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1.  Health education interventions to raise awareness of rheumatic fever: a systematic review protocol 
Systematic Reviews  2013;2:58.
There is a significant global health burden associated with acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD), especially in developing countries. ARF and RHD most often strike children and young adults living in impoverished settings, where unhygienic conditions and lack of awareness and knowledge of streptococcal infection progression are common. Secondary prophylactic measures have been recommended in the past, but primary prevention measures have been gaining more attention from researchers frustrated by the perpetual prevalence of ARF and RHD in developing countries. Health education aims to empower people to take responsibility for their own well-being by gaining control over the underlying factors that influence health. We therefore conducted a review of the current best evidence for the use of health education interventions to increase awareness and knowledge of streptococcal pharyngitis and ARF.
Methods and design
This article describes the protocol for a systematic review of the effectiveness of health education interventions aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge of the symptoms, causes and consequences of streptococcal pharyngitis, rheumatic fever and/or rheumatic heart disease. Studies will be selected in which the effect of an intervention is compared with either a pre-intervention or a control, targeting all possible audience types. Primary and secondary outcomes of interest are pre-specified. Randomized controlled trials, quasi-randomized trials, controlled before–after studies and controlled clinical trials will be considered. We will search several bibliographic databases (for example, PubMed, EMBASE, World Health Organization Library databases, Google Scholar) and search sources for gray literature. We will meta-analyze included studies. We will conduct subgroup analyses according to intervention subtypes: printed versus audiovisual and mass media versus training workshops.
This review will provide evidence for the effectiveness of educational components in health promotion interventions in raising public awareness in regard to the symptoms, causes and consequences of streptococcal pharyngitis, ARF and/or RHD. Our results may provide guidance in the development of future intervention studies and programs.
PMCID: PMC3720575  PMID: 23866796
Acute rheumatic fever; Awareness; Health education; Pharyngitis; Rheumatic heart disease
2.  Croatian Medical Journal Citation Score in Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar 
Croatian Medical Journal  2010;51(2):99-103.
To analyze the 2007 citation count of articles published by the Croatian Medical Journal in 2005-2006 based on data from the Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar.
Web of Science and Scopus were searched for the articles published in 2005-2006. As all articles returned by Scopus were included in Web of Science, the latter list was the sample for further analysis. Total citation counts for each article on the list were retrieved from Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar. The overlap and unique citations were compared and analyzed. Proportions were compared using χ2-test.
Google Scholar returned the greatest proportion of articles with citations (45%), followed by Scopus (42%), and Web of Science (38%). Almost a half (49%) of articles had no citations and 11% had an equal number of identical citations in all 3 databases. The greatest overlap was found between Web of Science and Scopus (54%), followed by Scopus and Google Scholar (51%), and Web of Science and Google Scholar (44%). The greatest number of unique citations was found by Google Scholar (n = 86). The majority of these citations (64%) came from journals, followed by books and PhD theses. Approximately 55% of all citing documents were full-text resources in open access. The language of citing documents was mostly English, but as many as 25 citing documents (29%) were in Chinese.
Google Scholar shares a total of 42% citations returned by two others, more influential, bibliographic resources. The list of unique citations in Google Scholar is predominantly journal based, but these journals are mainly of local character. Citations received by internationally recognized medical journals are crucial for increasing the visibility of small medical journals but Google Scholar may serve as an alternative bibliometric tool for an orientational citation insight.
PMCID: PMC2859414  PMID: 20401951
3.  Quality and Certification of Electronic Health Records 
Applied Clinical Informatics  2010;1(2):149-164.
Numerous projects, initiatives, and programs are dedicated to the development of Electronic Health Records (EHR) worldwide. Increasingly more of these plans have recently been brought from a scientific environment to real life applications. In this context, quality is a crucial factor with regard to the acceptance and utility of Electronic Health Records. However, the dissemination of the existing quality approaches is often rather limited.
The present paper aims at the description and comparison of the current major quality certification approaches to EHRs.
A literature analysis was carried out in order to identify the relevant publications with regard to EHR quality certification. PubMed, ACM Digital Library, IEEExplore, CiteSeer, and Google (Scholar) were used to collect relevant sources. The documents that were obtained were analyzed using techniques of qualitative content analysis.
The analysis discusses and compares the quality approaches of CCHIT, EuroRec, IHE, openEHR, and EN13606. These approaches differ with regard to their focus, support of service-oriented EHRs, process of (re-)certification and testing, number of systems certified and tested, supporting organizations, and regional relevance.
The analyzed approaches show differences with regard to their structure and processes. System vendors can exploit these approaches in order to improve and certify their information systems. Health care organizations can use these approaches to support selection processes or to assess the quality of their own information systems.
PMCID: PMC3632276  PMID: 23616834
Quality; certification; electronic health record; medical records
4.  Barriers to implement Electronic Health Records (EHRs) 
Materia Socio-Medica  2013;25(3):213-215.
During the past 20 years, with huge advances in information technology and particularly in the areas of health, various forms of electronic records have been studied, analyzed, designed or implemented. An Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is defined as digitally stored healthcare information throughout an individual’s lifetime with the purpose of supporting continuity of care, education, and research. The EHRs may include such things as observations, laboratory tests, medical images, treatments, therapies; drugs administered, patient identifying information, legal permissions, and so on. Despite of the potential benefits of electronic health records, implement of this project facing with barriers and restriction ,that the most of these limitations are cost constraints, technical limitations, standardization limits, attitudinal constraints–behavior of individuals and organizational constraints.
The aim of this study was to express the main barriers to implement EHRs.
This study was unsystematic-review study. The literature was searched on main barriers to implement EHRs with the help of library, books, conference proceedings, data bank, and also searches engines available at Google, Google scholar. For our searches, we employed the following keywords and their combinations: Electronic health record, implement, obstacle, and information technology in the searching areas of title, keywords, abstract, and full text.
Results and discussion:
In this study, more than 43 articles and reports were collected and 32 of them were selected based on their relevancy. Many studies indicate that the most important factor than other limitations to implement the EHR are resistance to change.
