Surgeon General's New Family Health History Tool

Surgeon General’s New Family Health History Tool Is Released

Karen Hendricks of the D.C. Office of the AAP shares the following with you.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Contact: OPHS Press Office
(202) 205-0143
Surgeon General’s New Family Health History Tool Is Released, Ready for “21st Century Medicine”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today released an updated and improved version of the Surgeon General’s Internet-based family health history tool. The new tool makes it easier for consumers to assemble and share family health history information.  It can also help practitioners make better use of health history information so they can provide more informed and personalized care for their patients.

“This valuable tool can put family histories to work to improve patient well-being and the quality of care,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said.  “The tool is built on health information technology standards that make it more convenient for consumers and more useful for practitioners.  It is ready for use in electronic health records.  And its software code will be openly available to other health organizations, so they can customize and build on its standards base.”

“Family history has always been an important part of good health care, but it has been underused,” said Acting Surgeon General Steven Galson, a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.  “Today, with our growing knowledge of genetics, family history is becoming even more important.  The new tool will help consumers and clinicians alike.  It will also serve as a platform for developing new risk assessment software that will help in screening and prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.”

Key features of the new version of the Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait include:

  • Consumers can access the tool easily on the Web.  Completing the family health history profile typically takes 15-20 minutes.  Consumers should not have to keep filling out different health history forms for different practitioners.  Information is easily updated or amended.
  • Consumer control and privacy – The family health history tool gives consumers access to software that builds a family health tree. But the personal information entered during the use of the tool is not kept by a government or other site.  Consumers download their information to their own computer.  From there, they have control over how the information is used.
  • Sharing – Because the information is in electronic form, it can be easily shared with relatives or with practitioners.  Relatives can add to the information, and a special re-indexing feature helps relatives easily start their own history based on data in a history they received. Practitioners can help consumers understand and use their information.
  • EHR-ready, Decision support-ready – Because the new tool is based on commonly used standards, the information it generates is ready for use in electronic health records and personal health records.  It can be used in developing clinical decision software, which helps the practitioner understand and make the most use of family health information.
  • Personalization of care – Family history information can help alert practitioners and patients to patient-specific susceptibilities.
  • Downloadable, customizable – The code for the new tool is openly available for others to adopt.  Health organizations are invited to download and customize, using the tool under their own brand and adding features that serve their needs.  Developers may also use the code to create new risk assessment software tools.

The first adopter of the HHS-developed tool is the National Institute of Genomic Medicine of Mexico (INMEGEN).  Dr. Gerardo Jimenez-Sanchez, director general of the institute, will release the Mexican Spanish-language version of the tool in Mexico City this month.  The Mexican family health history tool will be available on the INMEGEN Web site, http://www.inmegen.gob.mx.

The Indian Health Service, an agency of HHS that was instrumental in developing the new Surgeon General tool, will also adopt it into the IHS care system.

One organization saying it will link to the new tool is the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), a cancer advocacy organization.  “A strong family health history tool can be an important element for guiding medical decision-making, especially in the area of cancer screening, prevention and early detection,” said LAF founder and chairman Lance Armstrong.  “This tool will further the capabilities of electronic health records and takes a significant step toward improving clinical care.”

The Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait was originally launched in 2004, but the first version was not standards-based.  The new tool was developed under Secretary Leavitt’s Initiative on Personalized Health Care.  It will be hosted by the National Cancer Institute, where the caBIG® initiative is pioneering health IT networks and software sharing.  A ready process for organizations to download the family health history code is at https://gforge.nci.nih.gov/projects/fhh.

The Surgeon General’s new My Family Health Portrait tool is located at https://familyhistory.hhs.gov.   In addition, a presentation of sample risk assessment tools under development can be viewed at http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=7297 .

God.com-unknown author

Happy calm and healthy New Year to all those that read and comment on this blog. Thanks.

