Health Information Made Plain

Providing medical information is always a challenge. Adding to the difficulty is the mismatch between medical terminology and the average reading skills of many Americans.

According to a study conducted last year by the U. S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. And 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level.

The National Library of Medicine has been working hard to provide medical information that uses plain language to describe medical issues. Plain language substitutes everyday words for medical jargon, uses short sentences, and highlights key points.

medlineplusTo access the easy-to-read medical literature that the National Library of Medicine has developed, visit MedlinePlus (available on the Find Articles and CLP database pages) and click on the “easy-to-read” tab in the bottom right-hand corner. (“Easy-to-read” articles will also appear whenever you are reading about a topic that has also been written about in plain language.)

MedlinePlus is a great resource. It contains drug information, interactive tutorials, and late-breaking stories about medical issues. The spelling, definition, and pronunciation of medical terms are always a click away.

It has links to health information in 44 languages. It has medical information in plain language. And it’s free.

Mary Lee (Northland)

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Do Two Searches and Call Me in the Morning

There’s a new POWER Library database that’s worth knowing about.  Recently, the state replaced Consumer Health Complete with Gale’s Health and Wellness Resource Center.

Health & Wellness Resource Center is billed as providing “authoritative information on the full range of health related issues, from current disease and disorder information to in-depth coverage of alternative medical practices.”  The database is more than 75% full text and includes articles from medical journals, general interest resources, and reference works.  There is also a directory for locating health clinics, dialysis centers, and other health-related organizations.  Partnering with Healthology and HealthDay, the database also offers physician-authored articles, videos, and current reports from Consumer Health News.

As a Gale “Resource Center” the interface has some familiar elements, but check out this Tip Sheet for help using the database.

For more details visit the product information page; access a recorded tutorial webinar or guided tutorials for this and other Gale databases.

To your health,

Sarah

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