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>On Monday, Feb 12, 96, Valerie Schultheiss wrote:
 
>And our other responsibility is not to underestimate the
>"non-professional's" ability to understand medical information!  This
>stuff is knowable, no great mystery, no matter what the public has been
>brainw -- uh, taught ;^) -- over the years.  When it's their disease, or
>that of a loved one, they'll learn everything they need to learn.
 
 
I have to agree with the above and everything else you've said on the topic.
 
I would just like to add to what you said about discerning the line between
"practicing medicine" and providing information. The moment we start giving
our own opinions on anything we are practicing medicine. We are not there
to give advice. We can select materials, make them available, and direct
the consumer to other sources of information or resources. The territory
beyond that is off limits for us.
 
Incidentally, some years ago I saw an excellent film produced by (I think)
the King County group of libraries in Seattle on health reference with
three or four scenarios showing the wrong way and the right way to handle
issues such as this one. It was a public library setting, but the issues
were just as valid for hospital-based information centers.
 
As someone who was very involved with consumer health information back in
the early to mid-eighties, I find that the same issues resurface again and
again; only now, in the nineties, we are dealing with unprecedented access
to health information with the internet, AOL etc. Even if monitoring
content were part of our responsibility, there would be no way now for us
to presume that we could protect the consumer from the "wrong" information.
 
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Eva Eisenstein                       !  The Fels Company
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