We are very excited that the Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy has officially launched our Center for Consumer Health Informatics Research (CCHIR)! Like all undertakings of this magnitude, it has been in the works for some time and has benefited from tremendous support from many corners – in particular the Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and the Dean of the College of Pharmacy. Below is a presentation outlining some basics about the Center. I look forward to working with its faculty and collaborators and steering the CCHIR toward many great developments in the future.
UPDATE: The dedicated site is up at www.CCHIR.com
Last semester I taught Consumer Health Informatics and Web 2.0 in Healthcare in the College of Pharmacy (COP) after having coordinated several iterations of it in the MS in Biomedical Informatics Program. At the end of the COP course, I asked the students for their opinions about the most useful and least useful lectures of the semester (with an eye towards improving future offerings). Many of the students mentioned topics that were discussed by one of the six excellent guest lecturers. While I sincerely appreciate each guest lecturer’s contribution, I thought it would be even more meaningful to share a student response about each guest lecturer/topic.
I’ll use the format below to do so (lecturers appear in the order they taught during the semester):
The course’s most useful lecture was Dr. Kang’s since it focused on policy and the big picture instead of just one or two tools.
Jeah-Ah Kang, PharmD
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communications (DDMAC)
“Promotion of FDA-Regulated Medical Products Using the Internet and Social Media Tools”
Most useful was Dr. Gualtieri’s because it may be the only one that really looked at things from the patient’s side.
Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM
Tufts University School of Medicine
“Blogging for Health: Communicating the Experience of Illness”
Most useful lecture was Dr. Dyer’s lecture. It was very cool seeing how healthcare was using this new tech and getting positive results. Very. Cool.
Jennifer Dyer, MD, MPH
Ohio State University, College of Medicine
“RU TAKING UR MEDS? (DR. SEZ TEXTING TEENZ HELPS!)”
I would like to see more experts like Dr. Fahrni. His lecture was most useful. It provided insight on what this breed of pharmacist does on a daily basis.
Jerry Fahrni, PharmD
Kaweah Delta District Hospital (now Talyst)
“Pharmacy Informatics – One Pharmacist’s Perspective”
The most useful topic was Dr. Mesko’s on virtual worlds because it was most forward looking. I wish we would use it more and create our own avatars.
Bertalan Mesko, MD
University of Debrecen Medical School
“Medicine in Second Life, the virtual world”
The most useful lecture topic would have to be the final lecture from Dr. Fox, it was extremely informative and I enjoyed it a lot. I’d like to see an additional lecture from him.
Brent Fox, PharmD, PhD
University of Auburn, College of Pharmacy
“The Pharmacist’s Role in Health 2.0”
Social media presence for the course contributors can be found here:
Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM (@lisagualtieri)
Jennifer Dyer, MD, MPH (@EndoGoddess)
Jerry Fahrni, PharmD (@JFahrni)
Bertalan Mesko, MD (@Berci)
Brent Fox, PharmD, PhD (@Brent_Fox)
Yesterday, during a lunch chock full o’ watching a live broadcast of a knee surgery from Swedish (courtesy @danamlewis) and checking out a group of smart, passionate folks talk about Women & HIV at the White House (including @SusannahFox), I indulged in a download of the new Webicina app for the iPhone.
For those of you unfamiliar with Webicina, it is one of the best examples of crowdsourced curation of health information I have seen. At the most basic level, it is a list of resources, by medical specialty (for healthcare professionals) and health conditions (for patients). Also, if you click on ‘About Us’ (top right in screenshot) from the main menu, it will provide a link to its PeRSSonalized Medicine feature, which has RSS-like functionality…except that a world of contributors has already done the work to pre-select menu items for you. And it’s available in 17 languages. Oh, and it’s free. Webicina has been available online for a couple years, but now it’s available as an app on iTunes, and per its creator/curator Dr. @Berci Mesko, it will soon be available for Android.
