Using Web sites on quality health care for teaching consumers in public libraries

Marilyn H Oermann, Marsha L Lesley, Jillon S VanderWal
Quality Management in Health Care 2005, 14 (3): 188-95
More and more consumers are searching the Internet for health information. Health Web sites vary in quality, though, and not all consumers are aware of the need to evaluate the information they find on the Web. Nurses and other health providers involved in patient education can evaluate Web sites and suggest quality sites for patients to use. This article describes a project we implemented in 2 public libraries to educate consumers about quality health care and patient safety using Web sites that we had evaluated earlier. Participants (n = 103) completed resources on health care quality, questions patients should ask about their diagnoses and treatment options, changes in Medicare and Medicare options or ways to make their health benefits work for them, and tips to help prevent medical errors. Most consumers were highly satisfied with the Web sites and the information they learned on quality care from these resources. Many participants did not have Internet access at home or work and instead used the library to search the Web. Information about the Web sites used in this project and other sites on quality care can be made available in libraries and community settings and as part of patient education resources in hospitals. The Web provides easy access for consumers to information about patient safety initiatives and health care quality in general.

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