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CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
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e-mail: david-pedersen@uiowa.edu

Release: Oct. 9, 2002

(Photo: Michael Kienzle, M.D., UI associate dean for clinical affairs and biomedical communications, and chief technology officer of UI Health Care, left; Michael D'Alessandro, M.D., director and digital-librarian-in-chief of the Virtual Hospital, right)

Three UI health Web sites place in CAPHIS Top 100

Three University of Iowa online health resources have been listed among the top 100 health information sites by the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) of the Medical Library Association.

The Hardin Health Science Library's Meta Directory of Internet Health Sources, the Virtual Hospital's Common Problems for Adults, and Virtual Hospital's Common Problems in Pediatrics earned the distinction.

"This means a lot to Virtual Hospital and Virtual Children's Hospital," said Michael D'Alessandro, M.D., director and digital-librarian-in-chief of the Virtual Hospital sites. "The experts involved in selecting and curating medical information are medical librarians. To receive this distinction from the Medical Library Association is a tremendous recognition from our peers. "

The Virtual Hospital sites allow patients and health care providers to anonymously search authoritative medical information for free. Because it is a university site, there is no advertising, just a focus on serving the user, according to D'Alessandro.

The Hardin Meta Directory (Hardin MD), produced by the UI Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, provides a myriad of links to the most complete and frequently cited health resources on the Web. The site draws an average of four million visits annually, according to Jim Duncan, assistant director for technology services at the Hardin Library. Links are organized by topic, ranging from AIDS to ear infections, melanoma to the West Nile virus. The lists and links are frequently updated.

"Hardin MD reaches people around the world by connecting health consumers quickly to the best health information resources on the Web, " said Eric Rumsey, a medical librarian and the founder and primary producer of Hardin MD.

"Our sites are known nationally and internationally for several reasons, " said Michael Kienzle, M.D., UI associate dean for clinical affairs and biomedical communications, and chief technology officer of UI Health Care. "Our material is developed by our faculty and staff and is peer-reviewed for quality. We work hard to make the navigation on the site as intuitive and easy as possible. Also, the sites are an extension of our mission as a public educational institution and an excellent way for us to reach out to clinicians and patients everywhere. "

The CAPHIS Top 100 Committee reviews Web sites based on credibility, authorship, content, audience, currency, disclosure, purpose, links, design, interactivity and caveats.

The Web sites can be located at http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/md/index.html (Hardin MD), http://www.vh.org/CommonProblems/CommonProblems.html (Virtual Hospital, adult), and http://www.vh.org/VCH/CommonProblems/CommonProblems.html (Virtual Hospital, pediatrics).

The CAPHIS Top 100 is listed at http://caphis.mlanet.org/consumer/index.html.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.