PMCID: PMC3804410  PMID: 24167440
Electronic Health Records; implement; barrier; technology.
5.  Cirque du Monde as a health intervention 
Canadian Family Physician  2014;60(11):e548-e553.
To present Cirque du Soleil’s social circus program, Cirque du Monde, to explore its potential as a primary health care tool for family physicians.
Data sources
A review of the literature in PubMed, the Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, LaPresse, Eureka, Google Scholar, and Érudit using the key words circus, social circus, Cirque du Monde, and Cirque du Soleil; a Montreal-based initiative, Espace Transition, modeled on Cirque du Monde; and personal communication with Cirque du Soleil’s Social Circus Training Advisor.
Study selection
The first 50 articles or websites identified for each key word in each of the databases were examined on the basis of their titles and abstracts in the case of articles, and on the basis of their titles and page content in the case of websites. Articles and websites that explored an aspect of social circuses or that described an intervention that involved circuses were then retained for analysis. Because all literature on social circuses was searched, no criterion for year of publication was used.
No articles on the social circus as a health intervention were found. One study on the use of the circus as an intervention in schools was identified. It demonstrated an increase in self-esteem in the children who took part. One study on the use of the circus in a First Nations community was found; it contained nonspecific, qualitative findings. The other articles identified were merely descriptions of social circuses. One website was identified on the use of the social circus to help youth who had been treated in a hospital setting for major psychiatric disorders to re-enter the community. The team in the pediatric psychiatry department at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine, the children’s hospital in Montreal, Que, was contacted; they were leading this project, called Espace Transition. The unpublished preliminary findings of its pilot project demonstrate substantial improvements in overall patient functioning. According to Cirque du Soleil, there are several projects under way around the world researching the therapeutic value of social circuses.
Cirque du Monde is able to reach a marginalized population that is otherwise difficult for the health system to reach. This program has therapeutic potential because of its target population, its promotion of healthy habits, and the support that it offers through the group and its workers. Cirque du Soleil is investing heavily in this project. The lack of literature yielding robust data on the social circus is therefore an important issue.
PMCID: PMC4229178  PMID: 25392449
6.  Web GIS in practice III: creating a simple interactive map of England's Strategic Health Authorities using Google Maps API, Google Earth KML, and MSN Virtual Earth Map Control 
This eye-opener article aims at introducing the health GIS community to the emerging online consumer geoinformatics services from Google and Microsoft (MSN), and their potential utility in creating custom online interactive health maps. Using the programmable interfaces provided by Google and MSN, we created three interactive demonstrator maps of England's Strategic Health Authorities. These can be browsed online at – Google Maps API (Application Programming Interface) version, – Google Earth KML (Keyhole Markup Language) version, and – MSN Virtual Earth Map Control version. Google and MSN's worldwide distribution of "free" geospatial tools, imagery, and maps is to be commended as a significant step towards the ultimate "wikification" of maps and GIS. A discussion is provided of these emerging online mapping trends, their expected future implications and development directions, and associated individual privacy, national security and copyrights issues. Although ESRI have announced their planned response to Google (and MSN), it remains to be seen how their envisaged plans will materialize and compare to the offerings from Google and MSN, and also how Google and MSN mapping tools will further evolve in the near future.
PMCID: PMC1242244  PMID: 16176577
7.  Comparison of Four Search Engines and their efficacy With Emphasis on Literature Research in Addiction (Prevention and Treatment) 
Surveying valuable and most recent information from internet, has become vital for researchers and scholars, because every day, thousands and perhaps millions of scientific works are brought out as digital resources which represented by internet and researchers can’t ignore this great resource to find related documents for their literature search, which may not be found in any library. With regard to variety of documents presented on the internet, search engines are one of the most effective search tools for finding information.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the three criteria, recall, preciseness and importance of the four search engines which are PubMed, Science Direct, Google Scholar and federated search of Iranian National Medical Digital Library in addiction (prevention and treatment) to select the most effective search engine for offering the best literature research.
Materials and Methods
This research was a cross-sectional study by which four popular search engines in medical sciences were evaluated. To select keywords, medical subject heading (Mesh) was used. We entered given keywords in the search engines and after searching, 10 first entries were evaluated. Direct observation was used as a mean for data collection and they were analyzed by descriptive statistics (number, percent number and mean) and inferential statistics, One way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post hoc Tukey in Spss. 15 statistical software. P Value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results have shown that the search engines had different operations with regard to the evaluated criteria. Since P Value was 0.004 < 0.05 for preciseness and was 0.002 < 0.05 for importance, it shows significant difference among search engines. PubMed, Science Direct and Google Scholar were the best in recall, preciseness and importance respectively.
As literature research is one of the most important stages of research, it's better for researchers, especially Substance-Related Disorders scholars to use different search engines with the best recall, preciseness and importance in that subject field to reach desirable results while searching and they don’t depend on just one search engine.
PMCID: PMC4070130  PMID: 24971257
Research; Search Engine; Substance-Related Disorders
8.  Preventing breast cancer in LMICs via screening and/or early detection: The real and the surreal 
To review the present status of breast cancer (BC) screening/early detection in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and identify the way forward, an open focused search for articles was undertaken in PubMed, Google Scholar and Google, and using a snowball technique, further articles were obtained from the reference list of initial search results. In addition, a query was put up on ResearchGate to obtain more references and find out the general opinion of experts on the topic. Experts were also personally contacted for their opinion. Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer in women in the world. The rise in incidence is highest in LMICs where the incidence has often been much lower than high-income countries. In spite of more women dying of cancer than pregnancy or childbirth related causes in LMICs, most of the focus and resources are devoted to maternal health. Also, the majority of women in LMICs present at late stages to a hospital to initiate treatment. A number of trials have been conducted in various LMICs regarding the use of clinical breast examination and mammography in various combinations to understand the best ways of implementing a population level screening/early detection of BC; nevertheless, more research in this area is badly needed for different LMIC specific contexts. Notably, very few LMICs have national level programs for BC prevention via screening/early detection and even stage reduction is not on the public health agenda. This is in addition to other barriers such as lack of awareness among women regarding BC and the presence of stigma, inappropriate attitudes and lack of following proper screening behavior, such as conducting breast self-examinations. The above is mixed with the apathy and lack of awareness of policy makers regarding the fact that BC prevention is much more cost-effective and humane than BC treatment. Implementation of population level programs for screening/early detection of BC, along with use of ways to improve awareness of women regarding BC, can prove critical in stemming the increasing burden of BC in LMICs. Use of newer modalities such as ultrasonography which is more suited to LMIC populations and use of mHealth for awareness creation and increasing screening compliance are much needed extra additions to the overall agenda of LMICs in preventing BC.
