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Archive for the ‘National Academies’ Category

How the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Other Privacy Laws Affect Public Transportation Operations

July 23, 2014 Comments off

How the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Other Privacy Laws Affect Public Transportation Operations
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Legal Research Digest 46: How the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Other Privacy Laws Affect Public Transportation Operations explores whether the privacy and security rules established by HIPAA apply to transit agencies that possess patrons’ health information.

The first seven sections of this digest discuss HIPAA and whether various entities are subject to HIPAA’s privacy and security provisions applicable to the protection of protected health information, as defined by HIPAA. This digest also analyzes how protected health information is defined by HIPAA and discusses HIPAA’s Privacy Rule and Security Rule as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its most recent final rule.

This digest summarizes other important aspects of HIPAA including whether protected health information must be produced in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or a request under a freedom of information act (FOIA) or similar law. The remainder of the digest discusses the privacy of health information under other federal and state laws. The digest also covers industry standards and best practices used by transit agencies to protect the privacy of patrons’ health information.

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Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success

July 22, 2014 Comments off

Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 167: Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success provides a data-driven, indicator-based model for predicting the success of a fixed-guideway transit project. The handbook and final research report make up Parts 1 and 2 of TCRP Report 167, and the spreadsheet tool is available separately for download.

Evaluating the Effect of Smart Growth Policies on Travel Demand

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Evaluating the Effect of Smart Growth Policies on Travel Demand
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) has released a project brief that provides transportation planning agencies with improved tools and methods to accurately and comprehensively integrate transportation investment decision making with land development and growth management.

Recommended Bicycle Lane Widths for Various Roadway Characteristics

July 19, 2014 Comments off

Recommended Bicycle Lane Widths for Various Roadway Characteristics
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 766: Recommended Bicycle Lane Widths for Various Roadway Characteristics presents an analysis of the research and design guidance for bicycle lane widths on existing travel lane widths and parking lane widths. The conclusions are most applicable to urban and suburban roadways with level grade and a posted speed limit of 30 mph and should be used cautiously for the design of roadways with motor vehicle speeds outside of the range of 25 to 35 mph, and in particular for higher-speed roadways.

Understanding the Value of Social Media at Airports for Customer Engagement

July 18, 2014 Comments off

Understanding the Value of Social Media at Airports for Customer Engagement
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 56: Understanding the Value of Social Media at Airports for Customer Engagement compiles current literature and practice on how airport operators utilize social media to enhance customer engagement.

Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success

July 5, 2014 Comments off

Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 167: Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success provides a data-driven, indicator-based model for predicting the success of a fixed guideway transit project. The handbook and final research report make up Parts 1 and 2 of TCRP Report 167, and the spreadsheet tool is available separately for download.

Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Final Assessment

June 23, 2014 Comments off

Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Final Assessment
Source: Institute of Medicine

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the signature injuries of the U.S. conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. An estimated 8 percent of current and former service members deployed to these areas have a PTSD diagnosis. For these men and women, readjustment from combat zone deployments and reintegration into families and communities may be significantly hampered by chronic distress and disability in physical, psychological, social, and occupational functioning.

In response to the growing PTSD burden among service members and veterans, a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2010 required the Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD), in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to commission an IOM study to assess PTSD treatment programs and services in DoD and VA.

The IOM finds that both departments have made a sustained commitment to PTSD management and invested substantial financial and programmatic resources to provide care to service members and veterans. However, a lack of standards, reporting, and evaluation significantly compromises these efforts. The report offers recommendations and guidance for improving processes and infrastructure to allow DoD and VA to respond more strategically and effectively to the increasing prevalence of PTSD among U.S. service members and veterans.

Airport Response to Special Events

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Airport Response to Special Events
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) has release the prepublication version of Synthesis 57: Airport Response to Special Events, which explores how airports plan, manage, and recover from special events in order to help minimize the event’s effects on an airport’s regular operations.

The synthesis explores issues related to planning, organizing, and applying lessons learned, as well as addressing potential surprises and impacts on operations and customer services related to a variety of non-aeronautical events that occur both on and off an airport. ACRP Synthesis 57 offers six case examples designed to help demonstrate how airports of all sizes plan, manage, and recover from special events.

