Data management and integration are complicated and ongoing problems that will require commitment of resources and expertise from the various biological science communities. Primary components of successful cross-scale integration are smooth information management and migration from one context to another. We call for a broadening of the definition of bioinformatics and bioinformatics training to span biological disciplines and biological scales. Training programs are needed that educate a new kind of informatics professional, Biological Information Specialists, to work in collaboration with various discipline-specific research personnel. Biological Information Specialists are an extension of the informationist movement that began within library and information science (LIS) over 30 years ago as a professional position to fill a gap in clinical medicine. These professionals will help advance science by improving access to scientific information and by freeing scientists who are not interested in data management to concentrate on their science.
The theoretical and policy focus on parental involvement in education has evolved into a consideration of two-way connections between families and schools. Working from a social capital perspective emphasizing the importance of information in periods and domains of uncertainty, this study tested a specific application of this reconceptualization. Multilevel models of the National Education Longitudinal Study (n = 17,899) revealed that youth started high school in higher-level math when parents, middle school personnel, and high school personnel were in contact with each other and when middle school personnel bridged the other two. The observed effects of other family-school patterns on math and of all family-school patterns on science were driven by selection, including adolescents' characteristics selecting them into different family-school configurations. Importantly, multiple forms of family-school communication were related to reduced income and language disparities in math and science coursework, regardless of their associations with coursework in the general population.
education; family; poverty; immigration; policy; adolescence
How can health sciences librarians and biomedical informaticians offer relevant support to Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) personnel?
The Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library and the associate vice president for information technology for the health sciences office at the University of Utah conducted a needs assessment.
Faculty and staff from these two units, with the services of a consultant and other CTSA partners, employed a survey, focus groups, interviews, and committee discussions. An information portal was created to meet identified needs.
A directive white paper was created. The process employed to plan a virtual and physical collaborative, collegial space for clinical researchers at the university and its three inter-institutional CTSA partners is described.
The university's model can assist other librarians and informaticians with how to become part of a CTSA-focused infrastructure for clinical and translational research and serve researchers in general.
The Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library attributes its successful move to early planning and preparation. Professional literature on the subject as well as consultation with other experienced library personnel also proved beneficial. Utilizing these resources, the committees devised a strategy that supported the library's mission to provide excellent and complete information services for the advancement of health sciences. This paper describes the Howard University Health Sciences Library move experience and offers practical advice for planning a library move. We hope that the information shared will assist other libraries facing a similar challenge.
This paper reviews the formation of the Frontera Collaboration, a coalition of health sciences librarians serving clinicians and public health personnel in the US-Mexico border region. Based on findings from an assessment of the target populations’ learning needs, the Frontera Collaboration participants developed a shared set of training materials that have been used in pilot training sessions. The Frontera Collaboration’s participants learned several lessons related to collaborative health information outreach and increased their understanding of the concerns and needs of clinicians and public health personnel serving border communities.
Community outreach; evidence-based practice; Frontera Collaboration; health care disparities; health sciences libraries; health status disparities; Hispanic Americans; minority health; US-Mexico border
Hospital managers and personnel need to Hospital Information System (HIS) to increase the efficiency and effectiveness in their organization. Accurate, appropriate, precise, timely, valid information, and Suitable Information system for their tasks is required and the basis for decision making in various levels of the hospital management, since, this study was conducted to Assess of Selected HIS in Isfahan University of Medical Science Hospitals According to ISO 9241-10.
This paper obtained from an applied, descriptive cross sectional study, in which the medical records module of IUMS selected HIS in Isfahan University of Medical Science affiliated seven hospitals were assessed with ISO 9241-10 questionnaire contained 7 principles and 74 items. The obtained data were analyzed with SPSS software and descriptive statistics were used to examine measures of central tendencies.
The analysis of data revealed the following about the software: Suitability for user tasks, self descriptiveness, controllability by user, Conformity with user expectations, error tolerance, suitability for individualization, and suitability for user learning, respectively, was 68, 67, 70, 74, 69, 53, and 68 percent. Total compliance with ISO 9241-10 was 67 percent.
