QMedCONNECT Newsletter: July 2009


Dear friends,

This month I would like to share the importance of medical information literacy - a topic very close to my heart. In fact my family and friends tease me saying that this is what I live for! QMed Knowledge Foundation's objective is to empower the medical information user, and our core activity is training for the right use of medical information - in other words improve "medical information literacy".

We'd like to highlight two articles - one old (2001), but still highly relevant, and the other, a very recent one. In 2001, there was a tragic incident in a reputed US University, where a young lady who volunteered in a drug trial, died of adverse events. The importance of in-depth information expertise is highlighted in this event.

The other is an article mentioning that many use Wikipedia for medical information. So what? Wikipedia is very popular and its popularity is increasing by the minute. Specially because it can be updated so quickly unlike traditional sources. The flip side is that human beings - not necessarily experts - may contribute errors, and for medical information, it is not acceptable. The article however is not meant to only cause alarm; rather - while sensitizing one on the need for caution, it also suggests methods to ensure that health information in Wikipedia can be updated systematically with authenticity.

Our regular "article of the month" discusses a very successful effort in Sydney, Australia in integrating an EBM component as early as in the 3rd year of Medical School! Students are taught literature searching and EBM fundamentals in the first two years, and in the 3rd year, they need to work at using EBM practically in their clinicals.

We hope that the medical curriculum in India will introduce these changes, and that we can collaborate with doctors who are already training students in Critical Appraisal and research, in making these changes.

Incidentally, this month many library and information associations/professionals across India will be celebrating “Librarians Day” to commemorate the birth anniversary of the Father of Library Science movement in India - Dr. S. R. Ranganathan. Dr. SRR as he is popularly known, dedicated his life to propagate information literacy. He advocated the need for India and other countries to have literate populations. This must have played a major role in his life to focus on library and Information services.

So.....Long Live Information Literacy!

Vasumathi Sriganesh


ISSUE SPECIAL: Why Medical Information Literacy Is Important? 

1.) Incomplete Literature search results in the death of a volunteer in a drug trial.

The Consequences can be deadly. In 2001, a researcher in a premier medical institution in the USA, administered hexamethonium to a healthy 24-year old woman in a study to demonstratre how the lungs of healthy people protect against asthma attacks. However, an adverse reaction killed her. Investigations revealed that the lead researcher had done a literature search up to the 1960s, but papers of the 1950s pointed out the potentially lethal side effects associated with inhalation of the drug. An article with details on this case says "Medical librarians say the tragedy is a stark reminder that the Internet should not replace either the stacks or the important work of information professionals". Read more - in the Library Journal.

This later lead to the creation of "Guidelines for determining an adequate and comprehensive Literature search". An excellent guideline is available through a program - "Responsible Literature Searching for Research: A Self-Paced Interactive Educational Program" in the University of Pittsburgh's website.

2.) 50% of US Doctors Use Wikipedia For Medical Information - Disturbing News?

An article in a recent issue of The New Scientist says - According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, more than half of the adults in the US turn to the internet when they have health or medical questions. While the data is no surprise, it is disturbing. The information is not always reliable at sites like Wikipedia, one of the most popular for this sort of thing, New Scientist reported. More alarmingly, a survey in April found that 50% of doctors turn to Wikipedia for medical information! The article goes on to say that while Wikipedia is overall a very reliable source of information, one needs to know why it is important to be aware of the fact that it can have factual errors, albeit for even a short while. 
Full article - The New Scientist


What we did – July 2009

Training programs: PubMed - Basics and Talks on Literature Searching

Programs conducted

We conducted two programs in July - one at KIMS - Bangalore for their new batch of PG students and the other at Piramal Diagnostics - Jankharia Imaging Centre for their doctors and DNB students. At KIMS, this was the 5th program we conducted, as they have decided to hold our program every year for their postgraduate students. Both programs received excellent feedback. 

We also conducted one program on the 1st of August at the Seth GS Medical College Mumbai - where the Dept of Clinical Pharmacology is was holding a Workshop on Clinical Research for Undergraduate students. This time students brought Wi-fi enabled laptops and got to work hands on during the workshop; this was much appreciated by participants.