ACRP Synthesis 57 can serve as a companion document to ACRP Synthesis 41: Conducting Aeronautical Special Events at Airports. ACRP Synthesis 41 focuses on aeronautical events such as air shows, airport open houses, aircraft static displays, and fly-ins.

Best Practices Manual for Working In or Near Airport Movement Areas

May 29, 2014 Comments off

Best Practices Manual for Working In or Near Airport Movement Areas
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 101: Best Practices Manual for Working In or Near Airport Movement Areas consists of a best practices database; training tools, aids, and checklists; and a 45-minute video that provide guidance on best practices for a myriad of airport activities.

The guidance is designed to help introduce new employees, tenants, or contractors to the airport environment.

The video, Staying Safe on the Airfield, follows an airport operations supervisor training a new employee by discussing hazards and the appropriate best practices for eliminating or mitigating risks while working in or near the airport movement area. The database, video, and training tools, and aids and checklists are provided on a CD-ROM that is included with the print version of the report.

Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging: Workshop Summary (2014)

May 27, 2014 Comments off

Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging: Workshop Summary (2014)
Source: Institute of Medicine/National Research Council

Being able to communicate is a cornerstone of healthy aging. People need to make themselves understood and to understand others to remain cognitively and socially engaged with families, friends, and other individuals. When they are unable to communicate, people with hearing impairments can become socially isolated, and social isolation can be an important driver of morbidity and mortality in older adults. Despite the critical importance of communication, many older adults have hearing loss that interferes with their social interactions and enjoyment of life. People may turn up the volume on their televisions or stereos, miss words in a conversation, go to fewer public places where it is difficult to hear, or worry about missing an alarm or notification. In other cases, hearing loss is much more severe, and people may retreat into a hard-to-reach shell. Yet fewer than one in seven older Americans with hearing loss use hearing aids, despite rapidly advancing technologies and innovative approaches to hearing health care. In addition, there may not be an adequate number of professionals trained to address the growing need for hearing health care for older adults. Further, Medicare does not cover routine hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids, which can be prohibitively expensive for many older adults.

Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging is the summary of a workshop convened by the Forum on Aging, Disability, and Independence in January 2014 on age-related hearing loss. Researchers, advocates, policy makers, entrepreneurs, regulators, and others discussed this pressing social and public health issue. This report examines the ways in which age-related hearing loss affects healthy aging, and how the spectrum of public and private stakeholders can work together to address hearing loss in older adults as a public health issue.

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues

May 20, 2014 Comments off

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues
Source: National Research Council

We depend on information and information technology (IT) to make many of our day-to-day tasks easier and more convenient. Computers play key roles in transportation, health care, banking, and energy. Businesses use IT for payroll and accounting, inventory and sales, and research and development. Modern military forces use weapons that are increasingly coordinated through computer-based networks. Cybersecurity is vital to protecting all of these functions. Cyberspace is vulnerable to a broad spectrum of hackers, criminals, terrorists, and state actors. Working in cyberspace, these malevolent actors can steal money, intellectual property, or classified information; impersonate law-abiding parties for their own purposes; damage important data; or deny the availability of normally accessible services. Cybersecurity issues arise because of three factors taken together – the presence of malevolent actors in cyberspace, societal reliance on IT for many important functions, and the presence of vulnerabilities in IT systems. What steps can policy makers take to protect our government, businesses, and the public from those would take advantage of system vulnerabilities?

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy offers a wealth of information on practical measures, technical and nontechnical challenges, and potential policy responses. According to this report, cybersecurity is a never-ending battle; threats will evolve as adversaries adopt new tools and techniques to compromise security. Cybersecurity is therefore an ongoing process that needs to evolve as new threats are identified. At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy is a call for action to make cybersecurity a public safety priority. For a number of years, the cybersecurity issue has received increasing public attention; however, most policy focus has been on the short-term costs of improving systems. In its explanation of the fundamentals of cybersecurity and the discussion of potential policy responses, this book will be a resource for policy makers, cybersecurity and IT professionals, and anyone who wants to understand threats to cyberspace.

Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013

May 2, 2014 Comments off

Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013 (PDF)
Source: Institute of Medicine (via Boston University)

Progress has been made toward understanding the physiological mechanisms that underlie Gulf War illness and identifying possible treatments, according to a report released Monday by a Congressionally mandated panel of scientific experts and veterans.

