Tag Archives: medlibs

Introduction to Usability & Accessibility for Medical Librarians

Last week’s Twitter chat for medical librarians (#medlibs) was on topics near and dear to my heart: accessibility and usability. I (a) was impressed by the caliber of the conversation, and (b) wanted to collect the good links and ideas in a place that would make it easy to find for other medical librarians. So, here is a Storify. I particularly recommend the links.

Concerns & Clarification on the FDA Guidelines for Social Media (#FDAsm)

FDASM: FDA on Social Media

Last Tuesday afternoon, there was a Twitter chat on the new FDA guidance on social media that was hosted by the medical librarians group (#MedLibs), but which engaged an audience that also included healthcare professionals, lawyers, and communication specialists. It was a very interesting chat that touched on concerns, assumptions, misunderstandings, clarifications, and resources. You will find many of these excerpted from the full conversation and highlighted below. First, though, here is a high level summary.

Concerns included the potentail for a “chilling effect” that might impact on education, innovation, professional and patient public communications, research and clinical trial recruitment; responsibility (who is responsible for what/when/where/how with respect to health social media communications); effectiveness of social media controls for their intended purposes and the costs/benefit assessments; the role of identity, honesty, and transparency in health social media communication; and whether the guidelines will promote inclusion or foster exclusion of relevant voices in useful conversations.

Clarifications sought: plain language summaries of the guidelines; description of the potential and expected impacts on various communities of practice, including health education and patients; the relationship and responsibilities of employers and employees in their social media identity management and communications; and the issue off-label use conversations outside of pharma entities.

Clarifications which appeared during the chat (but which are note from the FDA, and therefore not the authoritative word with respect to these issues): who is covered by the guidance; community and individual efforts to create plain language distillations of the guidance; context; and a reminder that freedom of speech does not equal freedom of consequences for that speech.

For Medical Librarians: role for medical librarians in supporting and demonstrating best practices in Twitter chats; role for medical librarians in supporting education around the FDA’s guidance for their institutions as well as for patients and the public; and a caution about medical librarians being potentially excluded from social media as part institutional image controls as well as potentially as an impact of the guidance.

Takeaways: how to format an FDA-style tweet; avoid creating branded accounts for free conversation; encourage individuals to create personal accounts that are not branded and are distinct from the brand; consider correction of health misinformation as an opportunity; avoid perception of “practicing medicine” on social media, but discussions are alright; consider commenting on the FDA draft guidelines before September 17.

In addition, the conversation included discussion of best practices for identifying tweets as representing personal opinion, as well as a rich collection of resources.








Bioethics & Bias — Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of January 6, 2014)


During last night’s #HCSM Twitter chat, the conversation began with what changed in healthcare social media during 2013. What I particularly noticed was the shift from including ethics and bioethics in broader Twitter conversations (on health, medicine, policy development, palliative medicine, and so forth) to Twitter chats explicitly focused on bioethics.

I’m particularly impressed that the #BIOETHX chat was just founded in October of last year and has rapidly become one of the “always-trending” influential hashtags in healthcare on Twitter. The most recent #BIOETHX chat was on sexuality and gender, with prior chats on research ethics, competence & decision-making, CAM, disability ethics, and medical disclosure. They meet at 8:30PM Eastern Time for their weekly Twitter chats, so please drop in tonight for their chat on brain death.

On a related note, the medical librarians community this year founded another Twitter chat on a related topic – healthcare disparities (#MLAdisparities), for which the inaugural topic in December was implicit bias. In today’s post, I’d like to highlight tweets from these two hashtags as an indication of the growing maturity of Twitter for discussing the hard issues in healthcare.



First posted at THL Blog: http://thlibrary.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/bioethics-bias-hashtags-of-the-week-hotw-week-of-january-6-2014/

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): Medical Librarians Take On Emerging Technology (Week of August 5, 2013)

MLA Systematic Review: Emerging Technologies
MLA Systematic Review: Emerging Technologies: http://bit.ly/MLASRetech OR https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHBacW9KdmlSWUpzbW1ieGVzTkFPZ3c6MQ

The Medical Library Association has initiated a large systematic review project to assess the level of evidence available to support the profession and practice of medical librarianship in several very important questions. This team, #6, has been assigned to explore this topic: The explosion of information, expanding of technology (especially mobile technology), and complexity of healthcare environment present medical librarians and medical libraries opportunities and challenges. To live up with the opportunities and challenges, what kinds of skill sets or information structure do medical librarians or medical libraries are required to have or acquire so as to be strong partners or contributors of continuing effectiveness to the changing environment?

MLASR6: Who we are: https://plus.google.com/communities/115832551443909297773

MLASR6: Emerging Technologies Mindmap: http://www.mindmeister.com/275111357/mla-emerging-technologies

As part of this process, the group (chaired by THL librarian Patricia Anderson) has a survey and is hosting Twitter chats and other events to try to discover what emerging technologies means both to other librarians and to the communities served by medical libraries. The first Twitter chat on this topic was last night, Thursday, August 8, 2013.

The main technologies highlighted in the conversation were 3D printing and bioprinting, augmented reality, data visualization and big data, Google Glass, medical devices, near field communication, quantified self, and wearable technology. The conversation also included issues such as the digital divide, accessibility, and global access, as well as significant insightful conversation about the economics of emerging tech, roles for librarians, and the importance of having a clear vision of the enterprise goals and purpose as a context for developing new areas of service.

What do you think medical librarians should know about emerging technologies? Fill in the survey and tell us! For more of the conversation, supporting links, and related information, see the Storify:

Medical Librarians Take On Emerging Technology: http://storify.com/pfanderson/medical-librarians-take-on-emerging-technology

First posted to the THL BLog: http://wp.me/p1v84h-1o4

Rapid Responses: How Do We Prepare for Crises & Disasters?

SL - Wolverine: UMMS Elective, Play2Train

Last Thursday, the medical librarians on Twitter (#medlibs) had a chat about medical libraries and librarians and how they deal with crises and disasters, both in the idea of preparing as well as responding. Last night, the Healthcare Social Media community on Twitter had a very similar conversation, focusing more on possibilities and best practices for using social media effectively in crisis and disaster situations. The two of these, back to back, were an incredible experience.

I am still trying to wrap my brain around the scope and highlights of the two conversations, and will just do a bit here briefly, then hope that you will go explore the chatlogs on your own. Starting there, here are links for the chatlogs.

#Medlibs: Transcript July 19, 2-3pm ET

#HCSM: Transcript July 22, 9-10pm ET

Background questions for the #medlibs chat were, “What if your library is effected by a disaster? What are the responsibilities of medical libraries during community crises? How can libraries prepare? How can medical librarians as individuals prepare?”

Topics for the #hcsm chat were, “Topic 1: What do we do with social media in a healthcare crisis? Can patients in emergency situations be e-patients? If so, how do we help them? Topic 2: What are emergency best practices for social media?”

The librarians’ discussion ranged from personal preparedness to professional, sharing tools and strategies such as having “buddy libraries” to provide content when your library is out of commission. One concept discussed quite a bit was the idea of creating an open access open source library of information most likely to be needed in a crisis or emergency response situation. Another was the idea of building strong relationships and partnerships, policies and procedures for crisis response within our local communities before they become necessary.

The healthcare social media community was very intrigued by the #SMEM chats on social media for emergency management. The #SMEM group has, over the past few years, had many conversations about the same topics of how to use social media effectively in a crisis, and have generated some best practices, tested them, revised them, and continue to evolve these. The briefest basic concept was, first, have a plan in place before it is needed, and second, make sure you as individuals know the plan and have an idea of the best practices for tweeting or using hashtags during a disaster.

I need to just insert a brief sidebar about that last bit, just so folks have seen it. The best practices are changing and will likely to continue to change, but if you don’t remember anything else from this post, remember in a crisis to tweet like this:

#crisis (ie. #haiti or #aurora) #name Name of Person #need What they need #loc Where they are

There are all kinds of recommended hashtags, but assuming folk who are not trained first responders may not remember them all, just remember #Crisis/#Name/Need/#Loc. Here is a screenshot from the Tweak the Tweet project that gives more examples. [historical information on the project]

Tweak the Tweet

Many wonderful links were shared in both chats. If you are interested in this topic, you might also be interested in the #SMEM chat on Fridays at 12:30pm Eastern Time.

(NOTE: The image used at the head of this post is from a medical school first responder training exercise held in the Play2Train area of Second Life, a 3d online virtual world.)