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Archive for February, 2014

The time to promote MedlinePlus Connect is NOW…

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

MedlinePlus Connect is a free service from the National Library of Medicine that can link the health information resource to EHRs and patient portals.  MedlinePlus Connect can be set up as a web service or web application and delivers relevant consumer level information on conditions, medications and labs from MedlinePlus after receiving a request  from the EHR via a coding system (ICD-9, SNOMED CT, RXCUI, LOINC).  For eligible providers and hospitals, using MedlinePlus Connect may help meet the Meaningful Use measure of providing patient-specific education materials.

As of November 2013, MedlinePlus Connect will respond to some SNOMED CT codes with information from both MedlinePlus and NLM’s Genetics Home Reference (GHR) web site.  GHR is the NLM’s resource for consumer information on diseases and conditions with known or suspected genetic factors.  This feature is only available for English SNOMED CT requests. To test it out, go to the MedlinePlus Connect web application or web service, select the SNOMED CT radio button and enter the code 445243001 for ulcerative colitis.

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.  We thought you might be interested in what some of the key informants identified as advantages of using MedlinePlus Connect.  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 and what they felt were the major advantages of the service:

• 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.

DOCLINE Out of Office tool

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

With the impending storms approaching our region over the next two days, those libraries who participate in Docline should use the Out of Office feature if your library is going to be closed.  If you have any question about this contact Meredith Solomon, meredith.solomon at umassmed dot edu or call 508-856-5964.

Stay safe and warm!

New webinar recordings

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Congratulations to Nancy Goodwin, Paula Raimondo, Margo Coletti, Anne Conner, and Margot Malachowski for their excellent presentations at recent NER webinars!

View recordings of NER’s latest webinars:

  • Creative Health Literacy Projects
  • CDC’s Clear Communication Index Train-the-Trainer
  • Conducting a Health Information Reference Interview

Register for upcoming events on our training calendar.


Promoting the Work of Librarians

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

A message from the NN/LM NER Director, Elaine Martin DA

Many recent listserv and blog postings on the future of medical librarianship have suggested that librarians highlight the impact and significance of their work at meetings of health professionals other than librarians. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the NN/LM, NER Public Health Information Access project and the many exciting ways in which we are promoting the work of librarians participating in this project via a variety of public health meetings and publications. As some recent bloggers have predicted, these activities are generating serious interest from our target audience.

The Public Health Information Access Project is designed to identify a core set of online resources that are made available through a digital library to state public health department workers. Partner libraries agree to fill ILL requests for items not available through the digital library. Other RMLs and collaborating resource library partner-librarians assist our project coordinator, Karen Dahlen, MLS, in providing ongoing training and support for the project.  An evaluation of the first phase of the project was indicated that access to information and training, though important, was not enough. Public health workers were so used to NOT having resources, that they were unaccustomed to using the evidence provided to them to make decisions except in one notable case. The next challenge for the project partners is to help the public health departments develop or regain a culture of evidence-based practice.

A presentation about this project was made this past fall at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Boston.  In addition, the article that describes the project and the evaluation findings was recently published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health.  The article was jointly authored by the project librarians and our department of public health colleagues. We have also had our abstract accepted at two other Public Health professional meetings: The Keeneland Conference in early April and the Public Health Informatics Conference in Atlanta at the end of April.

For more information, see LaPelle, N., Dahlen, K. Gabella, B, Juhl, A. and Martin, E.R.  “Overcoming inertia: increasing public health departments’ access to evidence-based information and promoting usage to inform practice. American Journal of Public Health. Jan 2014 104(1):77-80.

Note:  This project is funded under a subcontract from the National Library of Medicine, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region and the National Library of Medicine, NICHSR.

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