Last summer, the IT folks at USA.gov unveiled a general app store for citizens that included several free mobile health care apps, including MedlinePlus. The app, which provides abstracts of medical articles published in scholarly journals, was one of several mobile health technologies showcased by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at November’s mHealth summit.
Now the health information offered by MedlinePlus can be integrated into an electronic health record (EHR) or personal health record (PHR) system. The National Library of Medicine has formally launched MedlinePlus Connect, a free service allowing health organizations and health IT providers to link patient portals and EHR systems to MedlinePlus.
Integrating MedlinePlus health information into EHRs could help eligible providers meet meaningful use criteria. Specifically, MedlinePlus Connect may help providers meet one of the stage 1 menu requirements to “use EHR technology to identify patient-specific education resources and provide those to the patient as appropriate.”
“One of our core principles is that meaningful use of EHRs should help patients get access to information that is meaningful and useful to them,” noted Dr. Farzad Mostashari, national coordinator for health IT. “This meaningful use objective helps patients obtain information tailored to their health situation, and this free service helps providers do this efficiently.”
Health IT gurus looking to implement MedlinePlus Connect — which is available as a Web application or a Web service — can follow instructions provided in the technical documentation. The free service accepts such coding standards as ICD-9-CM, SNOMED CT CORE Problem List Subset, RxNorm, NDC, and LOINC, and only needs to be set up once. The NLM regularly maintains the vocabulary mappings and topic links.