Information is the basis for policy and decision making in various levels of the hospital management. Consequently, it seems that HIS developers should decrease HIS errors and increase its suitability for tasks, self descriptiveness, controllability, conformity with user expectations, error tolerance, suitability for individualization, suitability for user learning.
Hospital Information System; Standard; Medical Records; Software; Assessment; ISO 9241
This paper reports the results of a survey undertaken by the World Health Organization of health sciences libraries in Southeast Asia. It includes information on clientele, budget, personnel, collections, lending policy, dissemination of information, and reference services. The survey indicates that the collections in most of the health sciences libraries in Southeast Asia are deficient and that services provided to readers are inadequate. Recommendations for improvement are outlined.
In this report, responses to a questionnaire to the directors of the sixteen past and present medical library education programs are presented. The questionnaires indicate a rather wide variety of training programs with emphases that vary from preparation of management personnel to preparation of subject specialists and those skilled in the techniques of information storage and retrieval. The content of the degree programs is fairly evenly divided among general retrieval and outside courses. The internship programs place more emphasis on the work experience than do the degree programs, supplementing this experience with appropriate courses in science, health sciences, management, and information storage and retrieval. Program directors indicated that new or expanded programs are needed in medical library education, although caution is reflected in comments concerning the limited job market. Most of the internship directors stated that they could not accommodate more individuals in their programs without expansion of staff and facilities.
BACKGROUND: In a literature-based discussion of research on the information behaviors of life and health scientists and health care practitioners, the problem of characterizing this complex literature is discussed. The issue of terminology for this interdisciplinary area is raised. The paucity of models for information seeking behavior that have been tested in a health care population is discussed, as are the frequently used methods of investigation and data collection methods. METHODS: By analyzing a large number of information behavior research studies, the questions of who does the research and where the research is published are answered. The characteristics of this research are discussed. Studies are cited that investigate the information behavior of physicians, multidisplinary groups of health professionals, medical students and faculty, nurses and other allied health personnel, life scientists, and basic science researchers. Two short case studies--on the diffusion of medical knowledge and on drug information and physician behavior--are used as examples of information behavior research. CONCLUSIONS: The importance of studying the information behavior of health and life scientists and health care providers is underscored by a discussion of the implications for further study.
The successful delivery of health care involves a commitment to improved communication both with regard to health professionals and the public. The need for innovative educational patterns is implicit in the recommendations of the latest Carnegie Commission Report, Higher Education and the Nation's Health.
The new technology of videorecording permits the learner to learn at a time and place of his own choosing. Information is transmitted through the cathode ray tube—a television set—the medium of our time. The videorecord is of significant value in the basic and clinical sciences, in training personnel for allied health professions, and in continuing education. It is thoroughly compatible with the new concept of the open university, an institution without walls.
In addition to its unquestioned value in educational programs in the health sciences, the videorecord has major implications for the curriculum in librarianship and for increasing the professional competence of medical librarians and their ancillaries. The medical librarian has a major stake in its imaginative use for overcoming some of the barriers to individual and community health.
The Association of American Medical Colleges, under National Library of Medicine sponsorship, is conducting a study of the academic health sciences library's roles in education for the health professions as these may be affected by changes in health information handling and management. The study's aims, objectives, and methods are described. The study aims to develop guiding principles for the use of academic health center administrators, library administrators, federal agency personnel, and others involved in planning and policy decision making for health sciences libraries.
Growth and development in any country's national health system, without an efficient evaluation system, lacks the basic concepts and tools necessary for fulfilling the system's goals. The balanced scorecard (BSC) is a technique widely used to measure the performance of an organization. The basic core of the BSC is guided by the organization's vision and strategies, which are the bases for the formation of four perspectives of BSC. The goal of this research is the performance evaluation of Al-Zahra Academic Medical Center in Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, based on Iran BSC model.
