February 12, 2009

ETechLib Moves to a New Home for Its Birthday

The first post for the ETechLib blog was one year ago today. In honor of our birthday, you can now find this blog in a new and more grown-up home.

ETechLib = Emerging Technologies Librarian = http://etechlib.wordpress.com/

ETechLib - Emerging Technologies Librarian Blog

Posted by pfa at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2009

Autism & Healthcare Reform - The Twitter Event for the Obama-Biden Transition Team

Crowdsourcing at its most relevant, this is about the outcomes of the innovative community discussion held for the autism community via Twitter on December 23rd 2008 in support of the initiatives of the Obama-Biden Transition Team under the oversight of Tom Daschle. Links listed at the bottom are from the slides.

Part One includes introductions, challenges, wishes, and the importance of location in receiving care in the USA.

Part Two includes discussions on service, insurance, and education.

Part Three includes research, resources discussed in the event, and suggestions for governmental involvement or oversight.


Where It Started

Autism & Health Care Twitter Day, December 23, 2008Autism & Health Care Twitter Day, December 23, 2008


In-Home Services

This was a provocative topic to many of the people involved in the event, as that awareness of the possibility of assistance for provision of in-home services was minimal, and awareness that parents could be paid for providing in-home care to their disabled child in place of out of home employment was entirely new to most. The parent who was doing this, Bonnie Sayers, provided extensive information and resources about it. Further digging revealed that this is possible in only a few states in the country: California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (State-Based Initiatives to Improve the Recruitment and Retention of the Paraprofessional Long-Term Care Workforce).

California: Department of Developmental Services: Information About Regional Centers: http://www.dds.cahwnet.gov/RC/Home.cfm

California: Department of Social Services: In-Home Supportive Services: http://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/cdssweb/PG139.htm

State-Based Initiatives to Improve the Recruitment and Retention of the Paraprofessional Long-Term Care Workforce (Institute for the Future of Aging Services, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute): http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/pltcwf.htm

US. DHHS. In-Home Supportive Services for the Elderly and Disabled: A Comparison of Client-Directed and Professional Management Models of Service Delivery (Doty et al): http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/ihss.htm

United Domestic Workers of America: Statewide Information on IHSS Wages, Contracts and Unions: http://www.udwa.org/statewid.htm

California Disability Community Action Network: IN-HOME SUPPORTIVE SERVICES (IHSS) ISSUES: http://www.cdcan.us/IHSS/index.htm

Protection & Advocacy, Inc: IHSS FAIR HEARING AND SELF-ASSESSMENT PACKET: http://www.pai-ca.org/pubs/501301.htm

Protection & Advocacy, Inc: IHSS ISSUES - PROTECTIVE SUPERVISION (Revised January 2000): http://www.pai-ca.org/pubs/527601.htm

Disability Rights, California: In-Home Supportive Services, Nuts & Bolts: http://disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/547001Index.htm


Discussion about research made it clear that there is substantial lack of agreement about the causes and best practices for treatment for autism spectrum disorders. In addition, what information or medical consensus is available is largely unclear to the ASD community, especially parents making decisions for their children. The links below include information about proven, contested, unreliable, and emerging approaches that were discussed or mentioned during the event. There is no implied endorsement of any of the resources listed. There was a call from the ASD community at this event for coordination of research findings and dissemination of results in a coherent fashion to stakeholders.

Australian Government: Department of Health and Ageing: A review of the research to identify the most effective models of practice in early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-child-autrev-toc~mental-child-autrev-comp~mental-child-autrev-comp-che

Healing Threshholds: Autism: Novel Treatments for Autistic Spectrum Disorders: http://autism.healingthresholds.com/research/novel-treatments-for-autistic-sp

Chew, Kristina. Another Autism “Treatment”: Stem Cell Therapy. Autism Vox. July 12, 2007. http://www.autismvox.com/another-autism-treatment-stem-cell-therapy/

STEM CELLS: THE FINAL PIECE OF THE AUTISM PUZZLE? Age of Autism. July 11, 2008. http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/07/stem-cells-the.html

Stem Cells for Brain Injury Recovery? Age of Autism. January 2, 2009. http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/01/stem-cells-for-brain-injury-recovery.html

