Category Archives for Conferences
Slides for a presentation I gave to the e-Health 2012: Innovations in Health e-Care conference in Vancouver, BC.
This presentation uses the social media guideline document that the eHealth Strategy Office has been developing over the early part of this year as a case example for talking about uptake of social media in health care organizations. I also framed some general strategies of social media adoption using two different change management frameworks.
The work is ongoing, and we’re currently exploring ways to build our guidelines into the governance of UBC and its Faculty of Medicine.
Haven’t blogged in a long while, but after attending Northern Voice, I got the expected kick in the pants from many of the attendees there. The enthusiasm is infectious, but more than that, it’s just a great reminder that blogging demonstrates first-hand the power of the web. So, no excuses for my lapse, but this is just what adults who care about the web do: we blog.
So I had the pleasure of sitting in on a discussion on web literacy that took place during the unconferenc-y first afternoon of #nv12. (Here’s a good breakdown from Boris who had the idea for the conversation.) It’s interesting for me to come to a discussion like this one with my background in libraries and in health, because I think though my personal level of “literacy” on the web as we talked about it is high, my perception of an average web users’ skill set is different. Maybe it’s pessimistic, maybe not. But, my sense is this:
To me, web literacy should be about establishing an understanding of how the web works practically. I’m not saying we shouldn’t value understanding how the web works technically, but I am saying most people aren’t interested in that right away when they sign up. What they’re interested in is getting some pictures on Facebook and Instagram. They want to reblog someone’s Tumblr post, they want to grab that infographic and Pin it. Before we can talk about HTML, before we can talk about DNS and hosting, we need to acknowledge that, like it or not, much of the creation and consumption happening on the web right now is mediated by large platforms like these.
So I don’t entirely agree with Boris when he says “I don’t think posting photos to Facebook or using an app to post to Twitter qualifies as putting your own content online.” To me there is nothing fundamentally different between a Facebook status and a blog post. Value judegments aside, at the core, those acts are all the creation of a cultural artifact on a web platform.
My perspective in health comes in here, because there’s a correlary between my perspective on web literacy I’ve just outlined, and how I think about health care on the web now, too. People are looking for information and to connect with others by any means necessary — if they do it on Facebook, or Patients Like Me, or on another health-oriented web community doesn’t really matter (to them). What matters is the connections they can make and their newfound ability to share.
So I believe it’s important that we start helping people to understand what it means to share their information on platforms where they don’t own the content, so that they can make informed decisions about what they choose to share there. I don’t believe people will stop using Facebook or things like it. I do, however, want people to feel empowered to participate on those platforms with an understanding of how much control over their contributions they can reasonably expect; to continue sharing with an explicit acknowledgement that they are freely giving up some ownership of their content in order to gain access to the advantages of the network.
If, after that, they end up (like we hope they do) making the decision to own their content then all the better, and let’s help with that. But in my view, we’ve got a very consumption-heavy web right now, and we have to tackle the implications of making your web content OPP first, and help transition people into owning their content second.
For the upcoming Canadian Health Libraries Association 2011 conference, a group of health librarians including myself are putting together a poster that traces the career paths of five qualified health librarians who all work outside of a traditional library settings. The goal of this reflection is to explore what brought us to our current positions, how the field of health librarianship is evolving, and how library and information studies Master’s programs can better prepare their students for careers that may not take place in “a library” but still call for the information professional’s skill set of searching, synthesis, instruction, and information fluency.
Because we are each tracing our own development, we wanted a theoretical frame to guide the analysis and a way to interpret one another’s responses. Additionally, we needed to account for the fact that we are all trained as librarians, but do not currently work “in libraries.” So to underpin the interview questions that we designed, we used the Chaos Theory of Career Development, which accounts for the inevitability of attractors and chance events in one’s career decision making.
The next steps include analyzing all of our responses for thematic elements, and collating those onto a poster for dicussion. The idea of a career paths got me thinking of visualizing each respondent in a color, like the subway map above. This is just one idea of how to present this visually, and I’m hoping for some more inspiration as the process goes on.
As a teaser, I’ll include one of my responses below (though you can always ask for more). I haven’t asked the others yet, but I’m hoping some of my co-presenters will agree to share some of their responses as well.
1. Describe how you came to have your current position: How did you find out about it? How and why did you obtain or create the position? How (if at all) has it evolved over the time?
I heard through a personal connection that my current position was open, and as luck would have it my immigration documents had come through after graduation and I was able to apply. I was selected for the the position through a combination of traditional librarianship skills–information retrieval, needs assessment, research synthesis, teaching–and some unique skills that I brought by either personal interest or chance–knowledge and experience with social media being foremost among them.
