Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mapping the literature of nursing: 1996–2000

Mapping the literature of nursing: 1996–2000

This paper by Margaret (Peg) Allen, Susan Kaplan Jacobs, and June R. Levy and the supporting symposia for specialities has been published in the Journal of the Medical Library Association Volume 94(2 Suppl); April 2006.

The authors along with a variety of collaborators in the Task Force on Mapping the Nursing Literature of the Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section of the Medical Library Association, analysed citations from nursing journals from 1996 to 2000.

They concluded that: "For comprehensive searches, nurses need to search multiple databases. Libraries need to provide access to databases beyond PubMed, including CINAHL and academic databases. Database vendors should improve their coverage of nursing, biomedical, and psychosocial titles identified in these studies."

It will be interesting to see the results of similar studies in the future wehn initiatives such as open access publishing are taken into account.

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RCN: Online Survey: NHS IT

RCN: Online Survey

For the past three years, the RCN has carried out a survey to find out more about levels of awareness, knowledge and engagement with national IT programmes across the UK. This year’s survey asks in particular what you think the effect of the electronic patient health care record will have on patient care and on your nursing practice, and whether the several billion pounds spent on the Government’s IT programme is a good or poor use of NHS resources.

We need as many nurses as possible to tell us what impact the changes to NHS IT have had upon them so we can deliver a campaign which will get nursing needs addressed, get nurses more engaged and make sure that the right technology is implemented, in the right way, for the benefit of patient care.

Please get involved and encourage your colleagues to fill in a survey by 23 June to ensure the RCN is fully informed. The survey can be found at

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

GPs dissatisfied with IT system

BBC NEWS | Health | GPs dissatisfied with IT system

A survey of UK doctors carried out for the BBC has shown a majority supporting calls for an "an independent review of the entire scheme by technical experts to check its basic viability."

Further comment on this is available from E-Health Insider

The survey was commissioned for a File on 4 radio programme to be transmitted on Tuesday, 30 May, 2006 at 17:00 BST, Radio 4 & Repeated on Sunday, 4 June, 2006 at 20:00 BST, which may be of interest to many readers of this blog. The programme will also be available, after transmission from the File on 4 web site.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Health Day at WWW2006

Yesterday I attended the "Health Day" at the WWW2006 conference at the International Conference Centre in Edinburgh.

Due to flight delays I missed the opening plenary presentation - but found out that Richard Granger, who was billed as delivering this session had not attended.

I arrived part way through the presentation by Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, Chairman of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. His powerpoint slides demonstrate the overview he gave of NICE and the way web technologies have enabled distributed working and will become more important in the future. An interesting point was the increasing emphasis on "societal preferences" alongside medical research.

The next speaker was John Loonsk Director, Office of Interoperability and Standards at the (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in Health and Human Services) in the USA. He identified many of the challenges facing the health care system in the US (many of which are remarkably similar to the UK) and, in particular, issues around role based access. View his powerpoint.

After a quick coffee, during which I met man friends and colleagues, old and new, I attended a session by invited speakers around "Web based support for Healthcare Professionals".

Alan Rector is Professor of Medical Informatics in the Department of Computer Science at University of Manchester gave a cogent and remarkably understandable presentation on "Semantic Webs and the Semantic Web: Services, Resources and Technologies for Clinical Care and Biomedical Research". He described problems with workflows and ontologies and the "Combinatorial Explosion". Further information o some of his work is available at the CLEF web site.

The next presentation was by Professor Michael Rigby, and a colleague from the Centre for Heath Planning and Management at Keele University who addressed the expansion to unsubstainability and the proof of concept work to produce an information broker handling multiple data sources. Further information is available from the project web site: IBHIS: Integration Broker for Heterogeneous Information Sources.

Dr Mike Bainbridge clinical architect for the NHS Connecting for Health programme then gave an overview of the need for integration of information and systems in healthcare, and some of the vision for the NHS in 2015 (rather than 2010) as set out in previous Connecting for Health documents.

