With massive amounts of data being generated in electronic format, there is a need in basic science laboratories to adopt new methods for tracking and analyzing data. An electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) is not just a replacement for a paper lab notebook, it is a new method of storing and organizing data while maintaining the data entry flexibility and legal recording functions of paper notebooks. Paper notebooks are regarded as highly flexible since the user can configure it to store almost anything that can be written or physically pasted onto the pages. However, data retrieval and data sharing from paper notebooks are labor intensive processes and notebooks can be misplaced, a single point of failure that loses all entries in the volume. Additional features provided by electronic notebooks include searchable indices, data sharing, automatic archiving for security against loss and ease of data duplication. Furthermore, ELNs can be tasked with additional functions not commonly found in paper notebooks such as inventory control. While ELNs have been on the market for some time now, adoption of an ELN in academic basic science laboratories has been lagging. Issues that have restrained development and adoption of ELN in research laboratories are the sheer variety and frequency of changes in protocols with a need for the user to control notebook configuration outside the framework of professional IT staff support. In this commentary, we will look at some of the issues and experiences in academic laboratories that have proved challenging in implementing an electronic lab notebook.
Professional working at computer notebooks is associated with high requirements on the body posture in the seated position. By the high continuous static muscle stress resulting from this position at notebooks, professionals frequently working at notebooks for long hours are exposed to an increased risk of musculoskeletal complaints. Especially in subjects with back pain, new notebooks should be evaluated with a focus on rehabilitative issues.
In a field study a new notebook design with adjustable screen was analyzed and compared to standard notebook position.
There are highly significant differences in the visual axis of individuals who are seated in the novel notebook position in comparison to the standard position. Also, differences are present between further alternative notebook positions. Testing of gender and glasses did not reveal influences.
This study demonstrates that notebooks with adjustable screen may be used to improve the posture. Future studies may focus on patients with musculoskeletal diseases.
Part diary, part scientific record, biological field notebooks often contain details necessary to understanding the location and environmental conditions existent during collecting events. Despite their clear value for (and recent use in) global change studies, the text-mining outputs from field notebooks have been idiosyncratic to specific research projects, and impossible to discover or re-use. Best practices and workflows for digitization, transcription, extraction, and integration with other sources are nascent or non-existent. In this paper, we demonstrate a workflow to generate structured outputs while also maintaining links to the original texts. The first step in this workflow was to place already digitized and transcribed field notebooks from the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History founder, Junius Henderson, on Wikisource, an open text transcription platform. Next, we created Wikisource templates to document places, dates, and taxa to facilitate annotation and wiki-linking. We then requested help from the public, through social media tools, to take advantage of volunteer efforts and energy. After three notebooks were fully annotated, content was converted into XML and annotations were extracted and cross-walked into Darwin Core compliant record sets. Finally, these recordsets were vetted, to provide valid taxon names, via a process we call “taxonomic referencing.” The result is identification and mobilization of 1,068 observations from three of Henderson’s thirteen notebooks and a publishable Darwin Core record set for use in other analyses. Although challenges remain, this work demonstrates a feasible approach to unlock observations from field notebooks that enhances their discovery and interoperability without losing the narrative context from which those observations are drawn.
“Compose your notes as if you were writing a letter to someone a century in the future.”
Perrine and Patton (2011)
Field notes; notebooks; crowd sourcing; digitization; biodiversity; transcription; text-mining; Darwin Core; Junius Henderson; annotation; taxonomic referencing; natural history; Wikisource; Colorado; species occurrence records
The electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) has the potential to replace the paper notebook with a marked-up digital record that can be searched and shared. However, it is a challenge to achieve these benefits without losing the usability and flexibility of traditional paper notebooks. We investigate a blog-based platform that addresses the issues associated with the development of a flexible system for recording scientific research.
We chose a blog-based approach with the journal characteristics of traditional notebooks in mind, recognizing the potential for linking together procedures, materials, samples, observations, data, and analysis reports. We implemented the LabTrove blog system as a server process written in PHP, using a MySQL database to persist posts and other research objects. We incorporated a metadata framework that is both extensible and flexible while promoting consistency and structure where appropriate. Our experience thus far is that LabTrove is capable of providing a successful electronic laboratory recording system.