Dear Lord,
Every single evening
As I’m lying here in bed,
This tiny little Prayer
Keeps running through my head:

God bless all my family

Wherever they may be,
Keep them warm and safe from harm
For they’re so close to me.
And God, there is one more thing
I wish that you could do;
Hope you don’t mind me asking,
Please bless my computer too.
Now I know that it’s unusual
To Bless a motherboard,
But listen just a second
While I explain it to you, Lord.
You see, that little metal box
Holds more than odds and ends;
Inside those small compartments
Rest so many of my friends.
I know so much about them
By the kindness that they give,
And this little scrap of metal
Takes me in to where they live.

By faith is how I know them

Much the same as you.
We share in what life brings us
And from that our friendships grew.
Please take an extra minute
From your duties up above,
To bless those in my address book
That’s filled with so much love.
Wherever else this prayer may reach
To each and every friend,
Bless each e-mail inbox
And each person who hits ‘send’.
When you update your Heavenly list
On your own Great CD-ROM,
Bless everyone who says this prayer
Sent up to GOD.com
Amen

Country doctoring- Virginia there still is a Santa Claus

Long thought extinct from the American health care frontier one has been found alive and serving his rural patients -a dedicated doctor that make house calls. One has been loving his work for 50 years!

In Yoakum, Texas a sleepy country town, that sprang up around a railroad junction  folks knows Doc Watson.

Over the last 50 years, this tall and lanky family general practitioner welcomed many of the town’s citizens and doctored most of the others.

“I never wanted to be anything other than a family doctor,” Watson said as he sat in the hospital cafeteria on a recent December day. Pork chops and chicken fried steak (“good home cooking,” noted Watson) were on the menu, a reminder of the small-town atmosphere that drew the Baylor College of Medicine graduate to Yoakum in 1958.

The frayed and stained  doctor’s bag he brought with him is marked by the scars of countless moments of birth, death and recovery. Over the years he has served several generations of patients in this town of 6,000 about 100 miles east of San Antonio.

He began his practice charging $3 for office visits and $5 for house calls, but he often accepted other kinds of payment including homemade pies, fresh vegetables, deer meat and sausages. One grateful patient gave Watson, a hardcore golfer, one of her husband’s old 2-irons. It still sits in a corner of his office.

“He’s always right there when you need him,” said Karen Barber, CEO of the Yoakum Community Hospital, where a wing is named after Watson. “There’s never a second thought for him. He just does what needs to be done.”
The night Janet Jaco’s little girl had to be rushed to the hospital with a sudden hemorrhage, David Watson walked the four blocks from his house to the Yoakum Community Hospital every hour on the hour to check on his patient and offer a comforting shoulder to her worried mother.

The night the hospital urgently needed blood for an obstetrics patient, Watson rushed down from his office to donate some of his O-negative, then stayed to call in other townspeople with the right blood type. (He knew who they were.)

Flooded roads  did not stop him on night  from getting to an ailing neighbor; he simply jumped on the tractor, put one arm around the driver and  the other held his worn leather doctor’s bag as they went to the hospital.

Dr. Watson received the Country Doctor of the Year award this month. The honors is awarded annual to a primary care physician who best exemplifies the spirit of rural practitioners.

At 78, he still sees up to 30 patients a day at the Yoakum Medical Clinic, the office where he has worked for half a century. He visits another 30 patients during daily rounds at the hospital and a local nursing home, treats children at the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch and continues to make house calls.

Love what you do -do it to the best of your abilities and the world will be a better place for you having walked and served here.

Thanks Dr. Watson for your dedicated loving service.

Yes Virginia the spirit of Christmas lives on every day through loving dedicated people.

Resources

Country Doctor of Year: 50 years of house calls

–  MONICA RHOR, AP Dec 29, 2008. as reported in YahooNews http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081229/ap_on_re_us/country_doc;_ylt=Assc

Video http://www.breitbart.com/image.php?id=app-0a97c0ec-962d-440d-b410-864d8e3852cd&show_article=1&catnum=0&ch=BNImagesAll:

Become your best holiday spirit

Does your sense of separation often intensifies at the holidays.

