- Introduction: A Top-Level Look at the Future of Federal Medicine
- Military Health System in Time of Transition as Conflicts End
- Army Medicine: Redefining Its Role in the Generation of a Ready and Resilient Force
- Air Force Medicine: Averting an Identity Crisis
- Moving Forward with Reforming the Indian Health Service
- The Clinical Pharmacy Specialist's Growing Provider Role in VA
- Public Health Service Pharmacy: Accelerating Transformation
- Military Pain Management’s Future: Less Invasive, More Data-Driven Techniques
- Navy Medicine: Strong, Agile and Ready
- Telemental Health in VA: A New Source of Support for Veterans
NLM Going Strong After 175 Years of Service
- Categorized in: This Year in Federal Medicine - Outlook 2012
The National Library of Medicine, now part of the National Institutes of Health, celebrated 175 years of public service and information innovation in 2011. I appreciate this opportunity to look ahead to 2012 and beyond. As the world’s largest biomedical library, NLM:
- Produces authoritative electronic information sources such as PubMed, MedlinePlus and GenBank, which are searched billions of times by millions of people each year;
- Coordinates a 6,000-member National Network of Libraries of Medicine to promote and provide access to health information in communities across the United States; and
- Supports and conducts research, development and training in biomedical informatics and health information technology.
Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg, NLM Director
Through its advanced information systems, informatics research and training, as well as extensive partnerships, NLM plays a pivotal role in catalyzing and supporting the translation of basic science into new treatments, improved practice, useful decision support for health professionals and patients, and effective disaster and emergency preparedness and response.
NLM’s information systems disseminate an enormous range of information. This includes genetic, genomic, chemical, toxicology and clinical trials data; images; published and unpublished research results; decision-support resources; standards for scientific and health data and publications; informatics tools for system developers; and high quality health information for the public.
The National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, celebrated its 175th year of service in 2011.
Scientists, health professionals and members of the public search or download much of this information directly from an NLM Web site, find it via an Internet search engine or use an externally developed “app” that provides value-added access to NLM data. Commercial and nonprofit system developers regularly use the applications programming interfaces (APIs) that NLM provides to promote innovation and facilitate use of its high-quality information in products and services produced by others.
As the use of electronic health records expands, new opportunities are emerging to link patient data to NLM’s large and rapidly expanding stores of electronic scientific data, research results and high-quality health information in ways that can increase understanding of disease onset and progression, identify new therapeutic avenues and speed the translation of such discoveries into improved health and healthcare.
2012 is likely to bring continuing budget challenges for NLM, as it will for so many individuals and organizations in the United States. Nonetheless, I see significant opportunity for continued expansion and refinement of NLM’s current information services, for improved access to these services in underserved communities and for support for research, development and education that will help to take advantage of new opportunities to advance biomedical research, healthcare and the public’s health. Here are some of the major themes that NLM will focus on in 2012.
Delivering Reliable, High-Quality Biomedical and Health Information Services
At the core of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) are the world's largest, continually expanding collection of biomedical literature and a broad array of authoritative databases for health professionals, scientists, the public and the librarians and information specialists who serve them.
In 2012, we will again see significant increases in the information available in existing NLM databases, such as PubMed/MEDLINE, which grew by more than 725,000 indexed citations in 2011; PubMed Central, which now provides public access to more than 2.3 million research articles, including those produced by NIH-funded researchers; and ClinicalTrials.gov, the world’s largest clinical trials database, which now also includes summary results data for many trials. NLM also expects to release new information sources in 2012, including an expanded one-stop shop for high-quality, systematic reviews of clinical effectiveness, a new Genetic Testing Registry and a database of clinical significant human genetic variants.
If 2012 is anything like previous years, NLM will deploy or develop specialized information services designed to assist those responding to natural or man-made disasters and emergencies, as it has done for the Gulf Oil Spill, earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and floods in Pakistan. In 2011, the Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) tool, previously developed by NLM in cooperation with the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and other HHS agencies, was used in Japan following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear-reactor disaster. A new Chemical Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM) tool is available to help physicians and other health professionals deal with patients exposed to toxic chemicals.
NLM will continue to exploit the power of social media to reach new audiences that can benefit from high-quality, understandable health information. NLM’s 13 Twitter feeds, including @medlineplus and a Spanish-language version (@medlineplusesp), which are companions to its popular and respected consumer health website, six Facebook pages and new YouTube channel are a testament to the library’s wide range of content and diverse audiences. NLM also produces a range of mobile applications and mobile-friendly versions of its premier Web services.