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Showing posts from July, 2011

Interventions for enhancing patients' online health literacy

Access to health information allows people to take a more active role in their health care by making them more informed about their health and the management of their illnesses. The internet is an increasingly popular way for people to obtain this kind of health information, but there are many barriers that prevent people making full use of such information. In particular, people may lack the motivation or the skills to use the internet. In a recent systematic review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Josip Car and colleagues examined whether teaching people to find, evaluate or use online health information (online health literacy) improves those skills and improves their health. They found only two studies met the inclusion criteria for the review. They concluded that there is limited evidence on which to draw conclusions about the effect of these interventions and that further high-quality research on this topic was necessary.

Bibliometric Analysis of Studies Using the GPRD

Electronic health databases that contain data obtained from health records generated by routine clinical practice are widely in biomedical research. Because of the large number of patients in such databases and long patient follow-up, these databases have unique characteristics that are very valuable for academic researchers. An article published recently in PLoS One describes the use of the United Kingdom's General Practice Research Database (GPRD). The authors identified 749 studies published between 1995 and 2009 based on the GPRD. The studies included authors from 22 countries published in 193 journals across 58 study fields The findings of the study illustrate how valuable the data collected in UK primary care by primary care teams is for research and public health.

An information revolution: time for the NHS to step up to the challenge

Over 30 million people in the United Kingdom now use the Internet every day, and around 12 million people use mobile phones to access the Internet. Can the NHS start to make effective use of this rapid development in information technology to improve communication between professionals and patients, and patients’ experience of their healthcare? This question is discussed by Helen Atherton and I in an article published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. We also give some examples of how clinicians and managers can begin to incorporate online technologies into their day-to-day practice. Online technologies and the ‘information revolution’ are changing the delivery of health services in the NHS and health systems in many other countries. Clinicians and managers need to act to take advantage of these developments now or risk being left behind, as their patients become increasingly familiar with the use of online and mobile communication technologies. This will in turn lead t…