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NLM and the American Academy of Physician Assistants Partner on Information Rx

Physician assistants have a new tool to help their patients find quality health information on the Internet. The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is now part of the National Library of Medicine Information Rx program. The partnership was formally launched at the 2010 AAPA annual conference held over the Memorial Day weekend.

With the Information Rx program, physician assistants can order special, free "prescription pads" and use them during office visits to "prescribe" information from NLM's consumer health Web site,  For example, when treating someone with asthma, a physician assistant can use the special prescription pad to direct the patient to accurate and easy-to-understand information about asthma on MedlinePlus.  The site includes:

  • more than 800 health topics
  • interactive tutorials for people with low literacy
  • a medical dictionary
  • an illustrated medical encyclopedia
  • directories of hospitals and providers
  • surgical videos
  • information in English and Spanish, with selected materials in nearly 50 other languages

NLM initiated its Information Rx program: to help people better understand health information; to enhance conversations between healthcare providers and patients; and to encourage the use of evidence-based health information on the Internet.

"Part of a health care provider's job is to explain illnesses, diagnoses and treatments to patients," said Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, Director of the National Library of Medicine. "MedlinePlus provides authoritative, user-friendly and commercial-free information that physician assistants can use to supplement information provided in the office or clinic."

In addition to the AAPA, three other healthcare associations have partnered with NLM on Information Rx. They are the American College of Physicians Foundation, the National Medical Association, and the American Osteopathic Association.

To learn more about the Information Rx program, or to order free prescription pads and other materials, visit the Information Rx Web site,