Treatment research has increased significantly since 2008, and “early results provide encouraging signs that the treatment goals identified in the 2010 Institute of Medicine report are achievable,” the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (RAC) said in a report presented Monday to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki by the Committee’s scientific director, Roberta White, chair of environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health.

The Institute, part of the National Academies of Sciences, had forecast that “treatments, cures, and hopefully preventions” could likely be found with the right research.

The RAC report updates scientific research published since the Committee’s landmark report in 2008, which established that Gulf War illness was a real condition, affecting as many as 250,000 veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War.

“The conclusions of the 2008 RAC report had a substantial impact on scientific and clinical thinking about Gulf War illness, as well as the public acceptance of this disorder,” said White. The earlier report documented a number of studies that found evidence linking the illness to exposure to pesticides and pyridostigmine bromide (found in anti-nerve gas pills given to troops), as well as other toxic sources.

“Studies published since 2008 continue to support the conclusion that Gulf War illness is causally related to chemical exposures in the combat theater,” White said of the new report. “And many studies of the brain and central nervous system, using imaging, EEG and other objective measures of brain structure and function, add to the existing evidence that central nervous system dysfunction is a critical element in the disorder. Evidence also continues to point to immunological effects of Gulf War illness.”

Exposure to the nerve gas agents sarin and cyclosarin has been linked in several studies to changes in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that are associated with cognitive impairments — further supporting the nervous-system effects of those agents cited in the 2008 report.

U.S. Should Significantly Reduce Rate of Incarceration; Unprecedented Rise in Prison Population ‘Not Serving the Country Well,’ Says New Report

May 2, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Should Significantly Reduce Rate of Incarceration; Unprecedented Rise in Prison Population ‘Not Serving the Country Well,’ Says New Report
Source: National Research Council

Given the minimal impact of long prison sentences on crime prevention and the negative social consequences and burdensome financial costs of U.S. incarceration rates, which have more than quadrupled in the last four decades, the nation should revise current criminal justice policies to significantly reduce imprisonment rates, says a new report from the National Research Council.

A comprehensive review of data led the committee that wrote the report to conclude that the costs of the current rate of incarceration outweigh the benefits. The committee recommended that federal and state policymakers re-examine policies requiring mandatory and long sentences, as well as take steps to improve prison conditions and to reduce unnecessary harm to the families and communities of those incarcerated. In addition, it recommended a reconsideration of drug crime policy, given the apparently low effectiveness of a heightened enforcement strategy that resulted in a tenfold increase in the incarceration rate for drug offenses from 1980 to 2010 — twice the rate for other crimes.

System-Specific Spare Bus Ratios Update

April 29, 2014 Comments off

System-Specific Spare Bus Ratios Update
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 109: System-Specific Spare Bus Ratios Update documents successful practices in the United States and Canada, and presents information on efforts employed to achieve optimal bus fleet size and effective spare bus ratios. The synthesis is designed to provide guidance to transit agencies on how various factors may affect optimal fleet size.

Applying a Health Lens to Decision Making in Non-Health Sectors: Workshop Summary (2014)

April 25, 2014 Comments off

Applying a Health Lens to Decision Making in Non-Health Sectors: Workshop Summary (2014)
Source: Institute of Medicine

Health is influenced by a wide range of factors, many of which fall outside of the health care delivery sector. These determinants of health include, for example, the characteristics of how people live, work, learn, and play. Decision and policy making in areas such as transportation, housing, and education at different levels of government, and in the private sector, can have far-reaching impacts on health. Throughout the United States there has been increasing dialogue on incorporating a health perspective into policies, programs, and projects outside the health field.

Applying a Health Lens to Decision Making in Non-Health Sectors is the summary of a workshop convened in September 2013 by the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Population Health Improvement to foster cross-sectoral dialogue and consider the opportunities for and barriers to improving the conditions for health in the course of achieving other societal objectives (e.g., economic development, efficient public transit). The roundtable engaged members, outside experts, and stakeholders on three core issues: supporting fruitful interaction between primary care and public health; strengthening governmental public health; and exploring community action in transforming the conditions that influence the public’s health. This report is a discussion of health in all policies approaches to promote consideration for potential health effects in policy making in many relevant domains, such as education, transportation, and housing.

Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics Research (2014)

April 24, 2014 Comments off

Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics Research (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Like most areas of scholarship, mathematics is a cumulative discipline: new research is reliant on well-organized and well-curated literature. Because of the precise definitions and structures within mathematics, today’s information technologies and machine learning tools provide an opportunity to further organize and enhance discoverability of the mathematics literature in new ways, with the potential to significantly facilitate mathematics research and learning. Opportunities exist to enhance discoverability directly via new technologies and also by using technology to capture important interactions between mathematicians and the literature for later sharing and reuse.

Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics Research discusses how information about what the mathematical literature contains can be formalized and made easier to express, encode, and explore. Many of the tools necessary to make this information system a reality will require much more than indexing and will instead depend on community input paired with machine learning, where mathematicians’ expertise can fill the gaps of automatization. This report proposes the establishment of an organization; the development of a set of platforms, tools, and services; the deployment of an ongoing applied research program to complement the development work; and the mobilization and coordination of the mathematical community to take the first steps toward these capabilities. The report recommends building on the extensive work done by many dedicated individuals under the rubric of the World Digital Mathematical Library, as well as many other community initiatives. Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics envisions a combination of machine learning methods and community-based editorial effort that makes a significantly greater portion of the information and knowledge in the global mathematical corpus available to researchers as linked open data through a central organizational entity-referred to in the report as the Digital Mathematics Library. This report describes how such a library might operate – discussing development and research needs, role in facilitating discover and interaction, and establishing partnerships with publishers.

Commonsense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds

April 23, 2014 Comments off

Commonsense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 110: Commonsense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds explores approaches transit agencies have taken to realize gains in average bus speeds.

The report also identifies metrics pertaining to measures such as changes in travel speed and its components, operating cost, and ridership. It shows the results of each or a combination of approaches implemented.

Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2014

April 21, 2014 Comments off

Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2014
Source: Transportation Research Board

Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2014 explores issues that address the major environmental components affected by aviation activities, sustainable solutions that have evolved and continue to be developed to minimize aviation’s environmental impacts, and key processes that link aviation and the environment. The focus of the e-circular is on the state of science and on identification of priority research with potential to yield benefits during the next several years to several decades.

Health Literacy and Numeracy: Workshop Summary (2014)

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Health Literacy and Numeracy: Workshop Summary (2014)
Source: Institute of Medicine

Although health literacy is commonly defined as an individual trait, it does not depend on the skills of individuals alone. Health literacy is the product of the interaction between individuals’ capacities and the health literacy-related demands and complexities of the health care system. Specifically, the ability to understand, evaluate, and use numbers is important to making informed health care choices.

Health Literacy and Numeracy is the summary of a workshop convened by The Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy in July 2013 to discuss topics related to numeracy, including the effects of ill health on cognitive capacity, issues with communication of health information to the public, and communicating numeric information for decision making. This report includes a paper commissioned by the Roundtable, “Numeracy and the Affordable Care Act: Opportunities and Challenges,” that discusses research findings about people’s numeracy skill levels; the kinds of numeracy skills that are needed to select a health plan, choose treatments, and understand medication instructions; and how providers should communicate with those with low numeracy skills. The paper was featured in the workshop and served as the basis of discussion.

New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research (2014)

April 16, 2014 Comments off

New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Each year, child protective services receive reports of child abuse and neglect involving six million children, and many more go unreported. The long-term human and fiscal consequences of child abuse and neglect are not relegated to the victims themselves — they also impact their families, future relationships, and society. In 1993, the National Research Council (NRC) issued the report, Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect, which provided an overview of the research on child abuse and neglect. New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research updates the 1993 report and provides new recommendations to respond to this public health challenge. According to this report, while there has been great progress in child abuse and neglect research, a coordinated, national research infrastructure with high-level federal support needs to be established and implemented immediately.

New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research recommends an actionable framework to guide and support future child abuse and neglect research. This report calls for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to child abuse and neglect research that examines factors related to both children and adults across physical, mental, and behavioral health domains–including those in child welfare, economic support, criminal justice, education, and health care systems–and assesses the needs of a variety of subpopulations. It should also clarify the causal pathways related to child abuse and neglect and, more importantly, assess efforts to interrupt these pathways. New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research identifies four areas to look to in developing a coordinated research enterprise: a national strategic plan, a national surveillance system, a new generation of researchers, and changes in the federal and state programmatic and policy response.

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