Part of the National Institutes of Health, nlm is the provider of PubMed gov, MedlinePlus gov, and many other health information resources



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88% of online searchers look for health information

  • 88% of online searchers look for health information

  • Over half of online health searchers later discussed information with their doctors

  • Half of all searches are based on discussions with doctors

  • Harris Poll, “Cyberchondriacs” on the Rise?

  • August 4, 2010



Health professional = 86%

  • Health professional = 86%

  • Friend or family member = 68%

  • Internet=57%

  • Books or other print material=54%

  • Insurance provider=33%

  • Other source=5%

  • Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

  • The Social Life of Health Information, June 2009



How does MedlinePlus differ from popular search engines and commercial health sites?

  • How does MedlinePlus differ from popular search engines and commercial health sites?



Debuted in 1998 with 22 health topics, now there are over 800 topics

  • Debuted in 1998 with 22 health topics, now there are over 800 topics

  • Designed to be appealing and easy to use

  • Not a search engine, but a current collection of the best links to health information

  • Adheres to strict quality guidelines

  • No advertising or collection of personal info













Key word versus phrase searching

  • Key word versus phrase searching

    • - renal cell cancer = 985 results
    • - “renal cell cancer” = 24 results
  • Boolean searching ( OR, NOT )

    • - ”weight loss” NOT surgery
    • - “weight loss” “gastric bypass” (AND is the default)
  • Use the asterisk to search for word variations

    • - lymph* (lymphoma, lymphatic, lymphedema)


People use different search strategies

  • People use different search strategies

      • Type keywords in search box
      • Scan list of topics
      • Click on meaningful icons or visually appealing images
      • Browse pages
    • No matter how someone searches, they will find information on MedlinePlus!


























A quarterly publication of the Friends of the National Library of Medicine.

  • A quarterly publication of the Friends of the National Library of Medicine.

  • Get a free subscription!









One out of _____ American adults reads at the 5th grade level or below.

  • One out of _____ American adults reads at the 5th grade level or below.

  • The average American reads at about the 8th grade level, yet most health care materials are written above the ____ grade level.



One out of 5 American adults reads at the 5th grade level or below.

  • One out of 5 American adults reads at the 5th grade level or below.

  • The average American reads at about the 8th grade level, yet most health care materials are written above the 10th grade level.

  • Source: Partnership for Clear Health Communication, National Patient Safety Foundation

  • http://www.npsf.org/askme3/pdfs/STATS_GLANCE_EN.pdf



Ability to obtain and understand health information, and to act on that information

  • Ability to obtain and understand health information, and to act on that information

  • 1 in 3 adults have Basic or Below Basic skills



Easy-to-read Resources

  • Easy-to-read Resources

  • Plain language information from government agencies and health organizations

  • Interactive Tutorials with audio, images, and text at 6th grade level





























Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version

  • Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version

  • 100 English and Spanish monographs

  • Herbals, dietary supplements, and how they work

  • Effectiveness ratings for different indications

  • Safety concerns, including precautions ,warnings and possible interactions with medications, foods, and other herbs and supplements

  • Extensive lists of references, with links to PubMed





















Assess your risk for health conditions



























Help your patrons be informed health information searchers

  • Help your patrons be informed health information searchers

  • Encourage them to ask questions

  • Be an advocate for health








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