LabTrove implements a one-item one-post system, which enables us to uniquely identify each element of the research record, such as data, samples, and protocols. This unique association between a post and a research element affords advantages for monitoring the use of materials and samples and for inspecting research processes. The combination of the one-item one-post system, consistent metadata, and full-text search provides us with a much more effective record than a paper notebook. The LabTrove approach provides a route towards reconciling the tensions and challenges that lie ahead in working towards the long-term goals for ELNs. LabTrove, an electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) system from the Smart Research Framework, based on a blog-type framework with full access control, facilitates the scientific experimental recording requirements for reproducibility, reuse, repurposing, and redeployment.
This article presents a plethora of fragments from the medical notebooks found in the Cairo Genizah that comprise a unique source of historical data for scholarly study and for a better understanding of the ways in which medieval medical knowledge in Egypt was transferred from theory to practice and vice versa. These documents provide the most direct evidence we have for preferred practical medical recipes because they record the choices of medical practitioners in medieval Cairo. Since the language most commonly used in them was Judaeo-Arabic, they were evidently written by Jews. The medical genre in the notebooks was primarily pharmacopoeic, consisting of apparently original recipes for the treatment of various diseases. There are also a few notebooks on materia medica. The subject matter of the Genizah medical notebooks shows that they were mostly of an eclectic nature, i.e. the writers had probably learnt about these treatments and recipes from their teachers, applied them at the hospitals where they worked or copied them from the books they read. Foremost among the subjects dealt with were eye diseases, followed by skin diseases, coughs and colds, dentistry and oral hygiene, and gynaecological conditions. The writers of the Genizah notebooks apparently recorded the practical medical knowledge they wished to preserve for their future use as amateur physicians, students, traditional healers or professional practitioners.
Cairo Genizah; History of Medicine; Jewish; Medieval Middle East; Middle Ages; Notebook
eCAT is an electronic lab notebook (ELN) developed by Axiope Limited. It is the first online ELN, the first ELN to be developed in close collaboration with lab scientists, and the first ELN to be targeted at researchers in non-commercial institutions. eCAT was developed in response to feedback from users of a predecessor product. By late 2006 the basic concept had been clarified: a highly scalable web-based collaboration tool that possessed the basic capabilities of commercial ELNs, i.e. a permissions system, controlled sharing, an audit trail, electronic signature and search, and a front end that looked like the electronic counterpart to a paper notebook.
During the development of the beta version feedback was incorporated from many groups including the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research, Uppsala University, Children's Hospital Boston, Alex Swarbrick's lab at the Garvan Institute in Sydney and Martin Spitaler at Imperial College. More than 100 individuals and groups worldwide then participated in the beta testing between September 2008 and June 2009. The generally positive response is reflected in the following quote about how one lab is making use of eCAT: "Everyone uses it as an electronic notebook, so they can compile the diverse collections of data that we generate as biologists, such as images and spreadsheets. We use to it to take minutes of meetings. We also use it to manage our common stocks of antibodies, plasmids and so on. Finally, perhaps the most important feature for us is the ability to link records, reagents and experiments."
By developing eCAT in close collaboration with lab scientists, Axiope has come up with a practical and easy-to-use product that meets the need of scientists to manage, store and share data online. eCAT is already being perceived as a product that labs can continue to use as their data management and sharing grows in scale and complexity.
Lancet is a new, simulator-independent Python utility for succinctly specifying, launching, and collating results from large batches of interrelated computationally demanding program runs. This paper demonstrates how to combine Lancet with IPython Notebook to provide a flexible, lightweight, and agile workflow for fully reproducible scientific research. This informal and pragmatic approach uses IPython Notebook to capture the steps in a scientific computation as it is gradually automated and made ready for publication, without mandating the use of any separate application that can constrain scientific exploration and innovation. The resulting notebook concisely records each step involved in even very complex computational processes that led to a particular figure or numerical result, allowing the complete chain of events to be replicated automatically. Lancet was originally designed to help solve problems in computational neuroscience, such as analyzing the sensitivity of a complex simulation to various parameters, or collecting the results from multiple runs with different random starting points. However, because it is never possible to know in advance what tools might be required in future tasks, Lancet has been designed to be completely general, supporting any type of program as long as it can be launched as a process and can return output in the form of files. For instance, Lancet is also heavily used by one of the authors in a separate research group for launching batches of microprocessor simulations. This general design will allow Lancet to continue supporting a given research project even as the underlying approaches and tools change.
