Cancer patients seeking timely, accurate, unbiased information on the Internet about a disease and its treatment might do well to enlist the help of a professional librarian.
According to a study reported today at the Medical Library Association's annual meeting in Phoenix, cancer patients are more likely to find what they are looking for with a librarian-mediated search instead of "going it alone."
Over the last five years, Ruti Volk, a professional librarian and manager of the Patient Education Resource Center (PERC) at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues have done about 2,100 searches for cancer patients. After each mediated-search, patients are asked to complete an evaluation on the information provided to them.
Results from 513 evaluations revealed several interesting findings, Volk noted in an interview with Reuters Health. "One of the most interesting was that 65 percent of patients said they were not able to obtain the information that we sent to them from any other source. They were not able to get it by themselves by using the Internet; they didn't get it from a healthcare provider or from a cancer organization."
An additional 30 percent of PERC visitors said the librarian provided some new information. Only 4 percent said they found all the same information on their own.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
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