The ability to search bibliographic databases effectively is now an essential skill for anyone undertaking research in health. This article discusses the way in which databases are constructed and some of the important steps in planning and carrying out a search. Consideration is given to some of the advantages and limitations of searching using both thesaurus and natural language (textword) terms. A selected list of databases in health and medicine is included. (+info)
Use of computer-based records, completeness of documentation, and appropriateness of documented clinical decisions.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether using a computer-based patient record (CPR) affects the completeness of documentation and appropriateness of documented clinical decisions. DESIGN: A blinded expert panel of four experienced internists evaluated 50 progress notes of patients who had chronic diseases and whose physicians used either a CPR or a traditional paper record. MEASUREMENTS: Completeness of problem and medication lists in progress notes, allergies noted in the entire record, consideration of relevant patient factors in the progress note's diagnostic and treatment plans, and appropriateness of documented clinical decisions. RESULTS: The expert reviewers rated the problem lists and medication lists in the CPR progress notes as more complete (1.79/2.00 vs 0.93/2.00, P < 0.001, and 1.75/2.00 vs. 0.91/2.00, P < 0.001, respectively) than those in the paper record. The allergy lists in both records were similar. Providers using a CPR documented consideration of more relevant patient factors when making their decisions (1.53/2.00 vs. 1.07/2.00, P < 0.001), and documented more appropriate clinical decisions (3.63/5.00 vs. 2.50/5.00, P < 0.001), compared with providers who used traditional paper records. CONCLUSIONS: Physicians in our study who used a CPR produced more complete documentation and documented more appropriate clinical decisions, as judged by an expert review panel. Because the physicians who used the CPR in our study volunteered to do so, further study is warranted to test whether the same conclusions would apply to all CPR users and whether the improvement in documentation leads to better clinical outcomes. (+info)
Where do UK health services researchers publish their findings?
Health services research has emerged as the third vital requirement for understanding and improving health care, alongside basic science and clinical research. This has coincided with more stringent management of research, in particular by funding bodies. The latter are seeking to use bibliographic databases to aid the monitoring of the output of their investments. The principal source of data in the UK is the Research Outputs Database (ROD) set up by the Wellcome Trust primarily to monitor basic and clinical research. Health services researchers' output is difficult to monitor in view of the large number and wide variety of journals in which they publish. In addition, nearly half the journals (representing 35% of the articles) are not currently covered by the ROD. Funding bodies will underestimate the quantity of health services researchers' output unless they take these findings into account. (+info)
Student and faculty performance in clinical simulations with access to a searchable information resource.
In this study we explore how students' use of an easily accessible and searchable database affects their performance in clinical simulations. We do this by comparing performance of students with and without database access and compare these to a sample of faculty members. The literature supports the fact that interactive information resources can augment a clinician's problem solving ability in small clinical vignettes. We have taken the INQUIRER bacteriological database, containing detailed information on 63 medically important bacteria in 33 structured fields, and incorporated it into a computer-based clinical simulation. Subjects worked through the case-based clinical simulations with some having access to the INQUIRER information resource. Performance metrics were based on correct determination of the etiologic agent in the simulation and crosstabulated with student access of the information resource; more specifically it was determined whether the student displayed the database record describing the etiologic agent. Chi-square tests show statistical significance for this relationship (chi 2 = 3.922; p = 0.048). Results support the idea that students with database access in a clinical simulation environment can perform at a higher level than their counterparts who lack access to such information, reflecting favorably on the use of information resources in training environments. (+info)
Maintaining a catalog of manually-indexed, clinically-oriented World Wide Web content.
With no quality controls and a highly distributed means of posting information, finding high-quality, clinically-oriented content on the World Wide Web can be difficult. Maintaining a catalog of such information can be equally challenging. CliniWeb is a catalog of quality-filtered and clinically-oriented content on the Web designed to enhance access to such information. This paper describes a group of semi-automated tools have been developed to maintain the CliniWeb database. One allows easier identification of content by utilizing Web crawling techniques from high-level pages. Another allows easier selection of content for inclusion and its indexing. A final one checks links to help keep the database current. These are augmented by general plans to adopt more detailed metadata and linkages into the medical literature. (+info)
WebCIS: large scale deployment of a Web-based clinical information system.
