Invited Symposium: Experience with Use of Telemedicine to Extend Medical Education



Materials & Methods


Discussion & Conclusion



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Integration and Sharing of Medical and Health Information - Health Research Information Network (HINT)

Contact Person: Po-Huang Chiang (chiangp@nhri.org.tw)


As we move into an era of information explosion, we must be particularly cognizant of the pressure to use the right information to improve the health research and services. What do this changes imply for those concerned with health quality care? Or, how can we best shape the direction of intervention strategies to improve the health welfare? Increasingly, it means that quality researches with adequate information will help solve out the right direction and make an affective decisions. Improved understanding the health issues will come from a abundant and complete information, then better health care and medical service can be reached. Health Research Information Network (HINT) is supported by National Health Research Institutes(NHRI) and administered by Health Infoshare(National Yang Ming University and the Veterans General Hospital, Taipei).

The purpose of HINT is to integrate domestic medical research resources. With 15 medical school and medical center librarians participated from whole nation, the HINT can collaborate with a strong computer and human network to share the resources. Thus we can combine library resources, manpower and budget to build up a cooporation model and promote the accessing of medical information. NHRI and Health InfoShare corporate to proceed this project to offer the most comprehensive databases for medical and health professionals. HINT was announced on Jan. 1, 1998 and got lots of attention and encouragement from the medical community. 1.5 millions total hits and about 8 thousands total unique site visits in Septmember, 1998. Among NHRI research resources, we found that the largest amount of scholars have benefit from HINT project.

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Materials and Methods

A. System Architecture All access to the system is provided via the HTTP protocol for register users and project members. We choose OVID system which was a familiar system in medical library society. OVID's Common Gateway Interface (CGI) mechanism is used to provide interaction between WWW clients and other systems, which enables access to all the database in the project. Yang-Ming University provide a SUN Enterprise 4000 server with dual UltraSPARC processors plus 100GB of disk for the system. OVID search engine can run in mulitplatform which in clude Z39.50 Client/Server search engine. The management component can easily solve the problem from the far-end site. With limit and indexing functions, HINT provide a easily tools for the users.

B. Networked Services To ensure the network access and improve the speed of files transfer, we upgraded a independent T1 to dual T1 lines. Through Taiwan Acadenic Network (TANET) or other Internet Service Providers (ISP), the users through all of the nation can access the system easily. ...as can be seen in Figure 1.

Fig. 1: Network Architecture.

C. Data in the System By july 1998, total data in the system exceeded 85GB; this represented over 14 English databases and 2 kinds of Chinese dtabases. This inclused 84 full-text journal which is link to most of the databases. The table below shown the current English databases. Http access statistics for the HINT are updated daily and more detailed information is analysis by using Flystat software to determine the database acess.

Aidsline                               1980-present
BioethicsLine                          1973-present		
Biosis Previews                        1985-present
Cancerlit                              1983-present		
CINAHL                                 1983-present		
Current Contents(7 sections)            present
EMBASE                                 1988-present		
Eric                                   1966-present
Evidence Based Medicine Reviews        1991-present		
HealthStar                             1975-present		
Life Science                           1990-present		
Medline                                1966-present		
PsycInfo                               1984-present
Toxline                                1965-present		
Online Journal (84kinds)               1995-present
Despite the database we purchased, we have been develop different projects to create our local database. The "Taiwan Collections" full-text project are intend to transfer the documents from text form to SGML database to allow the OVID system to integrate into the entire system. The SGML Document Type Definition (DTD) for given set of documents function as the database definition. Five Taiwan journals were chosen to set up a model for this digitized project.

"Medical Network Resources project" is intended to search and collect the resource in Internet by organizing professional subjects. Surfing in the net without a target is a waste. More than that, It is a big loss for the resources. We choose particular subject, Biomedical Science, Nursing and Family Medicine as models to ensure we can include the useful information for these particular field. Annotation will make and all of the hyperlink are upgrades monthly to ensure the linkage.

D. Human Network 15 major medical library are joining the HINT reference network to provide the close reference services. Every major library delicate reference librarians to provide local services. Training and education programs are held frequently to those librarians. HINT office even provide the instructors and materials for local user training. FAQ, WWW board and E-mail reference service provide another alternate tools for users if they need the reference service.

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The primary goal of the HINT project is to provide medical researcher a timeless and without boundary to access the most update information. Since our opening in Jan. 1, 1998, we received about 4,000 applicants. 3,500 were received HINT account. 1.5 millions total hits and about 8 thousands total unique site visits in September, 1998. Among NHRI research resources, we found that the largest amount of scholars have benefit from HINT project. Department of Health provided another support for medical professional in August 5, 1998 which was moved the HINT to the even upper-level. HINT is now a medical information provider to the entire medical community.

We have been held a reference librarian training programs for 5 times. These programs including search technique, system management and different databases. The training programs have been held in different areas of Taiwan. The most recent training programs is in the East Taiwan in Aug. 25, 1998. There are 47 librarian and HINT user attend the symposium. In south, we held a training program in Sept. 16, 1998. 90 attendant joined the meeting for the class. Another training programs were scheduled to other area in Taiwan, including teleconference training programs.

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Discussion and Conclusion

We are at the early stage in user-centered concept that we believe to unique and influential. The development of digital library with unique search features to support health research and medical practice for a critical resource is an opportunity to future planning. The digital library combined the characteristics of its precursors - library, electronically information retrieval systems, and computer system that support work - to create new and interesting design and thinking. A challenge on a project like this, which bring together the work people (users, librarian; but also project members) and library resources in the entire nation. This project also challenge some of the practices and assumptions around the creation of and agreement about knowledge that we grounded in the old tools and practice of publication and sharing of data. The long-term impact of HINT may be in the larger changes in the processes of distributed knowledge communities.

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1. Po-Huang Chiang, "Health Research Information Network (HINT)- The developement and services" 7th South Taiwan medical librarian sumposium, P11-15, 1997.

2. Carol Tenopir, "Generations of Online Searcging" Library Jurnal, September, p128-130, 1996

3. Padmini Srinivasan, "Query Expansion and MEDLINE" Information Processing & Management, Vol. 32, No. 4, 1996, p431-443.

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Chiang, PH; Liu, DM; Chuo, YT; (1998). Integration and Sharing of Medical and Health Information - Health Research Information Network (HINT). Presented at INABIS '98 - 5th Internet World Congress on Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada, Dec 7-16th. Invited Symposium. Available at URL http://www.mcmaster.ca/inabis98/guo/chiang0873/index.html
© 1998 Author(s) Hold Copyright