In January of 2015 NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, formed a working group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) for the purpose of reviewing the programs of the NLM and making recommendations for a vision for the library that would ensure its continued role as an international leader in biomedical and health information. In carrying out its charge, the working group issued a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public input regarding NLM. The RFI was active from February 13 to March 13, 2015, with 650 respondents providing feedback. At NLM’s September 17, 2015, Board of Regents meeting, Dr. Barbara Rapp, Chief, Office of Planning and Analysis, summarized the responses to the NIH RFI. She found that comments were submitted from across the broad range of NLM users, including medical librarians; researchers in biomedicine, biomedical informatics and computational biology; clinical, public health, and emergency response practitioners; historians; health information technology developers; journal publishers; and educators. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category
New Monograph Available: “The Medical Library Association Guide to Answering Questions about the Affordable Care Act”
In March of 2010, federal legislation known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law, but it wasn’t until June of 2013 that public libraries fell into the spotlight and became the go-to community place for information related to health care reform. During the 2013 American Library Association annual conference, President Obama issued a call to librarians to assist the community and the nation at large with ACA-related health insurance questions. The only problem was that there was no playbook, no reference text with ready answers. What ensued was a time of mass confusion, misinformation in the media, and bumpy roll-outs of the federal and state health care exchanges. Librarians and staff stepped up to the challenge, learning and doing as they went along. Libraries opened their doors to the public, partnered with community organizations, hosted enrollment events, and assisted as best they could with the information they had at the time.
Luckily, librarians now have a resource with much-needed information at their fingertips in the new book, The Medical Library Association Guide to Answering Questions about the Affordable Care Act, published by Rowman & Littlefield in October, 2015. The Affordable Care Act has stood up to legal challenges and attempts to overturn it, and information is still needed as new provisions to the law take effect. Thus, ACA-related library services remain in high demand. The book is a practical guide for reference librarians and front-line staff who continue to receive questions about the ACA.
The book was edited by Emily Vardell, teaching fellow at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapter authors were chosen for their experience and expertise with the topics, and all together the authors have woven together a guidebook that will be very useful for anyone tasked with responding to health insurance and ACA reference questions. I co-authored two chapters of the book, “The Health Insurance Reference Question: A Step-by-Step Approach,” and “Recommended ACA Resources for Patients and the General Public.”
The ACA is a complicated law with many facets. Librarians may be faced with questions about the law itself, tax implications, or health insurance options. Questions may come from individuals and small business owners, health practitioners, or those who are interested for other reasons. With all this in mind, the book sets the stage with an overview of the ACA, and then segues into topics related to the role of the librarian, health insurance literacy, and the reference interview. Current and best practices are covered in detail, and the book concludes with chapters covering recommended resources for consumers and practitioners.
In summary, this Guide simplifies the complex topic of the ACA into manageable pieces. It provides the necessary information for readers to provide relevant services, improve their own health insurance literacy, and acquire skills for helping library users find and utilize quality health insurance information.
by Miranda Lam, MLIS, Medical Librarian and
Darlene Parker-Kelly, MSLS, Director
Health Sciences Library
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
Los Angeles, CA
In celebration of the 2015 National Medical Librarians Month, Charles R. Drew University (CDU) Health Sciences Library proudly displayed the National Library of Medicine’s Pick Your Poison traveling exhibit. This particular exhibit is CDU Health Sciences Library’s fifth such exhibition and it is an opportunity to cultivate conversations with students, faculty, staff and the community. From the exhibit, one learns about the evolution of perceptions of select mind altering drugs in American society: tobacco, alcohol, opium, cocaine, and marijuana. (more…)
We recently received several inquiries regarding the ClinicalTrials.gov database which arose during a training session conducted by a Network member, and wanted to take the opportunity to share the answers widely in case others have similar concerns. For more information about ClinicalTrials.gov, feel free to contact me. Also, consider taking the online course ClinicalTrials.gov: Results Reporting, Unique Evidence, and the Role of Medical Librarians if you have not done so already; our next offering will be in early 2016. (more…)
October is National Medical Librarians Month (NMLM)! Highlighting the fact that medical librarians are the best and most cost effective way to obtain quality health information, this year’s NMLM theme is Are You A Risk Taker? When you need to be right, ask your medical librarian. In honor of this event, we are recognizing the contributions of medical librarians by promoting Network member outreach projects. (more…)
As mentioned in a recent Latitudes article, September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). Preparation and planning will provide the best chance of more positive outcomes after a disaster, but the library can also have great impact during an emergency or disaster event. The library can be a source of relevant and timely information, and may even be called upon to be a safe haven. Uncertainty about how to respond or delays in action can be avoided by having knowledge and tools in place ahead of time for immediate response. Today we have tools and resources that we hope we never have to use, but knowing about them in advance is key. (more…)
September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), and the Great American Shakeout is just around the corner after that. Is your library prepared for a disaster or emergency? Taking steps to prepare for emergencies has clear benefits; it helps reduce fear and anxiety beforehand and can reduce or avoid losses and devastating impacts associated with the event. (more…)
IHA’s Annual Health Literacy Conference: “Operational Solutions to Improve Health Literacy: At the Intersection of Health Literacy and the Affordable Care Act”
The annual Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA) Health Literacy Conference in Irvine always provides a great opportunity to hear from experts in the field about health literacy topics and solutions, but this year was even better than usual. The Affordable Care Act brought about unprecedented challenges for individuals and providers alike. Health insurance is a complicated, multifaceted topic; a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that many average Americans have difficulty understanding common insurance terms such as premium and deductible. (more…)
by Yamila El-Khayat, M.A.
Outreach Services Librarian
Arizona Health Sciences Library
University of Arizona
This year our Outreach program in Arizona had quite a diverse set of programs reaching various populations within the state and beyond. This article provides a mini-overview of the many events accomplished. (more…)
Express Outreach Award Highlights: Engaging Patients with MYSFHEALTH, the Patient Portal for the San Francisco Health Network
by Stephen Kiyoi, MLIS
San Francisco General Hospital
Barnett Briggs Medical Library
San Francisco, CA
You may be surprised to learn that in San Francisco – the very center of the tech industry – 18% of residents do not have broadband internet at home. This includes our most vulnerable populations – those over 65 (69%), those without a high school degree (68%), and African Americans (70%) – all of whom have disproportionately low broadband internet access.1 (more…)