The lunch break gave an opportunity to visit the stands of some of the exhibitors, and chat with delegates from around the world.

During the afternoon the health theme continued in the large Pentland Auditorium although the audience was sparse - some people suggesting that this may have been because it was the last opportunity for delegates to go site seeing and that it coincided with the final parade of the Scots Regiment.

The first presentation was by Frances Mair, Professor of Primary Care Research at the University of Glasgow, who examined the current role and future challenges for Telehealthcare. She provided a variety of examples of pilot projects and current services in the area and discussed what might be achievable in the next few years. Her presentation includes examples of wearable and home monitoring devices and systems.

Ray Jones, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Health and Social Work, and Professor of Health Informatics, at the University of Plymouth, then examined Watching and tailoring: exploring new ways of using the web for combined e-health e-learning, using both student and patient examples to illustrate potential uses of the web.

Frank Sullivan, NHS Tayside Professor of Research and development in General practice and Primary Care in the University of Dundee, describing a range of projects undertaken by the Clinical Technology Centre at the University of Dundee , including the advantages brought by the longstanding Community Health Number which has been used for patient records in Scotland for many years.

Celia Boyer, executive director of the Health On the Net Foundation, a non-governmental organisation offering to Internet users reliable and trustworthy information through more than 5,000 accredited medical and health web sites according to the HON Code of Conduct (HONcode). She described the work of the foundation and code and the new WRAPIN facility which enables the comparison of health/medical documents in any format (HTML, PDF, etc.) or length with this interconnected knowledge base, to discover if the information exists in the published literature and provide a summary conclusion of the ideas contained. It will help to determine the reliability of documents by checking the ideas contained against established benchmarks, and enable users to determine the relevance of a given document from a page of search results. This exciting new tool is an important step toward the certification of quality online information.

Dr Simon de Lusignan,a practising GP and course director of Biomedical Informatics at St George's Hospital (with whom I later shared a beer, bus ride and flight delays), then described the Opportunities and Challenges in Using routinely collected general practice data for quality improvement.

I gave the last presentation of the day examining Human Quality Assurance for Web Resource Catalogues.

The flight delays made it a long, but worthwhile day. It was disappointing that the audiences were so small for most of the health presentations.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

He@lth Information on the Internet vol. 51 no. 1 (June 2006)

He@lth Information on the Internet - vol. 51 no. 1 (June 2006)

The latest issue of this journal has just been made available. It includes:

TI: Lost in the URLs
AU: Childs, Sue

TI: Bookmarks: Internet resources for occupational therapy
AU: Blenkinsopp, John

TI: View from the front line: Does using the Internet make health professionals less efficient?
AU: Brown, Harry

TI: e-Learning: principles and tools
AU: Mehanna, Wassila Naamani

TI: National Library for Health directory of Really Simple Syndication (RSS) newsfeeds goes live
AU: Ashwell, Steven

TI: What's new?
AU: Williamson, Laurian

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Medical Informatics and the Internet in Medicine vol. 31 no. 1 (March 2006)

Medical Informatics and the Internet in Medicine - vol. 31 no. 1 (March 2006)

The latest issue of this journal has just been made available. The contents include:

TI: Live or computerized simulation of clinical encounters: Do clinicians work up patient cases differently?
AU: Nendaz, Mathieu; Ponte, Belen; Gut, Anne; Perrier, Arnaud; Louis-Simonet, Martine; Junod, Alain; Vu, Nu

TI: A software framework for the development of Web-based medical education using learning object classes
AU: Wu, Ting; Zimolong, Andreas; Schiffers, Norbert; Radermacher, Klaus

TI: Quality of websites in Spanish public hospitals
AU: Joaquin Mira, Jose; Llinas, Gilberto; Tomas, Olga; Perez-Jover, Virtudes

TI: The effect of source credibility on consumers' perceptions of the quality of health information on the Internet
AU: Bates, Benjamin; Romina, Sharon; Ahmed, Rukhsana; Hopson, Danielle