Materials and Methods:
This is a combination (quantitative–qualitative) research which was done at Al-Zahra Academic Medical Center in Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in 2011. The research populations were hospital managers at different levels. Sampling method was purposive sampling in which the key informed personnel participated in determining the performance indicators of hospital as the BSC team members in focused discussion groups. After determining the conceptual elements in focused discussion groups, the performance objectives (targets) and indicators of hospital were determined and sorted in perspectives by the group discussion participants. Following that, the performance indicators were calculated by the experts according to the predetermined objectives; then, the score of each indicator and the mean score of each perspective were calculated.
Research findings included development of the organizational mission, vision, values, objectives, and strategies. The strategies agreed upon by the participants in the focus discussion group included five strategies, which were customer satisfaction, continuous quality improvement, development of human resources, supporting innovation, expansion of services and improving the productivity. Research participants also agreed upon four perspectives for the Al-Zahra hospital BSC. In the patients and community perspective (customer), two objectives and three indicators were agreed upon, with a mean score of 75.9%. In the internal process perspective, 4 objectives and 14 indicators were agreed upon, with a mean score of 79.37%. In the learning and growth perspective, four objectives and eight indicators were agreed upon, with a mean score of 81.11%. Finally, in the financial perspective, two objectives and five indicators were agreed upon, with a mean score of 67.15%.
One way to create demand for hospital services is performance evaluation by paying close attention to all BSC perspectives, especially the non-financial perspectives such as customers and internal processes perspectives. In this study, the BSC showed the differences in performance level of the organization in different perspectives, which would assist the hospital managers improve their performance indicators. The learning and growth perspective obtained the highest score, and the financial perspective obtained the least score. Since the learning and growth perspective acts as a base for all other perspectives and they depend on it, hospitals must continuously improve the service processes and the quality of services by educating staff and updating their policies and procedures. This can increase customer satisfaction and productivity and finally improve the BSC in financial perspective.
Balanced scorecard; conceptual elements; indicators; performance evaluation
Health auxiliary personnel have an important role in oral health promotion when they graduate and start working in the health care system. This study aims to find out oral health knowledge and oral health behavior of male Health Sciences College students.
A questionnaire was distributed to all students at the male Health Sciences College in Kuwait (N = 153) during the academic year 2001/2002. The students filled the anonymous questionnaire in the class after the lecture. The response rate was 84% (n = 128). The questions consisted information on the general background, oral health behavior and oral health knowledge.
Oral health knowledge seemed to be limited and very few background factors were associated with it. More than half of the students had visited a dentist during the previous 12 months, but only one third of students were brushing twice a day or more often.
It may be concluded that the male Health Sciences College students seemed to have appropriate knowledge on some oral health topics, but limited knowledge on the others. Their toothbrushing practices are still far behind the international recommendation (twice a day) and also the knowledge, why it should be done so frequently also very limited.
Oral health behavior; Oral health knowledge; Students
Advances in surveillance science have supported public health agencies in tracking and responding to disease outbreaks. Increasingly, epidemiologists have been tasked with interpreting multiple streams of heterogeneous data arising from varied surveillance systems. As a result public health personnel have experienced an overload of plots and charts as information visualization techniques have not kept pace with the rapid expansion in data availability. This study sought to advance the science of public health surveillance data visualization by conceptualizing a visual paradigm that provides an ‘epidemiological canvas’ for detection, monitoring, exploration and discovery of regional infectious disease activity and developing a software prototype of an ‘infectious disease weather map'. Design objectives were elucidated and the conceptual model was developed using cognitive task analysis with public health epidemiologists. The software prototype was pilot tested using retrospective data from a large, regional pediatric hospital, and gastrointestinal and respiratory disease outbreaks were re-created as a proof of concept.
