Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Healthcare.gov website continue to be much in the news, and several important updates have taken place recently. The Healthcare.gov website has undergone a number of updates related to the numerous technical problems previously encountered, and the site now has a new look. Three options are immediately presented to visitors to the site: See Plans Before I Apply; See If I Can Get Lower Costs; and Apply Now for Health Coverage. The deadline for coverage beginning January 1, 2014 has also been extended to December 23, 2013.
Regular scheduled maintenance to the site has provided software improvements and hardware upgrades such that “90 percent of users are now able to create accounts” (Health Insurance Marketplace update Nov. 27, 2013). In addition to online enrollment, there are still three other options available: via the Marketplace Call Center (1-800-318-2596), completion of a paper application form submitted via mail, and speaking in person to a trained counselor via LocalHelp.Healthcare.gov .
New information regarding the SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) Marketplace is now available at: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/faqs-on-shop-enrollment.pdf .
Organizations identified as Champions for Coverage continue to be added to the growing list, and the NN/LM SCR is now identified as a Champion for Coverage.
Hard copies of materials to distribute throughout enrollment are available at no cost from CMS in limited quantities for order. If you are interested in ordering products, visit: http://productordering.cms.hhs.gov to set up an account to order. However, materials are also available for free to download and print as many as needed.
Additional information and resources on the ACA may be found on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Resources page on the NN/LM SCR website.
Monday, November 25th, 2013
It’s that time of year again! Cooking meals for friends and family is one of the best parts of the holidays–be sure you know how to do it safely.
The four biggest health issues when preparing a turkey include:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven. It’s also important to be aware that turkeys must be thawed at a safe temperature; between 40 and 140°F is when foodborne bacteria multiply the fastest!
As always, be mindful that preparing raw poultry includes the risk of spreading bacteria. Preparation areas (including hands, utensils, and work surfaces) should always be thoroughly cleaned before and after working with the turkey!
From the CDC: “For optimal safety and uniform doneness, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. ” If you decide to cook your stuffing inside the turkey, however, use a food thermometer to make sure it’s been cooked to a safe temperature.
When cooking a turkey, be sure that you use a food thermometer to guarantee that it’s been cooked thoroughly and to a safe temperature (minimum internal temperature of 165°F) . If you are unfamiliar with using a food thermometer, get familiar with them here and learn to calibrate thermometers that haven’t been used in a while.
For more information on food preparation safety, visit the following resources.
Foodsafety.gov — Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
Medline Plus — Food Safety
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service – Leftovers and Food Safety
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — 4 Basic Steps to Food Safety at Home
Monday, November 4th, 2013
Last week, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) released an enhancement to MedlinePlus Connect.
With the enhancement, MedlinePlus Connect will respond to SNOMED CT codes with information from both MedlinePlus and NLM’s Genetics Home Reference (GHR) web site. GHR is the NLM’s web site for consumer information about genetic conditions and the genes or chromosomes related to those conditions. This feature is available exclusively for English SNOMED CT requests. The GHR information will be available using either the MedlinePlus Connect web application or web service.
Additional details are now available in the MedlinePlus Connect technical documentation.
Monday, October 7th, 2013
October 1-31st is Health Literacy Month! Did you know health literacy goes beyond the ability to read (although reading does play a large role)? Health literacy is the ability to get the health information you need, and to understand it. It is also about using the information to make good decisions about your health and medical care.
Here are some great resources that address health literacy!
MedlinePlus Health Literacy page (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthliteracy.html)
- This health topic page from MedlinePlus, a National Library of Medicine resource, not only gives a clear overview of health literacy but also does a nice job of breaking down some of the more specific issues that individuals face. MedlinePlus offers links to tutorials such as “Understanding Medical Words”, ”Creating Easy-to-Read Materials”, and deciphering prescription drug labels.
National Network of Libraries of Medicine Health Literacy Page (http://nnlm.gov/outreach/consumer/hlthlit.html)
- The NN/LM page on health literacy takes the basic information from MedlinePlus one step further. In addition to providing a clear and basic definition, this resource also gives users some statistics regarding the specific populations most affected by low health literacy. Information on research and initiatives being done to improve health literacy is also provided.
NN/LM SCR Health Literacy video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVK9_FkudmQ)
- Created by the NN/LM SCR, this video aims to give a brief overview of health literacy as well as shed light on resources that may be useful when working with low health literacy individuals or groups.
Health Literacy Out Loud (http://www.healthliteracyoutloud.com/)
- From the Health Literacy Out Loud website: “Health Literacy Out Loud (HLOL) podcasts are a lot like radio shows. You can listen in as Helen Osborne interviews those in-the-know about health literacy. You will hear why health literacy matters and learn practical ways to help. Unlike radio shows, you access Health Literacy Out Loud podcasts from the Internet. You simply download the files to a computer, iPod, or other MP3 device and then listen to the podcast whenever, wherever, and however you want.”
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
The wait is over, and the Open Enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins today, October 1, 2013.
Individuals can now go to Healthcare.gov and see the various health coverage options available to them in the Marketplace. The Marketplace is designed to allow individuals to compare coverage, costs and benefits of plans available to them. Coverage begins as soon as January 1, 2014.
Questions? Call 1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY users may call 1-855-889-4325.
Additional information on the Affordable Care Act and other resources of information may be found on the Affordable Care Act Resources page of the NN/LM SCR website.
Monday, September 30th, 2013
Guest Author: Susan Barnes, Assistant Director, NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC), Health Sciences Libraries and Information Center, University of Washington
The 2nd Edition of the Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects series of 3 booklets http://nnlm.gov/evaluation/guides.html#A2 is now available online from the NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC).