TI: Access to the Internet among drinkers, smokers and illicit drug users: Is it a barrier to the provision of interventions on the World Wide Web?
AU: Cunningham, John; Selby, Peter; Kypri, Kypros; Humphreys, Keith

TI: Usefullness of an Internet-based thematic learning network: Comparison of effectiveness with traditional teaching
AU: Coma del Corral, Maria Jesus; Guevara, Jose Cordero; Luquin, Pedro Abaigar; Pena, Horacio; Mateos Otero, Juan Jose

TI: Health literacy and the World Wide Web: Comparing the readability of leading incident cancers on the Internet
AU: Friedman, D.; Hoffman-Goetz, L.; Arocha, J.

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Recording Health - Tedious Task or Vital Tool?

Recording Health - Tedious Task or Vital Tool?

A Joint Conference being held by the Accreditation and Development of Health Records Programme & Royal College of Nursing

Keynote speaker:
Dr Beverley Malone, General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing

Expert contributions from:
Dr Gwyn Thomas, Programme Director, Informing Healthcare NHS Wales
Professor Dame June Clark, Professor Emeritus, University of Wales, Swansea
Andrew Andrews, Barrister, Bond Solon

Date: Wednesday 19th July 2006, 10.00am - 4.00pm
Venue: Royal College of Nursing, Cavendish Square, London.

Attendance fee:
£25 per person for members of the RCN
£170 for non members

Please email Levy Sharon [Sharon.Levy@RCN.ORG.UK] for details

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Rutgers Nursing, Computers and Technology Conference blog

The 24th Annual International Nursing Computer and Technology Conference, organised by the College of Nursing Center for Professional Development of Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, begins later this week. This 24th Annual event will be held on 25-28 May 2006 at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre in Toronto, Canada. This is probably the oldest and longest-running annual nursing informatics event.

A conference blog has been set up - see We also hope to test out some 'on the fly' podcasting and video-podcasting, in preparation for the NI2006 conference blog (, about which we will post a separate reminder.

Please visit, read, comment, ask questions about the Rutgers event.

Peter Murray (posted from sunny Brussels, construction site capital of Europe ;-)) )

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Help create a Centre of Excellence in HI at Walter Sisulu University

A colleague, Professor Graham Wright, has sent me a message about helping to set-up a Centre of Excellence in Health Informatics in the Walter Sisulu University in South Africa, which I thought readers of this blog might be able to help with...

Dear Friends

As many of you know we are about to help set-up a Centre of Excellence in Health Informatics in the Walter Sisulu University, Umtata, South Africa.

The purpose of this email is to invite you to send any learning resources that you can spare to the faculty. Copies of textbooks and CD with grey literature or conference proceeding are particularly useful.

Any other resource would also be gratefully accepted. Please post any items directly to the University marked for my attention

Prof Graham Wright
Miss. Funeka Dyan
CHESP Office (L144)
1st Floor, Old Library Building
Walter Sisulu University
South Africa

Thank you for your help

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National Health Informatics Week

National Health Informatics Week

The UK's Health Informatics Week, has been announced and this page provides access to a range of supporting materials including posters and information packs. It aims to highlight the important role health informatics plays in the NHS.

This is all very laudable however the headline making the announcement Throughout May we will be celebrating National Health Informatics week, has me a little confused about how a week can be celebrated for a month.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Open Access Advantage

The Open Access Advantage

This editorial by Gunther Eysenbach in the Journal of Medical Internet Research follows up his paper "Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles" in PLoS Biology

He suggests that the citation gap between open access and non-open access papers continues to widen. He concludes that the observation that the “open access advantage” has at least three components:
(1) a citation count advantage (as a metric for knowledge uptake within the scientific community),
(2) an end user uptake advantage, and
(3) a cross-discipline fertilization advantage.

These findings are supported by an evaluation report, also published today from JISC, which found positive views by publishers and authors following their £384,500 funding over three years to experiment with alternative publishing models.

