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PNR Network Member Speaks Out!

Sue Jacobsen, librarian at Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon, WA, saw an article posted on and felt compelled to respond. The editorial, dated Februrary 12, 2007, was written by Susannah Fox of the Pew Internet and American Life Project. In it, Ms. Fox encourages physicians to “…acknowledge that most Americans are using the Internet to gather health information. Ask your patients about their online research. Provide the key words they might use when they go home to search for more information.”

Sue Jacobsen wrote a letter to the editor at Medscape in reply (published here with her permission):

To the Editor;

Encouraging physicians to talk to their patients about online research is a good idea in theory. However, the average physician will never have the time to do this. You may or may not be aware that the medical library community and the National Library of Medicine are working hard to improve health literacy. Many librarians both in hospital and public library settings have engaged or are currently engaged in various projects for health literacy. You may do well to encourage physicians to get their local hospital libraries and public libraries involved in a community health literacy effort. There are many reliable resources available for the public. The best place to start is MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine.

In my own efforts I regularly go to clinics and not only inform physicians of appropriate resources to point their patients to, but I also offer to provide health literacy presentations to their patients.

Sue Jacobsen, M.L.S. (Librarian & CME Coordinator)
Mt. Vernon, Washington

Ms. Jacobsen also provides a list of reputable health web sites to her clients. She completed a project funded by NN/LM PNR that is described in a previous Dragonfly article.

We commend Ms. Jacobsen’s efforts at keeping medical and other libraries in the forefront with health professionals and reminding them of our role in improving and increasing health information literacy!

You can read the entire Medscape editorial after subscribing (free subscription) by going here:

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