Biosurveillance; correlation of data; data display; detecting disease outbreaks and biological threats; developing/using clinical decision support (other than diagnostic) and guideline systems; discovery; human–computer interaction and human-centered computing; improving healthcare workflow and process efficiency; infectious disease outbreaks; measuring/improving outcomes in specific conditions and patient subgroups; methods for integration of information from disparate sources; modeling physiological and disease processes; other methods of information extraction; public health surveillance; simulation of complex systems (at all levels: molecules to work groups to organizations); statistical data analysis; systems to support and improve diagnostic accuracy; text and data mining methods; visualization of data and knowledge
Medical personnel and medical librarians may tend to think of nutrition in medical terms and to forget its interdisciplinary aspects. For this reason, it is desirable for medical librarians to become familiar with a variety of sources of information on the composition of foods, nutrient values, food additives, and food protection. Many of these are government publications from such agencies as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Research Council, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Less familiar sources include nutrition materials from state agricultural experiment stations and extension services and important data published in a wide range of scientific or agricultural journals, which may be located through Nutrition Abstracts and Reviews, Food Science and Technology Abstracts, and the Bibliography of Agriculture. Sources of current information on nutrition research in progress include the Department of Agriculture's Current Research Information System (CRIS) and selective listings from the Smith-sonian Information Exchange.
The SMILE project represented a partnership among the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Libraries, the Gateway Clinic in Laredo, and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. The project focused on improving dental practitioners' access to reliable information resources and integrating the best evidence into public health dental practice. Through its training program, SMILE cultivated a set of “power information users” among the dentists, dental hygienists, and community health workers (promotores) who provide public health preventive care and oral health education. The dental public health practitioners gained information literacy skills and increased their knowledge about reliable sites such as blogs, PubMed®, and MedlinePlus®. This project fostered opportunities for expanded partnerships with public health personnel.
consumer health information; dental health education; dental hygienists; dentists; librarians; outreach programs; public health dentistry
Three health sciences librarians created a curriculum to connect pre-school – grade 12 (P-12) personnel with credible health information. The course focuses on MedlinePlus® and KidsHealth.org®. They obtained external funding to deliver a revised curriculum for free throughout the metropolitan area. The funded portion of the project reached 93 people at 8 sites. Efforts to sustain the program beyond its funded cycle have reached another 33 people. Evaluations indicate the curriculum successfully equips staff to be health information champions within their schools. Participants report increased confidence locating credible health information. Written comments indicate both short-term gains and sustained use of the knowledge.
To address the shortage of health information personnel within Botswana, an innovative human resources approach was taken. University graduates without training or experience in health information or health sciences were hired and provided with on-the-job training and mentoring to create a new cadre of health worker: the district Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer. This article describes the early outcomes, achievements, and challenges from this initiative.
Data were collected from the district M&E Officers over a 2-year period and included a skills assessment at baseline and 12 months, pre- and post-training tests, interviews during stakeholder site visits, a survey of achievements, focus group discussions, and an attrition assessment.
An average of 2.7 mentoring visits were conducted for M&E Officers in each district. There were five training sessions over 18 months. Knowledge scores significantly increased (p < 0.05) during the three trainings in which pre/post tests were administered. Over 1 year, there were significant improvements (p < 0.05) in self-rated skills related to computer literacy, checking data validity, implementing data quality procedures, using data to support program planning, proposing indicators, and writing M&E reports. Out of the 34 district M&E Officers interviewed during site visits, most were conducting facility visits to review data (27/34; 79%), comparing data sets over time (31/34; 91%), backing up data (32/34; 94%), and analyzing data (32/34; 94%). Common challenges included late facility reports (28/34; 82%), lack of transportation (22/34; 65%), inaccurate facility reports (10/34; 29%), and colleagues’ misunderstanding of M&E (10/34; 29%). Six posts were vacated in the first year (6/51; 12%). A total of 49 Officers completed the achievements survey; of these, common accomplishments related to improvements in data management (35/49; 71%), data quality (31/49; 63%), data use (29/49; 59%), and capacity development (26/49; 53%).
The development of a cadre of district M&E Officers has contributed positively to the health information system in Botswana. In the absence of tertiary training related to health information, on-the-job training and mentoring of university graduates can be an effective approach for developing a new professional cadre of M&E expertise and for strengthening capacity within a national health system.
Health information; Monitoring and evaluation (M&E); Data quality; Task shifting; Health workforce
Prompted by the apparent unavailability of published information regarding the cataloging practices in North Carolina schools of nursing libraries, this study was conducted using a questionnaire sent to the thirty-eight schools of nursing in the state.
