Medical Internet Videos…

… and other cool toys.

Recent posts on David Rothman’s blog (, link to some great video resources for medical staff / medical education:

The JAMA Report, a weekly audio/video news service from JAMA, can be downloaded in a variety of formats. It’s also available through at, where it’s possible to subscribe to an RSS feed, and even to generate a script (using the Syndicate Show button) to copy-and-paste a viewer for displaying the show on your own intranet page.

Rothman also links to a post titled “Games used to train medical doctors” on The Hippocratech post gives examples and links for medical training games, described here as “medutainment.” You too can practice heart surgery online!

The Krafty Librarian

I just added The Krafty Librarian to our blogroll. Subtitled “Every medical librarian needs a bag of tricks,” this blog is written by Ohio medical librarian Michele Kraft. Currently under discussion: a search for ways to provide tables of contents electronically to patrons; medical and science Facebook applications; electronic access to hospital libraries.

Medical Blogs

How Web 2.0 is changing medicine (BMJ 2006; 333: 1283-4)  cites Clinical Cases and Images as “one of the best blogs in medicine.” This medical blog is certainly worth a look by those seeking real-world examples to show physicians (and perhaps hospital IT departments) the value of the new social networking tools.

 Recent posts in Clinical Cases & Images include pointers to many other medical resources; for example, there are a list of hospitalist blogs and a recommendation for Grand Rounds, a weekly summary of the best posts in medical blogs.  (See the Grand Round archives to get a feel for how this interesting resource works.)

Camtasia Studio & SnagIt

Thinking about recording your own online tutorials?

Well, this is all over the blogosphere – dozens of blogs are pointing to a place to download a free older version of Camtasia Studio (ver. 3.1.2 or 3.1.3) and also SnagIt. Camtasia Studio is a video screencast recording software, and SnagIt is a screen capture software.

Here are the instructions as posted by Cybernet News:

Here’s what you have to do to get SnagIt 7.2.5 for free:

  1. Download SnagIt 7.2.5 in English.
  2. Request a free license for the software.

The second application is Camtasia Studio, which is used to make and edit video screencasts. This is a $300 application, but just like with SnagIt you will not get the latest Camtasia 5 that was recently released. Instead you will get Camtasia 3, but it will satisfy the needs of most Windows users with the exception of those running Vista.

Here’s what you have to do to get Camtasia Studio 3 for free:

  1. Download Camtasia Studio.
  2. Request a free license for the software.

Electronic versions withheld?

One of our residency programs wished to use the electronic version of a 2004 article from American Family Physician. The physicians report that when they tried to download, they were blocked by the journal website, with a message indicating that permission for use of the electronic version was not given, and that they should seek out the paper copy.

This is a “free online” journal, and other articles can be downloaded/printed.  Due to space limitations, our hospital library doesn’t keep back issues of this journal. 

 Has anyone else seen this type of restriction? Any comment on the implications of such restrictions?

Social skills tips

In customer service, or responsible for training people in customer service? Check out the Positivity Blog: How to improve your social skills: 8 tips from the last 2500 years. This post quotes the classics (Epictetus, Hemingway, Mae West) to support the “8 tips”:

  1. Listen
  2. Actually be interested in the other person
  3. Don’t listen too much to criticism
  4. Don’t babble on & on
  5. Treat others as you would like them to treat you
  6. Keep a positive attitude
  7. Use silence
  8. Communicate with more than your words

Other personal development topics at the Positivity Blog include time management; overcoming nervousness; sparking creativity; quickly turning a negative mood into a positive one; using “the cone of silence” to improve focus.

Thanks to Stephen Abrams in Stephen’s Lighthouse for the link.

Medical Spam

Canadian researchers recently conducted a study of medical spam emails, by opening an email box and ordering drugs and herbal remedies they were offered. The original report is open access: Gernburd P, Jadad AR (2007) Will Spam Overwhelm Our Defenses? Evaluating Offerings for Drugs and Natural Health Products. PLoS Med 4(9): e274 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040274 .

The story turned up today (11/15/2007) on NPR as: The Truth about medical spam. (Audio file.) Sydney Spiesel, a physician columnist for, reported study findings that, of more than 4,000 spam received, about one-third were medical; and after a couple of weeks elapsed, only 19 of the web links in the thousand-plus spam were still active. The researchers ordered products from these sites using a credit card, and nine products actually arrived. The study did not report whether the products received were actually what they purported to be, and Dr. Spiesel speculated that perhaps the researchers planned another article.

Foxnews published a story about the study on September 17 titled: Study: Spam E-mail good source for prescription drugs. Interesting interpretation. Do you suppose they actually read the article?


When I demo MedlinePlus, one of the features that always gets a positive response is the collection of Flash tutorials.

Now, I’m jazzing up my library webpages by including links to Flash tutorials offered by the various database vendors. The tutorials I’ve found so far don’t require that the user be logged in to the product. Here’s the list:


STAT!Ref Anatomy.TV:

STAT!Ref MedCalc 3000:

EBSCO CINAHL basic searching:

CINAHL advanced searching:

Want to build your own Flash tutorials? Try Wink, a free software to download for capturing screenshots and building Flash presentations. Building some tutorials has been on my “to do” list for many months now.

Systematic Evaluation of EBM Point-of-Care tools

A Systematic Evaluation of Evidence Based Medicine Tools for Point-of-Care

Julie M. Trumble, Margaret J. Anderson, Marlene Caldwell, Felicia Chuang, Stephanie Fulton, Anne Howard, Beatriz Varman

This University of Texas study, referenced by both BMJ Clinical Evidence and Stat!Ref (host of ACP PIER), was presented at the South Central Chapter/MLA meeting in October 2006. The study compared thirteen point-of-care tools in such areas as scope, depth of information, usability, frequency updated, grading of evidence, and presentation of results. ACP PIER and BMJ Clinical Evidence were rated first and second, respectively. The investigators conclude that evaluating products is a subjective process, that standard measures clarify the distinctions between products, and that an institution’s needs are an important part of the equation.

In addition to the slides, the investigators have made their Excel spreadsheets available so that users may re-sort the information as they wish.

  • Zipped files — PowerPoint, handouts, spreadsheets, blank evaluation forms

Healia – Health Search Engine

One of the speakers at CIL 2007 mentioned a trend in developing specialized, narrow-focus search engines, and tossed out Healia, a health search site, as an example.

Designed to help consumers find high-quality health information on the web, Healia uses algorithms, a “quality index score,” a health-optimized spellchecker, semantic technology and personalized filters (such as age group, or HONcode sites, or professional sites) to find the nuggets of relevant health information while avoiding unreliable sites. Healia was developed under the Small Business Innovation Research award program from the National Cancer Institute.

My sample searches turned up a number of good, reliable sites, many of them similar to what I would find in MedlinePlus. One nice feature for seniors is a button on the results page for increasing font size. Also useful, on results pages, are links to more specific and more general terms.

In addition to web search, Healia can also be used to search Pubmed and Clinical Trials. The site also includes Healia Health Blog; recent stories include lupus; lead paint and toy recalls; breast cancer fundraising. The list of “Blogs We Read” offers some suggestions for other consumer-health blogs to monitor.

Find out more about Healia here:


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