Archive for Free

Public Health Potpourri

Public health applications are a particular interest of mine, as one might gather from my past posts in this blog. Lately so many new online resources are being introduced, it’s difficult to select just one to highlight for Tech Lister. So instead I’ll give you a “potpourri” of new public health online applications. My selections include a couple of global health initiatives and one focused on historical disease statistics.

  • Community Health Systems Catalog (http://www.advancingpartners.org/resources/chsc). This project was recently rolled out by Advancing Partners & Communities. It is an “interactive reference tool on community health systems” in USAID priority countries. The “intervention area” often focuses on family planning and reproductive health, but it also covers such vital public health issues as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and “neglected tropical diseases.” Using this resource, one might view a snapshot of a single country’s community health programs as well as compare community health systems between selected countries. Interventions are also identified according to their implementation status, such as nationwide, in selected areas, or “scaling up.” Funding partners in the venture include USAID, JSI Research & Training Institute, and FHI 360.CommHlthSystCatalog
  • Global Health SiteFinder (https://sitefinder.tghn.org/map-sites/). This is an interesting application whose purpose is to facilitate collaboration in global health research and interventions. (Recent reports highlight the importance of such collaborative projects.) Are you looking for projects in Africa, for instance? You can click on a map of various sites or search by particular country. An Advanced Search feature also allows you to search by disease topic, clinical facility and global subregion. Perhaps you are actually interested in attracting collaborators to your project. You might register on SiteFinder and describe your project so that other potential partners can find you. There is also a link to the Global Health Regulatory Requirements Database, as well as relevant funding opportunities. SiteFinder is a project of the Global Health Network, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.SiteFinder2
  • Project Tycho Data for Health (http://www.tycho.pitt.edu/). Project Tycho is an ambitious effort from the University of Pittsburgh which seeks to “advance the availability and use of public health data for science and policy.” The exciting part of this is the digitization of all the weekly U.S. NNDS (National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System) reports dating back to the 19th century. This data includes mortality statistics, reporting locations, time periods and diseases, and is searchable as well as downloadable (in Excel format). Registration is required to access the data, but it is free.Tycho

There are more online public health applications and databases being released all the time. Watch this blog for more information!

TransLoc

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Have you ridden the new Blazer Express?  UAB has really upped the game for campus transportation with new buses and routes.  The buses and shiny and new and beautifully branded for UAB but best thing about the new system in my opinion is the app they are using to communicate.  TransLoc is an app and website that many transportation systems use to track their routes and buses.  Once downloaded, in the app, you can choose to view stops or routes and get real time information on where your bus is and when you can expect it at your stop.

UAB map on the web

UAB map on the web

 

UAB map on my mobile

UAB map on my mobile

UAB routes on my mobile

UAB routes on my mobile

The system is free, easy to use and updates on the fly.  If you need to move around campus on a rainy cool morning like today, I recommend you use Blazer Express and TransLoc!

P.S.  I’ll talk about TransLoc Rider in an upcoming post.

 

3G Watchdog

watchdogMost people have no idea how much data they use monthly on their cellphone until they get a dreaded overage message. I’m still on the unlimited data plan with Verizon, but  soon it will be time to stop clinging to the past.  To help me with my transition, I’ve been using an app called 3g Watchdog.

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The app has helped me track how much data I’m actually using. You can set your quota limits and billing dates;  for example, set a limit of 2G per month starting on the 18th and you can get a notification when you are at 75% of the quota. You can view daily, weekly or monthly usage and see how much time you have left before your monthly plan resets.

The icon in your notification bar will advise you of your status from a glance by changing from green to yellow to red. It will also send you notifications when you are getting close to your limit and it can even be set to auto disable your mobile data to prevent overage. 3G Watchdog Pro gives you many advanced features like exporting a CSV file of your usage, viewing your usage by application or even restricting apps. I’ve found that the basic functions of the free version are enough to give me a good handle on what I’m using. This app is only available on Google Play but other similar applications Onavo Count and My Data Manager are available on Itunes.

OverDrive Media Console

Read and listen to eBooks & audiobooks from your library on the go or at home with OverDrive Media Console. The app is available for every major desktop and mobile platform, including Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, Kindle, NOOK, Windows 8 PC and tablet, Blackberry and Windows Phone.

