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Consumer Health Resources / 'Healthier U': Consumer Health for Public Libraries

Consumer health info for all, no sign ups, no committments

Free Consumer Health Links

The purpose of these resources is that they are free to all. No fees. There may be a sign-up to go deeper into the content of some pages, but it should be short and with minimal info. Many websites also optimize to mobile devices. Note: requests from outside entities to add their webpage to our resources may be denied (especially if the requesting entity has a for-profit component).

General Health Websites

  • MedlinePlus: https://medlineplus.gov. MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health’s website for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, it offers reliable, up-to-date health information for free. It is recommended as a starting place for all health information searches.
  • FamilyDoctor: https://familydoctor.org. Familydoctor.org is the American Academy of Family Physician’s consumer website, featuring physician-reviewed patient education materials, that includes care for the physical, mental, and emotional health of the whole family and is available in English and Spanish.
  • HealthFinder: https://healthfinder.gov. Healthfinder.gov is a government website with information and tools to help you and your loved ones stay healthy. Resources are available on a wide range of health topics selected from approximately 1400 government and non-profit organizations.
  • NC Health Info: https://nchealthinfo.org. NC Health Info is the Health Sciences Library at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s consumer health website, an online guide to websites of quality health and medical information for the public.
  • Merck Manual Consumer Version: https://merckmanuals.com/home. The Merck Manual Consumer Version offers information on medical topics, symptoms, drugs, procedures, news and more, written in everyday language.
  • NC LIVE: http://nclive.org. NC LIVE offers free electronic access to resources for all ages on topics ranging from careers, business, and investing, to health, history, and genealogy. E-books, audiobooks, videos, magazines, newspapers, journals, language-learning tools, and other online materials are designed for at-home use, and are also available through local public libraries, community colleges, or college and university libraries.
  • NC Department of Insurance: http://www.ncdoi.com. Report suspected fraud or scams in North Carolina: The North Carolina Department of Insurance has trained experts who can answer questions about health, life, Medicare, homeowners, auto, disability, long-term care, dental, vision and other types of insurance coverage.

Source: Terri Ottosen, MLIS, AHIP; Community Engagement and Health Literacy Librarian; Health Sciences Library, UNC - Chapel Hill

Evaluating Health Information on the Web

  • Evaluating Internet Health Information Tutorial: https://medlineplus.gov/webeval/webeval.html. This tutorial teaches you how to evaluate the health information you find on the Web. It is about 16 minutes long.
  • Health News Review: https://www.healthnewsreview.org/. This site reviews news stories and releases that include a health claim. Their review criteria consists of 10 different elements that they think all health care news stories should include to help consumers develop informed opinions and whether the story matters in their lives.

Source: Terri Ottosen, MLIS, AHIP; Community Engagement and Health Literacy Librarian; Health Sciences Library, UNC - Chapel Hill

Subject-Specific Health Information Websites

  • Lab Tests Online: https://labtestsonline.org. Lab Tests Online is a health information web resource designed to help patients and caregivers understand the many lab tests that are part of medical care. Laboratory and medical professionals, develop and review all content and the site is produced by the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC).
  • ClinicalTrials.gov: https://clinicaltrials.gov. This site provides easy access to information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies on a wide range of diseases and conditions. Most of the records describe clinical trials, a research study in which human volunteers are assigned to interventions (for example, a product, behavior or procedure) based on a plan and then are evaluated for effects.
  • Genetics Home Reference: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov. This consumer health website from the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, provides information for the general public about the effects of genetic variation on human health.
  • National Cancer Institute: https://cancer.gov. This website is the U.S. government’s principal agency for cancer research. It offers free, credible, current and comprehensive information about cancer prevention and screening, diagnosis and treatment, research, clinical trials, news and links to other NCI websites.
  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: https://nccih.nih.gov. The NCCIH is the federal government’s lead agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. It is funded by the National Institutes of health and is a reliable source of information on complementary health.
  • National Institute on Aging: https://nia.nih.gov. This website provides science-based information on health and aging, and Alzheimer’s disease. Health topics are geared toward the older adults or their caregivers.

Source: Terri Ottosen, MLIS, AHIP; Community Engagement and Health Literacy Librarian; Health Sciences Library, UNC - Chapel Hill

Drugs and Supplement Websites

  • Drug Information Portal: https://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov/drugportal/. The Drug Information Portal is produced by the National Library of Medicine and is a gateway to selected drug information from key U.S. government agencies. The portal covers drugs from the time they are entered into clinical trials through their entry in the U.S. market place.
  • Daily Med: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/. This website provides trustworthy information about marketed drugs. It is the official provider of label information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), found in medication package inserts.
  • Dietary Supplement Label Database: https://www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov/dsld/. This website and database includes full label information from dietary supplement products marketed in the U.S. It was developed for both researchers, health professionals and the public.

Source: Terri Ottosen, MLIS, AHIP; Community Engagement and Health Literacy Librarian; Health Sciences Library, UNC - Chapel Hill

Mental Health Websites

  • National Institute of Mental Health: https://nimh.nih.gov. As the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders, this website provides information to help support the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses.
  • Mental Health.gov: https://mentalhealth.gov. This site aims to provide one-stop access to U.S. government mental health and mental health problems information.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): https://www.samhsa.gov. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the country. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Source: Terri Ottosen, MLIS, AHIP; Community Engagement and Health Literacy Librarian; Health Sciences Library, UNC - Chapel Hill

Support Group Websites

  • Daily Strength: https://www.dailystrength.org. This site is a free, anonymous online community to talk to other people facing the same challenges. It serves as a social network centered on support groups.
  • Patients Like Me: https://www.patientslikeme.com. This site promotes itself as the world’s largest personalized health network that helps people find new treatments, connect with others, and take action to improve their outcomes.

Source: Terri Ottosen, MLIS, AHIP; Community Engagement and Health Literacy Librarian; Health Sciences Library, UNC - Chapel Hill

For Additional Information

  • The Challenges of Providing Consumer Health Information Services in Public Libraries: http://ehrweb.aaas.org/PDF/ChallengePubLibraries.pdf. This publication from the Healthy People 2010 Library Initiative provides an overview of the challenges public library staff face when providing consumer health information and points to some resources to get started.
  • Engage for Health: https://nnlm.gov/mar/guides/programming-class/engageforhealth. View the original Engage for Health materials reports, and presentations developed by the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Questions? Contact Terri Ottosen, Community Engagement and Health Literacy Librarian, ottosen@email.unc.edu or Megan Fratta, Community Outreach and Global Health Librarian, mfratta@email.unc.edu