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Health & Wellness (Consumer) Resources

Below are some helpful consumer health resources selected by College of Dupage Library's Health Science Librarian. The College of DuPage and the C.O.D. Library do not create or control any of these resources, and they will not be held responsible for misuse of information or any adverse effects of recommendations stated in these resources. Health Information should always be discussed with your health care provider, who can interpret it for you and apply it to your individual case.

Article Databases | Books & Videos | Internet Resources | Health Information Literacy Resources |

Ask Your Health Librarian

Article Databases

Locate journal articles, full-text book excerpts, brochures, pamphlets, and book reviews on your consumer health topic by searching C.O.D.'s article databases (online indexes that also contain certain full text materials). You must have a valid College of DuPage library card to access the electronic indexes and databases from off-campus.

C.O.D.'s Health Databases (click for an annotated list of databases and content)

Need help using the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) database?
Try out this great tutorial site from the University of Florida Health Science Center Library-Gainesville! It uses interactive Flash tutorials, guides and tip sheets to explain CINAHL's controlled subject headings, limits and boolean operators.

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Books & Videos

Reference Books | General Stacks | Health/Medical Call Number Ranges | Videos

Health-related materials are shelved in the "R" section of libraries that use the Library of Congress classification system. There are two locations for "print" or physical material (videos or software) consumer health items in the C.O.D. Library: the reference collection and the general stacks.

The easiest way to find consumer health materials is to do a keyword search for your word or phrase in the C.O.D. Library Catalog.

1. Reference collection:
Reference materials are well indexed, organized, concise, and highly credible. They provide overviews, definitions, specific information or addresses. Types of reference books include: directories, dictionaries and encyclopedias, basic health books (describing diseases and conditions), and drug resources. Since you cannot normally take these materials home, remember that you will have to photocopy, or write down the information that you need. Below are some examples of the types of reference books found in the C.O.D. reference collection.

Some of these resources are designed for consumers (such as the Johns Hopkins or Mayo Clinic health books), some for health students and consumers (the Gale Encyclopedia series), and some for health professionals (Cecil or Harrison's), so the type and level of information differs to suit each audience. Some reference works are available in Spanish language versions.

Access Full-Text, Online Reference Books!

The Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) database provides access to many Thomson Gale e-books (many of which are available in the COD Library print reference collection).  To access these publications: click Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL). You must have a valid College of DuPage library card to access the electronic indexes and databases from off-campus.


Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Basic Health Books

Syndromes & Rare Disorders/Diseases

Drug Resources

Online Drug & Pharmacy Information::

Click here for annotated links to Drug & Pharmacy Sites on the Internet

Micromedex Health Care Series  MICROMEDEX Healthcare Series provides full-text information supporting clinical care decisions including: drug monographs and evaluations, drug dosages and interactions, drug product identification, reproductive risks, toxicity management, alternative medicine/herbal preparations information, acute/emergency care guidelines, drug, disease and condition information for patients, laboratory test information, dosage calculators, nomograms, and references.

2. General stacks:

The general collection (located on the upper floor of the C.O.D. Library) has a wide variety of resources (biographies, exercise videos, books and manuals, source books, and textbooks) in many different formats (books, videos, software). The best thing about the general collection is that you can check these items out and take them home!

To watch a brief video clip (approx. 3 1/2 minutes) highlighting the different kinds of materials available in the general collection, follow the link below (please note that originally the intended audience of this clip was library staff, so whenever you hear "clients" and "consumers" mentioned, I'm referring to YOU!):

Windows Media filegeneral collection resources  (Help downloading)

3. Need help locating health and medical resources in your public or academic library?
Remember that many public libraries use the Dewey Decimal System of classification and that Academic Libraries, like C.O.D., use a combination of letters and numbers called the Library of Congress Classification system.

