Submitted by Linda C. Butson, AHIP, Health Science Center Libraries,
University of Florida-Gainesville; edited by Brenda R. Pfannenstiel, AHIP
The e-patients symposium was held May 22 at MLA '10, provided six hours of continuing education credit, and was packed with valuable information. Terri Ottosen, AHIP, and Meredith Solomon, Health Sciences and Human Services Library, University of Maryland–Baltimore, served as symposium cochairs and were flanked by an active eleven-member planning committee. The symposium's website links to many of the presentations via the Speakers tab.
In the keynote address, "An Overview of Consumer E-health and E-tools," Lisa Neal Gualtieri, School of Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, MA, provided a history of health care communication and the use of the Internet. She included statistics on Internet use for health information from the Pew Research Center and from Forrester Research. She indicated that there is an erosion of trust in patient-physician communication: Patients often do not admit to using the Internet for health information and providers seldom ask them if they do so. Gualtieri saw three roles for information intermediaries:
Janet M. Schneider, Library Service, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, Tampa, FL, and Taneya Y. Koonce, Eskind Biomedical Library, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, provided the librarians' perspective in "Librarians in the Trenches." They recounted personal experiences in providing patient information. Schneider, who was at one of the two libraries that piloted MyHealtheVet in 2001, delineated the history of the Department of Veterans Affairs' EHR and its librarians' involvement, and offered suggestions for the roles that librarians can have in EHR implementation. Koonce discussed the library's integration of evidence into the EHR at Vanderbilt as well as the linkages to consumer health information in Vanderbilt's patient portal, MyHealth@Vanderbilt.
"Consumers in the Trenches” addressed the value of and need for participatory medicine and consumer advocacy. Regina Holliday and Dave DeBronkart are patient advocates who have been active in health care reform. Both Holliday's husband and DeBronkart were diagnosed with kidney cancer. Each offered a moving story about the diagnoses, treatments, and need for information and patient advocacy. Their presentations, which are available on the symposium website, demonstrate the power of information and the roles that librarians and information providers can have in improving patient experiences.
Three electronic health record products were demonstrated:
As a new consumer health librarian, the author found that the symposium provided a good overview of current issues and concerns. It offered opportunities for networking with other librarians as well as illuminated new opportunities for collaboration with health care providers and patients as EHRs are extended into private practices.
Reprinted from MLA News