Forthcoming Programs

In August we are conducting two programs - one in Ahmedabad and one in Bangalore. Both are being sponsored by a Pharmaceutical company for doctors of academic institutions. This sponsorship is an outcome of the work done by our Associates - M/s XRays Biocom (a Division of Sorento Healthcare Communications Pvt. Ltd) in recommending our programs to Pharmaceutical companies that sponsor knowledge based products and services.

We are also conducting one at the Lotus College of Optometry, which has made our program a regular feature for the students of their Masters in Optometry program.


Document Delivery Of Journal Articles

 In the month of July 2009, we delivered 217 articles to individual members, libraries and corporate clients. The total number of documents delivered since April this year is 660.


Web Projects

We are happy to share that we are helping in the creation of two new websites

1 National Assembly on Pediatric Emergency Medicine - This event is a workshop and conference being held from April 2nd to 4th, 2010, in Bengaluru. The website will be available at www.napem.org in about a month's time

2. Mumbai Endoscopy - This is the website of the Digestive Diseases & Endoscopy Center located in the 2nd floor of the Motiben Dalvi Hospital, Hughes Road, Mumbai. The website will be available at www.mumbaiendoscopy.com in about a month's time 


Donations to QMed Knowledge Foundation

We accept donations only by cheques in favour of Quality Medical Knowledge Foundation. You may send the cheques to our address, or you could ask us for our account details. You will get the applicable IT Exemption for donations under Section 80G of the Indian Income Tax Act.


Special Announcement!!

1. August 10, 2009 - Introduction to Evidence Informed Healthcare at the South Asian Cochrane Network & Centre, Christian Medical College Vellore. More details

2. August 24-25, 2009 - ICMR-DCI-MMU - Two Day Research Methodology for Dental Professionals at Maharshi Markandeshwar University, Mullana at Ambala. More details

3. September 26-27 - "Indian Pediatrics" announces the 1st Workshop on “ART AND SCIENCE OF WRITING A PAPER” at Auditorium, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. More details

4. November 21-22 - 12th Workshop on ‘Biomedical Informatics and Communication’ at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram (Wardha).More details

5. MDConsult. Doctors in India can avail of access to MDConsult at special rates, thanks to the efforts of the HELP Library. With MDConsult, you get access to about 50 reference books, 70 journals (including Clinics), Practice guidelines and lots more. For more details click here.

6. Supercourse Lectures. Supercourse is a repository of lectures on global health and prevention designed to improve the teaching of prevention. Supercourse has a network of over 64000 scientists in 174 countries who are sharing for free a library of 3623 lectures in 30 languages. The Supercourse has been produced at the WHO Collaborating Center University of Pittsburgh, with core developers Ronald LaPorte and others.

Our Foundation has received a CD of the entire content, and we are willing to copy it - as requested by Ronald and give it to interested individuals/institutions. This will be useful if you do not wish to view all lectures on the Internet for various reasons. Please get in touch with us at info@qmedkf.org.in if you wish to receive a copy.

If you are organizing or know about other conferences, pre-conference workshops or training programs related to medical research, do let us know; we would like to include these in our website and newsletter. 


Article of the Month:


Ethics in presentations: teach the teachers first

Available from: www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2008/19/4/283/44525

The author writes about presentations in conferences and highlights the importance of quoting references. – a practice that is by and large either neglected or minimized in Indian presentation. He emphasizes that by quoting references the presenter shows that he has done enough reading and that he is not plagiarising. He also stresses that conference scientific committees and teachers should insist on adequate referencing. We hope that these communities take note!


Quote of the Month

"Information and computer literacy, in the conventional sense, are functionally valuable technical skills. But information literacy should in fact be conceived more broadly as a new liberal art that extends from knowing how to use computers and access information to critical reflection on the nature of information itself, its technical infrastructure, and its social, cultural and even philosophical context and impact - as essential to the mental framework of the educated information-age citizen as the trivium of basic liberal arts (grammar, logic and rhetoric) was to the educated person in medieval society."

Source: Shapiro, Jeremy J. and Shelley K. Hughes."Information Literacy as a Liberal Art." Educom Review. Vol 31 No. 2 March/April 1996. 


Directory Of Indian Medical Sites(www.indianmedicalsites.in)

We have added 45 new sites in the last month and the total number of sites is about 2425. 

We invite volunteers to add new sites. If you would like to help, do write to us and we will send you a set of instructions that will make it easier for you to work. Please write "Volunteering for Indian Medical Sites" in the Subject of the email.


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