Resources for Health Consumers
"Quality information for improved health"
Health sciences librarians work in medical schools, hospitals, and other
specialized health settings, and provide critical health information to
doctors, nurses, and allied health personnel.
Many health sciences librarians and libraries also provide consumer health
information to patients, their families, and the general public.
MLA User's Guide to Finding and Evaluating
Health Information on the Web
MLA's consumer resource provides guidelines on finding the highest quality
health information on the Web as well as examples of the best health Websites.
Included in this guide are general starting points as well as specific sites
for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
- MLA's Top Ten Websites | "Los
diez mejores, y más útiles, sitios en internet"
- Deciphering Medspeak | Descifrando
el Lenguaje Médico |
Medspeak in Plain Language
To help people understand "medspeak" termsthe specialized
language of health care professionalsMLA created "Deciphering
Medspeak." This Website and brochures for consumers offer relief
from chronic misunderstandings and tips for evaluating health Websites. The
series consists of the original version as well as disease-specific versions.
Para ayudar a gente entiende "medspeak" los términos—el
idioma especializado de profesionales de cuidado de salud—MLA creó
"Medspeak que Descifra." Este Website y el folleto para el alivio
de ofertas de consumidores de equivocaciones y puntas crónicas para
evaluar la salud Websites.
Medspeak in Plain Language
brochures contain the same content as the original Deciphering Medspeak brochures
but are specifically for consumers with a fifth grade or lower reading level.
The brochures were rewritten with the help of the Massachusetts Health Sciences
Library Network's (MAHSLIN) Working Group for Health Literacy and medical
librarian, Carolyn J. Paul, MSLS, AHIP.
- Medical Information on the Internet Tutorial
Medical Information on the Internet: Guide for Health Reporters and Consumers
is a Web-based tutorial designed by MLA members to lead health reporters and
consumers to quality health care information on the Internet.
Find a Medical Library
Hospital Quality Resources
National Consumer Health Resources
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Healthcare 411
Healthcare 411 is an audio podcast series produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Using the latest technology, AHRQ shares news and information in the form of concise 60-second audio news programs that feature current research on important health care topics. Healthcare 411 gives consumers information they can use in their health care decision making.
- Centers for Disease Control
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting public health activities in the U.S. CDC seeks to protect health and promote quality of life through the prevention and control of disease, injury, and disability. The web site provides resources on health and safety topics, including diseases and conditions, emergency preparedeness and response, environmental health, healthy living, life stages and populations, injury, violence and safety, travelers' health, and workplace safety and health.
- Guide to Information on Government Health Care Services (from the September 2010 issue of MLA News)
Developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), this online tool helps consumers take control of their health care by connecting them to new information and resources by accessing quality, affordable health care coverage. It provides consumers with both public and private health coverage options tailored specifically for their needs in a single, east-to-use tool.
- Your Health Record
Resources on how to access and understand your medical records, from the American
Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
- The Joint Commission
The Joint Commission has developed several public service announcements that are now airing on The Joint Commission's YouTube chanel. These animated videos are intended to encourage patients to speak up and be active participants in their health care and address topics including "Taking Medication Safely" and "Speak Up at the Doctor's Office."
- National Library of Medicine Resources for the Public (NLM)
NLM, part of the National Institutes of Health, provides extensive online consumer health information resources in both English and Spanish through MedlinePlus®. MedlinePlus has comprehensive, up-to-date, easy-to-read information on nearly 800 health topics. It also provides interactive health tutorials and a collection of surgery videos. It features information on thousands of prescription and over-the-counter medicines and alternative treatments such as herbals. Other NLM resources for the public include:
- MedlinePlus Magazine
NLM oversees the production of this publication of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that provides reliable, up-to-date
health information, describes the latest breakthroughs from
NIH-supported research, and features people from all walks of life
talking about how they've handled their health challenges.
Tutorial on Evaluating Internet Health Information
A sixteen-minute tutorial (requires a Flash 6 browser plugin) on evaluating
health Websites takes you step-by-step through a process to help you decide
if health information on a Website is credible.
- ClinicalTrials.gov provides the public with comprehensive information about all types of clinical research studies. The site has over 71,000 protocol records sponsored by the US government, the pharmaceutical industry, and academic and international organizations, in all 50 states and 165 countries.
- NLM's Household Products Database provides easy-to-understand data in consumer-friendly language on the potential health effects of more than 2,000 ingredients contained in more than 7,000 common household products.
- Tox Town® points out many harmful substances and environmental hazards not only in a town but in a port, a big city, a farm, and the US-Mexico border area. The Division has also created a series of information portals targeted to special populations, including Native Americans, Asian Americans, and those living in the Arctic.
- ToxMystery is an interactive Web site for children ages 7-10, teaches users about potential chemical hazards in a home. There is also a Spanish-language version (click on "español") of this lively interface.
A symptom-checker consisting of a virtual doctor who conducts interviews, analyzes symptoms, and provides expert advice.
- "Patient Care Partnership"
Replacing the American Hospital Association's (AHA) Patients' Bill of Rights, this plain language brochure informs patients about what they should expect during their hospital stay with regard to their rights and responsibilities. Available in multiple languages.
- U.S. Surgeon General's Family
Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and other
blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you
may be at risk and take action to keep you and your family healthy. Download
Family Health Portrait" software and create a family tree of health
issues to discuss with your doctor.
Special Resources for Older Adults
Aging in the Know
Created by the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging (FHA), Aging in the Know offers up-to-date information for consumers on health and aging.
National Institutes of Health Seniorhealth.gov
Special resources and accessibility to health information for older adults
MLA Senior Seminars