PMCID: PMC4127620  PMID: 25114864
Breast cancer; Screening; Early detection; Mammography; Clinical breast examination; Breast self examination; Ultrasonography; Awareness; Developing countries; Low- and middle-income countries
9.  Keywords to Recruit Spanish- and English-Speaking Participants: Evidence From an Online Postpartum Depression Randomized Controlled Trial 
One of the advantages of Internet-based research is the ability to efficiently recruit large, diverse samples of international participants. Currently, there is a dearth of information on the behind-the-scenes process to setting up successful online recruitment tools.
The objective of the study was to examine the comparative impact of Spanish- and English-language keywords for a Google AdWords campaign to recruit pregnant women to an Internet intervention and to describe the characteristics of those who enrolled in the trial.
Spanish- and English-language Google AdWords campaigns were created to advertise and recruit pregnant women to a Web-based randomized controlled trial for the prevention of postpartum depression, the Mothers and Babies/Mamás y Bebés Internet Project. Search engine users who clicked on the ads in response to keyword queries (eg, pregnancy, depression and pregnancy) were directed to the fully automated study website. Data on the performance of keywords associated with each Google ad reflect Web user queries from February 2009 to June 2012. Demographic information, self-reported depression symptom scores, major depressive episode status, and Internet use data were collected from enrolled participants before randomization in the intervention study.
The Google ads received high exposure (12,983,196 impressions) and interest (176,295 clicks) from a global sample of Web users; 6745 pregnant women consented to participate and 2575 completed enrollment in the intervention study. Keywords that were descriptive of pregnancy and distress or pregnancy and health resulted in higher consent and enrollment rates (ie, high-performing ads). In both languages, broad keywords (eg, pregnancy) had the highest exposure, more consented participants, and greatest cost per consent (up to US $25.77 per consent). The online ads recruited a predominantly Spanish-speaking sample from Latin America of Mestizo racial identity. The English-speaking sample was also diverse with most participants residing in regions of Asia and Africa. Spanish-speaking participants were significantly more likely to be of Latino ethnic background, not married, completed fewer years of formal education, and were more likely to have accessed the Internet for depression information (P<.001).
The Internet is an effective method for reaching an international sample of pregnant women interested in online interventions to manage changes in their mood during the perinatal period. To increase efficiency, Internet advertisements need to be monitored and tailored to reflect the target population’s conceptualization of health issues being studied.
Trial Registration NCT00816725; (Archived by WebCite at
PMCID: PMC3906894  PMID: 24407163
Internet intervention; prevention; depression, postpartum; research subject recruitment; women; Spanish speaking
10.  Asynchronous and Synchronous Teleconsultation for Diabetes Care: A Systematic Literature Review 
A systematic literature review, covering publications from 1994 to 2009, was carried out to determine the effects of teleconsultation regarding clinical, behavioral, and care coordination outcomes of diabetes care compared to usual care. Two types of teleconsultation were distinguished: (1) asynchronous teleconsultation for monitoring and delivering feedback via email and cell phone, automated messaging systems, or other equipment without face-to-face contact; and (2) synchronous teleconsultation that involves real-time, face-to-face contact (image and voice) via videoconferencing equipment (television, digital camera, webcam, videophone, etc.) to connect caregivers and one or more patients simultaneously, e.g., for the purpose of education.
Electronic databases were searched for relevant publications about asynchronous and synchronous tele-consultation [Medline, Picarta, Psychinfo, ScienceDirect, Telemedicine Information Exchange, Institute for Scientific Information Web of Science, Google Scholar]. Reference lists of identified publications were hand searched. The contribution to diabetes care was examined for clinical outcomes [e.g., hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), dietary values, blood pressure, quality of life], for behavioral outcomes (patient-caregiver interaction, self-care), and for care coordination outcomes (usability of technology, cost-effectiveness, transparency of guidelines, equity of access to care). Randomized controlled trials with HbA1c as an outcome were pooled using standard meta-analytical methods.
Of 2060 publications identified, 90 met inclusion criteria for electronic communication between (groups of) caregivers and patients with type 1 and 2 or gestational diabetes. Studies that evaluated teleconsultation not particularly aimed at diabetes were excluded, as were those that described interventions aimed solely at clinical improvements (e.g., HbA1c or lipid profiles).
In 63 of 90 interventions, the interaction had an asynchronous teleconsultation character, in 18 cases interaction was synchronously (videoconferencing), and 9 involved a combination of synchronous with asynchronous interaction. Most of the reported improvements concerned clinical values (n = 49), self-care (n = 46), and satisfaction with technology (n = 43). A minority of studies demonstrated improvements in patient-caregiver interactions (n = 28) and cost reductions (n = 27). Only a few studies reported enhanced quality of life (n = 12), transparency of health care (n = 7), and improved equity in care delivery (n = 4). Asynchronous and synchronous applications appeared to differ in the type of contribution they made to diabetes care compared to usual care: asynchronous applications were more successful in improving clinical values and self-care, whereas synchronous applications led to relatively high usability of technology and cost reduction in terms of lower travel costs for both patients and care providers and reduced unscheduled visits compared to usual care. The combined applications (n = 9) scored best according to quality of life (22.2%). No differences between synchronous and asynchronous teleconsultation could be observed regarding the positive effect of technology on the quality of patient-provider interaction. Both types of applications resulted in intensified contact and increased frequency of transmission of clinical values with respect to usual care. Fifteen of the studies contained HbA1c data that permitted pooling. There was significant statistical heterogeneity among the pooled randomized controlled trials (χ2 = 96.46, P < 0.001). The pooled reduction in HbA1c was not statically significant (weighted mean difference -0.10; 95% confidence interval -0.39 to 0.18).
