EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

Tag Archives: Patient Education

News, Patient Education, Teaching & Learning in Medicine: October is Health Literacy Month


October is National Medical Librarians Month in the U.S.

The theme for 2010 is Health Literacy

Here is a screenshot of the poster created by Medical Library Association for this event:

Image credit: Medical Library Association – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

Health science librarians are in a unique position to work with patients and their families who seek current, credible and authoritative medical information in order to learn more about their recent diagnosis, review options for choosing treatments, or to anticipate changes in their lifestyle or living situations after treatment has ended (as examples).

Medical Library Association (MLA), a nonprofit educational organization with 5,000 members worldwide, has devoted time and care over the past decade to develop websites and resource guides specifically targeted at training librarians who provide information services to patients or family members. Their Health Information Literacy page can be viewed at http://www.mlanet.org/resources/healthlit/

One of the larger special interest sections sponsored by MLA is Consumer and Patient Information Section (or CAPHIS). A related program directed by MLA staff is the Consumer Health Information initiative, and in 2007, the association created a formal certificate program in that specialty for information professionals.

Open to everyone on the MLA website are topic pages about educational resources. Here are two examples: Resources for Health Consumers and Deciphering Medspeak which links to medical terminology handouts (in English or Spanish languages), online medical dictionary, a prescription shorthand guide and a list of the “Top Ten Most Useful Medical Websites” for patients.


For those pursuing research on strategies to address Low Health Literacy, Health Disparities or Health of Minority Populations, some valuable step-savers are available on the PubMed Special Queries” which provide links to pre-formulated, highly specific search statements (or search queries) that can be run singly in PubMed or combined with other relevant subject searches.

Below are screenshots from two Special Queries websites: Health Literacy and for Health Disparities & Minority Health Populations


Image credit(s): National Library of Medicine – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010


Other teaching or service organizations that offer patient-centered tutorials, podcasts or written information addressing disparities in health care delivery can be found on this very brief list:

  • From a workshop in 2008 sponsored by Society for General Internal Medicine (SGIM), read a 3-page handout on teaching “Health Literacy for the Clinician Educator“at this link. There are many useful links in the bibliography section of this report.


Finally: In May 2010, a 73-page report detailing a National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy was announced by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Resources, Division of Health Literacy. Following is an excerpt from that HHS website, explaining this public health initiative:

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Limited health literacy affects people of all ages, races, incomes, and education levels, but the impact of limited health literacy disproportionately affects lower socioeconomic and minority groups. “
” It affects people’s ability to search for and use health information, adopt healthy behaviors, and act on important public health alerts. Limited health literacy is also associated with worse health outcomes and higher costs….   ”
” This report contains seven goals that will improve health literacy and suggests strategies for achieving them: Develop and disseminate health and safety information that is accurate, accessible, and actionable ; promote changes in the health care system that improve health information, communication, informed decision-making, and access to health services ; incorporate accurate, standards-based and developmentally appropriate health and science information and curricula in child care and education through the university level ; support and expand local efforts to provide adult education, English language instruction, and culturally and linguistically appropriate health information services in the community ; build partnerships, develop guidance, and change policies ; increase basic research and the development, implementation, and evaluation of practices and interventions to improve health literacy and increase the dissemination and use of evidence-based health literacy practices and interventions“.
Text Source: http://www.health.gov/communication/HLActionPlan/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

News, Public Health, Public Service: H1N1 Fact Page from Ebsco

This year, Ebsco Publishing has created an evidence-based medicine source for current factual diagnostic or treatment information for H1N1 influenza virus, written for clinicians, nurses and the general public.

This site is open to anyone in the world to access, at no cost.  Following is a brief description found on the front page of Ebsco Publishing Influenza Evidence-Based Information Portal:

Due to Pandemic H1N1 Influenza (formerly known as Swine Flu) and concerns about the 2009/2010 flu season, the EBSCO Publishing Medical and Nursing editors of DynaMed, Nursing Reference Center™ (NRC) and Patient Education Reference Center™ (PERC) have made key influenza information from these resources freely available to health care providers worldwide. The information is designed to inform patients and their families, and provide information to clinicians to help them with H1N1 diagnosis and H1N1 treatment by making up-to-date diagnosis and treatment information availableThis site includes more than 50 evidence-based topics including patient education information in 17 languages.”

Source/ text credit: http://www.ebscohost.com/flu/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

As shown in this screenshot below, there are sections written for clinicians, nurses and patients.

Photo credit: http://www.ebscohost.com/flu/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

If you treat patients who speak Arabic, French, German, Hindi, Chinese (traditional or simplified), Japanese, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Farsi, Polish, Tagalog, Vietnamese (or English), this is an excellent free resource – bookmark it!

Thanks to Ebsco for producing this EBM influenza page.

Consumer/Patient Health, Education, News: Clinicians Communicating with Diverse Patient Populations

An intriguing (and somewhat elusive) reference question from a faculty member a few months ago was: how to measure whether clinicians in the U.S. are providing “culturally competent care” to their patients who may hail from diverse cultural backgrounds. This proved to be a challenging search. I recap some of the websites which were useful to this question below. Each of these sources are freely available, open access.

  • Sponsored by the American Medical Association Foundation and the American Medical Association, Dr. Barry Weiss wrote a 67-page manual entitled “Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Help Patients Understand – Manual for Clinicians (2nd edition). The report is available online at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/367/healthlitclinicians.pdf
  • CulturedMed presents a wide-ranging group of resources; the page is sponsored by State University of New York Institute of Technology (which offers degree programs in Health Services Management). On this site is a list – compiled by a librarian – of health materials in languages other than English.
  • The EthnoMed site “contains information about cultural beliefs, medical issues and other related issues pertinent to the health care of recent immigrants to Seattle or the U.S., many of whom are refugees fleeing war-torn parts of the world“. The guides are produced by volunteer physicians, residents and librarians.
  • Coalition for Health Communications (CHC) is a consortium group made up of the Health Communications divisions of American Public Health Association, International Communication Association and National Communications Association.
  • Health information in more than 80 languages can be searched and printed out from the website run by Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN), which describes itself as a “national collaborative partnership managed by refugee health professionals, whose objective is to provide quality multilingual, health information resources for those providing care to resettled refugees and asylees“. All materials available on the RHIN website are freely available.
  • Also found on the RHIN site: A recent report written by Kate Flewelling, a National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow, entitled “Addressing the Need for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Health Information for Newly Arriving Refugee Populations“. Click this link to read her 27-page report released in Aug 2008 (PDF).


On the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) there are a variety of links regarding culturally competent health care. Here are a few of those subject specific pages:


Finally, in consideration of learning complex folkways and routines in daily American life that immigrant families must master, here are two sites providing supporting information and sources for referrals about ‘acculturation’:

  • Bridging Refugee Youth and Childrens’ Services (BRYCS). This website provides many diverse information sources for individuals or families who may be in need of referrals to social services, counseling, settling into a community or other activities of daily life. As a librarian, I found their subject-specific Annotated Bibliography links very informative.