Friday, December 19, 2008

Limited usefulness of private-sector medication information

From the FDA: "Study Finds Much of Private-Sector Consumer Medication Information Not Consistently Useful" (12/16/2008)
A study released today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that the printed consumer medication information (CMI) voluntarily provided with new prescriptions by retail pharmacies does not consistently provide easy-to-read, understandable information about the use and risks of medications.

The study, Expert and Consumer Evaluation of Consumer Medication Information, showed that while most consumers (94 percent) received CMI with new prescriptions, only about 75 percent of this information met the minimum criteria for usefulness as defined by a panel of stakeholders. In 1996, Congress called for 95 percent of all new prescriptions to be accompanied by useful CMI by 2006.


One more from the WSJ's Health blog -- summary of a recent Microsoft study about how people search for health information: Cyberchondria: it's not just in your head.
Is that burning feeling heartburn or a heart attack? Quick, your brain says to the hand not clutching your chest, type “chest pain” into Google and let’s get to the bottom of this.

What happens next, for many people, is a descent into worst-case scenarios, fueled by the ready availability of information on the Web about medical conditions both rare and common. Obscure or serious medical problems can bubble up to the first page of search results, where anxious searchers can quickly conclude their symptoms result from scary but unlikely causes. Before you can say, “Google,” there’s another case of cyberchondria on the loose.

Negative studies going unpublished

Brief item on the Wall Street Journal Health blog -- "How many negative drug studies still go unpublished?" -- includes highlights from the last year's studies on publication bias and news items about pharma potentially suppressing release of some results.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Latest JMLA case

In case you haven't seen it yet, check out the latest installment in the JMLA case study series -- The role of the medical librarian in the basic biological sciences: a case study in virology and evolution by Michele Tennant and Michael Miyamoto.

This case challenges us to apply our medical knowledge building and searching skills to the field of virology, touring us through basic virology concepts and considering the implicit nature of the answer for the question featured in the case.

The next case will tackle a selection of veterinary and zoological medicine topics and will appear later next year.

New IOM report on resident work hours

The Institute of Medicine has released new recommendations for resident work hours, including protected time for sleep intervals during call and longer shifts, off-time, and other issues. The full-text of the report is online here and links to a few commentary pieces below:

- NEJM article, including table comparing new recommendations to the existing ACGME recs
- New York Times article
- ACGME press release about the report, including mention of a pending March 2009 conference on work hours