Biomedical Outreach Librarian, Rachel Fenske, applied and was awarded a $5,000 National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) Technology Improvement Award to fund equipment and educational resources for the Pediatric/Hematology/Oncology Units at the USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital. The project, PATHS (Patient/Parent Access to Health Sources) Leading To Improved Health Outcomes, will provide patients, parents and family members of those newly diagnosed with pediatric cancer and other chronic illnesses at the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital a means of acquiring and using reputable health resources during the educational processes at the hospital. The funds have purchased 8 Android tablets with cases and 8 rolling bed stands which the tablets will be stored on. The tablets will be used to access MedlinePlus and other resources from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Nurses, nurse educators and child life specialists will use the tablets in tandem with their initial patient education to direct parents and patients to additional resources that will be easy to understand, free of medical jargon and in their native language. The tablets can be used at any time during their stay in the hospital. The tablets will also be used to provide additional instructional sessions in MedlinePlus and other specific databases produced by the National Library of Medicine and NIH, such as Genetic Home Reference and Drug Information Portal by the outreach librarian on an individual or group basis.
As a commitment to quality family centered care at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital, the ability for patients and parents to have access to quality health information with the tablets will help diminish the anxiety over learning complex conditions and procedures. By providing access to easy to understand materials at the beginning of the educational process and beyond, parents and caregivers will make better health decisions for their child, feel less stress when inundated with the amount and complexity of information to absorb and continue using the resources throughout their lifetime as other medical related circumstances arise.