Ichim et al. Stem Cell Therapy for Autism. Journal of Translational Medicine 2007, 5:30. http://www.translational-medicine.com/content/5/1/30

2007 Fall Rimas Autism Dolphin Therpay (sic): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMpunLzaccE

Hyson, Michael T. Dolphins, Therapy and Autism. Planet Puna, Sirius Institute: http://www.planetpuna.com/dolphin-paper-html/dolphin-paper.htm

Research Autism: Dolphin Therapy: Basic Level: http://www.researchautism.net/interventionitem.ikml?ra=64

Research Autism: Dolphin Therapy, Advanced Level: http://www.researchautism.net/interventionitem.ikml?ra=64&infolevel=4&info=researchstudiesincluded

Research Autism: http://www.researchautism.net/

Research Autism: Alphabetic List of Interventions: http://www.researchautism.net/alphabeticalInterventionList.ikml

Other Resources Shared

One of the blessings of the two Autism Twitter Day events has been the intense sharing of information and resources among the community members. While the resources were shared by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community members for each other, the ones listed below were mentioned during the event for the Obama-Biden Transition Team, and may potentially be useful for decisionmakers seeking to better understand the needs of the ASD community.

Autism Hangout: Podcasts: Adonya Wong - "Key Learnings of Autism Thought Leaders": http://www.autismhangout.com/news-reports/feature-programs.asp?id2=80

Age of Autism: http://www.ageofautism.com/

Toast on the Ceiling: Where Was This Book When I Needed It?: http://toastontheceiling.blogspot.com/2008/12/where-was-this-book-when-i-needed-it.html

Sensory Processing Disorder Answer Book: http://www.amazon.com/Sensory-Processing-Disorder-Answer-Book/dp/1402211236/

Health Products for You: Posey Bed Canopy System: http://www.healthproductsforyou.com/catalog/products/4286/Posey-Bed-Canopy-System/

Causecast: Autism Health Twitter day Tuesday December 23rd ALL DAY Obama wants to know: http://www.causecast.org/member/tanners-dad/videos/4994-autism-health-twitter-day-tuesday-december-23rd-all-day-obama-wants-to-know

Easter Seals: Guide to Living with Autism [PDF]: http://www.easterseals.com/site/DocServer/Study_FINAL_Harris_12.4.08_Compressed.pdf?docID=83143

Act for Autism: http://actforautism.org/

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital: http://www.devoschildrens.org/?start

BellaOnline: Autism Spectrum Disorders Site: Purposeful Communication Techniques: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art59220.asp

Voice of America: Temple Grandin Turned Disability Into Asset for Animals: http://www.voanews.com/english/AmericanLife/2008-12-22-voa35.cfm

Temple Grandin: http://www.templegrandin.com/

Autism Speaks: Support Groups: Michigan: http://www.autismspeaks.org/community/fsdb/category.php?sid=27&cid=76

Wrong Planet: Could autistics become the majority in the distant future?: http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt86414.html

Wrong Planet: http://www.wrongplanet.net/

BellaOnline: Autism Spectrum Disorders Site: Book Review on puberty and hygiene for young people with autism: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art34042.asp

US Department of Education: Office of Civil Rights: http://ed.gov/ocr/ OR http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html

Autism Risk & Safety Management: http://www.autismriskmanagement.com/

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: Typical Speech and Language Development: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/

Autism Speaks: Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) nears completion of Strategic Plan for Autism Research: http://www.autismspeaks.org/inthenews/dec_12_2008_iacc_meeting_recap.php

CauseCast: Tanner's Dad: http://www.causecast.org/member/tanners-dad

Final Thoughts

Twitter: Tweet: Autism & Healthcare Twitter Day


Posted by pfa at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2008

Josie Parker of AADL Saves Christmas Spirit

Janice Greenberg, a librarian from New Jersey, noticed on the national news from CNN a story of a librarian who is being touted as a Librarian Turned Super Hero for rescuing a charity donation box at Christmas time. Janice posted it to her Facebook page. That is how I heard about the librarian heroine who turned out to be our very own Josie Parker of the Ann Arbor District Library. Josie and friends were wrapping books for charity at a local bookstore, as our own Health Science Libraries folk did recently. Librarians are kind of, well, fond of people who buy books for the holidays. The story is that there was a donation jar for charity and someone tried to grab the jar on the way out of the store. Josie injured her leg pretty badly during the rescue attempt. Lesson to be learned -- place the donation jar away from the door, on the opposite side of the table.

