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InfoRx

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About MedlinePlus | About the National Network of Libraries of Medicine | About the Information Rx Project

About MedlinePlus

  • Why use and refer patrons and patients to MedlinePlus? Answer
  • What are the most frequently encountered misconceptions about referring patients to MedlinePlus? Answer
  • Is MedlinePlus free? Answer
  • What is the literacy level of MedlinePlus? Answer
  • How are websites selected for MedlinePlus? Answer
  • What is the difference between MedlinePlus, MEDLINE, and PubMed? Answer
  • Who funds MedlinePlus? Answer
  • How do I link to MedlinePlus from my homepage? Answer

About the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

  • What is the National Network of Libraries of Medicine? Answer
  • How can I be listed as a consumer health library in MedlinePlus? Answer
  • Can Public Libraries join the National Network of Libraries of Medicine? Answer

About the Information Rx Project

  • What is NLM? Answer
  • What is the ACP Foundation? Answer
  • What is the Information Rx Project? Answer
  • Who can participate in the Information Rx Project? Answer
  • Where can patients fill their Information Rx Prescriptions? Answer
  • Where can I get promotional materials? Answer
  • Who should I contact for help or questions about Information Rx? Answer

FAQs

Why use and refer patrons and patients to MedlinePlus?

MedlinePlus is a free, full text resource that links to other reliable and up-to-date free and full text resources (such as the American Heart Association). MedlinePlus is recommended by physicians and was designed to specifically meet the needs of patients, families and the public. Currently, MedlinePlus is one of the two highest rated websites surveyed by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which monitors many of the most popular commercial, non-profit, and governmental websites. MedlinePlus also is available in Spanish.

What are the most frequently encountered misconceptions about referring patients to MedlinePlus?

Is MedlinePlus free?

MedlinePlus is free. All of NLM's databases are completely free of charge. MedlinePlus only links to free websites that do not require registration.

What is the literacy level of MedlinePlus?

MedlinePlus offers easy-to-understand information deliberately targeted to a wide range of literacy levels. For lower literacy, MedlinePlus offers Interactive Health Tutorials (for a list of tutorials, visit www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorial.html) with animation and audio, as well as specifically designated Easy-to-Read pages (for a list of these pages, visit www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/easytoread/all_easytoread.html).

For consumers who are seeking more detailed, advanced information, MedlinePlus offers links to specific sites on health topics, as well as links to pre-formulated searches of PubMed. PubMed retrieves the latest research and clinical articles published in more than 4,600 research biomedical journals.

For additional assistance in locating low-literacy materials, contact a consumer health library in your area (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/libraries.html).

How are websites selected for MedlinePlus?

Website selection is based on carefully considered guidelines (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/criteria.html). MedlinePlus primarily lists resources within the United States, and features government websites. The contents of all health topic pages are reviewed at least every six months, and web links are checked daily.

What is the difference between MedlinePlus, MEDLINE, and PubMed?

MedlinePlus is a free web resource designed for consumers with the intent of providing reliable, accurate health information to the public. The information on MedlinePlus ranges in literacy levels to accommodate a wide variety of users. This site contains pages of carefully selected links to free full-text web resources with authoritative health information, including dictionaries, directories, organizations, news sources and more than 700 health topics geared towards patients, families, and the public.

MedlinePlus provides access to a medical encyclopedia and dictionary, drug information and current health news and more. MedlinePlus/esp is the Spanish website.

MEDLINE is a database of over 14 million article citations published in more than 4,800 biomedical journals, used primarily by researchers and clinicians, and uses NLM's controlled vocabulary, MeSH®, and Publication Types to index each article (www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/meshhome.html). MEDLINE can be searched for free using NLM's PubMed search system.

