Primary care telemonitoring to support diabetes management

From the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ):

According to a new study supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), adding telemonitoring to the routine care diabetes patients receive did not significantly change outcomes. “Effect of home telemonitoring on glycemic and blood pressure control in primary care clinic patients with diabetes,” appeared online January 3 in Telemedicine and e-health. Researchers compared 53 people who received routine care with 55 people who got routine care plus telemonitoring. After 12 weeks of care, hemoglobin A1c (A1c) and blood pressure levels were not significantly different between the two groups. The study findings suggest that the addition of technology alone is unlikely to lead to improvements in outcomes and that telemonitoring of patients should be limited to those who have a significant change to their care plan. More research is needed to determine how primary care practices can effectively use telemonitoring to support patient’s abilities to manage diabetes.

Read the abstract at PubMed.

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The need for a smart approach to big health care data

From the Health Affairs Blog:

Today, academic medicine and health policy research resemble the automobile industry of the early 20th century — a large number of small shops developing unique products at high cost with no one achieving significant economies of scale or scope. Academics, medical centers, and innovators often work independently or in small groups, with unconnected health datasets that provide incomplete pictures of the health statuses and health care practices of Americans.

Health care data needs a “Henry Ford” moment to move from a realm of unconnected and unwieldy data to a world of connected and matched data with a common support for licensing, legal, and computing infrastructure. Physicians, researchers, and policymakers should be able to access linked databases of medical records, claims, vital statistics, surveys, and other demographic data. To do this, the health care community must bring disparate health data together, maintaining the highest standards of security to protect confidential and sensitive data, and deal with the myriad legal issues associated with data acquisition, licensing, record matching, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Just as the Model-T revolutionized car production and, by extension, transit, the creation of smart health data enclaves will revolutionize care delivery, health policy, and health care research. We propose to facilitate these enclaves through a governance structure know as a digital rights manager (DRM). The concept of a DRM is common in the entertainment (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers or ASCAP would be an example) and legal industries.  If successful, DRMs would be a vital component of a data-enhanced health care industry.

Read the complete blog post here.

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Public Health blog is ending–Last day today!

The Public Health blog will end today & will merge with the THL blog.  The archives will be ported over, so yes, you can re-read your favorite posts.

For news from the Taubman Health Sciences Library, follow the THL blog here:

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Library on the Road cancelled today

Because the university has cancelled classes, Library on the Road, where library informationists come to the School of Public Health, will be cancelled today.  Look for us again next Tuesday in 1629 Crossroads.

If you need help using library resources for projects or classes, don’t know what a citation management program is, but need to find out, send us an email at with your questions or to set up an individual consultation.


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Tips for saving your fingertips

In case you haven’t seen them, here are some tips from a UMHS physician from a story in the University Record on staying safe in extremely cold weather, including a helpful chart from the CDC.

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Scopus interface changing February 1

Changes are coming to the interface of Scopus that will streamline your workflow by optimizing the interface for core uses.

One important change is that the interface becomes more action driven:  when you select certain results to work with (e.g. for refinement, citation analysis or to export references), the action buttons or links will become “active” & make the experience more intuitive. The results page will be optimized to make it easier to scan your search results.

The Author profile will get a ‘CV-style’ design that will let you more easily scan the main column that includes information such as h-index, documents, &  citations. It will show the 20 most recent documents.  You’ll also be able to see more documents on the free Author profile version that researchers can view without having access to Scopus.

Another important change is that you will now be able to export references directly from Scopus to Mendeley.

For more information on the upcoming changes, click here.

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Upcycling: Bringing new life to existing health data

From the Health Affairs Blog:

By now, most of us are familiar with recycling. Items with reclaimable value are collected; then base materials are salvaged to create new products—often of lesser quality.

Fewer people are familiar with the term upcycling, a form of recycling that involves reconceiving, and sometimes adding to, existing items with the goal of giving them a different purpose and higher value. Though the term may be unfamiliar, the concept is old. A hundred years ago, farm families upcycled feed sacks into dresses, and old doors into furniture. The fleece jackets we now see everywhere, often made from reclaimed plastic bottles, are a modern example of upcycling.

In the world of health care data, too, opportunities exist to upcycle by adding to and repurposing existing information. It makes good sense to leverage investments in data collection, many of which have already been made for other reasons, such as public health surveillance and provider billing: doing so reduces data collection and cost burdens. The California HealthCare Foundation, based in Oakland, is actively pursuing data-upcycling initiatives as part of its mission to make useful information about health care quality publicly available. Two such efforts are highlighted below.

Maternity Care Data
More than 500,000 California women give birth each year; yet little information exists to guide decisions about where to seek high-quality maternity care. Providers themselves often lack information about their own performance. To help fill this gap, the California Maternal Data Center was launched in 2012 (it is cofunded by the California HealthCare Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and operated by the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative). By repurposing data that hospitals and the state government have long collected, it provides metrics on the quality of maternity care. The California Maternal Data Center links birth certificate data (for example, birth weight, delivering provider) with information included in patient discharge data (for example, diagnostic and procedure codes related to the birth) that hospitals are already required to submit to the state.