IPython; pandas; reproducibility; workflow; simulation; batch computation; provenance; big data
The increasing complexity of medical curricula would benefit from adaptive computer supported collaborative learning systems that support study management using instructional design and learning object principles. However, to our knowledge, there are scarce reports regarding applications developed to meet this goal and encompass the complete medical curriculum. The aim of ths study was to develop and assess the usability of an adaptive computer supported collaborative learning system for medical students to manage study sessions.
A study platform named ALERT STUDENT was built as a free web application. Content chunks are represented as Flashcards that hold knowledge and open ended questions. These can be created in a collaborative fashion. Multiple Flashcards can be combined into custom stacks called Notebooks that can be accessed in study Groups that belong to the user institution. The system provides a Study Mode that features text markers, text notes, timers and color-coded content prioritization based on self-assessment of open ended questions presented in a Quiz Mode. Time spent studying and Perception of knowledge are displayed for each student and peers using charts. Computer supported collaborative learning is achieved by allowing for simultaneous creation of Notebooks and self-assessment questions by many users in a pre-defined Group. Past personal performance data is retrieved when studying new Notebooks containing previously studied Flashcards. Self-report surveys showed that students highly agreed that the system was useful and were willing to use it as a reference tool.
The platform employs various instructional design and learning object principles in a computer supported collaborative learning platform for medical students that allows for study management. The application broadens student insight over learning results and supports informed decisions based on past learning performance. It serves as a potential educational model for the medical education setting that has gathered strong positive feedback from students at our school.
This platform provides a case study on how effective blending of instructional design and learning object principles can be brought together to manage study, and takes an important step towards bringing information management tools to support study decisions and improving learning outcomes.
Medical education; Computer supported collaborative learning; E-learning; Information management; Memory retention; Computer-assisted instruction; Tailored learning; Student-centered learning; Spaced repetition
Currently most biomedical labs in universities and government funded research institutions use paper lab notebooks for recording experimental data and spreadsheets for managing sample data. One consequence is that sample management and documenting experiments are viewed as separate and distinct activities, notwithstanding that samples and aliquots are an integral part of a majority of the experiments carried out by these labs.
Various drivers are pushing labs towards integrated management of sample data and experimental data. These include the ever increasing amounts of both kinds of data, the increasing adoption of online collaborative tools, changing expectations about online communication, and the increasing affordability of electronic lab notebooks and sample management software. There is now an opportunity for smaller labs, which have been slow to move from paper to electronic record keeping, to leapfrog better resourced commercial labs and lead the way in adopting the new generation of tools which permit integrated management of samples and experimental data and a range of tangible benefits to conducting research, including:
1. Fewer lost and mislabelled samples
2. Clearer visualization of relationships between samples and experiments
3. Reduction of experimental error
4. More effective search
5. Productivity gains
6. More efficient use of freezers, leading to cost reduction and enhanced sustainability
7. Improved archiving and enhanced memory at the lab and institutional levels
Individuals with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) have few empirically-based treatment options for combating their memory loss. This study sought to examine the efficacy of a calendar/notebook rehabilitation intervention, the Memory Support System (MSS), for individuals with amnestic MCI.
Forty individuals with single domain amnestic MCI and their program partners were randomized to receive the MSS, either with training or without (controls). Measures of adherence, activities of daily living, and emotional impact were completed at the first and last intervention session and again at 8-weeks and 6 months post intervention.
Training in use of a notebook/calendar system significantly improved adherence over those who received the calendars but no training. Functional ability and memory self efficacy significantly improved for those who received MSS training. Change in functional ability remained significantly better in the intervention group than in the control group out to 8 week follow up. Care partners in the intervention group demonstrated improved mood by 8 week and 6 month follow-up, while control care partners reported worse caregiver burden by 6 month follow up.
MSS training resulted in improvement in ADLs and sense of memory self efficacy for individuals with MCI. While ADL benefits were maintained out to 8 weeks post intervention, future inclusion of booster sessions may help extend the therapeutic effect out even further. Improved mood of care partners of trained individuals and worsening sense of caregiver burden over time for partners of untrained individuals further supports the efficacy of the MSS for MCI.
