bims-librar Biomed News
on Biomedical librarianship
Issue of 2021‒12‒26
fifteen papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society

  1. Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Dec 16. pii: 1740. [Epub ahead of print]9(12):
      The last five years have seen a leap in the development of information technology and social media. Seeking health information online has become popular. It has been widely accepted that online health information seeking behavior has a positive impact on health information consumers. Due to its importance, online health information seeking behavior has been investigated from different aspects. However, there is lacking a systematic review that can integrate the findings of the most recent research work in online health information seeking, and provide guidance to governments, health organizations, and social media platforms on how to support and promote this seeking behavior, and improve the services of online health information access and provision. We therefore conduct this systematic review. The Google Scholar database was searched for existing research on online health information seeking behavior between 2016 and 2021 to obtain the most recent findings. Within the 97 papers searched, 20 met our inclusion criteria. Through a systematic review, this paper identifies general behavioral patterns, and influencing factors such as age, gender, income, employment status, literacy (or education) level, country of origin and places of residence, and caregiving role. Facilitators (i.e., the existence of online communities, the privacy feature, real-time interaction, and archived health information format), and barriers (i.e., low health literacy, limited accessibility and information retrieval skills, low reliable, deficient and elusive health information, platform censorship, and lack of misinformation checks) to online health information seeking behavior are also discovered.
    Keywords:  health information consumers; online HISB; online health information seeking behavior; social
  2. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Dec 16. pii: 13250. [Epub ahead of print]18(24):
      As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the world, the amount of health-related information available has skyrocketed. Individuals can easily access health information through the internet, which may influence their thoughts or behavior, causing potential technological risks that may affect their lives. This study examined the online health information-seeking behavior of undergraduate students. Taking health issues as a guiding framework, content analysis was adopted to assess participants' online health information-seeking behavior using a computer screen recording software, and coding analysis was conducted. The study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic with a formal sample of 101 participants. In terms of online health information-seeking behavior, 59% of the study participants used nouns as keywords, only 27% used Boolean logic retrieval techniques, 81% paid attention to the date of the data, and 85% did not consider the author's professionalism. The results indicate that health information-seeking behavior and outcome judgments may be a missing piece of the puzzle in higher education. Consequently, the development of online health information-seeking skills through programs for undergraduate students is suggested to ensure that online readers have access to appropriate health information.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; health information; information-seeking behavior; online health information; undergraduate students
  3. Aust N Z J Public Health. 2021 Dec 23.
      OBJECTIVE: To measure the accessibility of Australian web-based health information for midlife women including those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds or with low health literacy.METHODS: Search terms relating to midlife health were entered into Google Australia to identify health information websites. The content of the first two results pages was assessed using the European Commission's quality criteria for health websites. Readability was assessed using the Flesch Readability Ease Score with Grade 8 accepted as the average Australian reading level.
    RESULTS: Sixteen websites were evaluated. Accessibility scores ranged between 0 and 8. The Victorian Government's health website Better Health Channel and the Jean Hailes for Women's Health website contained the most accessible information, each scoring 8, but were both 'difficult to read' on the readability test. Four websites included written resources in languages other than English and two had information in audio-visual format in languages other than English.
    CONCLUSIONS: There is a gap in accessible online health information for Australian women from CALD backgrounds or those with low health literacy. Implications for public health: Healthy behaviour changes in midlife may lead to better health in older age. More accessible health information resources are needed for women in midlife from CALD backgrounds and those with low health literacy.
    Keywords:  accessibility; culturally and linguistically diverse women; health literacy; internet and health websites; midlife health information
  4. Integr Cancer Ther. 2021 Jan-Dec;20:20 15347354211066081
      BACKGROUND: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is often used by cancer patients and survivors in the US. Many people turn to the internet as their first source of information. Health information seeking through the internet can be useful for patients to gain a better understanding of specific CAM treatments to discuss with their healthcare team, but only if the information is comprehensive, high quality, and reliable. The aim of this article is to examine the content, writing/vetting processes, and visibility of cancer CAM online informational resources.METHODS: Online CAM resources were identified by Google and PubMed searches, literature reviews, and through sources listed on various websites. The websites were analyzed through a modified online health information evaluation tool, DISCERN (score range = 1-5). The website's features relevant to the quality assessment were described.
    RESULTS: Eleven CAM websites were chosen for analysis. The DISCERN analysis showed a range of quality scores from 3.6 to 4.9. Lower DISCERN scores were generally due to deficiencies in describing the writing, editing, and updating processes. A lack of transparency with authorship and references was commonly present.
