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Helpful Links

Trustworthy Medical Information

Merck Manuals: A trusted source for medical information for those involved in medical care and others in need of a reliable medical reference. All 6 of “The Merck Manuals” are available free online as a service to the community: The Merck Manual, The Merck Manual of Medical Information--Second Home Edition, The Merck Manual of Geriatrics, The Merck Manual of Health & Aging, The Merck Index and The Merck Veterinary Manual.

Medline Plus: A comprehensive consumer health website offered by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. An “all-in-one” site that includes over 600 health topics, drug information, a medical dictionary and encyclopedia and health news. It's free, commercial-free, and completely private.

PubMed: Another service of the National Library of Medicine, it provides access, free of charge, to MEDLINE. The site includes state-of-the-art retrieval features such as "related articles," links to related databases, and links to publishers' full-text articles. A great place to search “the medical literature” with over 15 million citations.

Institute of Medicine: part of the National Academy of Sciences, The Institute of Medicine (IOM) serves as adviser to the nation to improve health. As an independent, scientific adviser, the IOM provides advice that is unbiased and based on evidence. Their objective and authoritative information is offered on a variety of health topics.

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Health and Patient Safety Organizations

AHRQ: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the Department of Health and Human Services is packed with health quality and patient safety info. It provides evidence based information on healthcare outcomes, quality and cost, use and access. AHRQ was formerly known as the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.

The National Quality Forum: The National Quality Forum was created to develop and implement national standards for healthcare quality measurement and reporting. The mission of the NQF is to provide meaningful information about whether care is safe, timely, beneficial, patient-centered, equitable and efficient.

National Academy for State Health Policy: The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping states achieve excellence in health policy and practice. In addition to quality and patient safety, NASHP focuses on long-term and chronic care, children’s’ health, cost containment and the uninsured.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices: The ISMP is a nonprofit agency that provides information about adverse drug events and their prevention. In cooperation with the United States Pharmacopoeia, ISMP operates the national Medication Errors Reporting Program (USP-ISMP MERP). Featured are back issues of the ISMP Medication Safety Alert! which chronicles medication error reports and provides analysis and expert recommendations for prevention.

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Patient Advocacy Groups

Public Citizen Health Research Group: The Health Research Group’s website at Public Citizen promotes research-based, system-wide changes in healthcare policy and provides oversight concerning drugs, medical devices, doctors, hospitals and occupational health. They work to ban unreliable unsafe or ineffective drugs and medical devices and educate consumers about the healthcare services they receive by providing information about doctors disciplined by state medical boards, hospital cesarean section rates, how to obtain your medical records, and dispute resolution in Medicare HMOs.

Stop Hospital Infections: is a project of Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. The site provides consumers with timely information about hospital infection issues, together with information about current state and federal legislative efforts. They also provide information about and a mechanism for consumers to contact elected officials about the importance of hospital infection, and the critical role of public disclosure. We strongly support their effort!

Pulse America: P.U.L.S.E. America’s website offers information on the national and local chapters of PULSE (Persons United Limiting Substandards and Errors in Healthcare), a consumer-focused organization geared towards education and support. Resources include a chat room, personal stories and related links for patients’ rights. Pulse uses real life stories and experiences in its effort to improve patient safety and reduce the rate of medical errors in our country.

Peoples Medical Society: The People’s Medical Society has championed the rights of medical consumers since its founding. The Society is one of the largest medical consumer advocacy organizations in the United States, and has published an impressive assortment of health classics. The Society has been an advisor to the Healthcare Financing Administration and an important resource on hospital acquired infections for many major news organizations.

Center for Medical Consumers: The Center for Medical Consumers is an advocacy organization active in both statewide and national efforts to improve the quality of healthcare. Its web site is committed to broadening public awareness about the safety and quality problems that pervade the American healthcare system. It has led efforts to insure that healthcare institutions and professionals are held responsible for patient safety and the quality of their care through strong enforcement of laws and regulations.

Compassionate Friends: The Compassionate Friends assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and provide information to help others be as supportive as possible. The Compassionate Friends is a support organization that offers friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings. There is no religious affiliation and there are no membership dues or fees.