Mild Cognitive Impairment; Rehabilitation; Behavioral Intervention; Activities of Daily Living; Quality of Life; Caregivers
The traditional otorhinoendoscope is widely used in the diagnosis of a variety of ear and nose diseases, but only one doctor can use it at a time. It is also very difficult to share observations from one doctor with another doctor. With advances in electronic health technology, the extended potential application of smartphones to support medical practice or mobile health has grown steadily.
The first phase of the study discussed how smartphones may be used for otorhinoscopic imaging and image management via an innovative adaptor. The second phase of the study was to evaluate the diagnostic capability of the smartphone-based otorhinoendoscope, as compared to the traditional otorhinoendoscope, and its application in mobile health and teleotolaryngology.
We designed a unique adaptor to connect the otorhinoendoscope and smartphone in order to perform smartphone-based otorhinoendoscopy. The main aim was to transform the smartphone into an otorhinoendoscope. We devised a method that would allow us to use the smartphone’s camera to capture otorhinoscopic images. Using a freely available Web-based real-time communication application platform and the 3G (or WIFI) network, the smartphone-based otorhinoendoscope could synchronize the smartphone-based otorhinoscopic image with smartphones, tablet PCs, computer notebooks, or personal computers.
We investigated the feasibility of telemedicine using a smartphone, tablet PC, and computer notebook. Six types of clinical otorhinoscopic images were acquired via the smartphone-based otorhinoendoscope from six patients, which were examined in this study. Three teleconsultants (doctors A, B, and C) reviewed the six types of clinical otorhinoscopic images and made a telediagnosis. When compared to the face-to-face diagnosis, which was made in-person via a traditional otorhinoendoscope, the three teleconsultants obtained scores of a correct primary telediagnosis 83% (5/6), 100% (6/6), and 100% (6/6) of the time, respectively. When the clinical data were provided, the three teleconsultants obtained a correct secondary telediagnosis score of 100% (6/6), 100% (6/6), and 100% (6/6) of the time, respectively.
The use of previously available technologies in the absence of any additional expensive devices could significantly increase the quality of diagnostics while lowering extraneous costs. Furthermore, this could also increase the connectivity between most isolated family doctors and remote referral centers.
otorhinoendoscope; smartphone; mobile health; teleotolaryngology; telediagnosis
The need to train physicians committed to learning throughout their careers has prompted medical schools to encourage the development and practice of self-regulated learning by students. Longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) require students to exercise self-regulated learning skills. As mobile tools, tablets can potentially support self-regulation among LIC students.
We provided 15 LIC students with tablet computers with access to the electronic health record (EHR), to track their patient cohort, and a multiplatform online notebook, to support documentation and retrieval of self-identified clinical learning issues. Students received a 1-hour workshop on the relevant features of the tablet and online notebook. Two focus groups with the students were used to evaluate the program, one early and one late in the year and were coded by two raters.
Students used the tablet to support their self-regulated learning in ways that were unique to their learning styles and increased access to resources and utilization of down-time. Students who used the tablet to self-monitor and target learning demonstrated the utility of tablets as learning tools.
LICs are environments rich in opportunity for self-regulated learning. Tablets can enhance students’ ability to develop and employ self-regulatory skills in a clinical context.
mobile learning; self-regulated learning; clinical learning; longitudinal integrated clerkship; workplace learning
MeduMobile was a project to develop and evaluate learning scenarios for medical students and teachers by use of video communication and notebooks. Its core part was assigned to various medical routines, conferences or meetings such as doctor-patient bedside conversation. These were filmed by video teams and broadcasted live via the WLAN of the Charité campus to course participating students. One type of the learning arrangements was the autopsy conference as an on-call scenario.
Materials and methods
The MeduMobile project consisted of two main compartments: the regular seminar event which took place every week or month, and the on-call event. For an on-call event the students were informed two hours before the lesson's start. A mobile video team organised the video conference via a specific MeduMobile seminar system. This software offered the students to log. The MeduMobile seminar system is based on the Windows operating system and realises an extended video communication via WLAN. Thirteen access points were implemented at the Charité Campus Virchow Klinikum and Campus Mitte. A questionnaire was developed to investigate in the response and learning effect of the mobile seminar system.
During the MeduMobile project 42 video conferences with (cumulative) 145 participating students took place. Four autopsy conferences could be organised as on-call scenarios within this project. A prospective, not randomised follow-up study was included 25 students of the 1st – 6th clinical semester. According to the answers, professional reasoning, professional performance, sustainability, and the complexity were broadly accepted by the students.
