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Vol 12 No 2 – October 2013

Veteran’s Health Information Resources

Veterans and their family members need reliable health information resources sensitive and pertinent to their needs. They are unique community members with unique life events and experiences. Many of the skills and coping mechanisms veterans developed during service may prove counterproductive or be misunderstood in civilian life. This, in addition to physical injuries and mental health issues, can make readjustment challenging for the individual, family members, and health providers.

Military Health Issues

Our nation’s nearly 24 million veterans have greater rates of obesity and diabetes, and over one-third suffer from arthritis. Suicide rates among veterans are 7-8 times higher than the general population – 1 nearly every 65 minutes. Military personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan survived wounds in numbers far greater than in previous wars – some 48,000 – due to advances in body armor, combat medicine, and improved evacuation procedures. However, the injuries sustained – traumatic brain injury, amputation, blindness, spinal cord injuries, and burns – require sophisticated, comprehensive, and often lifetime care. Mental health issues, like post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), are being reported in high numbers of returning service members. Veterans injured in these two wars were more than twice as likely as those uninjured to have difficulty readjusting to civilian life, and nearly half stated strains in family relationships and frequent outbursts of anger. By the end of 2010, 2.15 million service members had been deployed, and of those returning:

  •  23% suffered from mild traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  •  20% from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  •  37% from depression
  •  39% reported problems with alcohol (more…)
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Calculating the Value of Libraries

In 2008, Barb Jones and Betsy Kelly, the Library Advocacy and Assessment and Evaluation Coordinators respectively, developed a calculator (http://nnlm.gov/mcr/evaluation/calculator.html) for demonstrating the economic value of library services. The concept had been used by state and public libraries to show the benefit, in tax dollars, the user received during a visit to the library. Our calculator turned that idea on its side to allow librarians to use data they were likely already collecting to illustrate the value they return to their institutions. We thought it would be interesting to try to get a picture of the value of services provided by health sciences libraries nationwide so we decided to invite librarians to enter their data in the online form and submit the results to us. Over the past five years we have received usable data from 213 libraries across the U.S., in Canada, and a few other countries. (more…)

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Overcoming Barriers:

Strategies for Increasing Internet Access to Restricted Resources

Social media has become an important part of health care for both clinicians and patients. Over half of the smartphone owners in the United States have gathered health information on their phones.1 According to a study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, one in four U.S. physicians now use social media at least daily in clinical practice and 33% found devoting time to social media was an essential use of time, more beneficial than risky, and with high quality information returns.2 Medical libraries are using Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, Facebook, Twitter) to promote their libraries, teach and engage students, and support the research and informational needs of clinical professionals. These activities enhance the library’s visibility and enable them to reach a greater number of users. But there are many health care organizations that limit or completely restrict access to these technologies and hospital and specialized medical libraries are those most affected. (more…)

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