Getting Started with Community-Based Outreach (Booklet 1) http://nnlm.gov/evaluation/booklets508/bookletOne508.html
What’s new? More emphasis and background on the value of health information outreach, including its relationship to the Healthy People 2020 Health Communication and Health Information Technology topic areas
Planning Outcomes-Based Outreach Projects (Booklet 2) http://nnlm.gov/evaluation/booklets508/bookletTwo508.html
What’s new? Focus on uses of the logic model planning tool beyond project planning, such as providing approaches to writing proposals and reports.
Collecting and Analyzing Evaluation Data (Booklet 3) http://nnlm.gov/evaluation/booklets508/bookletThree508.html
What’s new? Step-by-step guide to collecting, analyzing, and assessing the validity (or trustworthiness) of quantitative and qualitative data, using questionnaires and interviews as examples.
These are all available free to network members. To request printed copies, send an email to email@example.com. PDF versions of all three booklets are available here: http://nnlm.gov/evaluation/guides.html#A2 .
The Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects series, by Cynthia Olney and Susan Barnes, supplements and summarizes material in Cathy Burroughs’ groundbreaking work from 2000, Measuring the Difference: Guide to Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach. Printed copies of Burroughs’ book are also available free—just send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, September 27th, 2013
The final countdown to Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace has begun! The list of organizations already in place to provide assistance to individuals with the enrollment process continues to grow, and includes Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, Assisters, and Champions for Coverage.
On September 26, OCLC WebJunction announced some updates aimed to help library staff connect patrons to available resources and community experts that can provide assistance.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has soft launched LocalHelp.healthcare.gov, where individuals or organizations can enter their geographic location to identify local ACA consumer assistance destinations in their area. This resource is also available in Spanish at ayudalocal.cuidadodesalud.gov.
If your state is participating in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace [AR, LA, OK, and TX in the SCR], CMS has an online ordering system for print materials. Libraries are welcome to request these print materials from CMS, however, it is important to note that quantities are limited and stock is constantly changing. You will need to create an account to be able to view and order materials. Once you have an account, search on the keyword “marketplace” to see the available publications.
In the near future, CMS expects to add an option to order and/or download print versions of the Federal Application form (not available until open enrollment begins on October 1). While print forms will be an option, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online because they will see real-time eligibility and available health insurance options.
Organizations and businesses (including libraries) who reach consumers who may need coverage can become Champions for Coverage to provide information and education to help people learn more about the Marketplace and how they can enroll. For more information, see: Become a Champion for Coverage. A list of organizations – current as of August 28, 2013 – is available.
In addition, several libraries and organizations in the South Central Region have already been identified. A partial list is provided below:
VC/UHV Library – Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria (Joint Library Services)
Victoria, TX 77901
Phone: 361-570-4166 or toll-free 800-687-5006
New Orleans Public Library
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 596-2570
Bell Whittington Public Library
Portland, TX 78374
Phone: (361) 771-0921
Hood County Library (Texas)
Granbury, TX 76048
Phone: (817) 573-3569
Van Buren Public Library
Van Buren, AR 72596
Phone: (479) 474-6045
Van Alstyne Public Library
Van Alstyne, TX 75495
Phone: (903) 482-5991
Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
Healthcare.gov reminds us that there are now 27 days left until open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Updates to the NN/LM SCR Affordable Care Act (ACA) Resources page have been made recently to reflect updated information now available.
A link is provided to a list of recipients of the Navigator grants for Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces.
Check this page frequently to stay informed on more updates as we get closer to October 1st.
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Guest Author: Donna Timm, Head of Education & Outreach, LSU Health Shreveport Medical Library
Deidra Woodson, Metadata & Digitization Librarian; Dee Jones, Head of Cataloging; and Donna Timm, Head of Education & Outreach, were awarded first place for best research poster at the 2013 Medical Library Association (MLA) Annual Meeting. Their poster, “Playing Online Interactive Games for Health Education: Evaluating Their Effectiveness,” describes their research on health-related online games for children. The poster was selected for the award by MLA’s Research Section from among 162 research posters.
Out of the 46 games evaluated for this project, the 22 that met the evaluation criteria were added to the “For Kids” section of healthelinks, which is LSU Health Shreveport’s consumer health Web site. The games are organized into the following three categories — “Nutrition,” “Exercise,” and “Germs” – and are ready to be played and enjoyed! Also included in the Games section is a link to a page for parents, explaining how these games were selected and evaluated.
The healthelinks was originally created under the auspices of a subcontract award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region (NN/LM SCR). LSU Health Shreveport librarians regularly update the site and feature a variety of resources to support outreach projects funded by the NN/LM SCR.
Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
Yesterday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Young Invincibles announced the Healthy Young America video contest in an effort to inform young people about health insurance coverage and new options under the Affordable Care Act. People can submit entries and vote for their favorite videos at www.healthyyoungamerica.org.
The Affordable Care Act is making health care more affordable and accessible for 19 million uninsured young adults across the country. Young Invincibles and the Department of HHS have created this competition “to tap into the creativity and energy of young Americans while raising awareness about the new law and encouraging young people to take advantage of the benefits of health insurance.”
Videos can be submitted during the five-week period starting on Monday, August 19th. A public voting period will follow to help determine the Finalists in each category, and a final round of voting and judging will determine who takes home the Grand Prize. The contest features a prize pool worth up to $30,000 and over 100 prizes to be awarded in three categories: You Are Not Invincible, Perform a Song! and Animation. More information, including requirements and important dates for submission can be found at the Healthy Young America website. There is even an Early Bird prize which will go to the best video submitted by September 2nd.
More information is also available from the HHS Press Release on August 19, 2013.