In principle, the MeduMobile realised an interdisciplinary case presentation using video conference and web page. The evaluation indicates a high acception of such complex case presentation with multidisciplinary settings. The use of the notebooks in mobile learning enables an interconnective training and promotes a complex learning.
The Journey Project, part of the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries' Social Work Information Specialist in Context Fellowship, was designed to merge social work and consumer health librarianship skills in order to improve the provision of health information to patients. A resource notebook was created encompassing the many dimensions of cancer health information. A social work informationist distributed the notebooks and provided individualized consultations with respect to patients' health information needs. Areas of congruence as well as key differences between social work and consumer health librarianship emerged during the course of the project. Merging the two professions into the role of a social work informationist increased the ability to attend holistically to clients' health information needs.
During the past several years, Baylor College of Medicine has made a substantial commitment to the use of information technology in support of its corporate and academic programs. The concept of an Integrated Academic Information Management System (IAIMS) has proved central in our planning, and the IAIMS activities that we have undertaken with funding from the National Library of Medicine have proved to be important extensions of our technology development. Here we describe our Virtual Notebook system, a conceptual and technologic framework for task coordination and information management in biomedical work groups. When fully developed and deployed, the Virtual Notebook will improve the functioning of basic and clinical research groups in the college, and it currently serves as a model for the longer-term development of our entire information management environment.
In recent years, the genome biology community has expended considerable effort to confront the challenges of managing heterogeneous data in a structured and organized way and developed laboratory information management systems (LIMS) for both raw and processed data. On the other hand, electronic notebooks were developed to record and manage scientific data, and facilitate data-sharing. Software which enables both, management of large datasets and digital recording of laboratory procedures would serve a real need in laboratories using medium and high-throughput techniques.
We have developed iLAP (Laboratory data management, Analysis, and Protocol development), a workflow-driven information management system specifically designed to create and manage experimental protocols, and to analyze and share laboratory data. The system combines experimental protocol development, wizard-based data acquisition, and high-throughput data analysis into a single, integrated system. We demonstrate the power and the flexibility of the platform using a microscopy case study based on a combinatorial multiple fluorescence in situ hybridization (m-FISH) protocol and 3D-image reconstruction. iLAP is freely available under the open source license AGPL from http://genome.tugraz.at/iLAP/.
iLAP is a flexible and versatile information management system, which has the potential to close the gap between electronic notebooks and LIMS and can therefore be of great value for a broad scientific community.
Cardiology is one of the most popular of the hospital medical specialties in the UK. It is also a highly competitive specialty in respect of the availability of higher specialty training posts. Our aims are to describe doctors’ early intentions about seeking careers in cardiology, to report on when decisions about seeking a career in cardiology are made, to compare differences between men and women doctors in the choice of cardiology, and to compare early career choices with later specialty destinations.
Questionnaire surveys were sent to all UK medical graduates in selected qualification years from 1974–2009, at 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10 years after graduation.
One year after graduation, the percentage of doctors specifying cardiology as their first choice of long-term career rose from the mid-1990s from 2.4% (1993 cohort) to 4.2% (2005 cohort) but then fell back to 2.7% (2009 cohort). Men were more likely to give cardiology as their first choice than women (eg 4.1% of men and 1.9% of women in the 2009 cohort). The percentage of doctors who gave cardiology as their first choice of career declined between years one and five after qualification: the fall was more marked for women. 34% of respondents who specified cardiology as their sole first choice of career one year post-graduation were later working in cardiology. 24% of doctors practising as cardiologists several years after qualification had given cardiology as their sole first choice in year one. The doctors’ ‘domestic circumstances’ were a relatively unimportant influence on specialty choice for aspiring cardiologists, while ‘enthusiasm/commitment’, ‘financial prospects’, ‘experiences of the job so far’ and ‘a particular teacher/department’ were important.
Cardiology grew as a first preference one year after graduation to 2005 but is now falling. It consistently attracts a higher percentage of men than women doctors. The correspondence between early choice and later destination was not particularly strong for cardiology, and was less strong than that for several other specialties.
Cardiology; Career choice; Workforce; Medical education; Hospital medical staff
Objective—To survey practice in nuclear cardiology in the UK in 1994.
