Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Online Health Education Collection at McGill University

From the Health Education Collection About Page.

The Health Education Collection published by the McGill University Health Centre contains patient education resources used by healthcare professionals at the MUHC.  [ It also contains resources for Health Professional continuing education / professional development]

This includes reliable and up-to-date information about diseases and conditions, medical procedures and tests, disease prevention and health promotion in general.

This collection includes:

  • Full-text documents created by health care professionals at the McGill University Health Centre.
  • Links to full-text documents created by other reliable organizations on the World Wide Web.
  • Information about resources that are available on-site at the MUHC affiliated hospitals.

There are three ways to search for information in this collection:

  • Quick Search – simply enter your search terms and choose a language.
  • Advanced Search – enter your search terms or search specifically by title or publisher and then limit by language, document type or department origin and even limit to MUHC publications only.
  • Health Topics – look through the list of subjects to find everything available on a particular subject.

Present Feature Resources include My Diabetes and Me and We Care About Your Pain.

The 50+ Health Topics include Arthritis, Hepatitis, Nutrition, and Surgery.

November 18, 2010 Posted by | Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , | Leave a comment

Consumer Health Toolkit for Library Staff

From a Sept 30 announcement by NN/NLM -Southwestern Region (National Network of Libraries of Medicine)

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Consumer Health Toolkit [PDF format] the result of a multi-year collaboration between the California State Library and NN/LM PSR. The Toolkit is a comprehensive professional development resource for librarians and library staff to build their competencies in providing excellent consumer health services to users.


The Toolkit

The Toolkit is divided into six sections. Depending on the library staff person’s position or role, some sections may hold more appeal than others. The final document is 93 pages in length; we are certain that there is something for everyone in this resource.

Core Competencies

The first section, Core Competencies, identifies a set of competencies required to provide quality health information services to the public. The list of eight competencies was written specifically for this Toolkit. This section can be thought of as the foundation, and next four sections provide the necessary skills and knowledge for building solid competencies in consumer health. Library staff will be able to use the list to reflect on their own skills in a particular area. Each of the competencies is supported by materials in the Toolkit.

Health Resources

The Health Resources section is a collection of health information on a variety of topics, all with a focus on healthy living. We know that many health problems can be prevented or minimized if people adopt healthy behaviors, such as eating well, doing physical activities, and taking advantage of preventive health care. People need good information in order to make healthy changes in their daily routines. This section includes carefully selected resources with a focus on prevention of disease and healthy living. While prevention is at the top of the list, resources are also included for coping and living well with chronic conditions.

Early in the planning stage, a decision was made not to include general health information on diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions. Other excellent resources such as already serve this purpose better than we ever could, so this section is intended to be an adjunct to other authoritative resources. Many more quality resources were identified than there was room for in the document. The chosen resources are representative of the best resources available and can be used as examples of quality health information.

Consumer Health Information Services

The Consumer Health Information Services section provides a wealth of resources. This section includes community needs assessments, health reference services, collection development, marketing services, and creating targeted health-related programming for users. Perhaps one of the most useful parts of the entire Toolkit will be the recommended core reference and print series section. Again, the list is not comprehensive, but these titles were carefully chosen by subject specialist librarians as recommended titles for a consumer health collection.

Technology and Health 2.0

The Technology and Health 2.0 section covers the convergence of technology and health information. People are using the Internet not only to find health and medical information, but they are also sharing information with others. Librarians may be uncomfortable recommending sites where the information is user-generated, but we need to accept the trend. People are using sites in this way, and there is evidence that it is useful for many. While some of the content on these online resources is contributed by patients and health consumers, the chosen sites adhere to strict privacy guidelines and other important criteria. This section provides information and links to resources that you can trust, along with tips on talking to your patrons about the pros and cons of utilizing information from social sites for health information.

