Newsletter of the Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona

Best Bytes: MedlinePlus Enhancements

Posted on September 6, 2011 by Kathleen Shepler | No Comments

Submitted by Kathleen Shepler, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center

I’m guessing that many who provide reference services to patients, their families or the public have found NLM’s MedlinePlus an invaluable resource.  Let’s take a look at some MedlinePlus enhancements that you and your colleagues may find useful and another that might prove profitable if implemented by some health care providers.

TWEET!  The MedlinePlus TWITTER account name has changed.  To follow now use  @medlineplus or you can go to the RSS page.

RSS AND CONTENT SHARING enhancements were announced earlier this summer.  Multiple icons for sharing and linking are now more obvious because they’re just above each topic summary.  It’s also now possible to follow every health topic using the RSS reader/aggregator of your choice.  Complete lists of health topics and details about this feature can be found towards the bottom of these pages, in  English and Spanish.

You may also subscribe to all new links added to MedlinePlus or MedlinePlus en español and all new NIH links added to MedlinePlus.  Information on these new feeds is on the same pages linked to above.

Now when you give consumer health information printed from MedlinePLUS to a patron on a specific topic, if you think it’s appropriate, you can also mention that there’s a way for them to receive online updates on that topic if they already use a RSS reader/aggregator or would like to learn how.

A FREE MedlinePlus service called MEDLINEPLUS CONNECT was enhanced this summer and is now seen as “a complete solution for EHR (electronic health record) developers and implementers who want to deliver trusted, authoritative and targeted consumer health information to their users” including information on conditions and disorders, health and wellness, prescription and over-the-counter medications and now even lab tests.  For those unfamiliar with this service which was rolled out earlier this year, it is described as “NLM’s service for patient portals and EHR systems to link to context-relevant information from MedlinePlus.” The description on this page of the Clinical Informatics Wiki was the most understandable and concise that I found. For an even more in depth explanation please read this summer’s announcement from the NLM Technical Bulletin.

How could MedlinePlus Connect figure in the profits of health care providers?  According to the Clinical Informatics Wiki, “using MedlinePlus Connect may benefit some health care providers by achieving one of the criteria for Meaningful Use of Health Information Technology.”  For those of you that work in  medical centers and hospitals, the people in your administrations, IT and finance departments are definitely already familiar with the term “Meaningful Use” of Health Information Technology.  However, do they know about the capabilities of  MedlinePlus Connect ?

Links to even more information:

MedlinePlus Connect overview

Web Service Demonstration

Technical Information for Developers


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