With this combination of data, the center is able to produce robust measures, such as rates of cesarean sections, episiotomies, and vaginal birth after C-section, on all California hospitals providing maternity care. With a small amount of additional work, hospitals can voluntarily submit additional data elements from targeted medical chart reviews (that is, reviews of a subset of charts identified by the California Maternal Data Center to be most relevant) to generate other measures, such as elective delivery before thirty-nine weeks. Many participating hospitals are using the center’s data to facilitate quality improvement, and plans are under way to support public reporting at the hospital and physician-practice levels.

To read the complete post, click here.

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Open workshops on publishing for graduate students

The University Library is presenting a series of free workshops on publishing for graduate students.  Register for each workshop by clicking on the hot link of the title.

Tips on Publishing a Scholarly Book
Thursday, 2/6, 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
This session, directed to graduate students and junior faculty in the social sciences and humanities, will discuss the process of publishing a scholarly book. Attendees will learn how to craft a book proposal, identify potential publishers, approach press editors, and benefit from peer review at a university press. Equally important, you will find out how to work with the publisher’s marketing team to promote book sales, compete for book prizes, and draw wide attention for their scholarship. Bring your questions–and get answers from two experienced publishing professionals!

Melody Herr, Senior Acquisitions Editor at the University of Michigan Press
Renée Tambeau, Director of Marketing and Outreach for Michigan Publishing and the Press.

Open Access Essentials
Tuesday, 2/18, 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
Want to make sure your published work reaches as many readers as possible? Interested in publishing in an open access journal, but aren’t able to pay a publication charge? Curious about why your funding agency is requiring you to share your research findings? This workshop will discuss the basics of open access and how the landscape of scholarly publishing is changing. Attendees will learn how to select appropriate publication venues, understand their rights as an author, and identify important trends in the larger publishing world that are relevant to their work.

Copyright and Your Dissertation
Wednesday, 3/12, 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
Copyright for the dissertation writer is not that scary, we promise! In this workshop we’ll cover data, images, and  reusing prior published articles in your dissertation.  We’ll also show you how to protect your copyright as an author and how to get permissions when necessary.  This session is specifically for those working on a dissertation or thesis.

Faculty Advice for New Academic Authors
Thursday, 3/13, 3:00 pm-4:30 pm
A panel of faculty members from a range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences will discuss their experience as authors, editors, and reviewers in today’s academic publishing environment. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear directly from faculty on topics such as:

    • how the peer review process works
    • what presses are looking for in book proposal
    • common methods for handling reviewer feedback
    • tips for successfully co-authoring materials
    • advice for fitting writing into a busy schedule
    • and much more!
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Public health and internationalism

A new website had been created, based at Birkbeck, University of London: The Reluctant Internationalists: A History of Public Health and International Organisations, Movements and Experts in Twentieth Century Europe.  A central concern of The Reluctant Internationalists is the role played by debates about public health and (real or imagined) crises in the formation of international structures, mechanisms and organizations in twentieth century Europe.
The Reluctant Internationalists is a four-year project funded by a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award and led by Dr Jessica Reinisch. The core research team comprises Ana Antic, Dora Vargha and Johanna Conterio-Geisler (postdoctoral researchers), and David Bryan (PhD student). You can find more information about the project, its participants, along with updates on upcoming workshops, events, fellowships, blog posts and news on the website

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First-ever quantitative data about the toll of BPA exposure

From Health Affairs:

The risks of exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) have been well-known for some time. While exposure to BPA in the United States affects an estimated 92.6 percent of Americans over the age of five, there are gaps in the knowledge of the health consequences of BPA exposure. A new study, Further Limiting Bisphenol A In Food Uses Could Provide Health And Economic Benefits, presents the first estimate of the potential disease burden and costs associated with ongoing exposure to BPA. It found that $2.98 billion in annual costs are attributable to BPA-associated childhood obesity and adult coronary heart disease. Of the $2.98 billion, the study identified $1.49 billion in childhood obesity costs, the first environmentally attributable costs of child obesity to be documented.

The study modeled the potential health and economic benefits associated with replacing BPA in all food uses by quantifying childhood obesity and adult coronary heart disease attributable to BPA exposure in the United States in the year 2008. The data used were from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2003-2008 as well as other sources. Its analysis methodology followed the approach developed by the Institute of Medicine in assessing the “fractional contribution” of the environment to the causation of illness in the United States. “This analysis suggests that regulatory action to reduce BPA exposure could produce net benefits to society,” concludes the author. “From an economic perspective, it might make sense for the Food and Drug Administration to require that an additive free of obesogenic and cardiovascular risks be substituted for BPA. However, pre-market testing of potential substitutes is needed to prevent the use of another synthetic chemical instead of BPA that may lead to the same or worse health consequences.”

Read the article here.

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