Resources for Health Consumers
"Quality information for improved health"
The following selected links can help you get started with online health resources.
Where can you learn about the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
Where can you find good basic health information online?
What did your doctor just say?!?
- MLA created the "Deciphering
Medspeak" brochures to help people understand the specialized
language of doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.
el Lenguaje Médico | Para ayudar a gente entiende "medspeak" los términos—el
idioma especializado de profesionales de cuidado de salud—MLA creó
"Medspeak que Descifra."
- Medspeak in Plain Language
brochures have the same content
but are written at a simpler reading level.
Where can you get help from a medical librarian?
Health sciences librarians work in medical schools, hospitals, and other
specialized health settings, and provide critical health information to
doctors, nurses, and allied health personnel. Many health sciences librarians and libraries also provide consumer health
information to patients, their families, and the general public.
Where can you find out about your local hospital?
- Hospital Compare: This government website can help you compare the quality of care at more than 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals.
The site also includes a downloadable brochure "Guide to Choosing a Hospital."
- How safe is your local hospital? From the Leapfrog Group, a consortium of major companies and other large private and public healthcare purchasers that provide health benefits to more than 37 million Americans in all 50 states, this site "grades hospitals on their overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors." Not all hospitals are listed, as this is a voluntary program.
- Is Your Hospital
Joint Commission-Accredited? The Joint Commission has made the Quality Check website available so you
can see whether your hospital is accredited.
- "Patient Care Partnership": This plain-language brochure tells you about your rights and responsibilities during a hospital stay; available in multiple languages.
Where can you find special resources for older adults?
NIHSeniorhealth.gov: Special resources and accessibility to health information for older adults from the National Institutes of Health
Health in Aging: Created by the American Geriatrics Society Foundation, the site offers up-to-date information for consumers on health and aging.
Where else can you find health information?
- Healthcare 411: The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Healthcare 411 audio news source provides practical health care information, research findings, and data to help consumers, health providers, health insurers, researchers, and policy makers make informed decisions about health care issues.
- Centers for Disease Control: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the main federal agency for public health activities in the US. The website provides resources on health and safety topics, including diseases and conditions, emergency preparedness and response, environmental health, workplace safety and health, and more.
- Understanding Your Medical Record: Resources on how to access and understand your medical record, from the American
Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
- ClinicalTrials.gov provides comprehensive information about all types of clinical research studies. The site has more than 151,000 studies sponsored by the US government, the pharmaceutical industry, and academic and international organizations, in all 50 states and 184 countries.
- Tox Town® points out many harmful substances and environmental hazards, not only in a town but in a port, a big city, a farm, and the US-Mexico border area.
- ToxMystery is an interactive website for children ages 7–10 that teaches users about potential chemical hazards in a home. There is also a Spanish-language version (click on "español") of this lively interface.
- FreeMD.com is a free service, created by doctors, that can help you make important health decisions. Use the "symptom checker," then listen to the "virtual doctor," who will conduct an interview, analyze the symptoms, and provides expert advice.
- US Surgeon General's Family
Health History Initiative: Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and other
blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you
may be at risk and take action to keep you and your family healthy. Use
Family Health Portrait" tool and create a family tree of health
issues to discuss with your doctor.