This is a great product that enables you to literally have a library at your fingertips.It’s a great product that works across multiple platforms. I of course am a Windows and Windows Phone 8 user and the app is free!
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Download eBooks and audiobooks from your library directly to your Windows Phone! OverDrive Media Console gives you on-the-go access to eBooks and audiobooks from your public, school, or college library. More than 18,000 libraries worldwide offer best-selling and classic titles via OverDrive, so use the ‘Get Books’ feature in the app to find a library near you.
Digital titles from your library are borrowed just like print material. Once you find your library using ‘Get Books,’ you can browse your library’s digital collection website in the app, check out a title with a valid library card, and download the title directly to your Windows Phone.

Once you open the app you can search for a library by name, city or zip code. tech

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After which you select your member library and browse their collection and check out theebook of your choice. The title automatically expires in the app at the end of the lending period, so there’s never a late fee. There’s even a handy countdown clock built into the app so you know how long you have to read or listen before the title expires.

Some of the neat features included but aren’t limited to:

Change font size, margin, contrast and more to suit your style
Bookmark your favorite passages for repeat reading and listening
The built-in dictionary makes word lookup a breeze
Let your friends know what you’re reading on Facebook.

All and all a pretty handy tool for those avid readers out there that want a convenient way to take their favorite readings wherever they go.

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So long Google Reader, I hardly knew you

I consider myself an average consumer of technology, so there are only a few moments in my life where I found myself truly wowed by the next new thing, moments when I realized that I was doing it all wrong, moments when technology answered questions that I didn’t even know I had.  One of the most significant moments was looking down at the Nokia flip-phone in my hand after seeing Apple’s 2007 pro-mo for the first generation iPhone.  And most recently, discovering FeedlyLogo

I had to use Google Reader for a class in 2010, and I just didn’t get it.  It felt like another email I had to check.  When the class ended, so did my patience with Google Reader.  But when, earlier this year, Google announced that they were quitting with Google Reader, I figured I ought to do something with the feeds that I already subscribed to, feeds that I wished I read more often.  My husband mentioned Feedly, and said that all I had to do was click a button and everything would move over, I thought it was worth a shot.browser

 

The verdict: Switching over could not have been easier! and I love Feedly!! It is the answer to everything I disliked about Googleexample article Reader.  I went from signing in to Google Reader every once in a while, to opening Feedly everyday. I never feel like I have to check Feedly; I feel like it’s always waiting for me.  It’s there at my convenience, right beside my Google search bar. There are no more files and folders! Anything I’m interested in is clearly and invitingly displayed, all I need to do is scroll/browse through, like a magazine.  I don’t have to stumble across new blogs and news feeds to find something new–I can search within Feedly and add & organize new feeds in a matter of nanoseconds.  In fact, when I made the switch over to Feedly, I added at least 10 new blogs within minutes of loading the app to my phone.  I love it when something works so well I don’t even have to think about it.

mobile appFeedly is really lovely in its design and function.  The ratio of images to text is just right.  It’s not busy, it’s not flashy, it’s just really clean and attractive.  Everything I want to read is in one place.  My news categories are organized in alphabetical order, so my cooking, writing, and window shopping blogs are side by side with my library, teaching, and healthcare-related blogs.  Every time I open the app, I feel like I’m discovering something serendipitously (even though I know that I’m not; after all, I’m the one responsible for the content).

My favorite way to spend my lunch break is browsing through my Feedly either on my desktop or my iPhone.  I love the yin-yang balance of seeing all my news feeds at once, yet in their respective categories.  I’ll read something fun about finding great fried chicken in New York City, the next section will feature a story about a bookless public library in Texas, and the next section will feature world news from my NPR feed.

Feedly just made Feedly Pro available.  It’s a $5.00 a month charge, andfeedly pro ad I’ll have to wait to see if I think it’s worth paying for.  It will come with a handy search feature, which free Feedly lacks.  Other features include one-click sync with Evernote and One-click Pocket, and premium customer support.  The fact that Feedly wants users to start paying for a better platform makes me wonder if ads are on the way…in that case, I probably would pay $5.00/month to keep my Feedly looking the way I want it to.

There’s plenty of debate in the Tech World about the “death of the RSS feedSome say that Google+ is Google’s answer to its own problem.  Others argue that Twitter was always the answer, with news in real time.  I can’t really provide insight to the on-going debate, all I know is that I find Feedly incredibly refreshing and I love that I have control over how I want to use it–something I feel is lacking in my social network life.  I’d rather keep my news stories separated from friend’s new haircut update.

