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The 12th Annual Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics (SINI) was held this past July 24-27 in Baltimore, MD. Hosted by the School of Nursing of University of Maryland at Baltimore, the institute attracted all levels of nursing informatics persons, from beginners to experts. It was a time of learning, connection, and refreshment for all.


More than 300 people from all areas of the United States, including Alaska, attended varied and interesting oral, paper, and poster presentations about informatics. The diversity of content helped to support this year's theme: Informatics at the Crossroads: Transforming Healthcare. Sessions were coded in the brochure to help attendees determine which were appropriate for their informatics level experience (ie, beginner, novice, or expert). Many of the presentations were also Web cast to reach those who were unable to attend.


The support staff was excellent, professionally and cordially assisting speakers and attendees to resolve any troubles. IDX, Eclipsys, and Siemens were among the vendors present. Virginia Saba, Kathleen McCormick, and other leaders in the field spoke on a variety of topics ranging from bioinformatics to vocabularies.


The institute offered more than just speakers, papers, and posters. A preconference session on project management and a postconference session of the ever-popular Weekend Immersion in Nursing Informatics (WINI) were available, and both were well received and attended.


The institute addressed its thematic focus through nursing informatics (NI) and NI perspectives; healthcare transformation via information technology; standards efforts; information systems selection, implementation, and evaluation; and NI processes. On the first day, July 25, the plenary speaker, Nancy Lorenzi, PhD, gave an interesting talk about informatics as a strategy for transformation. The day ended with a wonderful social networking dinner held at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, sponsored by Siemens.


Guest speakers were on hand for the first full conference day, July 26. The first session I attended was Nancy Staggers' well-received informative talk on human-computer interaction, also Web cast from the main auditorium. The next session featured Peter Murray, who spoke on e-learning and online communities in a thoughtful and interesting presentation.


Many excellent presentations of peer-reviewed papers were offered on July 27. SINI encouraged attendees to move between sessions and target their own interests, so I was able to take in a variety of topics ranging from electronic advance directives to physical assessment and personal digital assistants (PDAs). I found each topic well done and enlightening and was encouraged that the future of nursing informatics is in good hands. The last day, July 28, consisted of guest speakers and the conference close. Topics offered included clinical quality, genomics, computer information systems evaluation, informatics, and even the terrorist attacks of September 2001.


This year's annual SINI conference was a success. Attendees had numerous opportunities to hear guest speakers as well as colleagues present on a variety of NI topics. The weather was wonderful, the sessions informative, and the social networking outstanding-and next year's SINI conference promises to be even better!


Contributed by Scott Erdley, DNS, RN



Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, College of Nursing, Center for Professional Development, held its 20th conference on July 12-14, 2002, in lower Manhattan at the New York Marriott Financial Center Hotel. The theme of this year's conference was "Using Evolving Technologies to Meet Healthcare Challenges." The subtheme in the conference booklet was "celebrating 20 years of computer technology and the rebirth of lower Manhattan." This was especially poignant because the conference venue was only a few blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center.


The purpose of the 3-day conference was to provide participants with information and demonstrations on how computers and technology are currently used in healthcare delivery and education. Participants came from throughout the United States and from around the globe. The keynote addresses delivered on Friday included Gilberto Cardona, MD, Regional Health Administrator of the US Public Health Service, whose topic was "Lessons Learned from 9/11," and Janet Kelly, MA, RN whose topic was "9/11-The NYU/Mount Sinai Informatics Experience." These presentations were followed by the "Welcome to New York" reception with the opening of vendor exhibits.


Saturday's program included a continuation of the vendor exhibits in addition to simultaneous sessions, with the day's keynote address delivered by Diane Skiba, PhD, FAAN, whose presentation was titled "Celebrating 20 years of Technology: From Mainframes to Nano-technology." The day culminated in the networking dinner, in which participants enjoyed a twilight dinner cruise around lower Manhattan.


