Archive for the ‘Health literacy’ Category

15 Year Dawg

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

This is pretty surreal to admit:

Anniversary date 4/28/1998

Drumheller Fountain

I was a temporary employee for several months before my April 28th hire date and have blazed through a combination of fixed duration appointments and ‘acting’ assignments, so I have no idea how my years of service to the University of Washington have officially been calculated. It all depends on what type of employee classification you are. My anniversary hasn’t been acknowledged by UW since 2003 due to a number of reasons, but I don’t care and am taking myself shopping to commemorate the occasion anyway! How many Dawgs can say they’ve been continuously employed by the home team for 15 years and aren’t yet 40?

May 1st marks 5 years since my library career change and the 6th is taking some shifts I didn’t know about until recently – away from health informatics and electronic health records (EHRs) and towards new directions including patient engagement. It’s exciting to grow in new directions yet bittersweet to let go, but let go I must for the sake of learning my focus areas well. I’ll still blog here if something about health informatics catches my eye and of course there’s a lot of intersection, but EHRs are one of the tools used to involve patients with their healthcare and do not constitute actual patient engagement. This is something I’m seeing a lot of misunderstanding with current discussions about this area and I’m looking forward to bringing my health informatics background to this direction!

PNC/MLA Day 2

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

For today I was only able to cover Dr. Ted Epperly, our phenomenal morning speaker (Google Doc link), because of  some rather intense technology issues that I was in charge of handling. He definitely reinforced the thread of relationship being of strong importance and I am still struck by a quote he found and wrote on a napkin:

Too many specialists are as dangerous to the quality and quantity of medical care in a community as too few.

That was from 1949!

I had to run to catch a flight home so I could enjoy the rest of a gorgeous Seattle afternoon and evening with my family and missed the NN/LM PNR and MLA updates, and at this point don’t know if the NLM update slides (see above technology issues) will be available later.

My apologies but I’ve never been inspired to blog our morning business meetings. Thanks for a wonderful time in Boise, PNC Annual Meeting Committee!

Doing it: Medlibs and Transliteracy

Friday, December 31st, 2010

I freely admit I had never heard the term ‘transliteracy’ until my RSS feed exploded with it this month.

My bad for not being aware of/following Libraries and Transliteracy… or not? Where are medical and other librarians in their “This topic is important to all types of libraries so we have authors from public, university, college and school libraries for a broad perspective” About section?

From my view, there is no broad perspective in a discussion about all types of literacies without the very pervasive and real challenges of health literacy (not listed among the categories) when 83% of Internet users are looking for health information online. One intro post did not show me how transliteracy is specific to medical librarians.

As far as the RSS feed went, the most ruckus was related to David Rothman’s first (Commensurable Nonsense (Transliteracy)) and second (Followup: Transliteracy, Theory and Scholarly Language) posts which were mostly in response to blogs I don’t follow so I really appreciate both them and their comment threads. I rely heavily on insightful coverage since I can’t follow every active blog in the numerous fields I am interested in and get my own work done.

Marcus Banks with Transliteracy, Information Literacy, et. al offers ‘transliteracy, as a concept, is an attempt to label what we are already doing–linking up traditional notions of authority with the realities of how people obtain information today.” I also like that he uses the term ‘hooha’, which is one of my favorites to describe hype (in his case ’2.0′ concepts) too.

Dean Giustini in Where do you stand on transliteracy? helpfully offers perspectives emphasizing a solid understanding of learning theories. I agree these are important if we are to be effective instructors/teachers/guides to information, and am puzzled why library school does not usually spend much (if any) time on them. He has also started a Transliteracy for librarians section on the HLWIKI.

How does all this (and more, I’m sure) come across to those outside the library field?

From the Transliteracy Research Group – The Whole Elephant: librarians arguing about transliteracy

Like it or not that is a valid perception. Is this really what librarians want to offer to a current conversation spanning multiple fields? Does this advocate for our professionalism or bring us back to being bitchbrarians?

My perspective on the issue of transliteracy, from my limited time spent reading about it, is the same as the ruckus about PubMed changes in 2009.

Channels for information access always have been and always will continue changing in response to available technology, usability, audiences, and a myriad of other factors.

It is our job to stay on top of information channels to the best of our time and ability, with resources we can obtain and already have available,  take the time to study and understand them, have a solid grounding in usability and leaning theories, then offer instruction in response to our users’ information needs (which we know from real assessment, not guesstimates) involving them and not simply emulate how things are done at Peer Institution Over There or As Written In This Book Here. I don’t particularly care what you call this process so long as you actually do it.