Design—A questionnaire was sent to 219 centres performing nuclear imaging asking for details of current practice in nuclear cardiology. Replies were received from 192 centres (88%).
Main outcome measures—Activity in performance of myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) and radionuclide ventriculography (RNV), anticipated changes in activity, differences between regional and district hospitals, technical imaging parameters, and referral sources.
Results—Of the responding centres, 125 (65%) performed nuclear cardiology procedures. More regional than district hospitals performed nuclear cardiology procedures (85% v 55%, p < 0.0003) and regional centres performed a higher proportion (62% v 24%, p < 0.001) of nuclear cardiology activity. Nuclear cardiology activity was 0.82 scans per 1000 population per year (MPI 0.56, RNV 0.26). There has been a significant increase (24%) in nuclear cardiology since 1988. There has been a pronounced rise in MPI (350%) while RNV has fallen by 47%. Myocardial perfusion activity in the UK remains very low (25% and 5% in regional and district hospitals, respectively) compared with the 1994 figures of 2.2/1000/year for Europe or 10.8/1000/year for the USA.
Conclusions—MPI has increased on average by 23%/annum (compound rate) since 1988, but in 1994 was still only 32% of the British Cardiac Society target of 2.6/1000/year. Proper resources for capital expenditure on new equipment and new staff will be important to maintain momentum in closing the gap. Also important is improved clinical understanding, as already implemented by including nuclear cardiology in guidelines for specialist cardiology training.
Keywords: survey; nuclear cardiology; myocardial perfusion imaging; radionuclide ventriculography; guidelines; British Cardiac Society
Although patient care in cardiology departments may be of high quality, patients with cardiac disease in other departments tend to receive less attention from cardiologists. Driven by the shorter duration of admission nowadays and the fact that consultations are often performed in between the daily work schedules, the amount of cardiac disease as well as the impact on the daily workload can be underestimated. We determined characteristics, prevalence of cardiac disease and in-hospital mortality of patients in whom cardiology consultation was requested.
In this prospective, observational study, individual data of all consecutive patients admitted to non-cardiology departments in whom cardiology consultation was requested were registered.
During the study period, 264 patients were included. Mean age was 70 years. Most patients were admitted to the internal medicine ward (37 %), followed by the surgical ward (30 %). The most common reasons for cardiology consultation were: suspected heart failure (20 %), suspected infective endocarditis (15 %), suspected rhythm abnormalities (14 %) and suspected acute coronary syndrome (13 %). In 29 % of all consultations a cardiac diagnosis was found. Hospital mortality was 9.0 %.
Patients who are admitted to a non-cardiology department and who need cardiology consultation are particularly elderly people with a high prevalence of cardiac disease and high in-hospital mortality. For these reasons cardiology consultation is an important part of clinical cardiology deserving a structured approach.
Cardiology consultation; In-hospital mortality; Older patients
The means we use to record the process of carrying out research remains tied to the concept of a paginated paper notebook despite the advances over the past decade in web based communication and publication tools. The development of these tools offers an opportunity to re-imagine what the laboratory record would look like if it were re-built in a web-native form. In this paper I describe a distributed approach to the laboratory record based which uses the most appropriate tool available to house and publish each specific object created during the research process, whether they be a physical sample, a digital data object, or the record of how one was created from another. I propose that the web-native laboratory record would act as a feed of relationships between these items. This approach can be seen as complementary to, rather than competitive with, integrative approaches that aim to aggregate relevant objects together to describe knowledge. The potential for the recent announcement of the Google Wave protocol to have a significant impact on realizing this vision is discussed along with the issues of security and provenance that are raised by such an approach.
To assess the effects of web-based care management on glucose and blood pressure control over 12 months in patients with poorly controlled diabetes mellitus.
Research Design and Methods
104 patients with diabetes mellitus and hemoglobin A1c ≥ 9.0% who received their care at a VA medical center were recruited. All participants completed a diabetes education class and were randomized to continue with usual care (n = 52) or receive web-based care management (n = 52). The care management group received a notebook computer, glucose and blood pressure monitoring devices and access to a care management website. The website provided educational modules, accepted uploads from monitoring devices, and had an internal messaging system for patients to communicate with the care manager.
