Health Information - Consumers

This guide will help you locate and navigate resources related to consumer health and general health information. This page is intended for members of the public who are not affiliated with the University of Maine at Augusta.

Welcome!

Welcome to Bennett D. Katz Library's guide to consumer health information. This guide is intended to provide you with important and reliable health information and guidelines for evaluating health/medical information. The guide also provides information and resources for the purposes of health information education. 

This guide is not a substitute for visiting a doctor about health concerns or medical conditions. 

What is Consumer Health Information?

Information intended for potential users of medical and healthcare services. There is an emphasis on self-care and preventive approaches as well as information for community-wide dissemination and use.

(PubMed, 2008).

What is Consumer Health Information Literacy?

Simply stated, health literacy is about consumers being able to understand the medical information their caregivers give them or they find through the Internet and being able to use that information to make good decisions about their own course of care. (JMLA, 2011)

Why Is Consumer Health Literacy Important?

Health literacy is important for everyone because, at some point in our lives, we all need to be able to find, understand, and use health information and services. Taking care of our health is part of everyday life, not just when we visit a doctor, clinic, or hospital. Health literacy can help us prevent health problems and protect our health, as well as better manage those problems and unexpected situations that happen.

Even people who read well and are comfortable using numbers can face health literacy issues when

  • They aren’t familiar with medical terms or how their bodies work.
  • They have to interpret statistics and evaluate risks and benefits that affect their health and safety.
  • They are diagnosed with a serious illness and are scared and confused.
  • They have health conditions that require complicated self-care.
  • They are voting on an issue affecting the community’s health and relying on unfamiliar technical information.

(CDC, 2016)