The “average” North Carolina school of nursing library is an autonomous facility administered by nonprofessional personnel or by a person with an undergraduate degree in a nonlibrary field. The materials are organized by the National Library of Medicine Classification and Medical Subject Headings in combination with the Library of Congress classification and subject headings, except for bound journals which are shelved alphabetically by exact title.
It is recommended that separate school of nursing and hospital or medical school libraries be consolidated under a trained librarian in order to standardize and unify cataloging practices on the local level and to gain the advantages available through regional and national cooperation of health sciences libraries.
Machines themselves are not dehumanizing. Employed with proper management in total systems they enable us better to achieve human goals. Large libraries are complex systems involving man-machine relationships which must be studied with the new management techniques of systems analysis and operations research. Management science deals with a wide variety of problems encountered in the economy of the modern library. Librarians must know about these techniques if they are to fulfill their roles as managers of information services and systems. Good management also involves taking cognizance of the human factors in the old meaning of the term. Some parallels may be found between child rearing and personnel management, but the primary one is that managers must pay the same kind of thoughtful attention to their problems. Good management techniques may be learned empirically by trial and error, but they are better acquired systematically through consultation and study.
The educational programs for the preparation of health sciences information personnel are described and the lack of evaluative criteria or studies in relation to these programs is noted. The author recommends an extension of MLA's role in four areas of the educational process: curriculum design, teacher development, development of learning materials, and evaluation of the educational effort. Preconditions for the fulfillment of the projected MLA role are identified as unity of purpose, leadership by the headquarters staff, and money.
Health sciences librarians have been actively responding to the changing information needs of users by extending services which involve the selection of literature in response to specific requests from health care personnel. A further development is Patient Care Related Reading (PCRR), a hospital-based program of continuing medical education in which the librarian actively participates in the preselection, packaging, and routine delivery of literature for use by physicians caring for patients with certain clinical disorders. Criteria for selection of literature packet topics were developed jointly by librarians and physicians at their own hospitals. Librarians compiled bibliographic material, reviewed articles, and prepared preliminary packets. Physicians reviewed these packets and made suggestions for each article. Librarians then prepared final packets following reviewers' recommendations and distributed them as a routine procedure to all physicians caring for patients with a diagnosis corresponding to prepared topics. Librarians were notified of patients with PCRR clinical problems by admitting office personnel, floor nurses, nursing supervisors, utilization review, and Professional Standards Review Organization personnel as a part of their usual activities. Packets are used by physicians to add to their fund of knowledge, and for review and teaching purposes. PCRR has provided increased visibility of the library and its many services. Recognition of the librarian's role in the program reinforces the concept of the community hospital library as a service-oriented entity, and helps to establish the library as an active partner in the development and implementation of hospital-based continuing education programs.
Each year medical providers from wealthy countries participate in short-term medical volunteer work in resource-poor countries. Various authors have raised concern that such work has the potential to be harmful to recipient communities; however, the social science and medical literature contains little research into the perceptions of short-term medical volunteer work from the perspective of members of recipient communities. This exploratory study examines the perception of short-term medical volunteer work in Guatemala among groups of actors affected by or participating in these programs.
The researchers conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 72 individuals, including Guatemalan healthcare providers and health authorities, foreign medical providers, non-medical personnel working on health projects, and Guatemalan parents of children treated by a short-term volunteer group. Detailed notes and summaries of these interviews were uploaded, coded and annotated using Atlas.ti (Scientific Software Development GmbH, Berlin) to identify recurrent themes from the interviews.
Informants commonly identified a need for increased access to medical services in Guatemala, and many believed that short-term medical volunteers are in a position to offer improved access to medical care in the communities where they serve. Informants most frequently cited appropriate patient selection and attention to payment systems as the best means to avoid creating dependence on foreign aid. The most frequent suggestion to improve short-term medical volunteer work was coordination with and respect for local Guatemalan healthcare providers and their communities, as insufficient understanding of the country's existing healthcare resources and needs may result in perceived harm to the recipient community.