The included studies suggest that both synchronous and asynchronous teleconsultations for diabetes care are feasible, cost-effective, and reliable. However, it should be noted that many of the included studies showed no significant differences between control (usual care) and intervention groups. This might be due to the diversity and lack of quality in study designs (e.g., inaccurate or incompletely reported sample size calculations). Future research needs quasi-experimental study designs and a holistic approach that focuses on multilevel determinants (clinical, behavioral, and care coordination) to promote self-care and proactive collaborations between health care professionals and patients to manage diabetes care. Also, a participatory design approach is needed in which target users are involved in the development of cost-effective and personalized interventions. Currently, too often technology is developed within the scope of the existing structures of the health care system. Including patients as part of the design team stimulates and enables designers to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective, leading to applications that are better tailored to patients' needs.
PMCID: PMC2901046  PMID: 20513335
chronic diseases; diabetes mellitus; telemedicine; remote consultation; teleconsultation; videoconferencing; telemonitoring
11.  Google Scholar as replacement for systematic literature searches: good relative recall and precision are not enough 
Recent research indicates a high recall in Google Scholar searches for systematic reviews. These reports raised high expectations of Google Scholar as a unified and easy to use search interface. However, studies on the coverage of Google Scholar rarely used the search interface in a realistic approach but instead merely checked for the existence of gold standard references. In addition, the severe limitations of the Google Search interface must be taken into consideration when comparing with professional literature retrieval tools.
The objectives of this work are to measure the relative recall and precision of searches with Google Scholar under conditions which are derived from structured search procedures conventional in scientific literature retrieval; and to provide an overview of current advantages and disadvantages of the Google Scholar search interface in scientific literature retrieval.
General and MEDLINE-specific search strategies were retrieved from 14 Cochrane systematic reviews. Cochrane systematic review search strategies were translated to Google Scholar search expression as good as possible under consideration of the original search semantics. The references of the included studies from the Cochrane reviews were checked for their inclusion in the result sets of the Google Scholar searches. Relative recall and precision were calculated.
We investigated Cochrane reviews with a number of included references between 11 and 70 with a total of 396 references. The Google Scholar searches resulted in sets between 4,320 and 67,800 and a total of 291,190 hits. The relative recall of the Google Scholar searches had a minimum of 76.2% and a maximum of 100% (7 searches). The precision of the Google Scholar searches had a minimum of 0.05% and a maximum of 0.92%. The overall relative recall for all searches was 92.9%, the overall precision was 0.13%.
The reported relative recall must be interpreted with care. It is a quality indicator of Google Scholar confined to an experimental setting which is unavailable in systematic retrieval due to the severe limitations of the Google Scholar search interface. Currently, Google Scholar does not provide necessary elements for systematic scientific literature retrieval such as tools for incremental query optimization, export of a large number of references, a visual search builder or a history function. Google Scholar is not ready as a professional searching tool for tasks where structured retrieval methodology is necessary.
PMCID: PMC3840556  PMID: 24160679
Literature search; Literature search; Methods; Literature search; Systematic; Information storage and retrieval; Google Scholar; Medline
12.  Health sciences libraries building survey, 1999–2009 
A survey was conducted of health sciences libraries to obtain information about newer buildings, additions, remodeling, and renovations.
An online survey was developed, and announcements of survey availability posted to three major email discussion lists: Medical Library Association (MLA), Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL), and MEDLIB-L. Previous discussions of library building projects on email discussion lists, a literature review, personal communications, and the author's consulting experiences identified additional projects.
Seventy-eight health sciences library building projects at seventy-three institutions are reported. Twenty-two are newer facilities built within the last ten years; two are space expansions; forty-five are renovation projects; and nine are combinations of new and renovated space. Six institutions report multiple or ongoing renovation projects during the last ten years.
The survey results confirm a continuing migration from print-based to digitally based collections and reveal trends in library space design. Some health sciences libraries report loss of space as they move toward creating space for “community” building. Libraries are becoming more proactive in using or retooling space for concentration, collaboration, contemplation, communication, and socialization. All are moving toward a clearer operational vision of the library as the institution's information nexus and not merely as a physical location with print collections.
PMCID: PMC2859257  PMID: 20428277
13.  Reducing Alaska Native paediatric oral health disparities: a systematic review of oral health interventions and a case study on multilevel strategies to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage intake 
International Journal of Circumpolar Health  2013;72:10.3402/ijch.v72i0.21066.
Tooth decay is the most common paediatric disease and there is a serious paediatric tooth decay epidemic in Alaska Native communities. When untreated, tooth decay can lead to pain, infection, systemic health problems, hospitalisations and in rare cases death, as well as school absenteeism, poor grades and low quality-of-life. The extent to which population-based oral health interventions have been conducted in Alaska Native paediatric populations is unknown.
To conduct a systematic review of oral health interventions aimed at Alaska Native children below age 18 and to present a case study and conceptual model on multilevel intervention strategies aimed at reducing sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake among Alaska Native children.
Based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Statement, the terms “Alaska Native”, “children” and “oral health” were used to search Medline, Embase, Web of Science, GoogleScholar and health foundation websites (1970–2012) for relevant clinical trials and evaluation studies.
Eighty-five studies were found in Medline, Embase and Web of Science databases and there were 663 hits in GoogleScholar. A total of 9 publications were included in the qualitative review. These publications describe 3 interventions that focused on: reducing paediatric tooth decay by educating families and communities; providing dental chemotherapeutics to pregnant women; and training mid-level dental care providers. While these approaches have the potential to improve the oral health of Alaska Native children, there are unique challenges regarding intervention acceptability, reach and sustainability. A case study and conceptual model are presented on multilevel strategies to reduce SSB intake among Alaska Native children.
