An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on February 12, 2015.
Did you know you can access up to date, authoritative information on nearly 1,000 health topics in easy to read (i.e., non-medical jargon) language for FREE? The U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine have a terrific resource called MedlinePlus geared toward the general public, and not health professionals.
Health topics in MedlinePlus are available in many different languages, from Japanese to Samoan, even Swahili and Polish. Topics are categorized by body location/system, disorders and conditions, diagnosis and therapy, demographic groups, and health and wellness. You can also find information on drugs and supplements, and watch videos and tutorials.
Although the content in MedlinePlus is not meant for health professionals, the information found here can be very useful for physicians and nurses. Materials in MedlinePlus are typically written at a 5th to 8th grade reading level, making them perfect for use as patient handouts. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, about 36% of adults in the U.S. have limited health literacy, or the ability to understand basic health information needed to make health decisions. In fact only 12% of the U.S. population is proficient in health literacy.
The next time you need basic information about your heartburn, are curious as to whether you’re getting enough calcium, or want to learn more about a family member’s recent Celiac Disease diagnosis, check out MedlinePlus.
And remember, if you need any help locating good, reliable health information online, stop by the health sciences library and speak to a librarian.