25,000 Words and More: Applying the President’s Digital Government Strategy to Cost-Effectively Expand Delivery of HIV-Related Drug Information

Florencia Nochetto, MPH | Salon 3

Project Manager, National Library of Medicine (NLM)



The HIV medicine cabinet contains more than 100 FDA-approved drugs to prevent and treat HIV and its related infections, plus an expanding arsenal of experimental HIV drugs. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is charged with disseminating this bounty of drug-related information (a drug label often includes more than 25,000 words!) to health professionals and consumers via AIDSinfo, a federal HIV/AIDS-related information service. To cost-effectively accomplish this task, NLM is adopting best practices recommended in the President’s Digital Government Strategy. The Strategy is a roadmap on how to “innovate with less” to make digital government information and services accessible “anywhere, anytime, and on any device” (The White House, 2012).

Our proposed presentation will showcase how NLM is Communicating in a Small World—and a world of finite resources!—to extend the digital reach of vital HIV-related drug information. On the basis of our “lessons learned,” we will offer attendees tips to use to ease their own digital dissemination efforts. Listed below are the four guiding “approaches” of the Strategy and some of the NLM-adapted techniques that we will discuss in our presentation.

I.  A User-Centric Approach: Let the user drive!

To be useful, drug information must be available—at home, at work, and at all points in between. NLM designed the AIDSinfo mobile drug app to provide on-the-go access to all the information in the AIDSinfo drug database. The app puts AIDSinfo users in the driver’s seat, allowing them to view the drug information “anywhere, anytime, and on any device” and to customize the information to meet their individual needs. For example, health care providers can bookmark drug information for easy access at the point of care; individuals taking HIV medicines can set alarms for pill reminders.

II.  A Shared Platform Approach: Partner, don’t reinvent!

Formerly, AIDSinfo staff extracted complex information from multiple sources, including the FDA labels, to create drug summaries for health professionals. To eliminate this redundant effort, NLM leveraged two other Library-managed services: DailyMed and TOXNET/ChemIDplus. Now NLM pulls drug labels and images automatically from these sources to cost-effectively deliver drug information.

III.  An Information-Centric Approach: Create with everyone in mind!

The AIDSinfo drug database holds information on more than 150 HIV-related drugs. Previously, dissemination of this information was limited to AIDSinfo websites in English and Spanish. To broaden delivery of this information, NLM developed a drug application programming interface, or API. The drug API decouples the drug information from its presentation on the AIDSinfo sites, making the data available to other public and private entities.

IV.  A Platform of Security and Privacy: Safeguard your information highway!

To be useful, data must also be secure. NLM protects the integrity of the AIDSinfo drug database by limiting access to the data, storing the data in compliance with federal and industry security standards and regulations, and keeping the data backed up.


Learning objectives:

  • Identify the four approaches that frame the Digital Government Strategy
  • Name three Strategy-recommended techniques that can cost-effectively extend the reach of digital information
  • Name three management best practices to follow when implementing any of the Strategy-recommended techniques



Transforming digital connections


Note: Please bring your smartphone to this session.