Adobe PDF file Dewey_Call_Numbers.pdf  (Help downloading)

Adobe PDF file Library_of_Congress_Call_Numbers  (Help downloading)

4. Locate and view useful health & wellness-related videos in the C.O.D. Library collection.
Video results are included in catalog search results. To limit your searches to specific video formats, utilize the limiting features found in the keyword search interface. Library reference staff are available (in-person, or via phone, email, and chat) to assist you locate video resources.

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Internet Resources

Click here to go to the Consumer Health Internet Sites page

Health Information Literacy Resources

What is health information literacy?

How does literacy level directly impact the health of individuals and annual health care expenditures?

Does the C.O.D. Library have resources for ESL students and individuals that read at lower levels?

How do health consumers search for and use consumer health information?--You'll be surprised!

How can I find and evaluate health information?

Does the C.O.D. Library offer a health and wellness incentive, TLC class on consumer health?

Where can I sign up for the Library's free S.O.S. consumer health class for students and community members?

Health Information Literacy Defined

The Medical Library Association (MLA) defines health information literacy as:

"the set of abilities needed to: recognize a health information need; identify likely information sources and use them to retrieve relevant information; assess the quality of the information and its applicability to a specific situation; and analyze, understand, and use the information to make good health decisions."

source: http://www.mlanet.org/resources/healthlit/define.html

Interested in learning more about the MLA's health information literacy resources for professionals and consumers? Click here!

The College of Dupage Library defines information literacy as:

"the ability to recognize an information need and then to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information from a variety of sources to satisfy the need. The acquisition of information literacy skills contributes to an individual's development as a critical thinker, problem solver, and independent learner." (2002)

To learn more about the C.O.D. Library's committment to increasing the information literacy skills of our students, community, and all C.O.D. employees, click here!

Literacy Level Directly Impacts Health, Wellness and Healthcare Costs

According to the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS):

This means that approximately 90 million Americans struggle to read and understand prescription instructions, the labels on medicine bottles, medical appointment slips, informed consent documents, insurance forms, and other health-related literature.

Did you know that although one out of every five American adults reads at the 5th grade level or below, and the average American reads at the 8th to 9th grade level, most health care materials are written above the 10th grade level?

source: Doak CC, Doak LG, Root JH. The literacy problem. In: Teaching Patients With Low Literacy Skills. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co; 1996: 1-9.

The National Academy on an Aging Society reports that low health literacy skills contribute to higher utilization of health care services and increase annual health care expenditures by $73 Billion . Click here for the full details!

Health and Medical Resources for Low Literacy and ESL students

The C.O.D. Library purchases health-related materials for a variety of age and literacy levels. We have books designed for children, teens, adults, seniors, non-English speakers, and English as Second Language users as well as for users with reading levels below the 10th grade level. Our goal is to provide quality resources to all of our users. Consult the reference staff for assistance in finding materials just right for you!

Click for a list of annotated Low Literacy Health Web Sites

Interested in health information in languages other than English? Click for Multilingual Health Web Sites

This research guide includes Spanish language resources and Web Sites whenever possible. The C.O.D. Library is committed to serving our Hispanic/Latino population. Click here for a link to our Spanish language web page.

Online Consumer Health Searchers: The FACTS

According to a recent Harris Poll about online health care information:

Source: Harris Poll: Internet Provides Public with Health Care Information that They Value and Trust and Which Often Stimulates Discussion Wiith Their Doctors: The Number of Cyberchondriacs (People Looking for Health Information Online) Has Plateaued at a High Level, HarrisInteractive (July 28, 2009). Available: http://news.harrisinteractive.com/profiles/investor/ResLibraryView.asp?BzID=1963&ResLibraryID=34347&Category=1777

Disturbing consumer perceptions and statistics reported by the Pew Internet & American Life Project:

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project: "Online Health Search 2006." October 29, 2006. Available: http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/190/report_display.asp.

How consumers search for and appraise online health information: Eysenbach and K�hler documented the search patterns of 21 individuals seeking health information on the Internet. Participants ranged from nurses to lay people without any formal medical experience or training.

