Promoting MedlinePlus utilization in a federally qualified health center using a multimodal approach


  • Mechelle Sanders Department of Family Medicine Research Programs and Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester, 1381 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620
  • Kate Bringley Woodward Health Center, Anthony L. Jordan Health Center, 480 Genesee Street, Rochester, NY 14611
  • Marie Thomas Department of Family Medicine Research Programs, University of Rochester, 1381 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620
  • Michele Boyd Department of Family Medicine Research Programs, University of Rochester, 1381 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620
  • Subrina Farah Department of Family Medicine Research Programs, University of Rochester, 1381 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620
  • Kevin Fiscella Department of Family Medicine Research Programs and Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester, 1381 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620



Federally Qualified Health Centers, MedlinePlus, National Library of Medicine, Health Literacy, Training


Background: Most patients want more health information than their clinicians provide during office visits. Written information can complement information that is provided verbally, yet most primary care practices, including federally qualified health centers, have not implemented systematic programs to ensure that patients receive understandable, relevant, and accurate health information at the point of care. MedlinePlus in particular is underutilized.

Case Presentation: The authors conducted a multimodal intervention to promote the use of MedlinePlus at a federally qualified health center. We provided MedlinePlus training to clinicians and patients through group and one-on-one trainings and multimedia promotion. We administered pre- and post-intervention surveys to patients, clinicians, and nurses to assess changes in the use and recognition of MedlinePlus at the point of care. We used quantitative and qualitative data to understand the impact of the intervention. A National Library of Medicine grant provided resources that supported equipment and staff. Group training improved use of MedlinePlus by clinicians and staff. One-on-one training was most effective for patients, particularly when it was integrated into the work-flow.

Conclusions: A multimodal approach can promote use of MedlinePlus among community health center patients. However, the process is labor- and resource-intensive and requires careful attention to work flow and leveraging of brief opportunities.


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Case Report