issue.
  • Geaux Couriers
    You will drive equipment and supplies from a pickup point to the shelters.
    This can be a one time job or you can volunteer to do it more often. We will
    specify the locations as they come up.
    *We have an immediate need for a Geaux Courier to bring equipment from
    Lafayette to Gonzales or Baton Rouge!***

Remote positions

  • Geaux Speed Searcher
    You will be issued a login ID and password that will give you access to
    questions posted by onsite librarians. You may work on these answers and
    view other answers until a notice has been posted that no more are needed. This
    may be done anytime, anywhere, and our only request is, in accordance with
    the ALA Code of Ethics, to respect the confidentiality of these questions.
  • Geaux Writer
    You will write content for the website as needed such as policies,
    volunteer position descriptions, link descriptions, etc.. Experience in
    writing clear, easy to read information in a must.
  • Geaux Webmaster
    You will maintain the website. You
    must have experience in using a variety of web programming languages and
    using database driven websites.

Everything is completely voluntary at this time, but the satisfaction you receive will be helping hurricane Katrina victims by doing what you know how to do better than anyone else!
For more information and further description of volunteer opportunities, please see our website at
*Go there to fill out the volunteer signup form* to become part of this much needed project.

We are also accepting *Donations* through the website. Click on the For Donors section to see what items we need and how to donate. We will be putting out instructions on how to start your own Geaux Library in your area soon, so keep watching the website for more information. The
website is just now functional to get more volunteers and donations. We will add more information when we get some help.

*For our sanity, please use the website to communicate with us.***

Geaux Library Project (shelter) Organizers,
Becky Hebert and Addie Fletcher

Health Literacy and Alternative Medicine: The Librarian's Role

Recently I posted a couple of entries about health literacy (August 25, 2005) and about quack medicine (August 8, and August 24, 2005) and the librarian's roles or responsibility.

As it turns out the recent edition of the Journal of Hospital Librarianship has two interesting articles on those two subject. So if my blog piqued your interest, then you might want to check out these articles.

Health Literacy: The Medical Librarian's Role
Page Range: 17 - 27
DOI: 10.1300/J186v05n03_02
Donna L. Beales
Journal of Hospital Librarianship Volume: 5 Issue: 3 Cover Date: 2005

"Although the issue of 'health literacy' is not new, recent studies reveal that a significant number of North Americans cannot read and comprehend medical information provided to them by health professionals. This paper focuses on 'health illiteracy' rather than 'health literacy', and suggests roles medical librarians can play in addressing the problem of low-literacy, which is associated with poorer health outcomes and an increased bottom line. Multiple patient literacy assessment tools are discussed, as well as formulae for determining 'reading level' scores for written materials. Medical librarians can effect institutional change by better understanding the salient issues surrounding health illiteracy, and then applying their knowledge within the organizational structure of their individual medical facilities in order to foster personnel awareness, and ultimately drive policy."

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Adventures in Quacky & Alternative Medicine
Page Range: 43 - 54
DOI: 10.1300/J186v05n03_04
Michael J. Schott, Shelda Martin
Journal of Hospital Librarianship Volume: 5 Issue: 3 Cover Date: 2005

"Medical librarians have to be knowledgeable not only in the area of best practice but also worst practice. Most medical librarians and other health information providers have to counter the claims of frauds and quacks at some time in their careers. To be responsible to physicians, patients and consumers, it is important that librarians be aware of sources for reliable information on bad medical practices, frauds and quacks."

Nominate a colleague for Lucretia W. McClure Excellence in Education Award

Nominate a colleague for Lucretia W. McClure Excellence in Education Award

Each year, the Medical Library Association honors individuals who have rendered distinguished service to health sciences libraries and furthered the purposes of health sciences librarianship. The Lucretia W. McClure Excellence in Education Award, established in 1998 in honor of one of MLA's most respected members, honors outstanding practicing librarians or library educators in the field of health sciences librarianship and informatics who demonstrate skills in one or more of the following areas: teaching, curriculum development, mentoring, research, or leadership in education at local, regional, or national levels. The recipient receives a certificate at the annual meeting and a cash award of $500 after the annual meeting.