Few oral health interventions have been tested within Alaska Native communities. Community-centred multilevel interventions are promising approaches to improve the oral and systemic health of Alaska Native children. Future investigators should evaluate the feasibility of implementing multilevel interventions and policies within Alaska Native communities as a way to reduce children's health disparities.
PMCID: PMC3873640  PMID: 24377091
oral health disparities; Alaska Native health disparities; dental caries prevention; children; dental workforce; primary intervention in oral health; sugar-sweetened beverages
14.  Towards better digital pathology workflows: programming libraries for high-speed sharpness assessment of Whole Slide Images 
Diagnostic Pathology  2014;9(Suppl 1):S3.
Since microscopic slides can now be automatically digitized and integrated in the clinical workflow, quality assessment of Whole Slide Images (WSI) has become a crucial issue. We present a no-reference quality assessment method that has been thoroughly tested since 2010 and is under implementation in multiple sites, both public university-hospitals and private entities. It is part of the FlexMIm R&D project which aims to improve the global workflow of digital pathology. For these uses, we have developed two programming libraries, in Java and Python, which can be integrated in various types of WSI acquisition systems, viewers and image analysis tools.
Development and testing have been carried out on a MacBook Pro i7 and on a bi-Xeon 2.7GHz server. Libraries implementing the blur assessment method have been developed in Java, Python, PHP5 and MySQL5. For web applications, JavaScript, Ajax, JSON and Sockets were also used, as well as the Google Maps API. Aperio SVS files were converted into the Google Maps format using VIPS and Openslide libraries.
We designed the Java library as a Service Provider Interface (SPI), extendable by third parties. Analysis is computed in real-time (3 billion pixels per minute). Tests were made on 5000 single images, 200 NDPI WSI, 100 Aperio SVS WSI converted to the Google Maps format.
Applications based on our method and libraries can be used upstream, as calibration and quality control tool for the WSI acquisition systems, or as tools to reacquire tiles while the WSI is being scanned. They can also be used downstream to reacquire the complete slides that are below the quality threshold for surgical pathology analysis. WSI may also be displayed in a smarter way by sending and displaying the regions of highest quality before other regions. Such quality assessment scores could be integrated as WSI's metadata shared in clinical, research or teaching contexts, for a more efficient medical informatics workflow.
PMCID: PMC4305973  PMID: 25565494
15.  A Case Study of a Retracted Systematic Review on Interactive Health Communication Applications: Impact on Media, Scientists, and Patients 
In October 2004, a flawed systematic review entitled “Interactive Health Communication Applications for People with Chronic Disease” was published in the Cochrane Library, accompanied by several press releases in which authors warned the public of the negative health consequences of interactive health communication applications, including the Internet. Within days of the review's publication, scientists identified major coding errors and other methodological problems that invalidated the principal conclusions of the study and led to a retraction. While the original study results and their negative conclusions were widely publicized in the media, the retraction seemed to go unnoticed.
This paper aims to document an unprecedented case of misinformation from a Cochrane review and its impact on media, scientists, and patients. As well, it aims to identify the generic factors leading to the incident and suggest remedies.
This was a qualitative study of the events leading to the retraction of the publication and of the reactions from media, scientists, and patients. This includes a review and content analysis of academic and mass media articles responding to the publication and retraction. Mass media articles were retrieved in May 2005 from LexisNexis Academic and Google and were classified and tallied. The extended case method is employed, and the analysis is also applied to comparable publishing events.
A search on LexisNexis Academic database with the query “Elizabeth Murray AND health” for the period of June 2004 to May 2005 revealed a total of 15 press reports, of which only 1 addressed the retraction. Google was searched for references to the review, and the first 200 retrieved hits were analyzed. Of these, 170 pages were not related to the review. Of the remaining 30 pages, 23 (77%) were reports about the original publication that did not mention the retraction, 1 (3%) was a bibliography not mentioning the retraction, and 6 (20%) addressed the retraction, of which only 1 was a non-Cochrane–related source.
Analyzed retrievals showed that the mass media gave more coverage to the Cochrane review than to the retraction or to a related systematic review with a similar scope but a different conclusion. Questionable results were prematurely disseminated, oversimplified, and sensationalized, while the retraction was hardly noticed by the public. Open commentary by scientists and patients helped to rapidly identify the errors but did not prevent or correct the dissemination of misinformation.
PMCID: PMC1550646  PMID: 15998609
Retraction of publication; online systems; mass media; patients; medical errors; editorial policies
16.  Prophylactic vaccination against human papillomavirus infection and disease in women: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials 
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is now known to be a necessary cause of cervical cancer, and prophylactic HPV vaccines aimed at preventing genital warts, precancerous cervical lesions and cervical cancer are now available. To gauge the potential impact on disease burden, we performed a systematic review of the evidence from randomized controlled trials.
We conducted a systematic search of the literature to identify all randomized controlled trials of prophylactic HPV vaccination. Reports in 5 electronic databases covering 1950 to June 2007 (MEDLINE, MEDLINE in process, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials and the Cochrane Library), bibliographies of all included studies and of narrative reviews (2006–2007), clinical trial registries, Google Scholar, public health announcements, selected conference proceedings (2004–2007) and manufacturers' information on unpublished data or ongoing trials were screened against predefined eligibility criteria by 2 independent reviewers. Vaccines had to contain coverage against at least 1 oncogenic HPV strain. The primary outcome of interest was the frequency of high-grade cervical lesions (high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion, or grade 2 or 3 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia). The secondary outcomes were persistent HPV infection, low-grade cervical lesions (low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion or grade 1 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia), external genital lesions, adverse events and death. Meta-analysis of the data was done in all cases where adequate clinical and methodological homogeneity existed.