Feedly works for me.  If you found something else to replace your Google Reader, we want to hear about it at Lister Hill.  Leave us a comment!!

 

Ipad/iphone Apps for Reading the Current Literature

Keeping up with the literature in your field is necessary, but can be time-consuming!

This post is about 3 different, but similar, FREE apps that are designed to make the process much easier. Each has included the UAB proxy server in its options, so you will be able to link to the full text PDFS in a click for many articles that UAB licenses. Which one(s) you use is really a matter of personal preference. The apps are Docwise, Docphin, and Read (by QxMD.) You download them at the iTunes App Store.

All 3 of them feature:

  • An easy-to-use interface.
  • Settings to choose the journals to display whose current issues you want to read.
  • Searches to find a specific article, or articles on a topic (keyword searches.)
  • Once the topic is found, the ability to set alerts and topic updates so all new articles will be identified when published.
  • Can have email updates when new articles meeting your criteria are published.
  • One click sharing through Social Media such as Twitter.
  • The ability to favorite a PDF so you can read it when you are offline or traveling.
  • Easy access to the full text article for most UAB holdings (after you set  automatic log in with your Blazer ID and password.)
  • Please note:  These links work very well for content UAB licenses directly from the publisher, but may not work for content purchased from other vendors and will not work for unlicensed content that is not freely available.
    • The app developers work with the publishers and Lister Hill Library simply provides the proxy settings.  Often it is not clear why full text is not displayed, but the library cannot do anything about it.  We can help you get any articles need, though.  Simply Ask a Librarian.
    • Still, for a great many journals, this process is fast and nearly seamless.

Docwise   Read Review    Read Review

Docwise includes a customizable news feed from sources including CDC, FDA, Forbes, Time,  Washington Post, CNN, Medscape and more.   If you want to be able to scan current medical news in the same app as literature, this is very useful.

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Docwise_journal docwise_topic

Docphin:  Read Review  Read Review

Docphin includes a section on landmark articles, by speciality.  The app covers approximately 250 carefully selected journals. News from feeds chosen by Docphin, and including some Twitter feeds, is aggregated into the Medstream feature.

docphin Medstream Docphin journals

 

Ckick on the images to enlarge them.

Read by QXMD  Read Review   Read Review

Read allows you to choose to follow specialties, journals, collections and keyword searches.  It aggregates and highlights important articles under the “Featured” tab, although it is not clear how these are chosen.

Read_list Read

 

Tell Me a Story… via Social Media

Most people love a good story.  I know  I do.  I first heard of Storify when reading an article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Profhacker blog. Storify is a social media curating tool that makes it easy to gather content from a variety of sources and present it in a narrative.  You can incorporate a mix of links, videos, pictures, social media posts and add commentary as well. You control what elements you want in your story.

I found Storify easy to use. You can use your Twitter or Facebook accounts to log into Storify or create a separate account (you will still have to connect to those accounts to add tweets or FB posts to your story). Storify interfaces with Facebook, YouTube,Twitter, Flickr, Google, Pinterest, RSS Feeds and more, which means you can search them to add content to your story.  Once you identify the content you want to include, you drag and drop it into your story.  With a click you can add commentary if you wish. It’s that simple. Once you publish your story it can be shared via the publicize feature. You can also embed a story into a web site or blog.

Here’s a quick video that demonstrates the basics.

Storify is free, but it does offer a “business” package with additional features, such as private stories, SEO optimization, custom embedding and more. Storify also has a free iPad App and a Chrome extension.

What is good for?

Many news organizations like to live blog developing events and public reaction to them. Here’s an example from CNN:

Filibuster in Texas

Some people like to record insightful tweets from professional conferences, whether it’s the entire conference or an individual session.  Example:

Highlights of #altmetrics: May 2013

No doubt there are other creative uses of Storify.  Perhaps you work in public health and want to gauge what people are saying about vaccines on social media for a pitch for funding for a public service campaign.  Or maybe you work in marketing at XYZ company and want to capture what people are saying about the company for a presentation.  Or perhaps your teenage daughter is a big fan of a musician and she wants to capture the live twitter chat he had with his fans for her Live Journal.

Can you think of some practical applications for Storify?  Let me know in comments.