Please take this opportunity to nominate an outstanding colleague for MLA's Lucretia W. McClure Excellence in Education. The deadline for applications is November 1, 2005. Complete information and application forms for all MLA awards and honors may be found at:

CE Program from Pittsburgh Regional Chapter, MLA

Free Health Information Online: Moving Beyond MEDLINE
Presented by Kathy Davies from the Greenblatt Library at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta,
4 MLA CE Credits includes buffet lunch.
Friday October 7, 2005, 9:30 am - 2:30 pm at Forbes Regional Hospital,
Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

"Provides an introduction to many little-known (and free!) resources for physicians, nurses, researchers, and hospital administrators."

Program Description:
"Finding specialized information resources beyond the clinical core of MEDLINE can be challenging. There are many free medical databases beyond MEDLINE available from government, education or other providers. This class will focus on extending your search skills to new databases indexing specialized health topics, alternative medicine, health care fields, populations, health and safety issues, and consumer information resources. This course will provide and overview of each database, tips for searching, and suggestions for finding additional information fro non-MEDLINE databases."

Register before Friday September 23, 2005:
$55 Pittsburgh Regional Chapter, MLA member
$80 MLA/SLA/WPLLA member
$5 Student (enrolled full time in library degree granting program, include photocopy of student ID)

Register after Friday September 23, 2005, you must include a $25 late fee.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Influence of Pharma on Medical Students

Medical students at risk for influence from pharmaceutical companies' marketing efforts, according to article in Medical News Today refering to a study published today in JAMA.

Medical Students’ Exposure to and Attitudes About Drug Company Interactions:
A National Survey (requires subscription)
Frederick S. Sierles; Amy C. Brodkey; Lynn M. Cleary; Frederick A. McCurdy; Matthew Mintz; Julia Frank; D. Joanne Lynn; Jason Chao; Bruce Z. Morgenstern; William Shore; John L. Woodard
JAMA, September 7, 2005; 294: 1034 - 1042.

While exposure to and attitudes about drug company interactions among residents have been studied extensively, relatively little is known about relationships between drug companies and medical students.
To measure third-year medical students’ exposure to and attitudes about drug company interactions.
Design, Setting, and Participants:
In 2003, we distributed a 64-item anonymous survey to 1143 third-year students at 8 US medical schools, exploring their exposure and response to drug company interactions. The schools’ characteristics included a wide spectrum of ownership types, National Institutes of Health funding, and geographic locations. In 2005, we conducted a national survey of student affairs deans to measure the prevalence of school-wide policies on drug company–medical student interactions.
Main Outcome Measures:
Monthly frequency of students’ exposure to various activities and gifts during clerkships, and attitudes about receiving gifts.
Overall response rate was 826/1143 (72.3%), with range among schools of 30.9%-90.7%. Mean exposure for each student was 1 gift or sponsored activity per week. Of respondents, 762/818 (93.2%) were asked or required by a physician to attend at least 1 sponsored lunch. Regarding attitudes, 556/808 (68.8%) believed gifts would not influence their practices and 464/804 (57.7%) believed gifts would not affect colleagues’ practices. Of the students, 553/604 (80.3%) believed that they were entitled to gifts. Of 183 students who thought a gift valued at less than $50 was inappropriate, 158 (86.3%) had accepted one. The number of students who simultaneously believed that sponsored grand rounds are educationally helpful and are likely to be biased was 452/758 (59.6%). Students at 1 school who had attended a seminar about drug company–physician relationships were no more likely than the nonattending classmates to show skepticism. Of the respondents, 704/822 (85.6%) did not know if their school had a policy on these relationships. In a national survey of student affairs deans, among the 99 who knew their policy status, only 10 (10.1%) reported having school-wide policies about these interactions.
Student experiences and attitudes suggest that as a group they are at risk for unrecognized influence by marketing efforts. Research should focus on evaluating methods to limit these experiences and affect the development of students’ attitudes to ensure that physicians’ decisions are based solely on helping each patient achieve the greatest possible benefit.