I think the best value of Webicina may be that it is a central place to direct healthcare professionals who are looking to get their feet wet with social media/Web 2.0 or alternately, it is a good initial place to direct patients who are a bit overwhelmed from trying to dive into the pool of health information online. The next best thing about Webicina? If you think there is a great resource missing from the list, just click on the link to Webicina.com in the app and type it into the ‘suggest a site’ box for possible inclusion!
Scroll down for additional screenshots
I poked around a bit on it earlier today.
(And below is an enlarged iPhone screenshot of some of the resource types within a section)
There are a number of initiatives, sites, and platforms trying to capitalize on the power of social media and social networking to enhance research efforts. A few of them are ResearchGate, Health InnoVation Exchange (HIVE), and VIVO. Each offers something a bit different; for a full list of ‘biomedical communities’ check out this excellent resource by @Berci Mesko.
Aside from those ‘communities’, can social media enhance research? For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I have both observed and directly benefitted via plenty of resources. Here is a random sample: a source of support for grad students that hosts data sets, actual datasets made freely available for conducting research, a how-to for using Facebook to recruit survey participants, and a prelim study on use of Facebook for health education.
However, for me, the clearest benefit has been from social networking tools; chief among those is Twitter. It has helped my research by: 1) connecting me to people with complementary expertise for collaborating on research projects, 2) exposing me to different types of expertise and ways to approach problem solving for research, and 3) creating a filtered source of relevant information about research.
It’s that last item that I want to focus on. A little over six months ago, I saw a tweet from @mindofandre (who has the excellent Pulse+Signal) announcing a RFP for the Mobilizing for Health grant by the McKesson Foundation. For some reason, I did not see that RFP on my Community of Science alerts, or any of the other resources I use to stay informed on grant opportunities. Thankfully, I did see it on Twitter. It looked like a great match for a study our mHealth group wanted to conduct. Fast-forward 6 months and past lots of heavy lifting by my colleagues, and we are very happy we’ll be able to conduct that study as ours was one of the proposals funded! Now that I think of it, Andre was the person who put us into touch with several other mHealth researchers about 10 months prior to that as well – quite the Gladwellian Connector, that one. In any event, this is just one example of the intersection of social media and research. The tools are there, you just have to use them.
Oh, and in the best pay-it-forward tradition, here are two outstanding mHealth research-related opportunities:
- NIH/OBSSR mHealth Summer Institute where early career investigators will get an intensive weeklong experience to learn about mHealth research. (Deadline extended until March 10)
- The new cycle for the McKesson Foundation Mobilizing for Health grant has begun and Letters of Intent are due on April 1, 2011.
I’d love to hear any examples of how social media has impacted your research – by creating opportunities, informing you, using it as a tool to collect data, connecting you with potential collaborators, etc.
The 10th annual ePharma Summit was held over the last few days in NY. I was interested due to some of the scheduled speakers but could not make it, so I dipped in and out of the virtual conference stream as possible and found some pretty worthwhile content in there. The most convenient way to follow was via #ePharma on Twitter, but the conference site also did a pretty good job of posting videos (although the audio was almost inaudible at times) and other information.
What ultimately prompted me to blog about it was a tweet (via @WendyBlackburn & @pjmachado) about a parody video produced by Kevin Nalty (@nalts) [see below]. It just struck me as creative, funny, and very strong work…and it made me think how great it would be if that kind of creativity could be unleashed to design social media/mobile/any type of health-related content aimed at informing, educating, and empowering patients. Yes, the creativity behind this video is being used for ‘good’, but minus the shackles it could be used for a much greater ‘good’. I think that social media, in particular, has a lot to offer on this front and it is unfortunate that the regulatory environment is such that this is largely not possible right now. There have been some efforts along these lines and there was even a preliminary paper just published on the use of Facebook to deliver HIV education. However, there remains a long way to go – and I’m not just talking about ‘official guidance’ in a single arena.
More anon, for now…I hope you enjoy the video.
Note: If you click on the video it may say it is restricted on certain sites as it contains content from Universal Music Group and must be played on You Tube…so you can click ‘Watch on YouTube’ to play or go to the epharmify Channel to view it.
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