Why?images-1

We have bought the notion that has been played out in movies and books for our entire lives. These warm cosy  scenes of a loving family joyously hugging each other by the fireside, enjoying dinner together or looking out a window together for Santa as the snow falls on the ground.

There is nothing wrong with these scenes for those that are blessed with those happy scenes as reality in their lives great. For those that have had other images of these holidays to live with then this exercise is for you.

Holiday Spirit Exercise

Gather the following  a piece of plain unlines paper and colored chalks, pencils, paints or crayons.

Draw an image of your home growing up at the holidays.

Put in words images, colors anything that makes the scene as vivid as possible.  Then write a little about how you as a child felt during this time.

Then turn the sheet over and draw a perfect holiday for you today.

Who would be there.

How would they interact?

What would they bring to share?

How would everyone feel being with each other in this perfect holiday scene?

What is the one thing you could do today to help make this scene possible?

Give up wishing .  Just do it -Live it.images-2

Become the holiday spirit you always wanted and share it with others.

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Laughing together improves communications

The holidays are a perfect time to practicing laughing to reduce your stress. Research shows that

Laughing even if it a practiced exercise can

  1. Lower your stress.
  2. Increase the feel good hormones called endorphins.
  3. Will be good exercise for your abdominal muscles.
  4. Increase the oxygen in your blood.
  5. Extend your life.
  6. Increase your health and well-being.laughing2

Here is the laughing  exercise

Repeat out loud alone or with others

“HOhO! HEhE! HAhA! repeat 5 to 10 times. Several times a day inside and outside of your house or when your stopped in traffic.

Warning if you have a heart condition or lung or  severe abdominal problems check with your health practitioner first. This exercise is good exercise.

Check out how you feel now.

image courtesy of

http://www.horse-racing-tip.com/images/laughing2.jpg

Smile – it is contagious

Recent psycological research has proven what we have known for a long time that smiling effects your healt and the health of family, friend, neighbors whether they are in the room or within miles of you.smilingfaces

So here is a holiday smile-a-thon challenge for you.

Before you put a toe on the floor in the morning think of something past or present that makes you feel all warm and and full of smiles inside.

Smile for one minute. Then start your day.

Every hour smile for no reason!

Then before bed look into the eyes of someone you love -even their picture and smile and send your smile to them.

Go to sleep with a smile on your face. monkey-smile

You will begin to look and feel more energetic and younger,

Send us your comments and results please.

Blessings of smiles.

Mary

free images courtesy of

http://www.americas-harvest.com/images/smiling.faces.jpg

http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/extra/animalwelfare/crosswords/m_animals/monkey.jpg

Holidays gratitude is the attitude

Gratitude is the attitude -pay it forward

costorepic

Trees for the Troops is a nonprofit that has been giving holiday trees to families of the military since the Iraque war began as a way of saying thanks for your sacrifices and servce to us all. The following are 2007 final statics of who they served. You could help this year by clicking on http;//treesfortroops.org and donating or purchasing a tree for an affiliate across the US.


Number of trees -Delivered 16,846 trees

Number of farms donating trees – More than 750 farmers

Number of states from which the trees came – 29 states

Number of Trees for Troops Weekend (December 1-2) Locations where consumers could purchase trees and donate to Trees for Troops program – 40 retail locations and farms

Number of trees collected during Trees for Troops Weekend – Approximately 4,500

Number of bases to which the trees were delivered – 37 bases plus National Guard families in four states (CA, IL, NY, TN) Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy

Number of countries to which trees were shipped – 15

Number of miles the FedEx trailers traveled in delivering the trees – Estimated at 51,000 over the road miles … does not include miles to pickup and delivery points

Christmas Tree farmers and FedEx

donating trees and transportation to say Thank You to our troops and to make their holidays a little brighter.