Spread the word - Christmas is safe in Ann Arbor.

Posted by pfa at 09:21 AM | Comments (2)

November 12, 2008

Google Flu Trends

Announced today, Google is using individual's search term patterns to track and predict the spread of the flu.

Google: Flu Trends: http://www.google.org/flutrends/

Google Flu Tracker

Notice that even though the country at large has only barely started to climb, Michigan is showing more activity.

Google Flu Trends: Michigan

I am, on the one hand, excited to see Google applying appropriate data mining techniques to develop and test skills that could be used for disaster management and general health. On the other hand, I think this tool needs some work.

First, Google Flu Trends needs to be tested and validated by public health researchers. It is great that Google is putting it out, and I am very excited about this resources as an indicator or trend showing Google's commitment to the community at large. I would be more excited if I saw articles comparing and contrasting it with other similar tracking tools, and linking it to other informational tools beyond saying the CDC says you should get a flu shot.

Second, IMHO, the methodology. Of course, being that this is Google, we don't really have a clue how they arrived at this. They give us access to their data, but we don't know what they are tracking or how this is related to the outcomes. The methodology is missing, and I'm not sure how relevant the data is when you don't know the methodology that resulted in the data. We are lacking the opportunity to validate the data. This is a problem for me. If it is something more just of general interest, then fine, trust Google without knowing how they got there. With health information, I would feel safer if I knew more. Frankly, you have the same problem with Google Trends looking at the corporate and business information they make available. Fascinating, but would you put you money behind it in planning investments?

Which leads to my third thought. What little I've been able to tease out about this is that they are tracking the geographic use and incidence of phrases such as "flu diagnosis". I hope that they are using a rich collection of words related to the flu. Perhaps something like this:

(diagnosis OR symptoms OR "what's wrong" OR "do I have") (flu OR influenza OR vomit OR vomiting OR cough OR coughing OR chills OR aches OR aching OR headache): http://tinyurl.com/5ujuo7

Of if you want to get more technical, maybe something like this:

(diagnosis OR symptoms) (flu OR influenza OR ~vomit OR ~cough OR influenza virus OR influenza viridae OR H3N2 OR H1N1 OR H5N1 OR H9N2 OR "upper respiratory tract infection" OR URTI OR "severe acute respiratory syndrome" OR SARS OR pandemic OR Orthomyxoviridae OR "respiratory syncytial virus" OR RSV OR "West Nile virus"): http://tinyurl.com/5tjler

Now, what would make this all much more powerful, would be to bring together a collection of data sources that contain things people say about their health. Google searches is one. I would not be surprised if Google included phrases in people's email if they have GMail accounts. If you also included microblogging tools such as Twitter, Identi.ca, Plurk, Jaiku, Pownce, etc., social networks such as Facebook and Myspace, and other social media, then we'd have such a rich source of sources that I would hope the predictive validity would be very high. Here is a screenshot from someone else who is thinking about this - Morbus on Twitter.

Twitter: Morbus: http://twitter.com/morbus

Twitter: Morbus (Flu Tracking)

Now, I just wish Morbus would share their findings. :)

Posted by pfa at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2008

Via Slideshare: Widgets for Webmasters

An interesting selection of online tools from Darlene Fichter & Frank Cervone. Check them out!

Posted by pfa at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2008

Maps, Mashups, and Mirrors, Oh, My! - Innovative Disaster Response & Tracking Tools

Since Hurricane Katrina I've been talking to many people about ideas for crisis and disaster planning, information needs and how to anticipate them, innovative technologies to support communication, collaboration, response, management, and much more. But I haven't been blogging about it.

This will be a bare beginning, just a peek at a few tools using social media and mashups in innovative and urgently helpful ways. To explain the concept in simple terms, a technological mashup is a new tool that is created as the end result of combining data or information with data or functions from two or more existing tools or sources. For more information, here is the Wikipedia article on mashups. Social media or social technologies are terms I prefer to use instead of the popular but imprecise "Web 2.0".

