Health Information Literacy
MLA Health Information Literacy Research Project
The Medical Library Association (MLA), through a $250,000 two-year contract from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), will conduct research into hospital-based health care provider and administrators’ awareness and understanding of health information literacy and its value in support of patient care. This research will include the development and testing of a multi-format health information literacy curriculum to be given by hospital librarians to their local health care providers. Assessment of use of the developed curriculum and its core components, NLM consumer health resources such as MedlinePlus, the MedlinePlus Magazine and NLM’s Information Prescription protocol, will be measured. The curriculum will be pilot tested at seven hospital sites, and also disseminated via the MLANET Website for global application. The overall goal of the MLA research project is to increase awareness of health care providers’ knowledge of health information literacy issues and the NLM tools and resources for increasing health literacy levels that are available to them and their patients.
A) Needs Assessment:
MLA will survey hospital administrators’ perceptions of consumer information products and services, including specifically MedlinePlus and the MedlinePlus Magazine, and professional services provided by librarians and consumer heath information specialists. MLA will also survey hospital-based health providers (e.g., nurses, family medicine, internists, and pharmacists) about their awareness and perceived value of these services and resources as compared to hospital administrators. This work will be undertaken in collaboration with the American Hospital Association/Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy.
B) Develop Health Information Literacy Curriculum:
MLA will design, develop and update as needed a standard core curriculum appropriate for use by hospitals regardless of size, along with additional modules that librarians can choose from as time and size permit. The modules will include techniques for applying NLM’s information resources, specifically MedlinePlus, the MedlinePlus Magazine and the patient referral protocol known as Information Prescription, along with physician education tools pertaining to factors that address patient health literacy issues. The curriculum for librarians to use to present sessions will be offered electronically via a location on MLA’s Website, MLANET, and will include Web-based materials for printing or downloading. A DVD with the same content will be available, as will a print notebook with all materials for a fee that covers reproduction and mailing costs. A Web-based tutorial for self-instruction will be available for health providers who cannot take the curriculum when offered by a librarian. MLA and its Continuing Education Committee will develop course objectives, content, and assessment tools using adult education techniques and will delegate development responsibility to MLA members. The MLANET Editorial Board in cooperation with staff will oversee the development of a Web location for the course content and the contractor employed to design the site.
C) Pilot test Curriculum in Select Hospital Libraries:
Librarians from seven (7) hospital libraries that include HIV/AIDS patients, and that currently do not offer consumer health information resources to patients and are interested in doing so, will be selected in cooperation with MLA’s Consumer and Patient Health Information Section to pilot the health information literacy course curriculum. A variety of evaluative measures and strategies will be employed to assess pre- and post-course intervention effectiveness, including Information Prescription referrals by health providers and patient compliance. The seven libraries, along with MLA’s Continuing Education Committee will also plan an evaluation Webinar to engage all members of MLA and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) in discussion of curriculum development prior to its wide dissemination. NN/LM resource libraries may also be called upon to provide assistance to the seven libraries in the form of sharable resource materials.
September 30, 2006 – September 30, 2008
B. Survey Results
NLM will obtain the data from the needs assessment surveys of the hospital administrators and health care providers at a mutually agreed upon fee that is included in the total project budget.
C. Health Information Literacy Curriculum
The multi-format health information literacy curriculum developed through NLM support, including access to the posted MLANET.org Website version that can be linked to from NLM and National Network of Libraries of Medicine ( NN/LM) sites, such as the National Training Center and Clearinghouse. It will be available to MLA members as well as others.
D. Professional Dissemination of Findings:
MLA is in a unique position to conduct this research as its membership includes 600 hospital libraries and 2,000 hospital librarians who have direct access to hospital administrators and health care providers. MLA also has a subject-interest section “Consumer and Patient Health Interest Section (CAPHIS) that includes 500 members. MLA has a demonstrated interest in improving the nation’s health information literacy. MLA is nationally renowned for its continuing education program and the inexhaustible work of its Continuing Education Committee. It is recognized by the professional library community as one of the top professional association programs and has been in existence for over 50 years. Programming is offered nationally at the annually meeting and locally through continuing education at regional MLA meetings. MLA is ideally positioned to partner with the American Hospital Association and the NLM in facilitating access to consumer health information resources and promoting health information literacy. At its May 2004 Board of Director’s meeting, it was MOVED that … MLA should continue to promote health information literacy resources and funding opportunities and continue to collaborate with other organizations to promote the health sciences librarians’ role in health literacy and health information literacy such as NLM, NCLIS, AMA and ALA. As president of MLA, Ms. Jean Shipman has made health literacy a primary issue for her term by “supporting health information literacy training; conducting research on consumer health information/health information literacy on patient outcomes, safety and health care costs; create new roles for hospital librarians; enriching and expanding partnerships that further the adoption of health literacy competency standards; and working with global organizations as they implement health literacy initiatives.
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Medical Library Association
Last Updated: 2010 October 13