Of 456 screened reports, 9 were included in the review (6 were reports of randomized controlled trials and 3 were follow-up reports of initial trials). Findings from the meta-analysis showed that prophylactic HPV vaccination was associated with a reduction in the frequency of high-grade cervical lesions caused by vaccine-type HPV strains compared with control groups: Peto odds ratio 0.14 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.09–0.21) from combined per-protocol analyses, and 0.52 (95% CI 0.43–0.63) from modified intention-to-treat analyses. Vaccination was also highly efficacious in preventing other HPV-related infection and disease outcomes, including persistent HPV infection, low-grade lesions and genital warts. The majority of adverse events were minor. The incidence of serious adverse events and death were balanced between the vaccine and control groups.
Among women aged 15–25 years not previously infected with vaccine-type HPV strains, prophylactic HPV vaccination appears to be highly efficacious in preventing HPV infection and precancerous cervical disease. Long-term follow-up is needed to substantiate reductions in cervical cancer incidence and mortality.
PMCID: PMC1950172  PMID: 17671238
17.  Information Systems for Patient Follow-Up and Chronic Management of HIV and Tuberculosis: A Life-Saving Technology in Resource-Poor Areas 
The scale-up of treatment for HIV and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in developing countries requires a long-term relationship with the patient, accurate and accessible records of each patient’s history, and methods to track his/her progress. Recent studies have shown up to 24% loss to follow-up of HIV patients in Africa during treatment and many patients not being started on treatment at all. Some programs for prevention of maternal–child transmission have more than 80% loss to follow-up of babies born to HIV-positive mothers. These patients are at great risk of dying or developing drug resistance if their antiretroviral therapy is interrupted. Similar problems have been found in the scale-up of MDR-TB treatment.
The aim of the study was to assess the role of medical information systems in tracking patients with HIV or MDR-TB, ensuring they are promptly started on high quality care, and reducing loss to follow-up.
A literature search was conducted starting from a previous review and using Medline and Google Scholar. Due to the nature of this work and the relative lack of published articles to date, the authors also relied on personal knowledge and experience of systems in use and their own assessments of systems.
Functionality for tracking patients and detecting those lost to follow-up is described in six HIV and MDR-TB treatment projects in Africa and Latin America. Preliminary data show benefits in tracking patients who have not been prescribed appropriate drugs, those who fail to return for follow-up, and those who do not have medications picked up for them by health care workers. There were also benefits seen in providing access to key laboratory data and in using this data to improve the timeliness and quality of care. Follow-up was typically achieved by a combination of reports from information systems along with teams of community health care workers. New technologies such as low-cost satellite Internet access, personal digital assistants, and cell phones are helping to expand the reach of these systems.
Effective information systems in developing countries are a recent innovation but will need to play an increasing role in supporting and monitoring HIV and MDR-TB projects as they scale up from thousands to hundreds of thousands of patients. A particular focus should be placed on tracking patients from initial diagnosis to initiation of effective treatment and then monitoring them for treatment breaks or loss to follow-up. More quantitative evaluations need to be performed on the impact of electronic information systems on tracking patients.
PMCID: PMC2223184  PMID: 17951213
Anti-retroviral therapy; developing countries; information systems; patient follow-up; HIV/AIDS; Tuberculosis
18.  Google Scholar is not enough to be used alone for systematic reviews 
Background: Google Scholar (GS) has been noted for its ability to search broadly for important references in the literature. Gehanno et al. recently examined GS in their study: ‘Is Google scholar enough to be used alone for systematic reviews?’ In this paper, we revisit this important question, and some of Gehanno et al.’s other findings in evaluating the academic search engine.
Methods: The authors searched for a recent systematic review (SR) of comparable size to run search tests similar to those in Gehanno et al. We selected Chou et al. (2013) contacting the authors for a list of publications they found in their SR on social media in health. We queried GS for each of those 506 titles (in quotes ""), one by one. When GS failed to retrieve a paper, or produced too many results, we used the allintitle: command to find papers with the same title.
Results: Google Scholar produced records for ~95% of the papers cited by Chou et al. (n=476/506). A few of the 30 papers that were not in GS were later retrieved via PubMed and even regular Google Search. But due to its different structure, we could not run searches in GS that were originally performed by Chou et al. in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus and PsycINFO®. Identifying 506 papers in GS was an inefficient process, especially for papers using similar search terms.
Conclusions: Has Google Scholar improved enough to be used alone in searching for systematic reviews? No. GS’ constantly-changing content, algorithms and database structure make it a poor choice for systematic reviews. Looking for papers when you know their titles is a far different issue from discovering them initially. Further research is needed to determine when and how (and for what purposes) GS can be used alone. Google should provide details about GS’ database coverage and improve its interface (e.g., with semantic search filters, stored searching, etc.). Perhaps then it will be an appropriate choice for systematic reviews.
PMCID: PMC3733758  PMID: 23923099
MeSH Keywords: Google Scholar; information retrieval; PubMed; searching; systematic reviews
19.  Interventions to encourage discussion of end-of-life preferences between members of the general population and the people closest to them - a systematic literature review 
BMC Palliative Care  2013;12:40.
Discussing end of life preferences can be beneficial, and it is thought that the best time to have these conversations is usually when people are well. This review aims to establish current evidence for the effectiveness of community-based interventions to encourage people to consider, and to discuss with those closest to them, their preferences for end of life care or what they wish to happen after their death.
A systematic literature review was undertaken. A systematic search was conducted using Scopus and Google, and academic experts were contacted. Studies were included if they evaluated interventions intended to encourage people to discuss their end of life preferences with those closest to them, or to address known barriers to these discussions. Reported outcomes had to relate to attitude or behaviour change in the target group, or target group perceptions of the intervention. Studies were excluded if the intervention targeted only people with a life-limiting illness, or intended specifically to facilitate communication of end of life preferences between patients and healthcare staff. Studies were systematically described and assessed for quality. There was no attempt to combine results of different studies.