 

 

Sex & Gender in Human Health

We all think about sex but how often do we think about it from an academic point of view?  How much do we know about the science and biological basis for sex/gender differences?  Do we know how these differences affect health and behavior? As students, educators, researchers, clinicians, and healthcare providers we need to understand the impact these differences have.

Get a refresher on this important information in The Science of Sex and Gender in Human Health online curriculum.

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This free online series is a collaborative project presented by the Office of Research on Women’s Health, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health; The Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Lister Hill Library received funding from the National Library of Medicine to promote Women’s Health Resources and The Science of Sex and Gender in Human Health.

The first course, The Basic Science and the Biological Basis for Sex- and Gender-Related Differences, includes the following six lessons:

  1. Understanding the Importance of Sex and Gender in Biomedical Research
  2. Legislative Process Framework
  3. Cell Physiology
  4. Developmental Biology
  5. Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics
  6. Clinical Applications of Genomics

The lessons of the second course, Sex and Gender Differences in Health and Behavior, include:

  1. Clinical Research Methodology
  2. Endocrine Effects on Immunity
  3. Drug Therapeutics during Pregnancy
  4. Understanding the Importance of Sex and Gender in Mental Health
  5. Autoimmunity, Autoimmune Disease, and Sex Bias
  6. Sex and Gender Differences in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Each lesson can be completed in less than an hour and includes a quiz at the end to test your comprehension.  After completing each course, you are eligible for a Certificate of Completion and CME credit for physicians.

Find more information on Women’s Health Resources by visiting the LHL Guide on Women’s Health developed by SoPH Intern, Niki Agho.

WHRGUide

Saving Money with Ibotta

I love saving money especially when it’s effortless. I’m one of those people that could be a “rockstar extreme-mega couponer” if it wasn’t for that whole organization and planning thing. My current favorite tool to solve my money saving problem is Ibotta.

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I’ve been using this app for a while and I really enjoy the simplicity of it. Ibotta is basically a digital coupon but instead of being redeemed at your point of purchase the money is compiled in your account to be transferred out at your convenience. Ibotta will notify you when new products with cash back are available. Just scroll thru a list of products and select something you will purchase then you are asked to read a fact, watch a short video or complete a one question survey. It’s not as annoying as it sounds and takes less than 30 seconds until the savings amount is reserved for you.

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After the purchase of your product is complete from a participating store, redeem your product by scanning the barcode and upload of your receipt. Once the purchase is confirmed, the money is moved to your account. After you have at least $5.00 you are able to transfer the amount out to your PayPal. So far there doesn’t seem to be any security issues with this app but always read what you are agreeing to before downloading https://ibotta.com/docs/privacy.  If you want to save money the lazy way without clipping coupons Ibotta is the best bet.

Trello

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If you’re anything like me with a hectic schedule, you’re constantly trying to find a way to keep organized and manage your physical, mental and creative space. You may use it to collaborate with team members on projects and track the stages of said project. I have good news for you; with Trello you can do just that and more.

If you’ve ever had to manage any sort of project or just try to accomplish all your personal to-do items, you know how hard it is to figure out how to track everything in a simple way, find a balanced way to prioritize all the things you have to do, and actually get them done.

Trello is awesome way to make this easier. It takes two basic steps:

First, sort your personal to-do’s into three spaces: physical, mental, and creative.

Second, use Trello.

What exactly is Trello you ask?

Trello is a free web application that you can use to track pretty much anything you want. Just go to www.trello.com and register/log in using your email address.
trello_signup

So give Trello by first:

Sorting your personal to-do items (3 spaces) physical, mental & creative.

Trello’s three main building blocks are cards, lists, and boards. Cards are things you’re working on, lists are collections of cards, and boards are collections of lists. You can put all kinds of things on the back of cards: comments, color-coded labels, checklists, file attachments, due dates, voting, and more.

One of the greatest things about this flexible (easy to use) is that you can access it on pretty much any device you choose including your pc, laptop, tablet or even smart phone. It also works with

trello_operating

Sorting your personal to-do items (3 spaces) physical, mental & creative.

Other than the 3 categories mentioned above there is also a “to-do list” as well as a “doing/waiting list” and finally the “done list”. Keep in mind you have the flexibility to edit or rename or add or delete any list as you see fit. Each item may be dragged and dropped appropriately. A great tool to use and also an alternative to the ever so popular Evernote!