The perceived impact of short-term medical volunteer projects in Guatemala is highly variable and dependent upon the individual project. In this exploratory study, project characteristics were identified that are consistently perceived to be either positive or negative. These findings have direct implications for anyone involved in the planning and execution of short-term medical volunteer projects, including local and foreign medical team members, project planners and coordinators, and health authorities. Most importantly, this preliminary study suggests avenues for future study and evaluation of the impact of short-term medical volunteer programs on local health care services.
Correct diagnosis of malaria is crucial for proper treatment of patients and surveillance of the disease. However, laboratory diagnosis of malaria in Tanzania is constrained by inadequate infrastructure, consumables and insufficient skilled personnel. Furthermore, the perceptions and attitude of health service providers (laboratory personnel and clinicians) and users (patients/care-takers) on the quality of laboratory services also present a significant challenge in the utilization of the available services. This study was conducted to assess perceptions of users and health-care providers on the quality and utilization of laboratory malaria diagnostic services in six districts from three regions in Tanzania.
Questionnaires were used to collect information from laboratory personnel, clinicians and patients or care-takers.
A total of 63 laboratory personnel, 61 clinicians and 753 patients/care-takers were interviewed. Forty-six (73%) laboratory personnel claimed to be overworked, poorly motivated and that their laboratories were under-equipped. About 19% (N = 12) of the laboratory personnel were lacking professional qualification. Thirty-seven clinicians (60.7%) always requested for blood smear examination to confirm malaria. Only twenty five (41.0%) clinicians considered malaria microscopy results from their respective laboratories to be reliable. Forty-five (73.8%) clinicians reported to have been satisfied with malaria diagnostic services provided by their respective laboratories. Majority (90.2%, N = 679) of the patients or care-takers were satisfied with the laboratory services.
The findings show that laboratory personnel were not satisfied with the prevailing working conditions, which were reported to undermine laboratory performance. It was evident that there was no standard criteria for ordering malaria laboratory tests and test results were under-utilized. Majority of the clinicians and patients or care-takers were comfortable with the overall performance of laboratories, but laboratory results were having less impact on patient management.
In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy mandated open access for publications resulting from NIH funding (following a 12-month embargo). The large increase in access to research that will take place in the years to come has potential implications for evidence-based practice (EBP) and lifelong learning for health personnel.
This study assesses health personnel’s current use of research to establish whether grounds exist for expecting, preparing for, and further measuring the impact of the NIH Public Access Policy on health care quality and outcomes in light of time constraints and existing information resources.
In all, 14 interviews and 90 surveys of health personnel were conducted at a community-based clinic and an independent teaching hospital in 2010. Health personnel were asked about the research sources they consulted and the frequency with which they consulted these sources, as well as motivation and search strategies used to locate articles, perceived level of access to research, and knowledge of the NIH Public Access Policy.
In terms of current access to health information, 65% (57/88) of the health personnel reported being satisfied, while 32% (28/88) reported feeling underserved. Among the sources health personnel reported that they relied upon and consulted weekly, 83% (73/88) reported turning to colleagues, 77% (67/87) reported using synthesized information resources (eg, UpToDate and Cochrane Systematic Reviews), while 32% (28/88) reported that they consulted primary research literature. The dominant resources health personnel consulted when actively searching for health information were Google and Wikipedia, while 27% (24/89) reported using PubMed weekly. The most prevalent reason given for accessing research on a weekly basis, reported by 35% (31/88) of survey respondents, was to help a specific patient, while 31% (26/84) were motivated by general interest in research.
The results provide grounds for expecting the NIH Public Access Policy to have a positive impact on EBP and health care more generally given that between a quarter and a third of participants in this study (1) frequently accessed research literature, (2) expressed an interest in having greater access, and (3) were aware of the policy and expect it to have an impact on their accessing research literature in the future. Results also indicate the value of promoting a greater awareness of the NIH policy, providing training and education in the location and use of the literature, and continuing improvements in the organization of biomedical research for health personnel use.
Health policy; evidence-based practice; information storage and retrieval; access to information; information literacy; health personnel