Patient Handouts at the Point of Care

My Primary Care Physician is a good guy.  His practice implemented an EMR a few years ago- each time I see him, I ask him how that’s going and he lets me see how it looks on the tablet PC he carries into the exam room.

My last visit was for an annual checkup a few weeks ago and we were talking about point-of-care tools and integration with his EMR.  It turns out that their EMR has no useful functionality to help find or produce patient education handouts he can quickly sent to a printer

I told him it would not be difficult to make a tool that would enable him to find authoritative handouts quickly and easily from the paid resources his practice has available, and he expressed interest in that idea.

He hasn’t followed up, but I found the idea interesting, so I started thinking about what sort of tool could be built for this purpose that could be integrated into any EMR using only patient handouts that are available at no cost on the Web.

With that in mind, I came up with a Google Custom Search Engine for use by providers at our hospital, but I see no reason why it couldn’t be used by any institution or practice.

The idea behind this is that any search result is not only authoritative, but that it is within a click of a “print” button.

There are built-in refinements for large print, pediatrics, Spanish language, Seniors, and low literacy.

Please give it a try here.

Internists and medical libraryfolk: I’d be grateful for your feedback!

17 thoughts on “Patient Handouts at the Point of Care

  1. We’ve been working on this concept at our library, specifically focusing on patient handouts in other languages. We started with a Vietnamese Health Information Google CSE, and sent out the link to a few physicians at our hospital. The response was quick; within the hour it followed up by the inquiry of “when is/are X language(s) going to be available?” Needless to say, we’ll be rolling out additional languages shortly.

    The Vietnamese Health Information Google CSE is on my libguide here:

    Darell Schmick

  2. I like this a lot. It seems to work well. How would you envision it being used on mobile devices? Thanks for this.

  3. Thanks, Karen. 🙂

    I made it with my PCP in mind, and his tablet PC is connected to his office’s network via WiFi, so sending the handout he chooses to the nearest printer shouldn’t be difficult. The CSE looks good on my Android phone and on the iPhone emulator I tried.

    If one’s mobile device isn’t directly attached via WiFi to a network with a printer, there are a few ways one could get around that. Some examples include , Google Cloud Print”, or you could save the handout on your mobile device to Dropbox and set up the computer attached to the printer to print anything that appears in Dropbox.

    Any suggestions on where else to find print-ready, high quality patient handouts?

  4. I thought about that, Michelle. I figured integration that tight created some cost barriers, so I went for something a provider could implement even without help from IT.

  5. David and Darell,
    My favorite non-english language Patient Education Resource is the New South Wales Multicultural Health Communication Service (this is the link via languages, there’s also a link for resources by topic; and there’s a search form:

    For a number of years I taught residents in our informatics rotation about this resource, and asked those with second language skills to evaluate the accuracy of the information provided (and cultural compentency and the quality of translation). They reviewed selected handouts in Urdu, Chinese, Bosnian, and Armenian. All reported good translation, good content, and cultural sensitivity.

    Just wondered if you’d included these resources in your scan for quality patient education materials?

  6. One other thought : I didn’t come across any, but are you including the Medlineplus tutorials in the low literacy category?

  7. This is an excellent resource – something that I think the medical providers in our facility would definitely appreciate. I’ll see if some of them would like to try it and let you know what they say. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I have the same question as Ann. Would you tell us how you did it? Would be interesting also in german speaking parts of the world. I think the idea is great!

  9. Hi Lynne!

    For non-English materials, I focused first on Spanish to see how it would work (and because it was absolutely the easiest non-English language to start with). I’d like to add other languages when I can and would welcome further suggestions of where to find those materials.

    The tutorials from MedlinePlus are not included because they’re not printable- but their text summaries are included. 🙂

  10. Susanne/Ann-

    Send me some suggestions for where to get German-language handouts and I’ll add ’em. 🙂

    As for how it was done, it is a Google Custom Search Engine.

    Are you looking for general instructions on how to do something like this? Are you asking for the embed code? Are you asking for the list of URLs/patterns?

  11. Hi David,

    This is great! Though we don’t have an EMR yet… Let me know if you do one in French. I can send you links to some good resources…

    Hope all is well!


  12. Hi Lynne,

    The NSW MHCS materials indeed are included in our custom search engines. It’s great to know that the materials received those high marks on evaluation!

    The NSW materials are also in our newest search engine. We completed another engine for consumer health information, this time in Burmese. It’s posted on my libguide:

    As for the selection of language: we chose Burmese based on patient and patron need. Our community has a large refugee population of Burmese speakers.

  13. This does look great! I’ll share it around the library and see if I can get feedback from anyone. Also, I’ll be interested to hear what kinds of modifications people make to search their paid resources.