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Archive for the ‘Health Literacy/Consumer Health’ Category

Ann Glusker Interview at MLA

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

ann-gluskerAnn Glusker, Reference Librarian at NN/LM PNR Network member institution Seattle Public Library, was interviewed by McGraw-Hill Education at the annual Medical Library Association Conference in Toronto, Ontario in May 2016. She talked about her experiences on the reference desk and the way that information is being delivered and consumed, and also how to make sure healthcare consumers are getting reliable information, stressing the importance of staff education as well:

Next PNR Rendezvous – Precision Medicine

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

“Adventures in Precision Medicine: A Major Public Research Initiative and it Implications for Healthcare Consumers and Institutions” is the title of our next PNR Rendezvous webinar September 21. Malia Fullerton, Associate Professor of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Adjunct Associate Professor in the UW Departments of Epidemiology and Genome Sciences, as well as an affiliate investigator with the Public Health Sciences division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC).  In early 2015 President Barack Obama announced an ambitious research initiative aimed at generating data needed to usher in a new era of medicine, one that will deliver “the right treatments, at the right time, every time to the right person.” This project, known now as the Precision Medicine Initiative or PMI, is recently underway and seeks to enroll 1 million or more patients from around the United States.  What will healthcare consumers need to know before they decide to participate?  And how will the national effort to study specimens, medical record data, and information collected by mobile health technologies from thousands of patients impact healthcare delivery?

Public librarians and those working in healthcare will find this an informative session as Precision Medicine becomes the primary delivery of healthcare. This impacts not just researchers and clinicians but the general public as healthcare consumers.

When: September 21, 1:00pm Pacific Time, Noon Alaska Time, 2:00pm Mountain Time (more…)

Parents’ Health Literacy and Emergency Room Visits

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Parents’ health literacy (the ability to obtain, process and understand the information needed to make appropriate decision about their health) can impact the health of their children. Research shows that low health literacy in parents is associated with a higher number of visits to the Emergency Department by their children. Roughly one in three parents of children coming to the Emergency Department are thought to have low health literacy. Conditions such as asthma, which may be better treated by home visits, can result instead to emergency visits without parents having the right treatment information.

In addition to educating patients and families about their health and equipping them with the information they need to make informed decisions, healthcare providers and all those in the healthcare system must be educated about the effects of health literacy and given the tools they need to improve parents’ health literacy. Follow up phone calls, visits, and education about symptoms can help reduce the non-urgent need of emergency care.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pediatricians assess parents’ health literacy levels during well child visits in a new study: Parent Health Literacy, Depression, and Risk for Pediatric Injury, in the July 2016 issue of Pediatrics. It is estimated that 80 million adults in the U.S. have low health literacy, and it’s now being studied as a variable in children’s health as well.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit for primary care providers offers ways to reduce the complexities of healthcare and increase patient understanding and enhance support for patients and families.

Additional References:

  1. Morrison, Andrea K. et al. “The Relationship Between Parent Health Literacy and Pediatric Emergency Department Utilization: A Systematic Review.” Academic pediatrics 13.5 (2013): 10.1016/j.acap.2013.03.001. PMC.
  2. Herman, A. et al. “Impact of a health literacy intervention on pediatric emergency department use.” Pediatric Emergency Care 25.7 (2009): doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3181ab78c7.
  3. MedlinePlus: Health Literacy, Talking With Your Doctor, Hospitals as Health Educators.

National Recovery Month

Friday, September 2nd, 2016



Recovery Month, sponsored each September by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is recognized to increase the awareness and understanding of substance use disorders and also to celebrate those in recovery. SAMHSA’s website provides resources for treatment and recovery, personal stories, and a treatment locator. SAMHSA defines recovery — from mental health disorders and from substance use disorders — as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” SAMHSA’s Ten Guiding Principles of Recovery are Hope, Person-driven, Many Pathways, Holistic approach, Peer Support, Relational and Social Supports, Culture based and influenced, Addressing Trauma, Strengths and Responsibilities, and Respect.

Additional resources:

  • See the Twitter presence of Recovery Month for announcements, to connect with others who are interested, and to attend chats. The Recovery Youtube channel features personal stories of recovery.
  • The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a chronic brain disease in which a person regularly participates in behavior, such as drug-taking or gambling, despite the negative consequences. Addictions changes how the brain works, and may keep getting worse without treatment. Patient and healthcare provider resources are offered on their website.
  • Harm Reduction: The Drug Policy Alliance promotes the harm reduction approach as a public health philosophy and intervention which reduces arm associated with drug use. A basic tenet of harm reduction is that there has never been, and never will be, a drug-free society. Read more about harm reduction.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment: See SAMHSA’s webpage about Medication- Assisted Treatment, or MAT, for information including including opioid treatment programs and combining behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders.
  • The National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus features patient and family information about Substance Use Disorders, Drugs and Young People, Prescription Drug Abuse, and more.

National Parks: Nature and Health Benefits

Thursday, August 25th, 2016
Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Today the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday. What a wonderful milestone in our country’s history. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have some of the most beautiful national parks, forests, and preserves. Even here in Seattle, whenever I get a peek at Mt. Rainier my eyes become glued to the view, I hold my breath in awe, I start feeling energized and happier. And I also notice the people around me appear to have a similar reaction. There’s something about seeing that mountain that just puts me in a better mood.  I am not alone in this. A quick search on PubMed results in several research papers that discuss the many health benefits of being outdoors in nature.
Such health benefits may include:

  • increase in memory and attention spans
  • stress reduction
  • sharpening the senses
  • elevates moods
  • sense of well-being
  • decrease risk of developing poor vision
  • increase creative problem solving
  • improve immune system

Not everyone has a mountain view but whether it is a view of a sunset, a desert, a field of grain, a river, a garden- taking time to get outside and enjoy the view. It’s good for both the mind and the body!

MedlinePlus and other NLM resources have information and tools to help you exercise and be healthy:

Start today and make a point of going outside and consider making plans to visit one of the National Parks and start enjoying the health benefits!

Free exercise information for older adults!

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Celebrate Go4Life Month this September. This year’s theme is #Fit4Function, focusing on the practical benefits of exercise and physical activity, like being able to drive, carry groceries into the house, do yardwork, walk the dog – all activities important to older adults.

Go4Life is an exercise campaign program of the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health. Go4Life provides a variety of free materials to help seniors become and stay physically active. Sample exercises, an exercise guide book (in both English and Spanish), easy-to-print tip sheets with information about the health benefits of physical activity, even tools for setting goals and tracking progress, the National Institute on Aging has got it all. What’s more, all the information in these resources is based on research in people ages 50+. (more…)