The program for Sunday commenced with roundtable breakfast discussions on various topics, such as grant funding and international resources, followed by the daylong poster session. The keynote speaker was Barbara Frink, PhD, RN, FAAN, who presented "Bioterrorism: Detection Through Computerization." Simultaneous sessions followed throughout the remainder of the day with the endnote presentation by Suzanne Bakken, DNSc, RN, FAAN, whose topic was "Promoting Patient Safety and Enabling Evidence-based Practice Through Informatics." The final conference event was the presentation of the Fifth Annual Recognition Award for Advancement of Computer Technology in Healthcare that was awarded to Dr Bakken.


In addition to the official activities of the conference, participants enjoyed attending Broadway plays and shopping in New York and, of course, many attendees viewed the solemn reminder of the September 11th tragedy at the World Trade Center site and the accompanying memorial "wall."


The 21st annual conference will be held March 2003 in Orlando, FL.


Contributed by Kathleen E. Williams, MSN, RN, BC



Canesta, Inc, has launched a fully integrated projection keyboard for mobile and wireless devices that the company is calling the world's first. By integrating a set of tiny components into mobile products (smartphones, PDAs, tablet personal computers, or cellular phones) that project and receive input from beams of light that create a virtual keyboard on any flat surface and track users' finger movements in 3 dimensions, external input methodologies such as styli or thumb keypads may soon be unnecessary.


The Canesta Keyboard Perception Chipset (an invisible light source, a pattern projector for the keyboard, and a sensor chip) is the first commercial realization of Canesta's electronic perception technology, which permits machines and electronic devices of any nature to "see" by receiving data from interruptions in projected infrared light.


The pattern projector uses an internal laser to project the image of a full-sized keyboard on a nearby flat surface. The keyboard may be the familiar QWERTY English keyboard, or a non-English or even non-Roman character set, or unique keypads, provided to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on a custom basis. The keyboard pattern features wide key spacing to improve typing accuracy, shortcut keys for popular applications, and adjustable brightness levels. The eye-safe projector, approximately 9mm (5/16 inch) square, meets US American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Class 1 Laser safety standards.


The keyboard sensor module serves as the eyes of the Integrated Canesta Keyboard. Semiconductor-based sensors measure the distance from each "pixel" in the sensor to the nearby object that it represents through an integral lens, which performs all filtering and focusing. Finger movements are then translated into conventional serial keyboard data.


This measurement process is so fast that the sensor actually develops moving 3-dimensional images or depth maps at better than 50 frames per second, enabling their use in real-time applications such as projection keyboards. Three-dimensional images dramatically simplify the process of identifying objects and separating them from the background in any scene.


Before now, developing 3-dimensional images or depth maps has required costly prohibitively expensive camera setups and substantial amounts of computing power, limiting use to repetitive assembly tasks, or national security applications, where costs are not an issue.


Canesta's relatively inexpensive chip set integrates keyboard- and mouse-specific processing tasks in the same chip that contains the 3-dimensional image sensor, simplifying the use of the technology in OEM applications.


Electronic perception technology, which enables machines and electronic devices to see and react to their nearby environments, is actively being evaluated by OEMs for security, automotive, military, industrial, medical, gaming, and other applications where "sight enabling" a device can add new levels of functional or convenience.


For more information, visit Canesta's web site at





Predoctoral and postdoctoral positions are now available on the Institutional National Research Service Award, Training in Nursing Effectiveness Research, at The University of Iowa College of Nursing. The award, funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research for 5 years, will prepare graduate nurses to conduct efficacy and effectiveness research on clinical and managerial interventions. Candidates will participate in coursework, research seminars, ongoing faculty research, and national conferences. Candidates will also conduct research and collaborate on writing projects with faculty. The training program builds upon the research strengths of the faculty at Iowa in classification work on interventions and outcomes, upon a strong doctoral program with focus areas in nursing administration, child and family, informatics and aging, and upon a large group of faculty from several disciplines with research skills and background that can support an effectiveness initiative.


Deadline for postdoctoral and predoctoral application is February 1, 2003, for a September 2003 start date. Contact Joanne McCloskey Dochterman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Distinguished Professor in Nursing Co-Director (e-mail: [email protected], phone: 319-335-7120) or Martha Craft-Rosenberg, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor Co-Director (e-mail; Martha-craft@uiowa. edu, phone: 319-335-7087).