    CONCLUSION: Cancer patients interested in CAM need unbiased, evidence-based, reliable, high-quality, easily accessible educational materials. Individuals should use the guidelines followed in this analysis (including DISCERN and Medline Plus) to find reliable sources. Website developers can use CAM Cancer (NAFKAM), Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and as models for trustworthy content.
    Keywords:  alternative therapies; complementary therapies; consumer health information; internet; quality assessment; quality assurance
  5. J Med Internet Res. 2021 Dec 20. 23(12): e28318
      BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has become one of the most critical public health problems worldwide. Because many COPD patients are using video-based social media to search for health information, there is an urgent need to assess the information quality of COPD videos on social media. Recently, the short-video app TikTok has demonstrated huge potential in disseminating health information and there are currently many COPD videos available on TikTok; however, the information quality of these videos remains unknown.OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the information quality of COPD videos on TikTok.
    METHODS: In December 2020, we retrieved and screened 300 videos from TikTok and collected a sample of 199 COPD-related videos in Chinese for data extraction. We extracted the basic video information, coded the content, and identified the video sources. Two independent raters assessed the information quality of each video using the DISCERN instrument.
    RESULTS: COPD videos on TikTok came mainly from two types of sources: individual users (n=168) and organizational users (n=31). The individual users included health professionals, individual science communicators, and general TikTok users, whereas the organizational users consisted of for-profit organizations, nonprofit organizations, and news agencies. For the 199 videos, the mean scores of the DISCERN items ranged from 3.42 to 4.46, with a total mean score of 3.75. Publication reliability (P=.04) and overall quality (P=.02) showed significant differences across the six types of sources, whereas the quality of treatment choices showed only a marginally significant difference (P=.053) across the different sources.
    CONCLUSIONS: The overall information quality of COPD videos on TikTok is satisfactory, although the quality varies across different sources and according to specific quality dimensions. Patients should be selective and cautious when watching COPD videos on TikTok.
    Keywords:  COPD; TikTok; information quality; short-video apps; social media
  6. J Med Internet Res. 2021 Dec 21. 23(12): e27750
      BACKGROUND: Health care organizations are tasked with providing web-based health resources and information. Usability refers to the ease of user experience on a website. In this study, we conducted a usability analysis of academic medical centers in the United States, which, to the best of our knowledge, has not been previously carried out.OBJECTIVE: The primary aims of the study were to the following: (1) adapt a preexisting usability scoring methodology to academic medical centers; (2) apply and test this methodology on a sample set of academic medical center websites; and (3) make recommendations from these results on potential areas of improvements for our sample of academic medical center websites.
    METHODS: All website usability testing took place from June 1, 2020, to December 15, 2020. We replicated a methodology developed in previous literature and applied it to academic medical centers. Our sample included 73 US academic medical centers. Usability was split into four broad categories: accessibility (the ability of those with low levels of computer literacy to access and navigate the hospital's website); marketing (the ability of websites to be found through search engines and the relevance of descriptions to the links provided); content quality (grammar, frequency of information updates, material relevancy, and readability); and technology (download speed, quality of the programming code, and website infrastructure). Using these tools, we scored each website in each category. The composite of key factors in each category contributed to an overall "general usability" score for each website. An overall score was then calculated by applying a weighted percentage across all factors and was used for the final "overall usability" ranking.
    RESULTS: The category with the highest average score was technology, with a 0.82 (SD 0.068, SE 0.008). The lowest-performing category was content quality, with an average of 0.22 (SD 0.069, SE 0.008). As these numbers reflect weighted percentages as an integer, the higher the score, the greater the overall usability in that category.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that technology, on average, was the highest-scored variable among academic medical center websites. Because website functionality is essential to a user's experience, it is justified that academic medical centers invest in optimal website performance. The overall lowest-scored variable was content quality. A potential reason for this may be that academic medical center websites are usually larger in size, making it difficult to monitor the increased quantity of content. An easy way to improve this variable is to conduct more frequent website audits to assess readability, grammar, and relevance. Marketing is another area in which these organizations have potential for improvement. Our recommendation is that organizations utilize search engine optimization techniques to improve their online visibility and discoverability.
