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Why Use MedlinePlus Connect? What Key Informants Say

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) is assisting the NLM with promoting MedlinePlus Connect. An NN/LM task force conducted interviews with 17 key informants representing the broad spectrum of organizations that are involved with EHR implementation.  Following on last week’s post about NLM’s recent MedlinePlus Connect enhancement, I thought some might be interested in the advantages of this service as identified by the informants.  The interviews included discussion with some innovative hospital librarians who are taking advantage of the dynamic EHR environment and finding ways to be involved with meaningful use at their organizations.

Key informants provided insight into the aspects of MedlinePlus Connect that are the major advantages of the service from their perspective:

• The material is evidence-based and updated regularly.

• MedlinePlus links to primary literature, which is becoming increasingly popular among patients as they become more sophisticated in locating health information.

• Patient information is provided in varying reading levels, multi-media formats, and different languages, with an extensive database of Spanish-language materials.

• Health IT professionals will find easy instructions for integrating MedlinePlus Connect into EHRs.

• MedlinePlus Connect allows health organizations to maintain their identifying information when MedlinePlus information is sought.

The fact that MedlinePlus Connect can be added to EHRs at no cost to users was a definite advantage, but key informants cautioned against calling it a “free resource,” a term that has a negative connotation among health professionals. It would be more effective to call it a “non-commercial service paid for by the National Library of Medicine with no cost to users.”

The Meaningful Use measure for providing patient-specific education materials was optional for Stage 1 and becomes a core requirement in Stage 2.  Key informants said that patient portals were the emerging issue of the year as organizations focus on Stage 2 criteria.  The time to promote MedlinePlus Connect is now as we move towards 2014 when Stage 2 implementation begins.

Have you tried implementing MedlinePlus Connect?  Do these advantages ring true to you?

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