Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
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.
Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
“Not so long ago, most people thought that the only good microbe was a dead microbe. But then scientists started to realize that even though some bugs can make us sick and even kill us, most don’t. In fact, in the past decade attitudes about the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes living all over our bodies has almost completely turned around. Now scientists say that not only are those microbes often not harmful, we can’t live without them.”
These words, from a recent feature story on National Public Radio, “Staying Healthy May Mean Learning to Love Our Microbiomes,” are part of the rationale behind the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Microbiome Project (HMP). “The vast majority of them are beneficial and actually essential to health,” says Lila Proctor, program director for the HMP. The project is identifying microbes on key body parts, including the nose, gut, mouth and skin, in order to get a better sense of the microbes’ role in human health. While scientists have known for a long time that humans depend on microbes to digest food, there is a growing realization that they’re really like an “11th organ system.”
This week, scientists from NIH and research institutions are gathering in Bethesda, MD, to discuss to discuss the human microbiome and its relationship to disease and human health, including obesity, behavior, heart disease and cancer. Human Micorbiome Science: Vision for the Future, takes place July 24 – 26, 2013. The meeting will also be broadcast live.
This expanding view of the microbiome is changing how some people think about humans — not as individual entities but as what Rosamond Rhodes, philosopher and bioethecists calls a “supraorganism.”
Thursday, July 18th, 2013
WebJunction.org will host a webinar on Friday, July 26, 2013 from11:00 a.m – 12:00 noon CT, regarding plans to provide library staff with resources to respond to increased patron information needs related to the Affordable Care Act. This webinar will present similar information to what was covered during a session at the American Library Association annual conference in June, as well as newly available details.
Currently, registration for this event is full, but the session will be archived for future viewing. For more information, visit: http://www.webjunction.org/events/webjunction/Libraries_and_Health_Insurance_Preparing_for_October_1.html
For more information about the ACA and the role of libraries, see: http://www.ala.org/tools/affordable-care-act .
Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
Patient safety in hospitals is a topic important to everyone, but it can be difficult to understand all of the issues involved. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Patient Safety Network provides a series of Patient Safety Primers to guide people through key concepts in patient safety: http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primerHome.aspx
There are over 20 Primers available. Some of the topics are:
- Adverse Events after Hospital Discharge: Nearly 20% of patients experience an adverse event in the first 3 weeks after discharge, including medication errors, health care–associated infections, and procedural complications. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=11
- Checklists: Though a seemingly simple intervention, checklists have played a leading role in the most significant successes of the patient safety movement, including the near-elimination of central line–associated bloodstream infections in many intensive care units. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=14
- Diagnostic Errors: Thousands of patients die every year due to diagnostic errors. While clinicians’ cognitive biases play a role in many diagnostic errors, underlying health care system problems also contribute to missed and delayed diagnoses. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=12
- Disruptive and Unprofessional Behavior: Popular media often depicts physicians as brilliant, intimidating, and condescending in equal measures. This stereotype obscures the fact that disruptive and unprofessional behavior by clinicians poses a definite threat to patient safety. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=15
- Error Disclosure: Many victims of medical errors never learn of the mistake, because the error is simply not disclosed. Physicians have traditionally shied away from discussing errors with patients, due to fear of precipitating a malpractice lawsuit and embarrassment and discomfort with the disclosure process. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=2
- Nursing and Patient Safety: Nurses play a critical role in patient safety through their constant presence at patient’s bedside. However, staffing issues and suboptimal working conditions can impede nurses’ ability to detect and prevent adverse events. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=22
- Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, and Wrong-Patient Surgery: Few medical errors are as terrifying as those that involve patients who have undergone surgery on the wrong body part, undergone the incorrect procedure, or had a procedure intended for another patient. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=18
Patients also have a part to play in ensuring that they have safe healthcare, as described in the following Primer:
- The Role of the Patient in Safety: Efforts to engage patients in safety efforts have focused on three areas: enlisting patients in detecting adverse events, empowering patients to ensure safe care, and emphasizing patient involvement as a means of improving the culture of safety. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=17
Would you like to know more? Go here for the complete list of Patient Safety Primers http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primerHome.aspx
Thursday, July 11th, 2013
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been much in the news recently, and, in fact, received a great deal of press at the recent American Library Association Annual Conference (ALA) held June 28 – July 2 in Chicago. It is becoming evident that libraries, particularly public libraries, will be called upon to serve a role in the rollout of the ACA. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has been in conversations with several government agencies regarding this role, which continues to develop. A panel presented at ALA, “Libraries & Health Insurance”, was presented by Jackie Garner, Medicaid consortium administrator; Susan Hildreth, director of Institute of Museum and Library Services; Ruth Holst, associate director at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Kendra Morgan, senior program manager, OCLC WebJunction . For more information about the ACA and the Role of Libraries, see: http://www.ala.org/tools/affordable-care-act .
For the present, key points to know include:
Healthcare.gov is the primary website for information about the Affordable Care Act. This site includes questions and answers, videos, and will have links to a toll free call center in many languages, as well as links to actual forms.
MedlinePlus has numerous links to information about the ACA under the “Health Insurance” Health Topics page.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released two discussion papers related to the ACA: “Helping Consumers Understand and Use Health Insurance in 2014″ and “Let’s Ask 4: Questions for Consumers and Providers About Health Insurance”
Libraries and information providers are encouraged to link users to information provided by Healthcare.gov. In anticipation of the upcoming open enrollment period, Healthcare.gov has created several widgets and badges in English and Spanish to quickly link website visitors to additional information. Code for the widgets and badges is provided and can quickly be added to websites such as demonstrated in the example below.