Presentation on theme: "Consumer Health Outreach for Special Populations: Targeting the Senior Citizen Demographic Deborah Chiarella, MLS, University at Buffalo, Health Sciences."— Presentation transcript:
Consumer Health Outreach for Special Populations: Targeting the Senior Citizen Demographic Deborah Chiarella, MLS, University at Buffalo, Health Sciences Library. Lauren Olewnik, MLS, Castleton State College, Calvin Coolidge Library.
Problem Alarming observations made by one author regarding search and evaluation skills while assisting an elderly family member with a search for health information. Family member was willing to rely on results of a Google keyword search for quality, reliable information.
Why another Consumer Health Information Program? Western New York has a large senior citizen population and this conceivable lack of Internet evaluation skills could be common among this age demographic. Sought to provide the community with the tools to enable self-appraisal of health information found on the Internet. Changing information seeking behaviors among this demographic would lead to quality searches and result in more reliable information found.
What makes this program unique? Both authors were completing their MLS when program was conceived, therefore had a flat operating budget. Free resources had to be investigated and implemented. Authors took advantage of free 2.0 tools such as free Web pages and Wikis found on the Web to support the program.
A survey was conducted following the first session. Participants indicated that most were not comfortable using the Internet to search for information.
What 2.0 technology was used? Googlepages was chosen to host the WNY Consumer Health Web pages due to its ease of use and ability to be edited from any location with an Internet connection. This was necessary since the authors now reside in different states. Free Wiki program – DokuWiki was used to compile information for resource page. Instant Messaging was used for communication between authors to edit Web pages and wiki.
Based on a survey of initial participants few participants used the Internet to search for health information. Most relied on physicians and friends for answers to health queries.
Results and feedback Program presentation was met with positive reviews from both participants and library staff. Participants and library staff were introduced to free quality health resources. Authors were subsequently contacted by library staff to request additional information regarding creation and use of 2.0 tools to implement in their library. Additional presentations have been requested.
Conclusions Presenters were able to successfully create and implement a quality Consumer Health Information program on a flat budget and support it with Web resources using free library 2.0 technology. Authors found Website and Wiki collaboration effective from different geographic locales, due to the use of web 2.0 tools. Consumer health information programs for seniors can be created by solo librarians and those with small operating budgets using free 2.0 tools.
Recommendations This program could easily be ported and maintained between libraries due to the use of 2.0 tools located on the World Wide Web, allowing collaboration between libraries that are geographically distant. Grant funding will be investigated in the future to aid in bringing the program to other venues. Podcasts and blogs are under investigation for inclusion into the current resources to provide supplemental help and support for seniors seeking reliable health information.