In its efforts to promote safe and cost-effective use of medicines, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released the first edition of WHO Model Formulary, presenting comprehensive information on all 325 medicines contained in the WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Recommended use, dosage, adverse effects, contraindications, and warnings of these medicines are included in the formulary.


The new formulary is primarily intended as a model for national governments and institutions to be used as a basis for developing their own national formularies and is seen as particularly relevant for developing countries, where commercial and promotional materials are often the only available source of drug information to health workers, prescribers, and patients. It is available at reduced cost for developing countries. The formulary aims to address that problem and provide a service based solely on scientific evidence.


It is estimated that only two thirds of developing country populations have some form of access to essential medicines. For those countries, pharmaceuticals can represent as much as 40% of the healthcare budget. Because of its considerable effect on the quality of care and the cost of treatment, the selection of essential medicines and their appropriate use constitute the most effective approach to improving equitable access to healthcare.


This principle also applies to industrialized countries, where questions of medical insurance coverage are always important concerns for the public and central to policy debates.


The WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, recently updated to include 12 essential antiretroviral medicines for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, is compiled to focus pharmaceutical efforts on priority conditions and quality medicines that are the most cost-effective and safe and as affordable as possible. For instance, the majority of medicines contained in the WHO Model List are well-known and well-established pharmaceuticals with generic forms and available from many sources.


To make access to information as wide as possible, the WHO Model Formulary will be available on the Internet at the following address: A CD-ROM version is in preparation.





Systat Software, Inc, has acquired SYSTAT, TableCurve, PeakFit, and AutoSignal products and technologies from SPSS, Inc, and has committed to continued development and support. Systat Software is working to create a user community for feedback about its products and suggestions for feature enhancements.


SYSTAT version 10.2 incorporates several technical enhancements, including Windows 2000/XP support, a command file editor, ridge regression, rank regression, post-hoc tests for repeated measures, N-tiles and percentiles, and basic statistics for cross-tabulations module, and built-in support for Statistical Solutions' BMDP and Microsoft EXcel. Enhancements have been made to the SYSTAT user interface, including:


* Double-click option in Graph editor to edit the graph features.


* Collapse Tree and Expand Tree menu options for the output organizer.


* Menu bar and toolbar shortcuts to the Systat main window from data editor.


* Toolbar shortcut to launch command file editor, FEdit.


* Toolbar shortcut to Data Editor from graph editor.


* Enabling/disabling the BMDP menu from Systat.



To learn more about the product, test drive a trial version, or to join the SYSTAT user community, visit the Systat Software site at





FireLogic, Inc, has introduced the next generation of HealthEngage disease management software, a comprehensive tool for patients to track and manage their conditions from any desktop or handheld computer.


Healthcare organizations can also privately label the software to help their subscribers lead a better quality of life and to perform clinical trials.


Users can collect, graph, and produce reports with one click of the mouse. Symptoms specific to each disorder are included as well as the USDA's database of 6700 foods and the Sports Medicine Association's database of 700 physical activities. Patients can plan meals, choose exercises, and set reminders for appointments and refills. They can also enter their complete laboratory test results, inoculations, and medications, which can be kept as a personal digital health record.


HealthEngage can easily be customized to fit into any existing disease management program for any disorder. Current and upcoming versions include asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, cardio-CHF-hypertension, diet + fitness, cancer, muscular sclerosis, and advanced respiratory management.


The software was developed as a result of company founders' telemedicine work at NASA on the International Space Station and future human missions to Mars.


