MedlinePlus Goes Local with "NC Health Info"
Since 1998, MedlinePlus has provided the public with up-to-date, authoritative health information on a broad national scale. But on January 14, 2003, at a ceremony at the Pittsboro Public Library, MedlinePlus "went local" for the citizens of North Carolina and it now provides health information from local and state resources.
The new site, billed as "A Web Resource of Local Health Information for North Carolinians," is at http://www.nchealthinfo.org.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Health Sciences Library and School of Information and Library Science have created NC Health Info to address local health questions such as:
- Where does a support group for Alzheimer's caregivers meet in Charlotte?
- Is it safe to eat the fish I catch in Pamlico Sound?
- Where can I get a rubella vaccination in Siler City?
- Is there an exercise class for breast cancer survivors in Chapel Hill?
- Is there a support group in Vance County for adolescents with substance abuse problems?
- Are there any dentists in Hyde County?
NC Health Info provides answers to these and other questions through links to Web sites from hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, support groups, health screening clinics and many others.
To find local services, MedlinePlus users (http://medlineplus.gov) first select the "Go Local" link from any health topic, choose a North Carolina county or city, and then browse a list of Web links to services. Going the other way, NC Health Info users can find health information related to local services through links to MedlinePlus.
UNC staff have developed and tested methods to identify, select, and organize these health services Web sites. The experience gained and documentation created by the NC Health Info pilot will benefit future "Go local" initiatives in creating successful Web sites to bring local health services information to MedlinePlus users in other states.