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Medical resources for librarians

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stewart Brower and I presented information on medical resources for librarians at the last COIL meeting on Friday, May 1, at NSU-Muskogee. Stewart’s focus was on evidence-based health care (EBHC),  something librarians need to know about when we’re dealing with students in the health sciences.  You can see a copy of Stewart’s presentation at SlideShare. For more librarian-oriented information on evidence based health care (sometimes called evidence-based practice or evidence-based medicine),  you can consult the Medical Library Association’s extensive list of resources on the subject.

Many of us are probably familiar with the most common medical databases, such as Medline through Pubmed or Ovid, or CINAHL through EBSCO.  Although Ovid Medline and CINAHL have their fans, they’re usually not available to the general public, including many of our health science students who graduate and leave campus.  So in my portion of the presentation, I talked about some of the free health information resources available on the wild web. You can see most of them at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s site (NN/LM). These resources are divided up into sections for information professionals (that’s us) and for the public.

Two resources deserve special mention. One of the best places to guide patrons who are seeking health information for themselves is MedlinePlus, an online service provided by the National Libraries of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. This site is directed at the health consumer, is written in layman’s language, and includes such goodies as surgery videos, a medical encyclopedia, interactive tutorials in both English and Spanish, and directories for people looking for local medical providers. The information here is authoritative and trustworthy.

The other great resource is DynaMed, an EBSCO product. DynaMed provides evidence based clinical point-of-care information for health professionals, and is made available to all Oklahoma MDs through the Oklahoma State Medical Association website.  What’s great for students is that DynaMed includes links to the full text of the articles used as evidence. Check your EBSCO databases on your campus: DynaMed may be available to you.

Finally, a reminder: any medical librarian will be happy to offer assistance  if you need it.  Here’s a list of libraries in Oklahoma that can answer health information questions, and their contact information. Outreach is part of our mission, so don’t hesitate to call!

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