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Transforming Biomedical Informatics and Literacy

The Internet continues to change how patients and health care professionals interact today. The Internet provides health-related information, including generally understandable symptoms, treatment options, and expected outcomes. An example of a medical website that provides patient safety information is MedlinePlus, providing general education for health consumers or a broad audience. The website aims to increase the community’s awareness of health and medicine, promoting health literacy in English and Spanish. The MedlinePlus website can be best evaluated based on sources, authority, funding, reliability, quality, privacy, and disclosure criteria.

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The MedlinePlus website is co-sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The website was created by NLM staff, who collaborated with medical librarians from across the country to keep it up to date with credible medical information. The website adheres to high-quality standards that govern health and medical information. NIH institutions, non-governmental health groups, and federal agencies produce the most evidence-based research (MedlinePlus, 2022). The website’s material is authored entirely by medical professionals, and it benefits from the National Library of Medicine’s high-quality health information. The ability of health librarians and health information technology specialists to collect, organize, and disseminate material to the public is critical to the website’s depth and diversity. As a result, the MedlinePlus website is a reliable source of health information for the general public.

The information on MedlinePlus comes from the world’s most extensive library, the National Library of Medicine of the United States, in partnership with the National Institute of Health. The library is critical in translating biomedical research into practice and advancing public health, health care, and scientific research. It communicates with the community through various media, including user-friendly websites and explicit content (Mo & Denny, 2022). Due to the company’s data sources, the website provides excellent, relevant healthcare information that can be trusted and understood in both English and Spanish. An online medical dictionary, a herbal drug index, and medical news services are available. The website’s sponsors contribute original, evidence-based content that complements the government data found in MedlinePlus. Since professionals write the information on the websites, the authors are specialists (MDs, PhDs, and RNs). The websites provide links to reach the sponsors and the authors efficiently. In terms of authority, the website displays all the relevant materials, including institutional details and authors’ credentials.

The MedlinePlus website services are funded by the NLM and offer various programs to ensure that the public gets credible health data. The congress of the United States directly supports it by funding NLM and the national institute of health. The sponsors are mainly nonprofit organizations. For instance, NLM supports research, public service, and education programs (Miller & Shortliffe,2022). They focus on health advocating for and improving the community’s wellbeing. The website is exempted from tax because it operates under education and science research to help the public. There are no adverts as the pages do not show any commercial advertisements. The link displaying pages with ads does not suggest a marketable influence on health content since the ads are labeled or identified for readers’ understanding. Therefore, the material from the website purely enhances the quality of health for the public and has no promotion since the tax dollars are already paid.

MedlinePlus website provides accurate science-based data that enhance the general public’s health. The website describes the organization, including the mission, structure, governance, and policies, providing accurate health details to the intended audience. It gives a clear statement on the purposes and generally focuses on providing the best to the public. The website is reliable since the health material is peer-reviewed by qualified medical personnel. The current website was updated last on March 10, 2022, and showed links working, providing diverse health-related data such as dieting and various illnesses (MedlinePlus, 2022). The site is free from typing errors and simples mistakes, and information is free from bias and opinion. However, some links do not show reputable resources, lowering the quality or credibility of the website. For these reasons, the quality and validity of data from the website, in general, cannot be questionable.

Furthermore, the site guarantees the privacy of users’ confidential data, given its high protection measures using the hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS) that facilitate secure communications. Such enhanced security measures mean that users’ privacy is ensured, minimizing theft of their personal information such as emails. Additionally, MedlinePlus discloses crucial institutional information, highlighting its affiliation to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Library of Medicine (MedlinePlus, 2022). Therefore, an evaluation of the MedlinePlus health information website shows a credible and trustworthy website that protects users’ privacy.

In summary, MedlinePlus assists healthcare literacy by adhering to strict policies to link consumers’ health information. The website targets researchers, healthcare professionals, and the public, informing them on health-related issues. Through analysis of the MedlinePlus website, it is evident that it meets source, authority, funding, reliability, quality, privacy, and disclosure evaluation criteria. Therefore, it is a credible source of health information for readers seeking knowledge on health issues.

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References

MedlinePlus. (2022).

Miller, R., & Shortliffe, E. (2022). Donald A.B. Lindberg and the U.S. National Library of Medicine Transformed Biomedical and Health Informatics. Transforming Biomedical Informatics and Health Information Access: Don Lindberg and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 189-200.

Mo, H., & Denny, J. (2022). The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Impact on Precision and Genomic Medicine. Transforming Biomedical Informatics and Health Information Access: Don Lindberg and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 74-84.

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