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Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1996 April; 84(2): 209–216.
PMCID: PMC299407

Consumer health information demand and delivery: implications for libraries.


Consumers are increasingly interested in information that will help them manage their own health and that of their families. Managed care and other health providers see consumer health information as one tool to help improve patient satisfaction and reduce costs. There is a huge and varied supply of such information, provided through myriad sources. This article summarizes findings from a preliminary assessment of consumer health information demand and delivery supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It highlights patterns of consumer interest and supply sources, identifies problems that confront those looking for information, and suggests a role for libraries as providers and interpreters of health information. The last publicly released general study on consumer health information was commissioned by General Mills in 1979. In the sixteen years since then, the scope of consumer health information has become huge and diverse; with increased responsibility for health, consumers have developed both broad interests and very specific needs. The Department of Health and Human Services commissioned a preliminary assessment of consumer health information demand and delivery to lay the foundation for a more comprehensive understanding of the issues. This article highlights some of the key findings that suggest a role for libraries as consumer health information providers and interpreters.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Humphries AW, Kochi JK. Providing consumer health information through institutional collaboration. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1994 Jan;82(1):52–56. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dan BB. TV or not TV. Communicating health information to the public. JAMA. 1992 Aug 26;268(8):1026–1027. [PubMed]
  • DeJong W, Winsten JA. The use of mass media in substance abuse prevention. Health Aff (Millwood) 1990 Summer;9(2):30–46. [PubMed]
  • Warner KE. Wellness at the worksite. Health Aff (Millwood) 1990 Summer;9(2):63–79. [PubMed]

Articles from Bulletin of the Medical Library Association are provided here courtesy of Medical Library Association