Let’s focus on the positive as we enter a new year: What are some recent examples from blogs of medical librarians who are doing it?

Alisha Miles offered a detailed post from her experience as a solo hospital librarian about the use of an iPad (even though she is not personally that fond of Apple) for library outreach and teaching physicians.

Patricia Anderson accomplished the daunting task of organizing and presenting the actual ‘Lessons Learned’ from a hashtag chat on Twitter involving health care social media (#HCSM) on December 13th and described her methods used in doing so. From my own biased perspective (#healthlit), librarian involvement in Twitter hashtag chats is an immediate & effective way to have the information resources and organization skills you bring noticed and valued by those outside the library field.

Carol Perryman reflects on her upcoming instruction about consumer health (I’m sure you’ll do great!) with reflections on being transparent and focusing on evidence-based practice with

  • not making truth claims
  • being ready to be wrong
  • being ready to be unsure
  • being ready to base my work and claims on best practices
  • being capable and willing to assess outcomes, acknowledging my own tendency to bias

That’s what I try to do both here in my writing and in my work.

What others do you know of? May you all be successful in doing it in 2011!

PNC/MLA Coverage – Day 1

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Today was day one of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association conference in Portland, OR.

Are you interested in the goings-on of public health discourse (Lawrence Wallack), the selective publication of drug trials (Erick Turner), perspectives about library research, and paper presentations about emergency preparedness, improving health literacy for rural elderly and Open Science?

All is available from the perspective of my notes on Google Docs, not necessarily 100% accurate, coherent or complete.

Health Literacy and Twitter Synergy: #healthlit

Friday, October 8th, 2010

On October 4th, the Twitter accounts for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social media (@CDC_eHealth) and healthfinder.gov (@healthfinder) proposed a chat on October 7th with a hashtag of #healthlit to discuss the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy developed by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

What happened on Twitter during that hour still blows my mind away 20 hours later as I’m writing this.

I and quite a few librarians, library-related folks & library Twitter accounts (medical and others) were there along with federal, state &  local/county-level agencies with health information interests, hospitals, regular media, healthcare social media strategists, health information vendors, health educators, public health educators, and countless others.

We were probably supposed to follow a semi-structured question/discussion format centering on the health literacy action plan that is gently cattle prodded moderated as most scheduled Twitter chats are.

That’s not quite what happened.

The energetic passion that resulted from everyone seeking to connect, share and learn about each other’s strategies and approaches for health literacy were contagious to the point of being an instant online pandemic. It was chaotic. It was overwhelming. It was the first time I saw the MedlinePlus Twitter account (@medlineplus4you) be quite engaged in a hashtag chat including direct replies to others… putting the social in a National Library of Medicine social media channel.

It was one of the most unexpected and amazing community flashmob experiences I’ve been a part of on Twitter. I was just one small voice contributing the Medical Library Association’s and the National Network of Libraries of Medicines’ health literacy resources and supporting the discussion about MedlinePlus, NIHSeniorhealth and the Information RX program.

Other health literacy resources I managed to gulp from the firehose (besides the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy) were

  1. Health Literacy Online (fantastic ODPHP resource covering how to write & design easy-to-read websites)
  2. The Plain Language Medical Dictionary Widget (University of Michigan)
  3. Clear Communication: An NIH Health Literacy Initiative (National Institutes of Health)
  4. Talk To Your Doctor (part of NIH Clear Communication)
  5. Talking With Your Doctor (National Institute on Aging)
  6. Improving Health Literacy for Older Adults (PDF, CDC)
  7. Improving Communication with Older Patients (AAFP)
  8. Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals (online health tutorial, CDC)
  9. Health Information for All by 2015 (HIFA2015)
  10. Health Literacy Studies (Harvard)
  11. MEDLINE/PubMed Search and Health Literacy Information Resources (NLM)

For me, the most exciting thing was having people from so many perspectives coming together with so much enthusiasm to discuss health literacy. Not a single one of us (or the agencies we work for) has The Only Right Answer: if we did, everyone would already understand medical information and there wouldn’t be a national action plan to improve it.

With everyone continuing to come together and all perspectives being heard, that is very likely to change. I can’t even begin to cover the multiple threads addressing accessibility, jargon, acronyms, disparities, specialized health needs (rural, seniors, etc) that were part of the conversation beyond resource sharing. There is a WTHashtag archive but it’s very hard to follow these threads there. I am excited about additional discussions and future collaboration opportunities though and will keep writing as I learn more about how to get involved.