Returning to Hurricane Katrina, here is an example of Hurricane Information Maps -- a mashup combined with crowdsourcing, using Google Maps with markers placed by the general public with information and resources.

Hurricane Maps Mashups

Hurricane Information Maps: http://www.scipionus.com/

Seattle city government has another mashup that combines mapping with real-time data on reported events and crises (fires, ambulance calls, car accidents, etc.), including a community reporting system.

Community Safety Mashup from Seattle City Govt Community Safety Mashup from Seattle City Govt

SeaStat (Seattle Statistics) Impacts: My Neighborhood Map: http://web1.seattle.gov/seastats/doimpacts.aspx

Sahana is an open source, free, downloadable software package for disaster management, including a focus on facilitating collaboration among volunteers and people in the field. In their own words, "Sahana is a Free and Open Source Disaster Management system. It is a web based collaboration tool that addresses the common coordination problems during a disaster from finding missing people, managing aid, managing volunteers, tracking camps effectively between Government groups, the civil society (NGOs) and the victims themselves."

Sahana Open Source Disaster Management Software

Sahana: http://www.sahana.lk/

RISEPAK (Research and Information System for Earthquakes - Pakistan) was developed by a team lead by Dr. Sarah Zaidi of Harvard in response to earthquakes in Pakistan, and is an open source, online tool incorporating many social technologies to facilitate community collaboration and response.

Risepak Earthquake Disaster Management Online Communication System

RISEPAK: http://risepak.com/

More information:

AIDG Blog [Appropriate Technology, Development, Environment]: Video: RISEPAK, a Web 2.0 tool for disaster response [Harvard Social Enterprise Conference] by Catherine Laine, March 24, 2008: http://www.aidg.org/component/option,com_jd-wp/Itemid,34/p,1030/

Another good example of crowdsourcing is the "Did You Feel It?" maps from the USGS Earthquake Center, allowing significant data contributions to earthquake tracking and prediction from the general population in affected areas of the United States. The images below show the data input screen and a map of earthquakes for today and this week.

Earthquake Maps & Crowdsourcing Earthquake Maps & Crowdsourcing

USGS: Earthquake Hazards Program: Did You Feel It?: Community Internet Intensity Maps: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/dyfi/

Probably my favorite mashup of disaster information is the interactive map housed at the Havair Information Service in Budapest, from the National Association of Radio-Distress Signalling and Infocommunications, Emergency and Disaster Information Services (EDIS).

Disaster Map

This amazing tool combines Google Earth with the WorldKit mapping tool with several real-time data sources collecting and merging information on weather, health, avian flu, politics, wars, tech disasters, and much more, all combined into a single display rich in information. The map tracks and displays hundreds of different types of emergencies or crises. The following image shows just a very small sampling of the icons used on the map (click on the image to enlarge it).

Disaster Map

You can scroll down the page for more data, and click for a report on the event.

Disaster Map Event Display

Or you can simply hover over icons on the map for a pop-up with a brief description of the event.

Disaster Map, 2

Havaria Information Service (Budapest, Hungary): RSOE EDIS: Emergency and Disaster Information Service: http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/?area=&lang=eng

What about mirrors? What are the most important and useful of these tools? Think for a minute. Most of these, if not all, appear on a single server somewhere. What if there was a disaster or crisis that made one of these tools unavailable right at the moment we need them? Any of these that is truly necessary in disaster or crisis planning and response should be mirrored -- copied and made available in many different locations. Think about it? Is there an organization that has oversight of this type of issue? I don't know of one - if there is, please comment on this post and share the information.

More reading about social media and mashups in crises and disasters.

CrisisBlogger: http://crisisblogger.wordpress.com/

Slideshare: Dave Fleet: Social Media in a Disaster: http://www.slideshare.net/davefleet/talk-is-cheap-crisis-presentation

Posted by pfa at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2008

A Blogpost in Unexpected Places

I have the honor of being a guest author on the blog for our library director, Jane Blumenthal. Here is my first blogpost in that location.

Health, Science, & Libraries: Insight in Unexpected Places: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/hsldir/archives/2008/07/insights_in_une.html

It begins with this quote:

"Health is personal. Health Care is not. The term is a euphemism for Condition Treatment, and it's not about patients. It's about systems, and most of those are both proprietary and closed."
Doc Searls. "The Patient as the Platform" LINUX Journal. http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/patient-platform

and explores how social media brought me to it, with various ramblings along the way. Twitter is mentioned, as are other social media.