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Volume 31 Number 1/March 2006 of Medical Informatics and the Internet in Medicine

Volume 31 Number 1/March 2006 of Medical Informatics and the Internet in Medicine

The latest issue of Medical Informatics and the Internet in Medicine has just been made available it includes:

*Live or computerized simulation of clinical encounters: Do clinicians work up patient cases differently?
Mathieu R. Nendaz, Belen Ponte, Anne M. Gut, Arnaud Perrier, Martine Louis-Simonet, Alain F. Junod, Nu V. Vu

*A software framework for the development of Web-based medical education using learning object classes
Ting Wu, Andreas Zimolong, Norbert Schiffers, Klaus Radermacher

*Quality of websites in Spanish public hospitals
José Joaquín Mira, Gilberto Llinás, Olga Tomás, Virtudes Pérez-Jover

*The effect of source credibility on consumers' perceptions of the quality of health information on the Internet
Benjamin R. Bates, Sharon Romina, Rukhsana Ahmed, Danielle Hopson

*Access to the Internet among drinkers, smokers and illicit drug users: Is it a barrier to the provision of interventions on the World Wide Web?
John A. Cunningham, Peter L. Selby, Kypros Kypri, Keith N. Humphreys

*Usefullness of an Internet-based thematic learning network: Comparison of effectiveness with traditional teaching
María Jesús Coma del Corral, José Cordero Guevara, Pedro Abáigar Luquin, Horacio J. Peña, Juan José Mateos Otero

*Health literacy and the World Wide Web: Comparing the readability of leading incident cancers on the Internet
D. B. Friedman, L. Hoffman-Goetz, J. F. Arocha

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Consumer Health Informatics: Informing Consumers and Improving Health Care - review

Consumer Health Informatics: Informing Consumers and Improving Health Care - review

I've recently finished reading and reviewing this book, which provides an interesting colelction of papers in the field.

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BCS NSG - Dame Phyllis Friend Award now sponsored by Viglen

British Computer Society (BCS) Nursing Specialist Group

The Nursing Specialist Group of the British Computer Society has just announced that the annual Dame Phyllis Friend Award is now being sponsored by Viglen and that the winner will receive a laptop as part of their prize.

The award is given each year to a Nursing Specialist Group member, or members, who, through demonstration of good practice in the use of information and communications technologies, advances nursing practice, education, research or management so as to provide a positive impact on patient care and/or healthcare.

Members have a few months to work on this as the closing date is usually in October.

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Who’s Using PDAs? Estimates of PDA Use by Health Care Providers: A Systematic Review of Surveys

Journal of Medical Internet Research - Who’s Using PDAs? Estimates of PDA Use by Health Care Providers: A Systematic Review of Surveys

This review which has recently been published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research reports a review of PDA use amongst healthcare providers.

The authors Chantelle Garritty and Khaled El Emam identified 23 relevant surveys, 15 of which were derived from peer-reviewed journals. This cohort of surveys was published between 2000 and 2005. Overall, since 1999, there is clear evidence of an increasing trend in PDA use. The current overall adoption rate for individual professional use ranges between 45% and 85%, indicating high but somewhat variable adoption, primarily among physicians.

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Health-EU Portal

Health-EU Portal

A new European Public Health Portal was launched last week which aims to provide a gateway to simple and reliable health information on topics ranging from bio-terrorism to babies' health, and infectious diseases to health insurance.

The material is divided into six themes:

* My Health - information on women's health, people with disabilities, babies and children (such as nutritional advice)
* Health Problems - information on particular diseases such as cancer, mental health and cardiovascular disease
* My Lifestyle - information on drugs, tobacco, lifestyle, leisure and travel advice (such as detail on what to do if you get sick in another EU country)
* My Environment - information on consumer right
* Care for Me - information on long term care, insurance, mobility and medicines
* Health in the EU - information on research, indicators and statistics

The Care for me section includes material on current ehealth developments.

