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JAMIA Reports On People, Their Information Needs And Social Networks

May 6, 2011

The May issue of JAMIA, the top-ranked journal reporting on informatics in biomedical and health informatics, features new scientific research””in print and online””on healthcare’s hottest HIT-related topics, written by prominent experts working in health and biomedicine. Editor-in chief Lucila Ocho-Machado bullets some of the rich content in the newly released, current issue:

    * “A secure protocol for protecting the identity of providers when disclosing data for disease surveillance” (Editor’s Choice, available free online) “” Lead author Khaled El Emam of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, proposes a protocol to protect the privacy of providers who disclose data for public health purposes. A related online appendix describes the technical details.

    * “Rank-based spatial clustering: an algorithm for rapid outbreak detection” “” Lead author Jialan Que of the RODS Laboratory at the Department of Biomedical Informatics at University of Pittsburgh describes a new algorithm for rapid outbreak detection that ranks regions according to risk, then uses these rankings to define clusters, in contrast with other techniques that search for predetermined cluster shapes around a high-risk area.

    * “Social disparities in internet patient portal use in diabetes: evidence that the digital divide extends beyond access” (Editor’s Choice, available free online) “”Lead author Urmimala Sarkar of University of California’s Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, describes disparities in patient usage of a diabetes online resource, and indicates that the gap cannot be solely justified on the basis of differences in access to technology.

    * “Can poison control data be used for pharmaceutical poisoning surveillance?” “” Lead author Christopher A. Naun of Intermountain Injury Control Research Center in Salt Lake City, reports on the pros and cons of using poison control data for decision support related to pharmaceutical surveillance.

Other JAMIA content includes examination of:

    * electronic health records in small physician practices
    * the quality and safety of diabetes-related online social networks
    * information needs of case managers caring for people living with HIV
    * the accuracy of a computerized clinical-decision support system for asthma assessment and management

“This issue provides a sample of the diversity of approaches and disciplines that make our field so fascinating,” says Dr. Ohno-Machado, introducing the current issue. She reminds readers that “informatics is as much concerned about people, their information needs, and their social networks, as it is about algorithms and systems.”

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