Posted by pfa at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2008

eTBLAST - Paragraph search yields journal/author recommendations

eTBLAST is an interesting search tool that allows you to search by either typing freetext keywords or pasting in an abstract of paragraph of a real publication.

eTBLAST: invention.swmed.edu/etblast/etblast.shtml

Right now, it searches MEDLINE (a.k.a PubMed) as well as NASA technical reports, IOP (Institute of Physics?) and CRISP (the government awarded grants database for NIH). Forthcoming (soon, I hope) are the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), PubMed Central (PMC), Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM), and DrugBank. My examples will all be in PubMed since health information is my primary context.


eTBLAST is pretty fast if you search just a couple keywords, but you can do that in PubMed itself just as well. What is different is being able to put in an abstract or paragraph from an article, or to even upload a text file! If you do anything beyond a few keywords, it is not going to be fast - pretty slow actually. Go have a cup of coffee or do something else and come back (or assign it to an assistant). Hey, if you're in research, there are a lot of things for which it is "hurry up and wait", right? So this is a paragraph search.

eTBLAST: Original Search

Notice the link to show what textwords it selected for searching and what MeSH terms they were mapped to. This means you could also use this at the beginning stages of a MEDLINE search to discover possible MeSH terms to include in your own search strategy. So this could be a search tool or a search strategy development support tool.

This is what the initial results look like.


Now things get interesting. When I'm working with systematic review teams, there is something I recommend to the teams doing hand searching. What I do is take all results, sort by journal, look at what journals account for 80% of the citations, and then we will do the hand searching in those titles. eTBLAST makes this process a whole lot less cumbersome, breaking out and listing the titles of the most frequent journals in the results set. Not that this was a systematic review search, mind you, but still a useful tool. It does the same thing with authors as with journals, so it is easy to break down your search results in a useful and granular fashion.

You can also map the search results in a variety of ways. I will confess, I don't understand all of them, and did not find all of them useful. I did find the publication history graph useful.

eTBLAST: Publication History Graph

Perhaps some of the other methods will make more sense to you? Let me know!

Posted by pfa at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2008

Data Visualization by Darlene Fichter / via Slideshare

A really great data visualization slide show. This presentation by Darlene Fichter not only illustrates types of tools, but types of visualisations, with thoughts about when what is appropriate or useful.

Posted by pfa at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2008

Lively - Virtual World from Google

Tuesday Google announced their own virtual world, Lively.

ReadWriteWeb: Google Launches Virtual World: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/lively_google_launches_virtual.php

Here is the Lively homepage, http://www.lively.com/.

Lively - Google Page

It doesn't like Macintoshes (and is kind of persnickety on PCs, even).

Lively - Testing

I borrowed a PC to test it out. It requires that you download a browser plugin, but has the handy feature of being accessible completely from within the web browser. Neat idea, and one I've heard coming forward for other virtual worlds. It has a help forum in Google Groups, but I found the actual help in the browser kind of tricky to navigate and use. Easier to ask other avatars once you get in to the Lively world.

The way it worked when I tried it was (a) make an avatar; (b) pick a room to enter; (c) wait a really long time; (d) explore the various buttons to figure out what controls what, and use the mouse to move things around; (e) folks flirt and chat; (f) wonder what the heck happened when the computer crashes.


Lively - Testing

Lively - Testing


* Usual Variety

Lively - Testing

* Popular Rooms

Lively - Testing


Lively - Testing


Lively - Testing


Lively - Testing

* Notice the Embed Code?

I am totally enthralled by the idea of being able to embed the room into a web page, but did not get a chance to check that out or test it.

(PS - Don't I Look Good? (althought I had nothing to do with it, of course - generic avatar))

Lively - Testing


No picture here. :(


What I thought was intriguing (beyond what is mentioned above) was the amazing variety of people in LIVELY already. I noticed a strong presence from people around all the other virtual worlds coming together here. I expect that LIVELY will quickly become an important location for developing consensus and collaboration across virtual world platforms, that people will share information about their favorite features and content of other virtual worlds, and that Google Lively will become both an important location for shared content and cross-fertilization of virtual worlds.

