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The Medical Library Association Guide to Providing Consumer and Patient Health Information

Michele Spatz

Comprised of fifteen chapters written by experienced consumer health librarians, The Medical Library Association Guide to Providing Consumer and Patient Health Information is designed for library and information science graduate students as well as librarians new to health and medical librarianship, regardless of library setting. It is comprehensive in scope, covering all aspects of consumer and patient health and medical information from their humble, grassroots beginnings to the ever-evolving applications of new technology and social media. In between, the mundane aspects of health and medical librarianship, such as needs assessment, costs, budgeting and funding, and staffing are discussed. Adding richness to this discussion are the coverage of more sensitive topics such as patient-friendly technology, ethical issues in providing consumer and patient health information, meeting the needs of diverse populations, and responding to individuals from various cultural backgrounds. No comprehensive picture of consumer and patient health librarianship would be complete without addressing the critical importance of marketing and strategic partnerships; such discussions round out this invaluable guide..

Patients today must be knowledgeable enough to participate in their health and well-being. Shorter hospital stays, changing reimbursement patterns and the gradual shift towards focusing on proactively maintaining health and managing disease require patients to be informed and actively engaged. Education, information and understanding are important components of actively-engaged patients. Correspondingly, in today’s e-world, there is a glut of information resources available through the Internet – from YouTube videos to Googling to blogs and Twitter feeds. What is lacking in these information-rich times is the relevance of meaning and context for those who ask, “Does this health and medical information apply to me and my unique clinical picture?” or “How do I use this information?” As knowledge navigators, information technology wizards and content experts, librarians offer focused responses to individuals’ specific and highly personal health and medical information queries. In a new healthcare world order of optimizing health and minimizing hospitalizations, such a service is invaluable.

Sadly, there still exists in our highly networked and technological age an information gap for those who struggle in obtaining meaningful health or medical information. These individuals may be foreign-born, non-English speaking, poor, rural, aged or semi-literate. Whatever their status, librarians must have the wherewith-all to find germane resources and also help create responsive mechanisms to bridge that health information gap for vulnerable citizens. The Medical Library Association Guide to Providing Consumer and Patient Health Information will guide you on the road to providing that response.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 240Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-1-4422-3070-5 • Hardback • May 2014 • $110.00 • (£75.00)
978-1-4422-2570-1 • Paperback • May 2014 • $61.00 • (£42.95)
978-1-4422-2571-8 • eBook • May 2014 • $58.00 • (£39.95)
Michele Spatz is currently Business Projects and Intelligence Manager for Planetree, a nonprofit healthcare organization devoted to improving both providers and patients’ experience of care. She recently completed work on a grant-funded research project identifying patient-centered care practices among high-performing health systems and academic medical centers outside the Planetree network. In addition to her research responsibilities, Michele executes Planetree’s special projects, such as the one noted above. Michele received her Masters’ Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, and has a certificate in Lean Six Sigma from Villanova University.
Chapter 2 Where to Start? Needs Assessment – Nikki Dettmar
Chapter 4 Bricks and mortar: Costs, Budgeting & Funding Sources – Cara Marcus
Chapter 6 Prized Assets: Staff - Jean Shipman & Erica Lake
Chapter 8 Ethical Issues in Providing Consumer and Patient Health Information –
Chapter 10 Meeting health information needs of diverse populations: children, teens,
Chapter 11 Cultural sensitivity and health information resources & services – Donna J.
Chapter 13 Strategic Partnerships – In-reach – Carol Ann Atwood
About the Editor
About the Contributors
[A]n extraordinarily useful handbook for consumer health librarians. This subject is an important focus for many public services and reference librarians also. Every page of the guide affirmed many principles that consumer health librarians understand about consumer and patient health information services. This new book is highly recommended for all medical librarians and anyone interested in patient-centered care.
Medical Reference Services Quarterly

[A] valuable and comprehensive resource, one that steers their fellow librarians through the process of starting and maintaining a consumer health resource collection. . . .The Medical Library Association Guide to Providing Consumer and Patient Health Information is well written and full of constructive and timely advice. Any librarians thinking of starting a consumer health or patient health information collection would be wise to use it as the roadmap for their new venture.
Journal of the Medical Library Association

[T]his [is] a book worth adding to collections in many healthcare settings due to its transferable skills and ideas for marketing and liaison teams, as well as human resources, education and, of course, librarians. . . .This is certainly a title that belongs in every health library or on the desks of librarians, marketers and educators. It is comprehensive in its scope and covers all aspects of consumer and patient health and medical information.
Australian Library Journal

The Medical Library Association Guide to Providing Consumer Health and Patient Information equips the new consumer health librarian with essential tools to provide health information services for patients and families, and is helpful for even the most seasoned librarian. It is an ideal textbook for graduate courses in medical librarianship. The Guide includes many creative ideas, helpful tips, and best practices for providing consumer health information.
Michelle Eberle, Consumer Health Information Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region

This up-to-date work on the breadth and depth of consumer health information dissemination should be widely read and kept as a reference. It will be beneficial to public, school, consumer health, and medical libraries alike.
Jana Liebermann, Librarian, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services