My position is quite flexible, and it evolves with the project load of the office as well as accommodations for personal and professional interests. Currently I work on a lot of web strategy because that is where there is a need in both practical office knowledge translation efforts as well as in research design. But I have the sense that my responsibilities will continue to shift as my skills as a librarian are taken full advantage of by my colleagues, as funding priorities ebb and flow in eHealth, and as our existing projects continue to follow their natural life cycles.
I was all set this week to write a post about all the cool new toys coming out to track your health at the Consumer Electronics Show. For the uninitiated, CES is a massive trade show where companies set up demos in a huge Vegas convention hall, and all you can read on the tech blogs all week is about gadgets that have just arrived, and will soon be on the market, ready to change your life. Of course, most of these new products never do see the light of day, and what you get is a lot of hype for products that, by and large, you never hear about again.
And I never thought the health market had a niche there, but they do. My hunch is that health technologies probably didn’t have much presence at CES until the iPhone came along, because CES is so heavily gadget-focused. But whatever the case is, health gadgets are all the rage there now. For instance, there’s the
- iPhone ECG: “The AliveCor iPhonECG is a slim case that fits over a smart phone. Low-power electrodes on the case are pressed against the fingers or chest of a person to display electrical activity of the heart.”
- iPhone Blood Pressure Cuff: Actually, there’s another one of these, and they both debuted at CES.
- Then of course, there’s the CES announcement that a fingertip pulse oximeter will integrate with Microsoft Health Vault in coming months. You can pick one up for the low-low price of $265 USD.
There’s more where that came from. But back to my point: does any of this hype matter? Should we really be spending our time and energy worrying about the newest gadgets on one week of the year?
The only reason why I’m even bothering to ask (assuming the answer is usually, “Sure, why not?) is because I read a really nice column by Farhad Manjoo entitled “The most worthless week in tech.” Observe:
In private, gadget reporters will tell you that covering the show is a tremendous hassle and rarely yields any interesting news. But because CES demos make for great headlines and visuals—hey look, Steve Ballmer unveiled a tablet PC even before Apple did!—and because of the sheer volume of new stuff to post about, CES is a boon for gadget blog traffic and a honeypot for advertisers…
So, why is CES so dependably dreary? It’s the curse of that old Yogi Berra joke—nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded. If you’re a big tech company with something truly great to push, you’d be foolish to tell the world at CES.
He goes on to argue that CES is just fodder for “bogus hype” and that the things that truly matter take place at other times of the year. In fact, thanks to the web, they can take place whenever you want. If what you have is going to change tech or health care, it doesn’t matter if you announce it from a press conference in Vegas or on your blog from your basement. If it’s great, it’s great. If it’s not, well, just because you have live audience can’t change that.
Being a somewhat gadget-loving guy myself, reading that article in the middle of the week last week kinda put a damper on things for me, so I thought I’d save it just in case, to give you one last hoorah with CES and all the glitz and glam. And now that it’s over, this year, I’ll be paying attention all year long. Looking not just for the latest gadget to take my blood pressure, but something that has some potential to make my life and yours truly better.
This year at the annual conference of the Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA/ABSC), a poster was presented that showcased the results of a survey given to Canadian libraries about their favorite Canadian consumer health websites. Finding specifically Canadian content in consumer health is difficult, due often to the supremacy of MedlinePlus. Without the support of a National Library of Medicine, however, Canadian librarians often have to find ways to supplement American consumer health information with the recommendations of Canadian physicians and health professionals.
From the announcement sent to the CANMEDLIB list-serv:
There was no clear favourite: the top 3 recommendations tied at 10 votes each. Submitted websites had different focuses. They tended to fall into a few categories such as women, children, disease-specific, and health promotion. We decided to compare the websites in each category and selected the ones that stood out. Because our choices were the best in different subject areas, we felt that we couldn’t rank them as 1, 2, 3. Instead we chose to list them alphabetically.
Bravo to the Consumer Health Information Providers’ Interest Group of CHLA! Thank you for delivering the results of these needed recommendations. The full poster is available on their website.
Here is the list:
- AboutKids Health: http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/
- Canada Safety Council: http://safety-council.org/
- Canadian Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.ca/
- Caring for Kids: http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/
- Dietitians of Canada: http://www.dietitians.ca/
- Heart and Stroke Foundation: http://www.heartandstroke.ca/
- Here to help: http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/
- PasseportSanté: http://www.passeportsante.net/
- Sexualityandu.ca: http://www.sexualityandu.ca/
- Women’s Health Matters: http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca/
For more on Canadian consumer health info, please visit the HLWIKI Canada’s Consumer Health Portal.