    Keywords:  academic medical center; digital health; health care website; usability testing; web crawler; website usability
  7. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Dec 14. pii: 13198. [Epub ahead of print]18(24):
      Although several theories posit that information seeking is related to better psychological health, this logic may not apply to a pandemic like COVID-19. Given uncertainty inherent to the novel virus, we expect that information seeking about COVID-19 will be positively associated with emotional distress. Additionally, we consider the type of news media from which individuals receive information-television, newspapers, and social media-when examining relationships with emotional distress. Using a U.S. national survey, we examine: (1) the link between information seeking about COVID-19 and emotional distress, (2) the relationship between reliance on television, newspapers, and social media as sources for news and emotional distress, and (3) the interaction between information seeking and use of these news media sources on emotional distress. Our findings show that seeking information about COVID-19 was significantly related to emotional distress. Moreover, even after accounting for COVID-19 information seeking, consuming news via television and social media was tied to increased distress, whereas consuming newspapers was not significantly related to greater distress. Emotional distress was most pronounced among individuals high in information seeking and television news use, whereas the association between information seeking and emotional distress was not moderated by newspapers or social media news use.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; emotional distress; information seeking; social media news use; television news use
  8. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2021 Dec 21.
      BACKGROUND: Online resources are a fundamental source of healthcare information due to the increasing popularity of the internet. Ensuring accuracy and reliability of websites is crucial to improving patient education and enhancing patient outcomes. Inguinal hernia repair is the most commonly performed general surgical procedure worldwide. This study analyses the quality of online patient information about inguinal hernia repair using the Modified Ensuring Quality Information for Patients (EQIP) tool.METHODS: A systematic review of online information on inguinal hernia repair was conducted using four search terms: 'inguinal hernia', 'groin hernia', 'inguinal hernia repair' and 'inguinoscrotal hernia'. The top 100 websites for each term identified using Google were assessed using the modified EQIP tool (score 0-36). Websites for the paediatric population or intended for medical professional use were excluded from analysis.
    FINDINGS: A total of 142 websites were eligible for analysis, 52.8% originating from the UK. The median EQIP score for all websites was 17/36 (interquartile range 14-21). The median EQIP scores for content, identification and structure were 8/18, 2/8 and 8/12, respectively. Complications of inguinal hernia repair were included in 46.5% of websites, with only 9.2% providing complication rates and 14.1% providing information on how complications are handled.
    CONCLUSION: This study highlights that the current quality of online patient information on inguinal hernia repair is poor, with minimal information available on complications, hindering patients' ability to make informed decisions regarding their healthcare. To improve patient education, there is an immediate need for improved quality online resources to meet international standards.
    Keywords:  EQIP; Inguinal hernia repair; Modified Ensuring Quality Information for Patients; Patient information
  9. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2021 Dec 18. 21(1): 352
      BACKGROUND: Semantic annotators and Natural Language Processing (NLP) methods for Named Entity Recognition and Linking (NER+L) require plenty of training and test data, especially in the biomedical domain. Despite the abundance of unstructured biomedical data, the lack of richly annotated biomedical datasets poses hindrances to the further development of NER+L algorithms for any effective secondary use. In addition, manual annotation of biomedical documents performed by physicians and experts is a costly and time-consuming task. To support, organize and speed up the annotation process, we introduce MedTAG, a collaborative biomedical annotation tool that is open-source, platform-independent, and free to use/distribute.RESULTS: We present the main features of MedTAG and how it has been employed in the histopathology domain by physicians and experts to annotate more than seven thousand clinical reports manually. We compare MedTAG with a set of well-established biomedical annotation tools, including BioQRator, ezTag, MyMiner, and tagtog, comparing their pros and cons with those of MedTag. We highlight that MedTAG is one of the very few open-source tools provided with an open license and a straightforward installation procedure supporting cross-platform use.
    CONCLUSIONS: MedTAG has been designed according to five requirements (i.e. available, distributable, installable, workable and schematic) defined in a recent extensive review of manual annotation tools. Moreover, MedTAG satisfies 20 over 22 criteria specified in the same study.
    Keywords:  Biomedical annotation tools; Digital health; Entity extraction; eHealth
  10. BMJ Evid Based Med. 2021 Dec 21. pii: bmjebm-2021-111817. [Epub ahead of print]
    Keywords:  evidence-based practice; health services research; information science; methods; patient care
  11. BMJ Evid Based Med. 2021 Dec 21. pii: bmjebm-2021-111850. [Epub ahead of print]
    Keywords:  evidence-based practice; health services research; information science; methods; patient care
  12. Health Info Libr J. 2021 Dec;38(4): 245-247
      This editorial discusses the emergence of visual abstracts within journals to disseminate findings. Published alongside Aggarwal's retrospective study reporting that visual abstracts do not increase impact scores more than conventional abstracts of clinical research, it is suggested that visual abstracts may have a greater impact for smaller, specialty journals.