This section also covers new technologies and formats for delivery of health information, such as audio, video, and content optimized for mobile devices. Numerous podcasts from authoritative sources are recommended. Resources and information in the section will help librarians understand and evaluate new mechanisms for health information sharing and delivery, so they can feel comfortable in recommending certain sites and content when appropriate.

Workplace Wellness

The Workplace Wellness section includes guidelines and helpful resources for setting up wellness strategies and programs in libraries, businesses and organizations. One goal of this work is to bring awareness of healthy behaviors, and to promote the concept of libraries as healthy places, thereby leading to healthy communities. It is our hope that library managers and staff will embrace the notion of wellness, not only in the workplace, but in our personal lives as well.

Resources for Health Care Professionals

The final section includes carefully selected resources for health professionals, including health literacy curricula, improving communication with patients, and resources to improve cultural competency. Additionally, the entire Toolkit is intended to bring awareness to health professionals that public libraries are reliable sources of health information for patients and consumers, due to training and knowledge of authoritative health resources. The original survey findings indicated that clinicians may not be aware of training librarians receive or be doubtful of the quality of the health information that is provided to users. Creating partnerships with health care professionals and health-related organizations can improve the health literacy and quality of life in the entire community. Health professionals will also benefit from exposure to quality health resources that are appropriate for their patients.


October 7, 2010 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

Locating Health and Medical Information – An Updated Library of Congress Guide

This Science Reference Guide includes information in the following areas

October 6, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Case for a National Patient Library (Analysis and Commentary)

Recent article describes the benefits of providing consumer patient information in many areas of health care.

Interesting to note that, according to recent postings at Medlib-L (a listserv for medical librarians), there is no mention of roles for librarians.

Full text of this article is by subscription only, however it may be freely available at your local public or academic library.
Call ahead and ask for a reference librarian.

The abstract from the journal Health Affairs (v. 29, no. 10 [2010]: 1914-1919)

A national patient library that stored and communicated findings from research on the comparative effectiveness of health services could be a valuable resource for patients and clinicians. It could assist in improving the quality of health care and helpreduce inappropriate costs. Public confidence in a national patient library would require that its activities be insulated from government as well as from professional, provider, payer, and commercial groups and advocacy organizations. This article describes why such a library is possible and desirable, what it would do for whom, how it could be governed and financed, and how it could overcome initial challenges.

October 6, 2010 Posted by | Health Education (General Public), Health News Items | , , , | Leave a comment

Consumer Health Guide by Hardin Library Debuts

Hardin Library (University of Iowa) recently revamped its consumer health Web pages using the LibGuide format.
Use the tabs near near the top of the page to access a multitude of resources under the headings of Patient Resources, Health Topics, Addiction/Substance Abuse, Child Health & Development and Mental Health Issues. 

Click here for a news story about this Web page’s development.

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | | Leave a comment

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Focus on Research and Care

[From ]


In a recent US government newsletter, recent studies on the benefits of fish oil, cranberry juice, and probiotics were highlighted.

Research funded by the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine enables scientists to study the effects of many natural and complementary medicine products and substances. Omega‑3 supplementation in studies lasting at least a year seem to be beneficial in reducing risk for only specific heart ailments  (as recent heart attack)and thus cardiovascular deaths and overall mortality. 

Recent intermediary level trials involving humans seem to suggest cranberry reduces infections through removing available iron in a person’s body that bacteria needs to live. Also, probiotics (which are living microorganisms living in the human body that may confer health benefits) may prove useful in reducing or preventing gastrointestinal illnesses as diarrhea.

June 7, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Two New MedlinePlus Items of Note

MedlinePlus is a goldmine of links to free and trusted health and medical Web sites.
It is sponsored by the US National Library of Medicine and the US National Institutes of Health.

—->Recently MedlinePlus has added a Medical Ethics page with links to overviews, news items, specific conditions, and news articles.

Additionally, a  good list of Medical Ethics Web sites from the College of the Holy Cross is available here.

—->MedlinePlus is undergoing a major Web site redesign. Check here for details and the opportunity to provide feedback.

May 26, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment


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