Patient to Patient: A Survival Guide: The whole web site was created to help patients deal with their journey through the American medical system. As a previous patient, the writer shares the various obstacles that she actually encountered in the system, and offers some sound suggestions along the way. The site is structured in a multiple story format and the sections can be read in any order. The Tidbits section alone is worth the trip.

Consumers Advancing Patient Safety: Consumers Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS) is a collective voice for individuals, families and healers who wish to prevent harm in healthcare encounters through partnership and collaboration. CAPS draws on the owners’ tragic personal experiences in the hope of creating a healthcare system that is safe, compassionate and just.

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Health Policy Foundations

Commonwealth Fund: is a national foundation that performs independent research and publishes papers and reports on health and social policy issues. The site provides information on the following health policy topics: health insurance and the uninsured, Medicare, Medicaid and other state programs, healthcare quality improvement, minority health, long-term care, child and adolescent health, managed care, and women's and men's health.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the largest philanthropy organization devoted exclusively to health and healthcare in the United States. To achieve the most impact, they prioritize their focus into four goal areas: (1) to assure that all Americans have access to quality healthcare at reasonable cost; (2) to improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health conditions; (3) to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and, (4) to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse — tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation focuses on the major healthcare issues facing the nation. The Foundation is an independent voice and source of facts and analysis for policymakers, the media, the healthcare community, and the general public. Kaiser’s web site is a healthcare policy clearinghouse on a myriad of topics. In addition, the site provides an extensive public opinion tracking service and is also the parent site of and State Health Facts Online. The Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries. This website is one of the best!

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Accreditation & Advisory

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recognized as the lead federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people - at home and abroad, by providing credible information to enhance health decisions. The CDC serves as the national focus for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.

Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations: “JCAHO” allows consumers to check the performance of local healthcare facilities, including hospitals, surgery centers, and nursing homes. It also provides a place for consumers to report complaints about the quality of care provided at such facilities. In addition, the site provides lists of steps to obtaining safe healthcare, and other guides that help consumers ask the right questions before selecting a healthcare setting.

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Consumer Rights Groups

Center for Justice & Democracy: The Center for Justice & Democracy is a non- partisan public interest organization that works to educate the public about the importance of the civil justice system. CJ&D fights to protect the right to trial by jury and an independent judiciary for all Americans. CJ&D is not connected to any business or trial lawyer organization.

Public Citizen: Same site as the “Public Citizen Health Policy” listed above, but different area focuses on representing consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts. Concentrates on accountability in government and the rights of consumers.

The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights: The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights (FTCR) is a nationally-recognized, California-based education and advocacy organization which attempts to protect consumers interests. One of their slogans is to “provide people with the facts, not propaganda . . . and hold the politicians and the special interests accountable when they endanger the public.”

Americans for Insurance Reform: Americans for Insurance Reform (AIR) is a national coalition of public interest organizations that support effective insurance industry reforms to control skyrocketing insurance rates, reduced insurance coverage, arbitrary policy cancellations and mismanagement.

Consumers Union: The Healthcare section of the site provides informative and educational materials developed by Consumers Union's advocacy offices on health care affordability, managed care, and healthcare reform issues.

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Other Sites of Interest

The Leapfrog Group: The Leapfrog Group is made up of more than 150 companies and organizations that seek to purchase quality healthcare. The Leapfrog and its members work together to (1) reduce preventable medical mistakes and improve the quality and affordability of healthcare; (2) reward doctors and hospitals for improving the quality, safety and affordability of healthcare; and, (3) encourage public reporting of healthcare quality and outcomes.

HealthGrades: HealthGrades is a healthcare ratings, information, and advisory services company that works to improve the quality of healthcare nationwide. With their proprietary, objective provider ratings and expert advisory services, they are creating a standard for healthcare quality.

Medical News Today: Medical News Today provides all the latest articles and reports related to health, medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology news and presents them to an international audience of health professionals and consumers each and every day. The most comprehensive of all medical news sites.

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Last updated on 11/02/04

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