In today’s Information Age, finding the answer is not always easy. Asking one simple question can quickly result in being bombarded with all kinds of “facts” from the Internet, your friends, your doctor, the media, and waves of other sources. Contradictory and conflicting answers can lead to confusion. One can easily be overwhelmed, especially if you are researching information on cancer. InspireHealth’s Research Information System (RIS) and the Research Updates aim to make information on integrated cancer care and prevention relevant and meaningful to you. We search through an ocean of information to bring you the most cutting-edge and scientifically valid research.
InspireHealth’s RIS is a unique knowledge management database with a keyword search function. The RIS takes a large body of information and presents it in a manageable way, bringing up only the latest and most significant research that relates to you. If you search for “integrated cancer care” in Google, over 615,000 results come up. “Prostate cancer prevention” yields upwards of 9.4 million. Searching for “prostate cancer prevention” in the RIS, for example, yields 21 results.
So how is it all managed? Each week, I receive an email from the scientific databases Embase and Medline containing a list of hundreds of abstracts (i.e. summaries of scientific articles) related to integrated, complementary, and alternative cancer care. These abstracts are then sorted, categorized, and catalogued so that they can be easily looked up in our RIS using keyword searches. I update the Research Information System on a monthly basis, so you can rest assured that if the information is current and relevant to the field of integrated cancer care, it is in our system.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with scientific abstracts, they usually follow the following format:
- an introduction (establishing background information and context of the research)
- the methods used in the study (how the subjects were chosen, what the treatment was, etc.)
- the numbers (statistical results of the research)
- the conclusion (what the researchers found).
The easiest way to read an abstract is to start with the conclusion, which will tell you the essence of the research.
Our monthly Research Updates publication represents a concise “top 10” selection of each month’s research from our RIS. On a monthly basis, we generate a bibliography of all relevant new citations (usually about 150) and then circulate it to our medical staff. Dr. Julius Halaschek-Wiener, PhD, InspireHealth’s Research Director, in conjunction with the other members of the editorial team, selects 10-12 authoritative abstracts, as well as a “study of the month”, based on their quality, evidence and relevance. The editorial board also includes Dr. Hal Gunn, CEO and InspireHealth Co-founder, Dr. Janice Wright, Director of Clinical Services, Dr. Teresa Clarke, MD, Dr. Ron Puhky, MD, and Dr. Walter Lemmo, ND.
The Research Updates publication is available in print or online and our electronic version is currently sent to over 1200 recipients across Canada and the USA. The print version is available at InspireHealth and is also mailed out to patients, health care providers, and cancer-related organizations such as the BC Cancer Agency libraries.
Past and present electronic Research Updates can also be found at our Research Updates Archive
If you are interested in receiving a free subscription to our monthly Research Updates via email, please click here. If you do not have an email address, or would like to receive a print copy, please call us at 604-734-7125 or drop by in person to fill out a request form with your mailing address.
A lot of care and expertise is invested into providing our community with easy-to-access and cutting-edge research information on integrated cancer care. I invite you to take a moment to explore our Research Information System and see how it can help you find information meaningful to you, your health, and your lifestyle.
Jan Rennie Clinical Librarian, InspireHealth