Posted by pfa at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2008

How to do it RIGHT: Presentation Alphabet

This is a beautiful presentation - thoughts, images, everything. You kind of have a hint that it is good stuff when it has been online for two weeks and has over eight thousand views and a eleven hundred downloads. This ("Presentation Alphabet") is a slidecast from Slideshare, so you can listen to the audio and have the slides synced to the sound, or you can simply page quickly through the slides on your own to get the ideas of the presentation. Both work. This is not just a great example of leveraging the technology to maximise your benefit and productivity, but also a great presentation as far as the content goes.

Hope you enjoy!

Ethos3 Communication. Presentation Alphabet. http://www.slideshare.net/ethos3/presentation-design-presentation-alphabet/

Posted by pfa at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2008

Slideshare: e-Health & Web 2.0

I just found this really neat presentation from a friend of mine in Second Life. Dr. Boulos has also written some of the leading peer-reviewed articles on emerging technologies in healthcare, so a voice to follow for those interested in these topics.

Boulos, Maged N Kamel. e-Health and Web 2.0/the 3-D Web: Looking to the future with sociable technologies and social software:

Posted by pfa at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2008

Happy Birthday! Ann Arbor added to Google Maps

Google Maps Street View turned one year old, and on that day they added ... us!

Google LatLong: Street View turns 1, keeps on growing: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/06/street-view-turns-1-keeps-on-growing.html

So now we can do nifty things like embed the map or pictures in our web pages. Check it out!


Google Maps: Ann Arbor Street Views: Medical School


View Larger Map

Posted by pfa at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2008

Cute Dogs / Cute Cats Theory of Social Technologies

The productivity applications of social tech and social media was figured out early on by a number of folk who were working on a dime (or a penny) trying to do too much (like me). Then lots of folks started talking about how social media and technologies can be used for marketing. This slide presentation talks about both -- all those good folk volunteering for this or that nonprofit trying to promote the good work and good ideas.

I wanted to share something with you. This slide presentation covers a lot of possible ideas for this type of application, but does so in a particularly engaging way. One of my favorite bits comes right at the beginning.

"Web 1.0 tools were created so physicists could share their research papers. Web 2.0? To share cute cat photos."

So take a look and see if there is anything mentioned that you might find useful. If there is anything you'd like to know more about, let's chat. :)

Posted by pfa at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2008

Reading & Reacting: The Wisdom of Patients (CHCF Report)

"Social media on the Internet are empowering, engaging, and educating health care consumers and providers. While consumers use social media -- including social networks, personal blogging, wikis, video-sharing, and other formats -- for emotional support, they also heavily rely on them to manage health conditions."

The Wisdom of Patients: Health Care Meets Online Social Media
Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, THINK-Health
April 2008

Thursday, after the a2b3 meeting, several of us were discussing this very concept. Many folk are worried about the privacy issues of social media for support communities as well as for personal health records and tracking. Despite this, there seems to be an overwhelming drive to make personal use of the empowerment and flexibility offered by social media.

More and more, I find examples of social tools designed specifically for the use of health care consumers and professionals, but mostly for consumers.

DailyStrength: http://dailystrength.com/

ICYou: http://icyou.com/

ReliefInSite: http://www.reliefinsite.com

More and more, I find articles and examples of how more general social media tools and resources are being used for personal health management or interventions.

SugarStats & Twitter Help You Keep Track of Your Diabetes: http://linuxchic.net/internet/sugarstats-and-twitter-help-you-keep-track-of-your-diabetes/

Tweet What You Eat: http://tweetwhatyoueat.com/

Twitter for Health: http://www.social-marketing.com/blog/2008/02/twitter-for-health.html

In my slideshow on e-health last summer I gave examples of patients building their own custom applications in general social media tools (such as Google Docs) as well as other examples of tools and applications.

This report provides an overview of the current state of social media in healthcare. At this moment, it seems to be more a direction for the future. Ten years ago the public had just really discovered the Web but only a percentage were making active use of it for health information. That percentage has grown to become a majority. Signs are pointing toward social media being the next evolutionary step toward the personally empowered patient who partners in their own clinical decisionmaking.

