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From the GMR: MLA-NLM Statement on Personal Health Records and Medical Librarians

The following news item will appear in the February MLA News. This statement is intended to alert librarians to the fact that they may be contacted by consumers asking for help with personal health records.


MLA/NLM Assistance Statement Adopted by Personal Health Record Providers

Submitted by Dixie A. Jones, AHIP, Chair MLA/NLM Joint Electronic Personal Record Task Force

The Medical Library Association/National Library of Medicine (MLA/NLM) Joint Electronic Personal Health Record Task Force’s “information assistance statement? (see below) that leads consumers to reliable health information from within their personal health records (PHRs) was distributed to PHR vendors. A letter signed by MLA President Mary Ryan and NLM Director Donald A. B. Lindberg was mailed to a sampling of PHR providers. So far, about half of the PHR vendors that were contacted have agreed to use the statement. They include:

Access Strategies -- FollowMe and MiVIA
Medem -- iHealthRecord
Tolven -- ePHR

The intent of the statement is to help consumers find reliable health information resources, such as MedlinePlus and those listed on MLANET, and put them in touch with a medical librarian who can help them find health information to meet their needs. The text of the statement is as follows:

For quality health information, connect to National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus for patients, families, and the public (http://medlineplus.gov/), Resources for Health Consumers (http://www.mlanet.org/resources/consumr_index.html) or a Top 100 List ranked by medical librarians (http://caphis.mlanet.org/consumer/).

Medical librarians can help you find other health information. To find a medical librarian near you, call 1-800-338-7657 or view http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/libraries.html. Librarians will not provide personal medical advice, but they will find trusted information about drugs, conditions, procedures, lab tests and other health topics.

This statement was approved by MLA and NLM and was vetted by a plain language expert. Based on the success of this initial endeavor, MLA and NLM will send letters to other PHR providers, as identified by the task force.

Librarians should be aware that there is a growing community of patients who are being empowered by the ability to view and manage their personal health data, and that these people may contact them for assistance.

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