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Archive for November, 2013

Project: Health and Wellness Programs in the Workplace: The Role of Medical Librarians in Displaying the Value of NLM Resources and Services

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

SIS and the NLM’s Office of Health Information Programs Development funded a pilot project with the University of Tennessee Medical Center Knoxville Preston Medical Library which involved the Alcoa Aluminum Company and the UT hospital’s wellness program to develop a “model” for employee benefits outreach that would include information on MedlinePlus.  The project was presented at the recent MLA Southern Chapter meeting.  Below is the abstract for the project and links to additional information and the toolkit.


Title: Health and Wellness Programs in the Workplace: The Role of Medical Librarians in Displaying the Value of NLM Resources and Services

Authors: Ann Gonzalez, MSI, JD, Sandy Oelschlegel, MLIS, AHIP, Library Director, Associate Professor; Preston Medical Library, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine and UT Health Science Center, Knoxville, TN

Question: To determine the most effective way to partner with employee benefits and occupational health personnel in the industrial sector in order to display the value of National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources and medical library services to industry employees who participate in employee wellness programs.

Setting: Preston Medical Library (PML), located at a 600‐bed academic medical center, has provided the Consumer & Patient Health Information Service (CAPHIS) and outreach to community groups and employees at local businesses for more than twenty years.

Method: An award was funded through the NLM for PML to develop a toolkit for medical libraries to use when reaching out to industry partners. Upon receipt of the funding PML began researching and collecting data on appropriate NIH and NLM resources for the selected industry partner. PML met with the Alcoa wellness contact to ascertain which resources and services would fit their needs.

Main results: Subsequent to meeting with the Alcoa wellness contact the following were developed: a series of newsletter pieces (7), biometric screening‐specific handouts, and “Your Wellness Moment” video files (7). Two health fairs were attended at Alcoa plants. An estimated 33% (n=116) and 44% (n=111) of attendees at the two fairs interacted with the PML booth and took informational material about our Consumer Health Information Service and Medline Plus magazines. Several attendees asked for more information on specific topics. To supplement the newsletter and video material, a LibGuide was created specifically for Alcoa. Another LibGuide, based on this material, was published for all types of businesses. Finally, a toolkit to assist medical libraries in reaching out to industry partners was created.




Conclusion:  We have had the opportunity to make a number of observations over the course of this project that will be useful to other medical libraries. The resources made available through NIH/NLM are viewed as valuable additions to the information currently disseminated by business wellness personnel.  Once aware of the resources, those personnel are likely to incorporate use of the NIH/NLM resources into their existing wellness programs. For that reason, there is merit in continuing to support outreach to businesses.

However, several constraints exist which should be considered.  In large national or international corporations, approval processes for implementing local or regional changes to wellness programming may require several months. Conditions such as economic constraints or business expansion will take priority and consume company resources that might have been planned for implementing changes or additions to the wellness program. Access to employees for assessment of the outreach, while ideal, is difficult due to work schedules, union rules, and general reluctance of the employees to participate. It is also likely that wellness personnel will be unavailable to participate in wellness outreach during the open enrollment period for insurance, which may vary by company.


Sandy Oelschlegel, MLIS, AHIP
Director, Preston Medical Library
Associate Professor
P: 865-305-6615

Why Use MedlinePlus Connect?

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

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.  

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?

2014 Request for Proposals

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Believe it or not it’s time for us to start planning our budget for the next contract year. To facilitate this planning we have posted a Request for Proposals for funds covering the period of May 1, 2014-April 30, 2015. You can find the full announcement here: The number of awarded projects and amount of funding available is contingent upon NLM funding for NER’s FY2014/15 budget year. Please look over the information carefully and if you are thinking of a project or have an idea and want someone to bounce the idea off of give us a call. We are happy to help.

IMPORTANT: Please let us know by December 11, 2013 if you will be applying. Proposals are due January 3, 2014.