The Wisdom of Patients report also looks at trends and patterns for the future, and how the concepts of social and community are playing out in the online environment. Particularly interesting sections of the report are those that examine the concept of collaborative decisionmaking with healthcare professionals and consumers ("Platforms that Make Health Consumers and Clinicians Peers"), the dynamics of the social communities ("Knitting Communities Together" and "Disruptions Through Collaborations"), and the very significant "New Patient Opinion Leader".

What I am observing is that, whether it is encouraged or not, the person with a need and accessible tools is likely to find creative solutions for their needs. Healthcare consumers are now using, and will continue to use, a variety of online tools and resources to seek information, to seek support, to manage and share their personal health information, and much more. I hope that both the healthcare and information professions will anticipate these directions, and plan to meet the healthcare consumer at their virtual home, wherever that might be.

Posted by pfa at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2008

Cool Toys Conversation April 22

On April 22nd, we had the first Cool Toys Conversation with staff of the Health Sciences Libraries. A group of us got together, ate lunch, and talked about what new cool tools and resources we've found online lately. Some of these have been previously been highlighted in this blog, some will be forthcoming. Here are the highlights of the conversation.

University of Michigan - iTunes U
The University of Michigan health sciences schools are collaborating on putting course lectures online as podcasts through iTunesU as a partnership with Apple.

ChaCha is a new reference service that will answer reference questions received through the web, text/chat, or by your mobile phone. Fast answers, too. Imagine going for a walk in a new city and sending a message asking, is there a good sushi bar near my location? and getting the answer in 2 minutes.

Open Source Alternative
Can't get your tech admin to buy you a copy of some application you want for your computer? Here is a searchable database of open source (and FREE) software alternatives. Why pay if you can get it free?

LifeHacker is a kind of blog/journal/tech/self-help site with all kinds of tips (both 'hot' and useful) to help make your life easier. All your life -- work, home, you name it. Worth checking out.

This is a tool for a build your own genealogy. We started thinking it would be interesting to use this to create visualizations of evolution of genetic profiles, plants, animals, ideas, memes, etc.

See http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/02/xtimeline.html


MBlog: ETechLib
This blog. Where I sometime mention cool new online toys and trends in emerging technologies.

MBlog: Web 2.0
Another blog highlighting new toys their applications.

EBHC Strategies Wiki
A wiki about evidence-based search and searching strategies. The more the merrier!

There was so much talk about Twitter, I've put it at the bottom to group the longer discussion and various tools.

Twitter is referred to as a microblogging tool, and is the most prominent and popular of this group of social tech tools. Personally, I consider it an example of Web 2.0 and social tech in a microcosm. You know how much research is done with other organisms before human research in part because of the shorter lifespan? Twitter would be the "mouse" of the social tech sphere -- everything that happens in social tech happens there, just faster!

Here are some of the Twitter accounts, tools and concepts we discussed.


TwitterCycle: http://cogdoghouse.wikispaces.com/twittercycle


A2Snooze - local news / police blotter on Twitter

APHA - public health on Twitter

ChaCha - reference on Twitter

GetReady - disaster preparedness on Twitter

PubmedBootcamp - teaching on Twitter
MORE: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/04/pubmed_bootcamp.html

Posted by pfa at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2008

The "Big 6" - Educational ETech Trends for 2008 from the Horizon Report

I love the Horizon Report. Since 2004, it has come out once a year from the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Intiative. The focus is on emerging technologies for education, but it also touches on relevant trends in research, corporate, and other environments.

The report provides a tight quick overview appropriate for dialog with administrators and managers, as well as other folk who might not have their finger right on the pulse of tech trends but who might need to know more. They have well-written brief introductions to the tech trends they identify as significant, as well as richer explanations, examples of use in education, and referrals to more resources and links.

So what did they say was up and coming in educational technology this year? The buzz words are:

* grassroots video;
* collaboration webs;
* mobile broadband;
* data mashups;
* collective intelligence (a.k.a. crowdsourcing);
* social operating systems.

Want to know more? Read the report. Want a real person explanation or simply to brainstorm ways in which these might inform your own teaching, learning and research? Contact your nearest librarian or educationa technologies consultant. For faculty, staff, and students of the University of Michigan health programs, contact yours truly -- Patricia Anderson.

Posted by pfa at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)