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New Library Kiosk Offers Quick Information on Health Concerns

Get quick, clear information on health concerns via the Madigan Library's 'Health e-Links' kiosk.Thanks to work with a variety of subcommittees and contacts at James V. Brown Library, a “Health e-Links” kiosk has been placed in the Madigan Library to offer patrons access to health-related information.

“The clear pictures and illustrations of the ‘Health e-Links’ kiosk provide easy access to free health information on common health problems and procedures, which are not always readily understood by the layperson,” said Judy F. McConnell, librarian. “With the touch of a finger, patrons can access basic health information on topics from A-Z. Patrons will learn what questions to ask their health-care provider in order to receive the best care and to understand the responsibility for their own well-being.”

“When approached by several colleagues at the college regarding the possibilities of exploring the placement of a health-literacy kiosk on our campus, it seemed interesting and valuable to our students,” said Sharon K. Waters, dean of health sciences. “By partnering with the James V. Brown Library and gaining approval from an internal committee, we were able to have the kiosk installed on the Penn College campus on Monday, April 14. This kiosk will be an excellent source of health information for our students and the campus community. We are fortunate to have been selected as a placement site for this valuable educational resource.”

As the county entity that provides literacy services, the county library system which includes the James V. Brown Library became aware of the issue of health literacy and how it was “much larger than a remedial education issue,” explained Janice Trapp, executive director of the James V. Brown Library.

“It impacts every aspect of society,” she said. “Fired up with this knowledge, we applied for a federal Library Services and Technology Act grant, and we were funded to the tune of $99,000.”

Under the direction of nationally known health-literacy proponents, including Dr. Rima Rudd of the Harvard School of Public Health, the county library offered continuing education on the issue to area health-care providers and created a database of understandable online health information, using the county’s most prevalent health conditions and concerns as the guide.

The kiosks are a package for that database.

“The kiosk provides an excellent opportunity for the college community and constituents to be able to access highly credible health information in an expedient, user-friendly manner,” said Jane J. Benedict, associate professor of medical/surgical nursing. “The addition of the kiosk assists in demonstrating the college’s commitment to the health and well-being of every individual and will serve to support the college’s newly announced wellness initiative.”

Carl J. Shaner, student health center director, said the kiosk will help students be more proactive in their health care.

“In the past, students were typically passive participants in health care,” he said. “They would visit the doctor once a year, obtain measurements and hope they were healthier than the year before. Today, as health-care providers, we share the burden of rising health-care costs, and students are looking for ways to take control of their health. The health literacy kiosk will allow students to do this, by providing immediate online access to validated health data that can be used to set goals, track progress and make educated decisions to live healthier lives.”

McConnell added additional benefits for students planning to work in the health-care field.

“As Health Science students prepare to enter their respective health-care fields, the kiosk will help to make them aware of the challenges faced by consumers and their need for clear, understandable health information,” she said. “Having the ‘Health e-Links’ kiosk in the Madigan Library will put patrons and students in close proximity with librarians who can offer professional assistance in further research of their topics.”

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