    Keywords:  information dissemination; publishers and publishing; research impact; social media
  13. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2021 Dec 18. 21(1): 281
      BACKGROUND: Clinical trial registries can be used as sources of clinical evidence for systematic review synthesis and updating. Our aim was to evaluate methods for identifying clinical trial registrations that should be screened for inclusion in updates of published systematic reviews.METHODS: A set of 4644 clinical trial registrations ( included in 1089 systematic reviews (PubMed) were used to evaluate two methods (document similarity and hierarchical clustering) and representations (L2-normalised TF-IDF, Latent Dirichlet Allocation, and Doc2Vec) for ranking 163,501 completed clinical trials by relevance. Clinical trial registrations were ranked for each systematic review using seeding clinical trials, simulating how new relevant clinical trials could be automatically identified for an update. Performance was measured by the number of clinical trials that need to be screened to identify all relevant clinical trials.
    RESULTS: Using the document similarity method with TF-IDF feature representation and Euclidean distance metric, all relevant clinical trials for half of the systematic reviews were identified after screening 99 trials (IQR 19 to 491). The best-performing hierarchical clustering was using Ward agglomerative clustering (with TF-IDF representation and Euclidean distance) and needed to screen 501 clinical trials (IQR 43 to 4363) to achieve the same result.
    CONCLUSION: An evaluation using a large set of mined links between published systematic reviews and clinical trial registrations showed that document similarity outperformed hierarchical clustering for identifying relevant clinical trials to include in systematic review updates.
    Keywords:  Document similarity; Hierarchical clustering; Systematic reviews; Trial registrations
  14. JAMIA Open. 2021 Oct;4(4): ooab104
      The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an unprecedented production of scientific literature spanning several fields. To facilitate navigation of the scientific literature related to various aspects of the pandemic, we developed an exploratory search system. The system is based on automatically identified technical terms, document citations, and their visualization, accelerating identification of relevant documents. It offers a multi-view interactive search and navigation interface, bringing together unsupervised approaches of term extraction and citation analysis. We conducted a user evaluation with domain experts, including epidemiologists, biochemists, medicinal chemists, and medicine students. In general, most users were satisfied with the relevance and speed of the search results. More interestingly, participants mostly agreed on the capacity of the system to enable exploration and discovery of the search space using the graph visualization and filters. The system is updated on a weekly basis and it is publicly available at
    Keywords:  citation network; exploratory search systems; term extraction
  15. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2021 Dec 20. 21(1): 285
      BACKGROUND: Systematic reviews are the cornerstone of evidence-based medicine. However, systematic reviews are time consuming and there is growing demand to produce evidence more quickly, while maintaining robust methods. In recent years, artificial intelligence and active-machine learning (AML) have been implemented into several SR software applications. As some of the barriers to adoption of new technologies are the challenges in set-up and how best to use these technologies, we have provided different situations and considerations for knowledge synthesis teams to consider when using artificial intelligence and AML for title and abstract screening.METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated the implementation and performance of AML across a set of ten historically completed systematic reviews. Based upon the findings from this work and in consideration of the barriers we have encountered and navigated during the past 24 months in using these tools prospectively in our research, we discussed and developed a series of practical recommendations for research teams to consider in seeking to implement AML tools for citation screening into their workflow.
    RESULTS: We developed a seven-step framework and provide guidance for when and how to integrate artificial intelligence and AML into the title and abstract screening process. Steps include: (1) Consulting with Knowledge user/Expert Panel; (2) Developing the search strategy; (3) Preparing your review team; (4) Preparing your database; (5) Building the initial training set; (6) Ongoing screening; and (7) Truncating screening. During Step 6 and/or 7, you may also choose to optimize your team, by shifting some members to other review stages (e.g., full-text screening, data extraction).
    CONCLUSION: Artificial intelligence and, more specifically, AML are well-developed tools for title and abstract screening and can be integrated into the screening process in several ways. Regardless of the method chosen, transparent reporting of these methods is critical for future studies evaluating artificial intelligence and AML.
    Keywords:  Active machine-learning; Artificial intelligence; Best practice guidance; Knowledge Synthesis; Prioritization; Title and abstract screening