Carol Cahill and Michelle Chapdelaine demonstrate Neighborhood Health Link at the October 2014 HealthFest at Seattle Center
Submitted by Carol Cahill, Research Associate, Center for Community Health and Evaluation, Group Health Research Institute
There is increasing recognition of the role that community resources play in helping people be healthy and the need for stronger linkages between those resources and primary care practices. Neighborhood Health Link (NHLink) is a web-based portal of affordable and high-quality community resources that support people in eating healthy diets, being physically active, and managing chronic conditions such as diabetes. Group Health Community Engagement sponsors NHLink as both a health promotion strategy and a clinical tool, in partnership with the Center for Community Health and Evaluation (CCHE), part of Group Health Research Institute (GHRI).
Some background: Conversations in 2010 with a number of healthcare and public health leaders pointed Group Health in the direction of strengthening clinic-community linkages as a health promotion strategy. During focus groups held in 2011 physicians at three Group Health clinics told us their patients were more likely to use a community resource like Weight Watchers if they knew the exact time and place the program was offered, but that getting information about these resources was a challenge.
To help fill this gap, we built NHLink from scratch and designed it to have both resource andgeographic granularity: Searches point to individual services and programs, such as women-only exercise classes in a particular ZIP code, rather than just to the organizations offering those programs. The database—with a customized interface—is hosted by NorthLight, which provides the platform for a number of statewide information and referral sites, including WIN211. One of NHLink’s special features is the ability to copy a permalink to search results and paste it into a patient’s medical record for later viewing at home.
Neighborhood Health Link was soft-launched in 2012 at a Group Health clinic in south King County. Providers and staff were given one-on-one training and NHLink was showcased at a number of staff meetings and huddles. Usage throughout the year remained disappointingly low, mainly because of lack of time to search for community resources during a patient visit. Updates to the NHLink database were put on hold after a Community Engagement position was eliminated.
In 2013 a GHRI/CCHE investigator received a three-year grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute to pilot a clinic-community liaison role at two Group Health clinics (one in King County and one in Pierce County). An up-to-date and user-friendly NHLink database is a critical tool for success of this project, “Learning to Integrate Neighborhoods and Clinical Care” or LINCC. (Note to Washington readers: the LINCC project will be featured at this year’s WMLA annual meeting.) Community Resource Specialists (CRSs) were hired in summer 2014 to help patients set health goals and link them to community resources. To support this effort, CCHE received a 2014-15 NN/LM PNR Medical Library Pilot Project award to expand and update database content, train users, and engage community partners. Read more »
In 1963, after a meeting between President Kennedy and the National Council of Senior Citizens, May was designated as Senior Citizens Month which eventually came to be called Older Americans Month. Originally it was a time to acknowledge the contributions of older Americans especially those who had defended the United States. Older Americans month is a time to pay tribute the invaluable services and contributions of past and present senior citizens to our communities. It is also a time to be aware of the unique health issues older Americans face as well as realizing the strides that have been made.
When Older Americans month was first established, only 17 million Americans had reached their 65th birthday and almost a third lived in poverty. Today, the average life expectancy is 78.1 years and many service and health programs have been created that focus on older Americans. NIH Senior Health website offers health information resources on topics of importance to the aging population in an easy to understand and user friendly format. It’s also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. To celebrate both observances, go to the National Institute on Aging’s Go4Life to learn how older adults can add physical activity to their daily lives by using tracking tools, tip sheets, and other motivational tools. So, Get Into the Act, this year’s Older Americans Month theme and promote the healthy lives of our older generation!
This is a guest post by Karen Vargas, Evaluation Specialist, Outreach Evaluation Resource Center, National Network of Libraries of Medicine.
Have you ever wanted to be able to use mapping for your outreach needs, but thought that making maps would be too expensive, time-consuming, or just too difficult? The National Library of Medicine has a blog called Community Health Maps: Information on Low Cost Mapping Tools for Community-based Organizations, with the goal of facilitating the use of geographic information system (GIS) mapping by providing information about low cost mapping tools, software reviews, best practices, and the experiences of those who have successfully implemented a mapping workflow as part of their work. The blog is moderated by Kurt Menke, a certified GIS professional.
Here are some examples of the kinds of things you can find on the Community Health Maps blog:
- A short guide for using iForm for field data collection. iForm is an app that can be used on iPads, iPhones and Android devices, and has a free version. Using this app, you could go to different locations, gather data (for example, demographic information about attendance at your program), and view it in tabular or map format.
- A description of a project using youth in the Philippines to collect data on the needs of their communities. Technology + Youth = Change showed how a dozen donated phones helped 30 young adults survey and map information on access to water, electricity, jobs, and more.
- A review of a pilot project done by the Seattle Indian Health Board’s Urban Indian Health Institute on noise pollution and health in the urban environment. One of the goals of the pilot project was to determine whether this kind of data collection and analysis would be feasible with other urban Indian health organizations, so they selected participants who had limited experience with data collection and GIS. The feedback suggested that the GIS software tools were very user-friendly and effective.
Photo credit: Childhood Lead Poisoning Risk Analysis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from the CDC Map Gallery
In response to our December post announcing NN/LM PNR funding opportunities, the following 13 Network members submitted excellent applications for various awards. Here are brief summaries of their funded projects, to be carried out between May 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016 during the final year of the 2011-2016 NN/LM PNR program. Congratulations to all!
Technology Improvement Award
Project Title: Instructional Technology Upgrade
Project Lead: Basia Delawska-Elliott, Medical Library Specialist, Providence St.Vincent Medical Center, Portland, OR
Summary: Providence Health & Services and Swedish Health libraries reorganized at the end of 2014 to provide a system-wide library service involving several facilities in several states. This project will fund purchase of laptops, screencasting software and conferencing/online instruction software for a system-wide training plan to introduce library resources, library services and information literacy to even the most remote Providence and Swedish outposts. The intended outcome is equitable access to library resources across all Providence and Swedish regions and facilities, and greater familiarity with library resources and services by medical and nursing staff, and employees across the Providence Health & Services and Swedish Health regions.
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Today, MedlinePlus (http://medlineplus.gov/) and MedlinePlus en español (http://medlineplus.gov/spanish) released a completely redesigned site with a fresh look and feel.
The new version of MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español uses responsive design for ease of use on any device, whether that is a desktop monitor or mobile touchscreen. Responsive pages automatically change their layout to fit your screen. See our announcement page for more details. Read more »
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces a funding opportunity for small projects to improve access to disaster medicine and public health information for health care professionals, first responders and others that play a role in health-related disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
NLM is soliciting proposals from partnerships in the U.S. that include at least one library and at least one organization that has disaster-related responsibilities, such as health departments, public safety departments, emergency management departments, pre-hospital and emergency medical services, fire/rescue, or other local, regional, or state agencies with disaster health responsibilities; hospitals; faith-based and voluntary organizations active in disaster; and others.
NLM encourages submission of innovative proposals that enhance mutually beneficial collaboration among libraries and disaster-related agencies. For example, projects may increase awareness of health information resources, demonstrate how libraries and librarians can assist planners and responders with disaster-related information needs, show ways in which disaster workers can educate librarians about disaster management, and/or include collaboration among partners in developing information resources that support planning and response to public health emergencies. Summaries of the previous years’ funded projects can be viewed at http://disasterinfo.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc/disasterinfofunding.html.
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