Source: Eysenbach, G., and K�hler, C. "How Do Consumers Search for and Appraise Health Information on the World Wide Web? Qualitative Study Using Focus Groups, Usability Tests, and In-Depth Interviews." BMJ 324(March 9, 2002): 573-6.

Finding and Evaluating Health Information

Tips to Finding Information on the Internet:

Evaluating Medical Information on the World Wide Web

Information taken from: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/star/chapter9b.aspx

In recent years, the World Wide Web has become a very popular outlet for finding medical information. In fact, often consumers will bypass traditional sources and consult the web first for their medical information needs. Although the Web does offer a wide variety of valuable information, [researchers] must exercise caution when using the Web, as there are many unreliable sites as well. It would be beneficial to direct consumers to other resources as a compliment to their Web searching and to give them tips on how to find quality material on the Internet. Emphasis should be put on the following areas:

Authorship/Authority: Is the site maintained by a credible organization, physician, or university? Is it by an individual with a disease or disorder who is putting up his/her personal experiences? Although on a support level, the latter might be useful to a consumer, the former would be more likely to give out objective and accurate information.

Bias: Is the site objective, or is it trying to sell products that will ease the woes of the consumer's condition? Again checking authorship might be essential here, as a drug company might take a different outlook on a disease than a non profit organization would. Having a philosophical or bio-ethical viewpoint does not negate the validity of a site, but rather can foster debate and examination of issues. However, it is preferable that a site should clearly represent its persuasion.

Content/Scope: What type of information is contained in the site? Is it annotated and is it comprehensive or does it cover a specific area of a topic? The reference interview will help you determine if the client’s needs are better suited by a comprehensive overview or a more tailored content site.

Currency: How current is the Web site? Does it give a "last updated" message? If not, it is questionable how timely the site is. Perhaps they have put up the site and never maintained it.

Ease of Use: Is the Web site easy to navigate? Do the links work and is the site designed so as to have self-explanatory categories? Are the graphics too large or cumbersome and does the site load quickly or slowly? Many people get annoyed and impatient with sites that take too long to load or have dead links. This is an important consideration.

Level: Is the site intended for professionals or consumers? [what is the reading level of the material? Is it intended for adults or children?]

Purpose: What does the site intend to do? Give objective facts and information, sell something, or persuade?

Reliability/Accuracy: Does the site include references to back up its claims?

Uniqueness: Does what the site offers have certain value? Does it contain material that either cannot be found elsewhere or presents it in a better way than other sources?

C.O.D. Employees: Learn More About Consumer Health Resources

Are you interested in:

Whether you are helping students, patients, community members, or learning how to help yourself or your family find the right kind of health-related information, the C.O.D. Library encourages you to attend this interactive and educational class!

Your WHAT Hurts?!--Finding Quality Health Information
Come to this workshop and learn how to find quality health-related materials to answer your medical needs! Via PowerPoint presentation, live demonstrations and hands-on computer work, explore the variety of consumer health materials available within the C.O.D. Library and on the Internet. This interactive session will help you: formulate search strategies; locate and evaluate health information; familiarize you with print and electronic health resources; and learn how a skilled health information professional can assist you!

Check the TLC Web Site for upcoming class offerings under the Wellness section!

The C.O.D. Library proudly supports the Balanced Lifestyles Wellness Program for College of DuPage Employees by:

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Ask Your Health Librarian

Need help finding information on your specific topic? Call or email me to set up an appointment or to explain what you need (I can often help you via email). Please remember that while I can assist you in finding information and can educate you about locating quality health resources, I cannot diagnose or recommend treatment. I will always refer specific medical questions back to your health care provider. Your questions will be kept in confidence and your privacy will be respected.

Debra J. Kakuk Smith, Associate Professor, Health Science Librarian
(630) 942-4305 SRC 3049

Learn more about Debra...

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