Quality criteria and access characteristics of Web sites: proposal for the design of a health Internet directory.
The increasing volume of information available on the Internet today is a problem for health care professionals who want to access rapidly data of high quality. Usual search engines and directories are not sufficient to satisfy their needs. Moreover, the information published by Web sites is not always guaranteed. Some institutions around the word deal with the definition of a set of criteria for the evaluation of medical Web sites. We base our current work on the technologies we developed previously in order to integrate sources of information of various kinds using the "Unified Medical Language System" knowledge bases. This paper focuses on quality criteria and access characteristics Web sites should satisfy to be registered in a "Health Internet Directory". The design of such a system is proposed and discussed. (+info
Session management for web-based healthcare applications.
In health care systems, users may access multiple applications during one session of interaction with the system. However, users must sign on to each application individually, and it is difficult to maintain a common context among these applications. We are developing a session management system for web-based applications using LDAP directory service, which will allow single sign-on to multiple web-based applications, and maintain a common context among those applications for the user. This paper discusses the motivations for building this system, the system architecture, and the challenges of our approach, such as the session objects management for the user, and session security. (+info
Hereditary breast cancer. Identifying and managing BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers.
OBJECTIVES: To present a strategy for identifying candidates for consideration of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation testing. To discuss the implications of identifying patients as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers, and to provide recommendations for managing them. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: A MEDLINE search from January 1990 to May 1998 was performed using the terms genetic breast screening, BRCA1, and BRCA2. The bibliographies of articles found were searched for further relevant titles. There are no published, randomized controlled clinical trials of management strategies for known BRCA carriers. Many recommendations for management are based on expert opinion only. MAIN FINDINGS: About 5% of women with breast cancer are carriers of genetic mutations. An accurate and detailed family history is the most important tool for identifying potential BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. Women identified as carriers have a substantially increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Male carriers have a moderately increased risk of prostate cancer. Management strategies for carriers are not well studied but include increased surveillance, preventive surgery, chemoprevention, and lifestyle modification. CONCLUSION: Family physicians must be able to identify people at risk, to discuss management strategies, and when appropriate, to offer referral for consideration of genetic testing. There is an urgent need for research to determine the effectiveness of surveillance strategies, preventive surgery, chemoprevention, and lifestyle modification for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. (+info
Identifying industrial sites with potential for residential exposure to asbestos.
BACKGROUND: Non-occupational exposure to asbestos has been of increasing interest, but residential exposure to asbestos often focuses on a few high-profile asbestos users. This study aimed to identify industrial sites producing asbestos goods in a given area and time period. METHODS: A search of trade directories was carried out for industrial sites in West Yorkshire, England, where asbestos may have been used this century. RESULTS: A large number of factories with potential for residential exposure were found. A total of 269 factories in West Yorkshire used asbestos between 1900 and 1979, many for short periods only. CONCLUSIONS: Identification of potential sources of residential exposure to asbestos would have greatly underestimated their number if either only high-profile users or existing official listings had been used. Any consideration of asbestos use should aim to identify all users, not just the high-profile manufacturers. (+info
Facilitating networks of information.
In this paper we describe an approach to respond to a request for information with the identification and location of the appropriate person as a source of information for answering the question. The expertise of a person is characterized using a weighted profile that has been derived from a series of documents describing the expert's activities. Having these profiles, requests for information can be matched with these profiles. The best matches correspond with the people that are experts for providing information on the request. (+info
Use of World Wide Web-based directories for tracing subjects in epidemiologic studies.
The recent availability of World Wide Web-based directories has opened up a new approach for tracing subjects in epidemiologic studies. The completeness of two World Wide Web-based directories (Canada411 and InfoSpace Canada) for subject tracing was evaluated by using a randomized crossover design for 346 adults randomly selected from respondents in an ongoing cohort study. About half (56.4%) of the subjects were successfully located by using either Canada411 or InfoSpace. Of the 43.6% of the subjects who could not be located using either directory, the majority (73.5%) were female. Overall, there was no clear advantage of one directory over the other. Although Canada411 could find significantly more subjects than InfoSpace, the number of potential matches returned by Canada411 was also higher, which meant that a longer list of potential matches had to be examined before a true match could be found. One strategy to minimize the number of potential matches per true match is to first search by InfoSpace with the last name and first name, then by Canada411 with the last name and first name, and finally by InfoSpace with the last name and first initial. Internet-based searches represent a potentially useful approach to tracing subjects in epidemiologic studies. (+info
A practical guide to caring for caregivers.
Patients who provide care to family members or friends with dementia are likely to be in a family physician's practice. The caregiver role can be stressful, and identifying these patients can give the family physician opportunities to help patients cope with the challenges of the caregiver role. Family physicians have a systematic approach for assessing the degree of caregiver burden in these patients. Because caregivers are at increased risk for depression and anxiety, screening should be done to exclude the presence of either disorder. The caregiver's skill in managing behavioral problems in the family member with dementia should be assessed. If there are problems, family physicians should provide practical counseling about common caregiving stresses and about resources that benefit caregivers. Helping the caregiver learn strategies for coping with difficulties may help reduce some of the stress the caregiver is experiencing. (+info
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia resources on the world wide web: a descriptive journey.
A wealth of information on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia is available on the World Wide Web for health care providers and patients. These illnesses have overlapping features, and their etiologies remain unknown. Multiple Web sites were reviewed, and selected sites providing useful information were identified. Sites were classified according to their content and target audience and were judged according to suggested standards of Internet publishing. Fifty-eight sites were classified into groups as follows: comprehensive and research Web sites for CFS and fibromyalgia, meetings, clinical trials, literature search services, bibliographies, journal, and CFS and fibromyalgia Web sites for the patient. (+info