Participants receiving web-based care management had lower hemoglobin A1c over 12 months (P<0.05) when compared to education and usual care. Persistent website users had greater improvement in hemoglobin A1c when compared to intermittent users (−1.9% vs. −1.2%, P=0.051) or education and usual care (−1.4%, P<0.05). Greater numbers of website data uploads were associated with larger declines in hemoglobin A1c (highest tertile −2.1%, lowest tertile: −1.0%, P<0.02). Hypertensive participants in the web-based care management group had a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure (P<0.01). HDL cholesterol rose and triglycerides fell in the web-based care management group (P<0.05).
Web-based care management may be a useful adjunct in the care of patients with poorly controlled diabetes mellitus.
In an effort to design a simulation environment that is more similar to that of neurophysiology, we introduce a virtual slice setup in the NEURON simulator. The virtual slice setup runs continuously and permits parameter changes including changes to synaptic weights and time course and to intrinsic cell properties. The virtual slice setup permits shocks to be applied at chosen locations and activity to be sampled intra- or extracellularly from chosen locations. By default, a summed population display is shown during a run to indicate the level of activity and no states are saved. Simulations can run for hours of model time, therefore it is not practical to save all of the state variables which in any case are primarily of interest at discrete times when experiments are being run: the simulation can be stopped momentarily at such times to save activity patterns. The virtual slice setup maintains an automated notebook showing shocks and parameter changes as well as user comments. We demonstrate how interaction with a continuously running simulation encourages experimental prototyping and can suggest additional dynamical features such as ligand wash-in and wash-out – alternatives to typical instantaneous parameter change. The virtual slice setup currently uses event-driven cells and runs at approximately 2 minutes/hour on a laptop.
computer simulation; computer modeling; neuronal networks; electrophysiology
Objective: To describe the experiences, lessons, and
implications of building a virtual network as part of a two-year community
health research training program in a Canadian province.
Design: An action research field study in which 25 health
professionals from 17 health regions participated in a seven-week training
course on health policy, management, economics, research methods, data
analysis, and computer technology. The participants then returned to their
regions to apply the knowledge in different community health research
projects. Ongoing faculty consultations and support were provided as needed.
Each participant was given a notebook computer with the necessary software,
Internet access, and technical support for two years, to access information
resources, engage in group problem solving, share ideas and knowledge, and
collaborate on projects.
Measurements: Data collected over two years consisted of program
documents, records of interviews with participants and staff, meeting notes,
computer usage statistics, automated online surveys, computer conference
postings, program Web site, and course feedback. The analysis consisted of
detailed review and comparison of the data from different sources. NUD*IST was
then used to validate earlier study findings.
Results: The ten key lessons are that role clarity, technology
vision, implementation staging, protected time, just-in-time training, ongoing
facilitation, work integration, participatory design, relationship building,
and the demonstration of results are essential ingredients for building a
Conclusion: This study provides a descriptive model of the processes
involved in developing, in the community health setting, virtual networks that
can be used as the basis for future research and as a practical guide for
This paper describes the design and implementation of a pen-based computer system for remote preoperative data collection. The system is envisaged to be used by anaesthesia staff at different hospital scenarios where pre-operative data are generated. Pen-based technology offers important advantages in terms of portability and human-computer interaction, as direct manipulation interfaces by direct pointing, and "notebook user interfaces metaphors". Being the human factors analysis and user interface design a vital stage to achieve the appropriate user acceptability, a methodology that integrates the "usability" evaluation from the earlier development stages was used. Additionally, the selection of a pen-based computer system as a portable device to be used by health care personnel allows to evaluate the appropriateness of this new technology for remote data collection within the hospital environment. The work presented is currently being realised under the Research Project "TANIT: Telematics in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care", within the "A.I.M.--Telematics in Health CARE" European Research Program.
Baylor College of Medicine has developed the MEDLINE Retriever, a tool to query MEDLINE, the data-base of medical literature at the National Library of Medicine. The MEDLINE Retriever communicates via the Internet to achieve excellent response time for MEDLINE queries. It uses the X Window System and the Motif toolkit, and employs the Knowbot Operating Environment developed by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives. We discuss the architecture of the MEDLINE Retriever, focusing on the graphical user interface that we have developed, as well as our experiences in developing and deploying the MEDLINE Retriever at Baylor. The MEDLINE Retriever is an extension of Baylor's IAIMS design concept that brought forth the Virtual Notebook System, and fits well with Baylor's aims with regard to the High Performance Computing Initiative.