A woman using a tablet. Laptop, tablet, and mobile icons with the words According to the Pew Research Internet Project 50% of americans in 2013 had a dedicated hand-held device. Either a tablet, computer or e-reader for reading e-content.A screenshot of an e-book.A screenshot of an e-book.Pamphlets.

Mobilizing Access to Scarce Health Information

Developing eBooks for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

How do you expand access to urgently needed educational materials in an era of shrinking printing budgets? The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) seeks to provide in-depth resources on more than 600 neurological diseases or disorders. As the lead Federal Agency for research on these complex and often painful conditions, NINDS fills crucial information gaps for patients and family members who often are unable to find useful information elsewhere.

Motivated not only by dwindling fiscal resources but also the broader adoption of mobile technology, NINDS has started to make its valuable, science-based publications available in more digital formats. One step has been to convert existing publications into attractive formats suitable for a wide variety of mobile devices, including eBook readers, tablets, and smartphones.

Digitalizing Content for Greater Access

For 20 years, IQ Solutions has helped NINDS connect its audiences to the science behind neurological disorders. We recently were trusted with supporting the Institute’s first foray into eBooks. First, we tackled the conversion of a series of simply designed fact sheets. We prepared two-color pamphlets, ranging in length from 7 to 28 pages, in both EPUB and MOBI formats. We completed our first assignment of six fact sheets in less than 3 weeks. We continue to convert additional fact sheets, including two in Spanish. We have completed 15 eBooks to date.

Working with files provided in various formats, we have also met the conversion challenges of these more complicated NINDS publications:
  • Brain Basics series of fold-out brochures with full-color images across multiple pages, call-out boxes, and multiple type fonts 
  • ~Lo Que Necesita Saber Sobre Los Ataques Cerebrales (What You Need to Know About Stroke), a 12-page, full-color brochure with multiple captioned images and medical illustrations
  • Hope Through Research full-color brochures with 30 or more pages, call-out boxes with captions and images, medical illustrations, complex tables, and internal and external links.

Documenting Success

We compiled our successful processes and lessons learned—from graphics and design to style sheets and links—into a best practices document that will guide future eBook development.

The eBooks are attracting a growing interest among NINDS customers. Our tracking data show that 235 eBooks have been downloaded in just the last year with only limited promotion.