HealthEngage is available to individual patients, healthcare, and disease management organizations in Windows and MacOS X versions and for Palms and PocketPCs. Professional versions are available with full Internet capability. A free trial version can be downloaded at





The College of American Pathologists (CAP) and Elsevier Science (Mosby, Inc) have executed an agreement on behalf of the Center for Nursing Classification and Clinical Effectiveness at the University of Iowa College of Nursing to integrate concepts from the Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC) and Nursing Outcomes Classification (NOC) into SNOMED Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT). The Center for Nursing Classification and Clinical Effectiveness maintains NIC and NOC, and Elsevier Science, a leading scientific publisher, owns the copyrights of the classifications. NIC encompasses nursing interventions used in all clinical settings and is used at the point of care to document care planning and nursing practice. NOC includes a comprehensive list of nursing outcomes, which provide a measurable way to evaluate nursing interventions. The mapping of these two leading nursing classifications into SNOMED CT, the most comprehensive international and multilingual healthcare terminology available in the world, will improve nurses' access to the tools necessary to consistently and uniformly document nursing treatment and outcomes within electronic health records at the point of care.


"The convergence of the NIC and NOC classifications with SNOMED CT furthers our objective of achieving a common standard for the documentation of nursing interventions and outcomes in computerized records," says Joanne McCloskey Dochterman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Director of the Center for Nursing Classification and Clinical Effectiveness at the College of Nursing, the University of Iowa. The Center is located on the World Wide Web at


The SNOMED Convergent Terminology Group for Nursing, a working group of the SNOMED International Editorial Board spearheaded by Suzanne Bakken, DNSc, RN, for the last 4 years, consists of nursing experts from SNOMED and the international nursing community. The group is responsible for specifying nursing requirements within SNOMED and will ensure that the mapping between the 486 NIC intervention concepts and the 260 NOC outcome concepts will be integrated into the more than 325,000 concepts already contained in SNOMED CT.


CAP is a not-for-profit medical society serving nearly 16,000 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world. It is the world's largest association composed exclusively of pathologists and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance. CAP is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective patient care. CAP is located on the World Wide Web at


SNOMED International, a division of CAP, is committed to the excellence of patient care through the development of a scientifically validated reference terminology-SNOMED CT-that enables clinicians, researchers, and patients to share common concepts worldwide, across clinical specialties and sites of care. SNOMED International is located on the World Wide Web at





The e-Health Quality Roundtable (e-HQR) TeleSeminar Series, a bimonthly series of educational teleconferences sponsored by the Internet Healthcare Coalition, seeks interested persons to serve as speakers and expert participants. The seminars focus on important issues in e-health business and are dedicated to promoting quality e-health practices, the exchange of information, and the discussion of best practices.


Topics of e-HQR TeleSeminars include the latest Internet market research surveys, analysis of laws and regulations and ethical issues related to health on the Internet, case studies on the use of the Internet for health purposes, and related subjects. They may emphasize consumer-oriented as well as business-oriented issues. Typically, a seminar consists of a 30- to 40-minute presentation by a featured speaker, followed by a 20- to 30-minute discussion and a question-and-answer period involving the speaker, the tele-audience, and 2 or 3 distinguished panelists.


e-HQR TeleSeminars are presented by well-known and highly regarded experts in e-health, technology, privacy, ethics, and Internet law. Speakers include healthcare executives and providers, authors, politicians, and representatives of government agencies, consumer advocacy groups, and e-health organizations.


For more information about the Internet Healthcare Coalition and to fill out an application form, visit





Enhanced Vision Systems has introduced Merlin, a voice-activated desktop video magnifier system giving people with macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and other vision problems the ability to read, write, and work again.


Merlin is a full-color autofocus system that lets users view images in vivid-color, black-and-white, high-contrast positive, or high-contrast negative display modes, depending on task or eye condition. A new optional voice-activation feature allows voice commands to change the magnification or viewing mode, permitting hands-free adjustments when viewing or working with a variety of reading materials and items.


Developed for use in the home, office, and classroom, Merlin is ergonomically designed and features greater magnification, 4X to 48X, and a larger working area, 18.75 inch by 20 inch, than other desktop systems currently available.


Other differentiating features include an object locator that quickly zooms the camera to change view or see a precise location on an object; a rotary magnification dial to change the magnification size incrementally, as compared to push-button or lever-controlled systems; and instant autofocus, with intelligent focus lock, requiring no manual adjustment and maintaining focus even when the magnification is changed.


