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Research briefs

For immediate use

Dec. 7, 2006 -- No. 588

Assisted living research focuses
on medication errors, collaboration

The Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL) in Washington, D.C., and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Collaborative Studies of Long-Term Care program are working together to determine how to implement research findings into care more quickly. The project is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research.

"Researchers have been frustrated that findings from studies are not widely shared with those who might benefit from them," said Dr. Sheryl Zimmerman, a professor in UNC's School of Social Work, researcher at UNC's Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research and the project's principal investigator.

By involving CEAL in the research, the group plans to develop a widely applicable manual that details the processes for creating and sustaining an effective model of collaborative, participatory research.

The project focuses on medication management because of the lack of research about the essential features of effective practice in this area, and the potential for medication-related problems in an assisted living population. The research is taking place in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

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Information technology sets new
standard for IM communications

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) of the United Nations recently put forward Real-Time Communications (RTC) technology developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an international standard for instant messaging (IM).

The new architecture, formally called H.350.7, is specifically for Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), the core protocol for Jabber, a common IM software. Developed by UNC's Information Technology Services' Telecommunications Research and Development group, H 350.7 allows administrators to directory-enable Jabber so they can manage large numbers of users more easily.

"The real-world application for H.350.7 is that groups will not have to have separate passwords for IM, e-mail, voice-over IP and video chat," says Tyler Johnson, manager of UNC's RTC development efforts. "All of a user's varied devices will be managed under one master account. This will help maximize connectivity between services, allowing users many more connectivity choices." The software also allows the creation of an IM directory similar to an e-mail address book.

The ITU also accepted for review another UNC initiative, which improves the connection between real-time communications and virtual organizations. Tentatively called H.350.8, this new architecture is targeted for release in the summer of 2007.

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Sheps Center information contact: Keith M. Cochran, (919) 966-3847, keith_cochran@unc.edu

Information Technology Services contact: Beth Millbank, (919) 843-9201, beth_millbank@unc.edu