The Scopus search identified 5,743 citations, and the Google search identified over 40,000, of which the first 40 pages were scanned. Five studies were included, four identified through the Scopus search and one from a book identified through Google. Three studies reported positive results, two were less positive. A peer education programme on end of life planning for older people, featuring small discussion workshops, was positively appraised by participants. An arts project bringing hospice users and school pupils together appeared to help normalise death for school pupils. A public information ‘roadshow’ engaged people using an informal questionnaire survey, facilitating conversations between people who participated together. Public lectures by physicians intending to promoting home death as a possibility were unsuccessful in changing attitudes at six months follow-up. A module on end of life planning delivered as part of ‘expert patient’ education programme on the management of chronic illness was not well received by participants.
Available evidence highlights the importance of actively engaging people rather than passively providing information, and of ensuring an appropriate context for interventions. However, data are limited and there is a need for more research and for sharing of best practice.
PMCID: PMC3826509  PMID: 24188214
Public health; End of life; Palliative care; Health promotion
20.  Retained Foreign Bodies: A Serious Threat in the Indian Operation Room 
Retained foreign bodies (RFBs) are a surgical complication resulting from foreign materials accidently left in a patient's body. This review attempts to give an overview of different types of RFBs, problems related to them and their management after the surgical operation. The internet was searched using the Google and Google scholar. In addition, relevant electronic journals from the University's library such as Entrez (including PubMed and PubMed central), Since Direct, Scirus,,,, Scopus,, Cochrane library,, and World Health Organization Hinari. It shows that the major reasons of RFBs are emergency surgical operation with unplanned changes, patient high body mass index, and poor communication. To prevent this textile material should be radiopaque marked and must be counted once at the start and twice at the conclusion of all surgical procedures. If the count is incorrect, then radiography or manually re-exploration should be performed. Ultrasonography, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and radio frequency identification are also used in the proper identification of RFBs. Safety practice should be robust and simple enough to protect patient under the most chaotic of circumstances. Proper communication among the personnel participating in surgery aimed at preventing this medical negligence would help in mitigating such errors. Finally, the surgeon should not only follow the standard recommended procedure, but also report cases of RFBs.
PMCID: PMC3952293  PMID: 24669327
Medical negligence; Radiography; Retained foreign bodies
21.  A Framework and Methodology for Navigating Disaster and Global Health in Crisis Literature 
PLoS Currents  2013;5:ecurrents.dis.9af6948e381dafdd3e877c441527cba0.
Both ‘disasters’ and ‘global health in crisis’ research has dramatically grown due to the ever-increasing frequency and magnitude of crises around the world. Large volumes of peer-reviewed literature are not only a testament to the field’s value and evolution, but also present an unprecedented outpouring of seemingly unmanageable information across a wide array of crises and disciplines. Disaster medicine, health and humanitarian assistance, global health and public health disaster literature all lie within the disaster and global health in crisis literature spectrum and are increasingly accepted as multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary disciplines. Researchers, policy makers, and practitioners now face a new challenge; that of accessing this expansive literature for decision-making and exploring new areas of research. Individuals are also reaching beyond the peer-reviewed environment to grey literature using search engines like Google Scholar to access policy documents, consensus reports and conference proceedings. What is needed is a method and mechanism with which to search and retrieve relevant articles from this expansive body of literature. This manuscript presents both a framework and workable process for a diverse group of users to navigate the growing peer-reviewed and grey disaster and global health in crises literature. Methods: Disaster terms from textbooks, peer-reviewed and grey literature were used to design a framework of thematic clusters and subject matter ‘nodes’. A set of 84 terms, selected from 143 curated terms was organized within each node reflecting topics within the disaster and global health in crisis literature. Terms were crossed with one another and the term ‘disaster’. The results were formatted into tables and matrices. This process created a roadmap of search terms that could be applied to the PubMed database. Each search in the matrix or table results in a listed number of articles. This process was applied to literature from PubMed from 2005-2011. A complementary process was also applied to Google Scholar using the same framework of clusters, nodes, and terms expanding the search process to include the broader grey literature assets. Results: A framework of four thematic clusters and twelve subject matter nodes were designed to capture diverse disaster and global health in crisis-related content. From 2005-2011 there were 18,660 articles referring to the term [disaster]. Restricting the search to human research, MeSH, and English language there remained 7,736 identified articles representing an unmanageable number to adequately process for research, policy or best practices. However, using the crossed search and matrix process revealed further examples of robust realms of research in disasters, emergency medicine, EMS, public health and global health. Examples of potential gaps in current peer-reviewed disaster and global health in crisis literature were identified as mental health, elderly care, and alternate sites of care. The same framework and process was then applied to Google Scholar, specifically for topics that resulted in few PubMed search returns. When applying the same framework and process to the Google Scholar example searches retrieved unique peer-reviewed articles not identified in PubMed and documents including books, governmental documents and consensus papers. Conclusions: The proposed framework, methodology and process using four clusters, twelve nodes and a matrix and table process applied to PubMed and Google Scholar unlocks otherwise inaccessible opportunities to better navigate the massively growing body of peer-reviewed disaster and global health in crises literature. This approach will assist researchers, policy makers, and practitioners to generate future research questions, report on the overall evolution of the disaster and global health in crisis field and further guide disaster planning, prevention, preparedness, mitigation response and recovery.
PMCID: PMC3625621  PMID: 23591457
22.  Systematic literature review of integrated community case management and the private sector in Africa: Relevant experiences and potential next steps 
Journal of Global Health  2014;4(2):020414.
Despite substantial investments made over the past 40 years in low income countries, governments cannot be viewed as the principal health care provider in many countries. Evidence on the role of the private sector in the delivery of health services is becoming increasingly available. In this study, we set out to determine the extent to which the private sector has been utilized in providing integrated care for sick children under 5 years of age with community–acquired malaria, pneumonia or diarrhoea.
We reviewed the published literature for integrated community case management (iCCM) related experiences within both the public and private sector. We searched PubMed and Google/Google Scholar for all relevant literature until July 2014. The search terms used were “malaria”, “pneumonia”, “diarrhoea”, “private sector” and “community case management”.