Some things I found interesting:
Of respondents, 93.2 percent were asked or required by a physician to attend at least 1 sponsored lunch.
Nearly 60 percent (59.6 percent) of the students simultaneously believed that sponsored grand rounds are educationally helpful and are likely to be biased. 85.6 percent did not know if their school had a policy on these relationships. In a national survey of student affairs deans, among the 99 who knew their policy status, only 10.1 percent reported having school-wide policies about these interactions.

Computers Need for Louisiana Libraries

Update 9/8/05: Terrific response. Need was met!

I received this from my OHSLA email list and thought I would pass it on.

To the Library community:
I know that many of you are wondering what you can do for the folks in the states which have suffered from Hurricane Katrina. I have heard from several of the State Librarians and the damage ranges from minor flooding to total devastation. It is heartbreaking to see the damage and so many misplaced people.

If you are interested and able to send computers, here is a request from the Louisiana State Librarian, Rebecca Hamilton.

"To all--we are in desperate need of computers/printers. We are being inundated with evacuees needing to file FEMA applications, unemployment, search for loved ones, etc. and are coming into our public libraries to use the computers. Our libraries have greatly extended their hours to accommodate the people but they need additional computers and printers. If you can please put the word out that if anyone wants to help immediately, this is our greatest need."

The specs for the computers:
  • Pentium 3
  • Windows 2000, prefer XP
  • Laser printers if you can still get toner for them
If you are able to assist by sending computers, please let Rebecca know via email: Rebecca Hamilton [email protected] just just to help them plan. This will help her know what to expect and also help us to know (if necessary) when to stop sending them there. I am sure that we will hear from other states about similar needs.

Computers may be sent to State Library of Louisiana, 701 North 4th Street, Baton Rouge, La. 70802-5232

Monday, September 05, 2005

Technology and Hospitals and Power

These days there all types of technological devices for doctors and hospitals as seen in the article by Michael Kanellos on CNET Intel unveils prototypes for doctors, health care (Published August 23, 2005) some of these new devices are similar to the familiar hand held devices and others were automated medical equipment. As Kanellos writes the health care industry has been very difficult to automate and computerize. Some of the current practices (such as written charts) can be very inefficient, costly, time consuming, and prone to errors.

Hospitals that have embraced technology have begun to reap the benefits of their technology as see in the article on Hospitals Reap Wireless Benefits (Posted on: Monday, 29 August 2005). From computerizing the admission process to ordering test and medications hospitals are adding wireless technology to try and improve service and patient care.

However, all this technology is great when your facility is up and running like normal, but when outside disasters hit, like Hurricane Katrina or the Great Power Outage of 2003, creativity is essential. As time goes on we will hear more stories as to how many people within hospitals were able get some outside help to leverage their limited resources to try and provide the best possible care they could.

Two such stories are:
Internet Telephony Keeps Baton Rouge Hospital In Touch When Hurricane Hits
Aug 30, 2005 By Corey McKenna

Baton Rouge General "operating on the power supplied by a back-up generator and with the availability of local phone service but no long distance, the hospital turned to technology to keep information flowing." With their still functioning Internet connection they used Vonage to provide voice over IP services via the broadband connections so that hospital personnel could call doctors, insurance providers, specialists and family members outside of the city. Their patient information was stored in a web interface database, so Baton Rouge General contact Dell to supply them with critically needed wireless laptops positioned in the "new patient areas."

A Horrible Dream
The inside story of how the staff of one New Orleans-area hospital heroically saved their patients and themselves.
By Susanna Schrobsdorff
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 9:09 p.m. ET Sept. 2, 2005

West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, La (suburb adjacent to New Orleans) had much bigger problems than Baton Rouge General. West Jefferson emergency action plan was unique not in how they used technology, but how they were able to still function without it (not losing a single patient due to the harsh conditions). The staff "put their hurricane plan into action long before the storm hit. Over the weekend, they began filling up buckets of water and devising a rationing system—one cup of water for each hand washing. Knowing that backup sewage would be a disaster, they figured out a way to use the disabled toilets with plastic bags they carried out for disposal themselves." Young family members of patients served as a communication network running messages around the hospital, and volunteers volunteered for days in the kitchen keeping food service going.

