HIV/AIDS Information at the Point-of-Care in Worcester, Massachusetts

Project Description

The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), AIDS Project Worcester (APW), and the UMass Memorial Health Care (UMMHC) is excited to begin the 2018-2019 HIV/AIDS Community Outreach Project (ACIOP), HIV/AIDS Information at the Point-of-Care. Goals of the project include encouraging the use of evidence-based health information on the Internet to improve the understanding of health information by patients. In addition, the project enhances the conversation between healthcare providers and patients on health information topics using the National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources.

Collaboration to Provide Reliable Health Information at the Point-of-Care

The HIV/AIDS Information at the Point-of-Care project is a collaboration between UMMHC, APW, and UMMS. The collaboration utilizes a custom NLM Information Prescription (Information Rx) form at the UMMHC HIV/AIDS clinics at UMass Memorial Hospital and APW in Worcester, Massachusetts.

UMMHC is the clinical partner of the UMMS. Both UMMS and UMMHC have a long history of HIV/AIDS research and clinical care. In the 1980’s, adult and children’s clinics treated patients and performed anonymous testing of those at risk. UMMHC is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS care in Central Massachusetts. Services include a full range of primary care, mental health, substance abuse, and women’s health services. UMass Memorial Health Care is the clinical provider for Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV/AIDS in Central Massachusetts.

APW began in 1987 and is a vital resource for people living with HIV/AIDS in Worcester. The organization provides free comprehensive services to support the medical care and needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, including medical case management, housing assistance, and prevention outreach to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and other at-risk populations in the area. In 2018, APW expanded services by including an onsite medical clinic staffed by UMMHC clinicians.

Information Prescription (Information Rx)

The Information Prescription (Information Rx) Program was first developed in 2002 as part of a collaboration between the American College of Physicians Foundation (ACPF) and the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). As part of this program, physicians used Information Prescription pads, similar to the pads used to prescribe medications, to direct patients to reliable health information from NLM.

The HIV/AIDS prescription pad was created for this project based on input from UMMHC and APW staff. Health providers at the UMMHC HIV/AIDS clinics use the HIV/AIDS prescription pads to direct patients to NLM HIV/AIDS resources such as AIDSource, AIDSinfo, ClinicalTrials.gov, MedlinePlus, and PrEP Navigator resources. The APW outreach worker is available during some of the clinic times to assist patients and their families in their search for reliable health information.

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The collaborators are thrilled about the project. The clinicians at UMMHC plan to use the Information Rx as a tool to communicate to patients and as a reminder to document the patient education requirements of the Affordable Care Act. APW staff is enthusiastic about adding a part-time outreach staff member to increase access to NLM and locally created HIV/AIDS and PrEP navigator resources at the point-of-care throughout Worcester. UMMS staff is excited about building upon the relationships that began with the 2017-2018 ACIOP contract, and with this project, improving access to reliable HIV/AIDS information to patients and their families at the point-of-care in Worcester.



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