The portal is currently only available in English - but it is planned that it will be translated into all 20 official EU languages.

It will be interesting to see how this develops.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006



29 MPs have signed a house of commons "Early Day Motion" asking for scrutiny of NPfIT/NHS Connecting for Health which says:

"That this House notes with concern the contents of a letter to the Commons Health Select Committee signed by 23 senior academics in computer-related science which criticises the NHS Connecting for Health computer system, and reports in The Sunday Times of 16th April that the system, which was projected to cost £2.3 billion, could cost between £15 billion and £30 billion; further notes that NHS trusts are facing an estimated deficit of £600 million to £1 billion; and calls upon the Secretary of State to set up an independent review of the project and to ensure that any savings identified are directed to cash-strapped NHS trusts."

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

BestTreatments - new site from BMJ for patients


BMJ Publishing Group have recently launched a web site, based on the well known and respected clinical evidence service, aimed at helping patients get reliable information about their condition or treatment.

The site uses suitab;e evidence based sources, but puts the information accross in a format which is easier to understand than the service for doctors.

The service aims to be impartial - it's not sponsered by a drug company - and promises to keep the information updated as new evidence becomes available.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Out-of-Hours Care in England - NAO report

UK National Audit Office press notice - The Provision of Out-of-Hours Care in England

This report from the National Audit Office was released at the end of last week following an investigation into the provision of out of hours care in England, following the changes which made Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) responsible for this service in 2004.

The NAO found that after initial problems, "The service is now beginning to reach a satisfactory standard but no providers are meeting all the requirements and few are reaching the requirements for speed of response".

"The total cost for the first full financial year of arrangements was £392 million, 22 per cent more than the £322 million allocated by the Department", and potential savings can be made.

Various comments are made in the report about Information Management, reporting and call handling systems and their effects on the quality of the service , which have lessons more widely

The report found that GP pay rates for delivering out-of-hours care varied widely from an average of £58. 60 per hour to £107 per hour for a weekday evening. Rates on public holidays varied from a minimum of £48 per hour to £165 per hour, although I couldn't find any correlation between this and the care provided.

The contracting process was criticised with many being signed late or not at all, with significant legal implications. This was due to poor service specifications, disagreements between commissioners and providers over risk-sharing, and the inability to reconcile PCTs limited budgets with providers estimated costs of meeting all the Quality Requirements. Edward Leigh, the chairman of the public accounts committee, concluded that the change in arrangements for out of hours care as "a costly mess".

Amongstrecommendationsomendadtions is an expectation that the Department should also clarify the term "definitive clinical assessment" and this is just one example of the changeoccurringare occuring. This, along with general confusion about the role, size, function etc of PCTs, is likely to see the rise in private sector involvement in primary care.

A local example for me, is the emergence of companies such as GP care which has recently been created to provide primary care services. It includes the vast majority of GPs and health centres in the Bristol area as partners, and describes itself as "an entrepreneurial and innovative organisation which will compete effectively in the UK health market", while maintaining ethical principles; not seeing the maximisation of profit as the only marker of success, but also contributing to the common good by improving the health care of the people they serve.

It will be interesting to see how these changes will play out and whether the end result will be better care for the population?

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Information Centre: Information Catalogue

The Information Centre: Information Catalogue

This new resource has been launched by the Information Centre for Health and Social Care and aims to enable access to national level statistical information.

The first phase of the website provides details of current and proposed collections from Health and Social Care providers and now holds more than 600 entries. These include collections by the Department of Health, Arms Length Bodies, NHS Regulators such as the HealthCare commission and the Social Care Commission, other Government Departments and others.

The catalogue is managed through the Review of Central Returns, is intended to aid the streamlining of data collection by sharing information and reducing the unnecessary duplication of what is collected.

This sounds as if it will develop into a useful resource, however the records currently available seem a little limited - I tried several searches without getting any results, although, not surprisingly given the pre-occupation with targets in this area, the term "waiting times" got several hits.

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