Depending on the hospital, you, the medical librarian, may be called upon to either research various alternative ideas for emergency disaster plans. Or if you are like my hospital, your library may be command center during an emergency. My hospital decided to make the library command center because it had the largest space with the most computers, phones, faxes, copiers and information. Technology can be an asset in times of an emergency, but planning and creativity can also help leverage what little technology is available to provide the best possible care.

Medicaid Benefits Online Database

(courtesy of ResourceShelf)
The Medicaid Benefits Online Database has "survey data from 2003 and 2004 with information about benefits covered, limits, co-payments and reimbursement methodologies for the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Territories."

You can search by state or by services to see what is covered in each state, whether there is a copayment requirement, prior approval requirement, an coverage limitation, reimbursement methodology, and what populations are covered.

The tends to have quite a few abbreviations at times so make sure you click on the abbreviations link up at the top of the page. There are also options to email the information and reformat it to a printer friendly format.

This site along with another I blogged about (June 3, 2005) National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) can be particularily useful to public librarians and consumer health librarians. Another user population would be a hospital's patient billing and social workers. Healthcare social workers can help get uninsured patients signed up to Medicare or Medicaid.

Web Based Clinical Education

Jane Batten's blog takes a look at Web Based Clinical Education. As she mentions, "It seems that if you're not offering it in web-based format, your just not cutting edge!" She directs us to to the AHRQ, National Safety Foundation, and the Medical College of Wisconsin who have created web accessible patient safety materials on topics of interest to physicians, nurses, and patients.

Jane is pretty much right. Everybody who is anybody is doing web based education. There are free and pay sites that offer all types of continuing education.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Health and Medical News on the Web: Article in Medical Reference Services Quarterly

I appologize for the lack of posts these last two days, I have been sick. I am feeling a little better to check my email and do a bit of blogging.

Here is an interesting article for anyone interested in health and medical news on the Internet.

Health and Medical News on the Web:: Comparing the Results of News-Providing Web Resources
Medical Reference Services Quarterly
Volume: 24 Issue: 4 Cover Date: 2005
Page Range: 17 - 40
DOI: 10.1300/J115v24n04_02
Kay Cunningham MLS

News changes constantly. That change and the abundance of Web-based news resources available complicate finding the news. This paper reviews sixteen different online news sources for their coverage of recent health and medical issues; both general-interest and medical news sites are included. Three health-related news stories were searched in all resources within set timeframes to provide a comparison of coverage. Features and types of resources are described. The use of RSS feeds and weblogs to find news is also discussed with suggestions for using news aggregators to control the flow of information.

Hurricane Katrina Some Information

The nn/lm scr blog has established a section of their blog to share information for those of impacted by Hurricane Katrina. They ask all who are affected to please post information about yourself, other staff or your library so that everyone in the Southeastern Atlantic Region can keep up-to-date on our colleagues.

From SLA's Information Professionals' Alliance on NaturalDisasters and Accidents (IPANDANet) -A member of the SLA community will pay for airfare to the Washington, DC area and then share lodging and food at no cost for a 2-3 month period. This person will mentor you to find a job, locate clothing for you, and when you move into your own place within the three months, will help you locate furnishings for it. Preference will be given to females; dogs are welcome. To inquire about the offer, send email to [email protected]. Selection of a recipient of this offer is left solely to the person making the offer, and SLA is only serving as a conduit for connecting those in need. You need not be a member of SLA to be considered for this offer.

Gueaux LibraryRecovery List Yahoo Group - If anyone in the Gulf area has a spare room or any sort of assistance theycan provide to library workers and their families displaced by Katrina, please email me[email protected]&YY=21516&order=down&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=b and I'll forward to the Gueaux LibraryRecovery List. At this point, there isn't much to do except organize, andthe Geaux group wants to be ready when that time comes. Please considerjoining the list to see how you can help.

Other links and information not specifically library related:

New Orleans specific information, including missing persons:

Relief Organizations and Donation Information:

Find Missing Family:


Offer Shelter:

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The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: