When Information Literacy Informs Health Literacy

Todd Vandenbark

Health literacy logoA recent Columbia Daily Tribune article highlights A Fragile Nation In Poor Health, a recent study by the for-profit corporation TeleVox Software showing that about “four out of five Midwesterners admit they don’t follow treatment plans exactly as prescribed, and more than one-third said they could better follow those plans with encouragement from their doctors between visits” (from the article).

Fortunately for the newspaper’s readers, the journalist goes on to include a response from Geni Alexander, public information officer for the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, who said, “We would be very careful basing” programs “strictly off that study” because it makes the case for technology that TeleVox sells. The article goes on to cite other quality resources that support some of the study’s findings while not endorsing the TeleVox healthcare product line, which includes automated messaging systems, website hosting, and other tools “not just stay in touch but actually engage their patients while saving money in the process” (from the company website).

Health sciences libraries are in the business of helping patrons find evidence-based health and medical information. Here at Eccles Library, we can point you to quality information resources — websites, journals and more — on everything from health statistics, to personal/consumer health, to sites that address rumors and hoaxes on the Web. Got a question? Just ask!