WebCIS is a Web-based clinical information system. It sits atop the existing Columbia University clinical information system architecture, which includes a clinical repository, the Medical Entities Dictionary, an HL7 interface engine, and an Arden Syntax based clinical event monitor. WebCIS security features include authentication with secure tokens, authorization maintained in an LDAP server, SSL encryption, permanent audit logs, and application time outs. WebCIS is currently used by 810 physicians at the Columbia-Presbyterian center of New York Presbyterian Healthcare to review and enter data into the electronic medical record. Current deployment challenges include maintaining adequate database performance despite complex queries, replacing large numbers of computers that cannot run modern Web browsers, and training users that have never logged onto the Web. Although the raised expectations and higher goals have increased deployment costs, the end result is a far more functional, far more available system. (+info)
Antagonism and accommodation: interpreting the relationship between public health and medicine in the United States during the 20th century.
Throughout the course of the 20th century, many observers have noted important tensions and antipathies between public health and medicine. At the same time, reformers have often called for better engagement and collaboration between the 2 fields. This article examines the history of the relationship between medicine and public health to examine how they developed as separate and often conflicting professions. The historical character of this relationship can be understood only in the context of institutional developments in professional education, the rise of the biomedical model of disease, and the epidemiologic transition from infectious disease to the predominance of systemic chronic diseases. Many problems in the contemporary burden of disease pose opportunities for effective collaborations between population-based and clinical interventions. A stronger alliance between public health and medicine through accommodation to a reductionist biomedicine, however, threatens to subvert public health's historical commitment to understanding and addressing the social roots of disease. (+info)
Duties of a doctor: UK doctors and good medical practice.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the responses of UK doctors to the General Medical Council's (GMC) Good Medical Practice and the Duties of a Doctor, and to the GMC's performance procedures for which they provide the professional underpinning. DESIGN: Questionnaire study of a representative sample of UK doctors. SUBJECTS: 794 UK doctors, stratified by year of qualification, sex, place of qualification (UK v non-UK), and type of practice (hospital v general practice) of whom 591/759 (78%) replied to the questionnaire (35 undelivered). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: A specially written questionnaire asking about awareness of Good Medical Practice, agreement with Duties of a Doctor, amount heard about the performance procedures, changes in own practice, awareness of cases perhaps requiring performance procedures, and attitudes to the performance procedures. Background measures of stress (General Health Questionnaire, GHQ-12), burnout, responses to uncertainty, and social desirability. RESULTS: Most doctors were aware of Good Medical Practice, had heard the performance procedures being discussed or had received information about them, and agreed with the stated duties of a doctor, although some items to do with doctor-patient communication and attitudes were more controversial. Nearly half of the doctors had made or were contemplating some change in their practice because of the performance procedures; a third of doctors had come across a case in the previous two years in their own professional practice that they thought might merit the performance procedures. Attitudes towards the performance procedures were variable. On the positive side, 60% or more of doctors saw them as reassuring the general public, making it necessary for doctors to report deficient performance in their colleagues, did not think they would impair morale, were not principally window dressing, and were not only appropriate for problems of technical competence. On the negative side, 60% or more of doctors thought the performance procedures were not well understood by most doctors, were a reason for more defensive practice, and could not be used for problems of attitude. Few differences were found among older and younger doctors, hospital doctors, or general practitioners, or UK and non-UK graduates, although some differences were present. CONCLUSIONS: Most doctors working in the UK are aware of Good Medical Practice and the performance procedures, and are in broad sympathy with Duties of a Doctor. Many attitudes expressed by doctors are not positive, however, and provide areas where the GMC in particular may wish to encourage further discussion and awareness. The present results provide a good baseline for assessing changes as the performance procedures become active and cases come before the GMC over the next few years. (+info)