Others are grateful too

Christie Boyd and Nancy Kemp probably choose to be thankful.
Because times are challenging, Christie and Freddy Boyd will forgo celebrating their anniversary at an expensive Buckhead hotel. That might make some people feel really down, but “Life’s too short to get bent out of shape over petty things,” said Kemp, a 58-year-old schoolteacher from Cairo. “Like my daddy used to say, ‘Sometimes you’ve got to haul off and be happy.”

Boyd and Kemp responded to a Thanksgiving blog posted on ajc.com. Most who responded expressed gratitude for their families and their homes even as they faced difficult personal problems. Boyd and Kemp were among those who responded most positively.

“I wake up in the dark every morning,” said Kemp. “But when I walk out on my porch, I see stars.”

Is happiness all a matter of perspective? Can one consciously choose to be happy?

“Absolutely,” said Paula Bloom, a clinical psychologist and contributor to CNN Espanol. “We all have a hypothesis for how we see the world, and we look for data to support it.

“If you think the world is a crappy place and that people can’t be trusted you will always look for it and find things that strengthens that belief,” Bloom said. But if you think the world is a good place, a safe place and that people are inherently good, you can look for data to support that as well.”

“You must decide daily if the world is good or hostile,” said Bloom, quoting Albert Einstein.

Boyd says she’s managed to maintain a positive attitude despite enduring personal tragedies such as spending 18 months caring for her terminally ill brother and moving into a motor home when her husband lost his job.

The current economic crisis is no different, she said.

In tough times, they choose to be thankful – BEN SMITH Wednesday, November 26, 2008
http://www.ajc.com/holiday/content/atlanta-holiday-guide/stories/2008/11/26/choosing_to_be_thankful.html

I am grateful today for the life and music of Mama Africa Miriam Makeba

Musicians, poets and politicians paid tribute In n Johannesburg for South African singer Miriam Makeba life. The 76-year-old performer stood for freedom of life and expressed it through her music for more than 30 years in exile after lending her support to the campaign against apartheid.miriam-makeba

She lived in harmony with all. At her national memorial service, her music reverberated with consciousness about the real conditions of South Africans. It was a national event with the former South African President Thabo Mbeki and current Deputy President Baleka Mbete present.
President Kgalema Motlanthe, in Washington for a G20 economic summit, paid tribute to Makeba in a video message.
South African trumpet player Hugh Masekela, once married to Makeba, performed a solo version of her song Welele to the accompaniment of soft clapping from the crowd.
Poet Maishe Maponya spoke of how her “lips touched our hearts with hymns of beauty” and how she had inspired her people with hope for the future.

“Let us say it loud and clear. Miriam Makeba was not affectionately called Mama Africa for nothing,” he said. “Her music reverberated with consciousness about the real conditions of South Africans.”
Makeba was the first black singer to win a Grammy award, which she shared with Harry Belafonte in 1965.
She was one of Africa’s best known singers, famed for hits such as Pata Pata and The Click Song.
Former president Nelson Mandela said she was the “mother of our struggle” and “South Africa’s first lady of song”.
Her body was flown home to South Africa on Wednesday; the country began a period of national mourning a day later.

Hundreds bid farewell to Makeba GMT, November 15, 2008

Courtesy of BBC image and excerts: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7729701.stm

Life your life is priceless. Do not waste a moment! You and what you do counts.
Please share something you are grateful for or how you are helping. It may inspire others.

I am grateful for each of you. Thank you.

Clearing communication challenges

“As people see their predicament clearly – that our fates are inextricably tied together, that life is a mutually interdependent web of relations – then universal responsibility becomes the only sane choice for thinking people.”  – Dalai Lama

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I am so grateful that  you are peaceful, supportive,

abundant, loving, healthy and fulfilled!