Nursing, Healthcare Informatics and Technology 2006

Welcome to Nursing, Healthcare and Technology 2006. My name is Margaret Maag and I will post reviews of current top stories in nursing, healthcare informatics and technology at this blogspot. I hope you will share this site with your friends, colleagues, and students.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Friday, January 20, 2006

Science Creates a Living Bandage for Broken Hearts

A report about a viable "beating" tissue patch for a "broken" (diseased) heart was released a few moments ago. This living tissue is applied to a part of the heart that has been affected by a prior heart attack or cardiovascular disease. " "We joke that this is really 'a patch for a broken heart,'" said Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and co-director of the Tissue Engineering Resource Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md." The researchers state the thumbnail size patch is not ready for humans yet and how important it is that the patch "integrate" with the syncronicity of the heart.

Three new podcasts available from Dartmouth

Three new academic podcasts have been added to "Views from the Green" at Dartmouth University. "Blending medicine and engineering" addresses the need for technology in medicine.
"In this podcast, Michael B. Mayor, the William N. and Bessie Allyn Professor of Surgery at Dartmouth Medical School and an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering, talks about how his career has blurred the lines between medicine and engineering, and how he thinks this should be the model for the future." The other two podcasts may be located at the url link above this textbox.

Search Engines, Blogs Lead Top E-Health Trends for 2006

Versel reports that healthcare professionals and organizations marketing e-health products would benefit from paying attention to blogs and vodcasts. "Consumers and physicians alike increasingly are turning to search engines to find health information on the Internet, rather than pointing their browsers toward specific, known Web sites. This, according to Manhattan Research, is the No. 1 trend in e-health marketing for 2006. The New York-based company today released its annual list of top trends for e-health marketing professionals to consider."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Online Point-of-Care Solution Assists Physicians, Nurses, and Healthcare Professionals in Accessing Evidence-Based Information and Improving Patient H

"The launch of ClinicalResource@Ovid, a new point-of-care tool that gives medical professionals quick, precise access to peer-reviewed, evidence-based information so that they can make clinical decisions faster and provide higher quality patient care."

Positive outlook mixes with fear of loss

Online breast cancer support groups have helped women express their fears of being separated from their loved ones. "Women with more positive outlooks about their physical, social and psychological lives use online breast cancer support groups more frequently." Here is an example of how online communication may facilitate the expression of one's feelings and provide a nurturing and caring environment for physical and emotional healing. Such groups exist at Stanford University Hospital, as well. It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between women with more positive outlooks about their physical, social and psychological lives use the computer to communicate more often that their counterparts.

University of Illinois at Chicago Surgeons First to Use Robot for Living-Donor Kidney-Pancreas Transplant

The transplant of an organ is not an easy task. In the past, the donor would sustain a large scar and actually be at risk for hemorrhage and infection. However, today it is a different story. Surgeons report on the successful transplantation of a kidney and part of a pancreas for a man suffering from Type 1 diabetes and kidney failure. Robotic arms were used to remove the organs after a small incision was made in the patient's abdomen. The transplant was successful and both the recipient and donor are in good condition. "Surgeons at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago are the first in the world to use robotic surgery to successfully remove a kidney and pancreas from a living-donor as part of a successful transplantation." Wonderful!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Gene Increases Diabetes Risk, Scientists Find

Imagine if one could determine at an early age that they carried a variant gene that predisposes them to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is extremely prevalent. It accounts for 95% of all diabetes diagnoses. One third of the American population is thought to carry this identified variant gene that predisposes them to adult onset dibetes. The wonderful aspect of being able to diagnose diabetes early is that one may take preventive measures to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Dogs Excel on Smell Test to Find Cancer

Man's best friend comes to the rescue one more time!
Three Labradors and two Portuguese water dogs have been trained to detect human lung cancer by sniffing the breath of patients diagnosed with cancer. The researchers working at a Northern Californian clinic have found the accuracy to be ninety-nine percent. Tumors are known to secrete small amounts of alkanes and benzene byproducts. These dogs are doing double duty. They are borrowed from the Guide Dogs for the Blind organization and they are rewarded whenever they detect the correct scent from a variety of smelling pots. This research supports the fact that the breath of lung cancer patients differs significantly from a healthy human's breath.

Digital Literacy

Blackall reports the importance of "digital literacy" for educaators in Australia. Furthermore, "consideration is given to understandings of digital literacy, the impact of open source software and the place of content within the worldwide rapid publishing and networked learning revolution (Web 2.0)." Blackall suggests a "participatory research action" approach to ignite curiosity about novel models for online education, enhancing digital literacy and promoting networked communities within Australian educational settings.

For those of you interested in "participatory research action," please visit

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Apple helps `mere mortals' create a personal Web site

John Boudreau reports that Apple Computer has released an updated version of iLife(06). This software package allows individuals to create their own websites without much knowledge in technology. "It's easy to use and it spurs creativity. Now with iWeb, there is a way to share what you have done." Individuals may drag and drop photographs, personal videos, and upload podcasts. The downside to the software package is that it is now only available for Mac users. However, for those individuals who own Macs, users may easily access the iWeb via a .mac account.
For more information on how to obtain a .mac account, go to:

Heart Disease Predictors Are Deficient

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women living in the United States. According to cardiologists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (as reported in the Online Journal of Business), the frequently-used risk-factor scoring tool fails to identify one-third of the females that are at risk for developing heart disease. Lifestyle changes, such as an increase in exercise, weight reduction, and medication prescriptions are methods to help prevent cardiovascular disease. Therefore, knowing in advance the risk-factors is beneficial before the disease process ensues. "The Hopkins findings, the latest of which appeared last month in the online American Heart Journal, is believed to be one of the first critical assessments of the Framingham Risk Estimate (FRE) as the principal test for early detection of heart disease. The researchers wanted to determine why many women at risk for heart disease aren�t identified earlier."

Better Technology for the EMS

A lack of information may mean life or death when paramedics are attending to emergency situations in the community setting. According to Bob Shepard, researchers are now investigating a new system that allows dispatchers to locate patients' medical records and report the medical data to the paramedics tending to the client. " "Past medical information, allergies, history of medical problems, and actually a detailed record of what's been going on today," Dr. Pigott tells Ivanhoe, is sent to directly to the EMS."
Once the paramedics receive the information they send it wirelessly to the emergency room. This quick transmission allows for more effective healthcare decisions and better client health outcomes. This new system is expected to be available within the next five years.

Monday, January 16, 2006

What is a "swicki?"

Thanks to my colleagues, Rod Ward and Peter Murray, I learned about "swickis" today. A swicki is a customized search engine that is very easy to create. Give it a try! And, let me know what you think!