A total of 383 articles referred to malaria, pneumonia or diarrhoea in the private sector. The large majority of these studies (290) were only malaria related. Most of the iCCM–related studies evaluated introduction of only malaria drugs and/or diagnostics into the private sector. Only one study evaluated the introduction of drugs and diagnostics for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea in the private sector. In contrast, most iCCM–related studies in the public sector directly reported on community case management of 2 or more of the illnesses.
While the private sector is an important source of care for children in low income countries, little has been done to harness the potential of this sector in improving access to care for non–malaria–associated fever in children within the community. It would be logical for iCCM programs to expand their activities to include the private sector to achieve higher population coverage. An implementation research agenda for private sector integrated care of febrile childhood illness needs to be developed and implemented in conjunction with private sector intervention programs.
PMCID: PMC4267082  PMID: 25520804
23.  Review of Maternal Mortality in Ethiopia: A Story of the Past 30 Years 
Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences  2014;24(0 Suppl):3-14.
Ethiopia is one of the six countries which have contributed to more than 50% of all maternal deaths across the world. This country has adopted the millennium development goals (MDGs) including reducing the maternal mortality by three-quarter, and put improvement in maternal health as one of the health sector development program (HSDP) performance indicators. The purpose of this study was to review the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in Ethiopia in the past 30 years using available literature.
A computer based literature search in the databases of MEDLINE, PubMed, HINARI, EBASE, MEASURE DHS, The Cochrane Library, Google Search and Google Scholar was carried out. Manual search for local articles that are not available electronically in full document were also conducted. Eighteen data sources (3 nationally representative surveys, 2 secondary data analyses, 5 small scale community based studies, and 8 hospital based studies) were included in the review. The results of this review are presented in the form of line and stock graphs.
The national maternal mortality trend estimated by the central statistics agency of Ethiopia, The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, WHO and other UN agencies showed inconsistent results. Similarly, although there were marked variations in the 95% confidence intervals among individual studies, the small scale community based and hospital based studies have shown that there has been no significant change in maternal mortality over the last three decades. A 22-year cohort analysis from Atat Hospital is the only evidence that demonstrated a very significant drop in maternal mortality among mothers who were kept in the maternity waiting area before the onset of labor.
Although the MDG and HSDP envisaged significant improvement in maternal health by this time, this review has shown that the performances are still far from the target. The multisectoral huge investment by the Ethiopian Government is a big hope to reduce the maternal mortality by three-quarters in the near future beyond 2015.
PMCID: PMC4249207  PMID: 25489179
community and hospital based; Ethiopia; maternal mortality ratio; trend
24.  The efficacy of dapagliflozin combined with hypoglycemic drugs in treating type 2 diabetes: protocol for meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials 
Systematic Reviews  2013;2:103.
Dapagliflozin is a first-in-class oral sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor. It is often used in combination with conventional anti-diabetic drugs such as metformin, glimepiride, and insulin in treating type 2 diabetes (T2D). It not only reduces glucose reabsorption in the kidney but also increases renal glucose excretion. Some studies found the actions of dapagliflozin independent of insulin and free from risk of weight gain. This meta-analysis aims to evaluate whether dapagliflozin is synergistic with other anti-diabetic drugs without risk of weight gain.
This meta-analysis will include the randomized controlled trials (RCT) evaluating the efficacy of dapagliflozin as an add-on drug in treating T2D for >8 weeks with the outcome measures glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and body weight. Information of relevant RCTs will be retrieved from major databases including PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase,, and Google Scholar according to a pre-specified search strategy. Google and manual search will find other unpublished reports and supplementary data. Eligible RCTs will be selected according to pre-specified inclusion and exclusion criteria. Data will be extracted and input into a pre-formatted spreadsheet. The Cochrane risk of bias tool will be used to assess the quality of the eligible RCTs. Meta-analysis based on the random-effects model will be conducted to compare the changes of HbA1c (%), FPG (mmol/L), and body weight (kg) between dapagliflozin arm and placebo arm. Publication bias will be evaluated with a funnel plot and the Egger’s test. Heterogeneity will be assessed with the I2 statistics. Sensitivity analysis will be conducted on follow-up periods. The evidential quality of the findings will be assessed with the GRADE profiler.
The findings of this meta-analysis will be important to clinicians, patients, and health policy-makers regarding the use of dapagliflozin in T2D treatment.
Study registration
PROSPERO registration number: CRD42013005034
PMCID: PMC3833641  PMID: 24225054
Systematic review; Dapagliflozin; Type 2 diabetes; Meta-analysis
25.  Educational and behavioral interventions for asthma: who achieves which outcomes? A systematic review 
Randomized clinical trial (RCT) data reviewed for outcomes and processes associated with asthma educational and behavioral interventions provided by different types of health professionals.
Cochrane Collaboration, MEDLINE, PUBMED, Google Scholar search from 1998 to 2009 identified 1650 articles regarding asthma educational and behavioral interventions resulting in 249 potential studies and following assessment produced a final sample of 50 RCTs.
Approaches, intended outcomes, and program providers vary greatly. No rationale provided in study reports for the selection of specific outcomes, program providers, or program components. Health care utilization and symptom control have been the most common outcomes assessed. Specific providers favor particular teaching approaches. Multidisciplinary teams have been the most frequent providers of asthma interventions. Physician-led interventions were most successful for outcomes related to the use of health care. Multidisciplinary teams were best in achieving symptom reduction and quality of life. Lay persons were best in achieving self-management/self-efficacy outcomes. Components most frequently employed in successful programs are skills to improve patient–clinician communication and education to enhance patient self-management. Fifty percent of interventions achieved reduction in the use of health care and one-third in symptom control. A combination approach including self-management and patient–clinician communication involving multidisciplinary team members may have the greatest effect on most outcomes.
The extent to which and how different providers achieve asthma outcomes through educational and behavioral interventions is emerging from recent studies. Health care use and symptom control are evolving as the gold standard for intervention outcomes. Development of self-management and clinician–patient communication skills are program components associated with success across outcomes and providers.
PMCID: PMC3047921  PMID: 21437053
interventions; asthma; health professionals; systematic review

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