There are three categories of funding:

Express Outreach Awards

  • Express Outreach is the broad category of awards for projects involving community outreach, professional development, and instructional design.
  • Library Services to Health Agencies Awards supports outreach to health related organizations based on the unit cost of services (document delivery, reference consultations, and training sessions) to be provided.
  • Member Program Awards is for development of a training program directed at health information professionals or healthcare providers in areas related to health information access.
  • Community Preparedness is for collaborative planning or promotion of community resources for emergency preparedness.
  • Community Engagement Awards support short-term outreach projects that involve advancing health information resources in collaboration with local community groups. These projects are smaller than extensive outreach subcontracts.
  • Exhibits Awards are for members’ participation at venues that promote health information resources. Funds support registration and fees, travel, and related expenses. Members can promote their local library resources while promoting the National Library of Medicine.
  • Health Information Research Awards supports the development and implementation of a      project investigating outcomes related to health information      interventions.
  • Library Digitization Awards enable libraries to increase accessibility within and without the institution of local collections that are not currently available for use.
  • Technology Improvement Awards is for supporting equipment purchases to broaden electronic access to health information.

Knowledge Management Projects

The primary purpose of the Knowledge Management Project funding is to stimulate innovations in biomedical knowledge management and information services at the health care institution or health system level. The intent of funding is to assist network members in the establishment of Healthcare Knowledge Service Centers within their healthcare institutions.


The primary purpose of the Health Information Outreach Subcontract is to assist Network members and other health-related agencies in their efforts to provide information services and training to audiences not normally reached. Targeted health care workers and consumers should be engaged in one or more of the following:

  • Working with members of special populations who seek health information;
  • Practicing in medically underserved urban or rural areas; and/or
  • Serving in state, county or local public health offices or settings.

In addition, Health Information Outreach Subcontracts are offered to:

  • Identify areas or populations that are in need of better health information services.
  • Provide access to health information resources to health workers and consumers lacking convenient access to quality      information resources.
  • Increase the awareness and use of National Library of Medicine health information resources.
  • Expand the Network’s health information delivery to include the public health work force.
  • Strengthen the Network by developing the role of librarians as health information mediators.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Mary Piorun, MSLS, MBA
Associate Director,
University of Massachusetts Medical School
P) 508/856-2223


Health library study indicates $9 return for every dollar invested

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Here is something you can pass on to your administration so they can better understand the value of the library and the work we do.


*A study released today suggests that hospitals, government departments, associations and other organisations involved in healthcare gain a $9 return for every dollar they invest in health libraries.

Health Libraries Inc (HLInc) and Health Libraries Australia (ALIA HLA, a national group of the Australian Library and Information Association) commissioned award-winning firm SGS Economics and Planning to survey health libraries across the nation and from this to assess the return on the annual investment in these services to their organisations. The results provide a snapshot of the continued outstanding value of health libraries against a backdrop of significantly greater usage but declining investment. Patient and medical staff numbers and hospital expenditure are increasing, while health library budgets, space and staffing levels are decreasing. HLInc chair Jane Edwards and ALIA HLA convener Ann Ritchie said, ‘The investment in library and information services is small in the scheme of things – just 0.1% of recurrent expenditure in Australian hospitals. The report suggests that a modest increase in spending would allow for significant incremental benefits.’

The indicative finding of $9 for every $1 invested is likely to be even higher. SGS assessed the benefits provided directly to health library users, including time saved and value of ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses such as journal subscriptions. However, the user focus of the study omitted the return on investment in terms of patient care, and SGS said ‘it is highly likely that the benefits of industry libraries outweigh their costs considerably’.

This economic value assessment supports the findings of the ALIA/HLInc /Questions of Life and Death, an investigation into the value of health library and information services /report, published last year. Library//and information service users were asked how they believed their use of the service over the last year had helped them – 83% said it had helped them improve health outcomes for their patients and 76%//said it had changed their thinking and improved their diagnosis or treatment plan.

The full report /Worth every cent and more: an independent assessment of the return on investment of health libraries in Australia /with supporting materials can be found here


For more information, contact: Erin York, Communications Manager, ALIA 02

6215 8225, or Sue McKerracher, Executive Director, ALIA 0404 456749.

*Connect with ALIA*

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