PubMed is a free, web-based search system, produced by NLM's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). In addition to providing access to MEDLINE, PubMed provides access to:

  • Out-of-scope citations (e.g., articles on plate tectonics or astrophysics) from certain MEDLINE journals, primarily general science and chemistry journals, for which the life sciences articles are indexed for MEDLINE.
  • Citations that precede the date that a journal was selected for MEDLINE indexing.
  • Some additional life science journals that submit full-text to PubMed Central and receive a qualitative review by NLM.
  • Provides links to some full-text journal articles via publishers' Web pages. Publisher access to articles varies by publishers, some providing free access while others charge for the article or require a subscription.

From: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/faq/difference.html.

Who funds MedlinePlus?

MedlinePlus is a service of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a public agency, NLM is supported by annual appropriations from the United States Congress.

How do I link to MedlinePlus from my homepage?

Libraries, participating physicians and hospitals may wish to link to MedlinePlus from their homepage to provide patients with quick, easy access to MedlinePlus. For details on how to place a link to MedlinePlus on a website, please look at the instructions at www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/linking.html.

What is the National Network of Libraries of Medicine?

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) is a nationwide network of over 5,000 member libraries. These include academic medical libraries, hospitals, pharmaceutical and other special health sciences libraries, and a growing number of public libraries with consumer health collections. For more information, visit the NN/LM site at http://nnlm.gov/.

How can I be listed as a consumer health library in MedlinePlus?

The first step is to join the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) nnlm.gov. There are no membership fees. NN/LM members may select the option to register their library as a consumer health library to be listed on the MedlinePlus Find a Library page. For information on how to join the National Network and register as a consumer health library, go to the NN/LM Membership page at nnlm.gov/about.

Can Public Libraries join the National Network of Libraries of Medicine?

Yes, public libraries can become members of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM). Membership in the NN/LM offers libraries access to a network of more than 5,100 libraries across the nation, offers interlibrary loan, free training and funding opportunities for a wide variety of programs. To learn more about becoming a member of the NN/LM, visit nnlm.gov/about.

What is NLM?

NLM is the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. NLM is one of four national libraries (the are the Library of Congress, the National Agriculture Library, and the National Education Library). In contrast to the other three libraries, NLM is uniquely mandated by the United States Congress to collect and disseminate biomedical information. NLM is funded by Congress and is open to the public.

What is the ACP Foundation?

The ACP Foundation is the American College of Physicians Foundation, part of the American College of Physicians. The ACP Foundation exists to support the mission of the American College of Physicians and to improve the health of the public through the creation and support of programs in education, research, service, and professionalism. To learn more about the ACP Foundation visit their site (foundation.acponline.org)

What is the Information Rx Project?

The National Library of Medicine and the American College of Physicians Foundation created Information Rx to educate physicians about MedlinePlus and to foster their support to refer patients to MedlinePlus for reliable, understandable health information. The project provides information prescription pads as well as other materials in order to make it easy for physicians to refer their patients to MedlinePlus.

Who can participate in the Information Rx Project?

The project focuses on ACP member physicians as the main group for outreach, although any health professional who works directly with patients may participate. Members of the American College of Physicians and other health professionals who wish to write information prescriptions can participate in the program by registering at www.InformationRx.org.

Where can patients fill their Information Rx Prescriptions?

Patients only need Internet access, not a pharmacist, to fill their Information Rx prescriptions. MedlinePlus is available anywhere a patient has Internet access, such as the public library or their own home. MedlinePlus provides free access to reliable health information to all Internet users.

If you do not have internet access from home, try your local public library. Public libraries provide free access to the Internet, and many libraries offer classes in using computers and the Internet, as well as classes on finding and evaluating health information on the Internet.

Where can I get promotional materials?

Libraries, ACP physicians, and other non-ACP physicians can request promotional materials at www.InformationRx.org. Please order more materials before you need them, orders will be shipped out within five business days of being received. Libraries can order promotional materials in bulk so they can distribute materials to physicians in their area.

Whom should I contact for help or questions about Information Rx?

You should contact the NN/LM for assistance with implementing Information Rx in your organization; have questions about ordering materials; other general questions. While NLM and the ACP Foundation were initially involved in the development of this project, it's implementation is now managed by NN/LM. For specific contact information, visit About Us.