The Institute for Family Health, which operates a diverse network of 16 federally-qualified health centers in New York State, proposes to continue its current collaboration with the Public Services Division of the National Library of Medicine and Columbia University's Department of Biomedical Informatics to create a Spanish-language version of MedlinePlus Connect. MedlinePlus Connect allows users of the Institute's electronic health record patient portal to link directly MedlinePlus consumer health information from within the portal records. There is clear evidence that Spanish-speaking patients in the U.S. experience barriers to care that contribute to health disparities evident among the Latino population. Spanish- speaking patients in the U.S. are among the last to benefit from advances in health information technology. As an organization committed to using health information technology to address health disparities, the Institute will, through this project: - Expand the MedlinePlus Connect initiative in order to link a Spanish version of its patient portal and relevant Spanish-language content in MedlinePlus. - Develop Spanish-language instructional tools and classes in order to optimize the accessibility and usefulness of the patient portal as an aid to Spanish-speaking patients in understanding and managing their health;and test these tools in partnership with community-based organizations. - Assess the effectiveness of the MyChart en Espanol and MedlinePlus Connect in Spanish links and learning tools through quantitative and qualitative analyses. The Institute's network serves a predominantly minority and low-income population of 92,000 patients, with special programs serving the homeless and those affected by HIV/AIDS. Approximately ten percent, or a total of 9,000, of the Institute's patients are solely or predominantly Spanish-speaking. With very few health care providers offering Spanish- language patient portals, the Institute is forging new ground in providing this tool to patients.
Through the proposed project, a Spanish-language patient portal into an electronic health record system will be linked to tailored, language-appropriate health information and health education materials. The user-centered design will maximize the usefulness and usability of this resource, which is intended to serve as model for health care providers across the country in meeting the health information needs of their Spanish-speaking patients. With the increasing adoption of health information technology, it is critical that we develop best practices for implementation of patient-centered tools that meet the needs of disparity populations.