The Merlin full-color auto-focus video magnifier with a 14-inch monitor retails for a suggested price of $1,995. Optional features, including a 20-inch monitor and voice recognition are priced separately. The unit comes ready to use, with minimal setup required.


Merlin is available through Enhanced Vision Systems distributors, specialized agencies, and eye care professionals. For more information please contact the Company at 888-811-3161 or visit its Web site at





The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced that it has released a Spanish version ( of its MEDLINEplus consumer health Web site. According to the NLM, approximately 25% of adult Hispanics in the United States use the Internet to search for medical and health information.


Many of the full-text resources available on MEDLINEplus are now in Espanol, organized as medical encyclopedia pages, offering full-color illustrations and photographs to accompany more than 4,000 articles on diseases, injuries, tests, and surgeries. The site also features interactive health tutorials incorporating animations, illustrations, and plain-language text to describe medical procedures, surgeries, and the symptoms and effects of disease.


The service has been offered to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month. More of the material on MEDLINEplus will be translated and added in the coming year.


Non-Spanish-speaking doctors, nurses, librarians, and others looking for Spanish-language materials for their clients can also use this new service by clicking on the "Espanol" link, which will take users from the English MEDLINEplus page to a corresponding translation in Spanish.


MEDLINEplus debuted in October 1998, with just 22 topics, and has grown to offer more than 560 health topics and receive more than 1 million visitors a month. The site is updated daily and is available at no charge and with no advertising.





Skyscape, Inc, has announced an expanded partnership with publisher F.A. Davis to bring 5 popular nursing references to the personal digital assistant (PDA), complementing 4 F.A. Davis titles already available for PDAs.


The following publications will be adapted for use with handheld devices:


* Nurse's Fast Facts: The Only Book You Need for Clinicals! 2nd ed (medical/surgical; maternal/infant; pediatric; mental health; emergency and critical care; gerontologic; nutrition; and home healthcare)


* Practical Guide to Health Assessment Through the Life Span. 3rd ed (health assessment pocket guide that covers nursing assessment for all age groups, with specialized communication techniques for clients of different ages and cultural backgrounds)


* Nurse's Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Rationales. 8th ed (specifically designed for nursing students; helps students to identify interventions most commonly associated with nursing diagnoses when caring for patients)


* Psychosocial Nursing for General Patient Care. 2nd ed (common psychosocial and psychiatric problems that can coincide with patients' medical problems)RNotes: Nurse's Clinical Pocket Guide (collection of commonly used but rarely memorized information such as charts, graphs, formulas, conversions, and laboratory values)



These new titles complement Skyscape's core nursing offering of other F.A. Davis books, which includes Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses, Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary (19th ed), Diseases and Disorders: A Nursing Therapeutics Manual, (2nd ed), and Nurse's Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 3rd ed.


For more information on Skyscape's PDA offerings, visit its Web site at





Washington University in St. Louis, MO, serving 6,000 undergraduates and 3,000 graduate and professional students, has integrated a free service ( into its existing Web site for students to request an appointment, a prescription renewal, a laboratory test result, or a referral or to ask a brief nonmedical question. Since January 2002, more than 1,100 Internet messages have been sent by students to the 17 health and counseling professionals at the center.


Many universities commonly use the Internet to help students with services such as registering for classes and paying tuition. According to a CyberAtlas study (January 31, 2002), 91% of older teenagers use the Internet for e-mail, and 56% of respondents preferred the Internet to the telephone.


Even if students have no access to the Internet, MDhub can automatically deliver messages to fax machines. Health centers can receive and respond to faxed messages electronically, allowing more efficient staff use.


All university health centers (even those without Internet access) can take advantage of MDhub's free interactive service. MDhub also has Internet Message Centers up and running for virtually every practicing physician in the United States (more than 370,000 doctors), which all patients can use to send nonurgent Internet messages to their doctors.


MDhub is a free service of The Little Blue Book Companies. For more information contact MDhub at 800-661-2330 or access the Internet Message Center through