WELCOME TO MODULE 7: MedlinePlus Drugs and Supplements, Medical Encyclopedia

Helping Older Adults Search for Health Information Online:

A Toolkit for Trainers from the National Institute on Aging

In this module, you will find

To teach the module, you will need

To get started, you should

Questions or comments about the Toolkit? Contact the National Institute on Aging at (301) 496-1752 or e-mail daileys@nia.nih.gov

MedlinePlus Drugs and Supplements, Medical Encyclopedia: Introduction

LESSON OVERVIEW

Lesson Goals

In this lesson, students will:

  1. Recall the main features of the MedlinePlus Home Page.
    Learn how to find information on drugs on the Drugs and Supplements Page.
    Learn how to find information on supplements on the Drugs and Supplements Page.
    Learn how to use the Medical Encyclopedia.
    Find answers to health questions of personal interest.

Lesson Materials

In this lesson, students will need:

*This glossary only includes Internet terms relevant to this lesson. An alphabetical list of all glossary terms introduced in the nine Toolkit lessons is available online at www.nihseniorhealth.gov/toolkit.

Lesson Length

This lesson should last: Approximately 2 hours, with an optional stopping point at 60 minutes.

LESSON PREPARATION

Before the lesson, you should:

When you arrive in the classroom, you should:

You should also

LESSON STRUCTURE – Senior Friendly, Trainer Friendly

The senior-friendly lesson structure includes:

The trainer-friendly lesson plan features:

About the Scripted Transition Boxes

[IMAGE: page with Scripted Transition box circled]

This lesson plan uses a combination of scripted and descriptive sections. The colored, scripted transition boxes which appear at the top of each page of the lesson plan are designed as “anchor points,” marking the end of one part of the lesson and the start of another. It is important to convey the content in these transition boxes, although you may use your own wording as you become more familiar with the material. The steps that follow each scripted box are descriptive. Move through them according to your personal training style.

This approach is useful in maintaining lesson focus and keeping trainers and students on track. It also makes the lesson plan easy to use.

Important Note

In the discussions of health issues that may occur during class, refrain from offering medical advice or advocating specific treatments, physicians, hospitals, insurance plans, etc. Also, discourage this type of activity among students. Always emphasize that students should consult their health care providers about any medical information they may hear about in class or find on the Internet.

Icons Used in the Lesson Plan

REACHING THE OLDER STUDENT

To help your students grasp, apply, and retain the skills and information they are taught, be sure to:

These training techniques from the lesson can also help you be successful:

MedlinePlus Drugs and Supplements, Medical Encyclopedia: LESSON PLAN

OPENING COMMENTS (5 Minutes)

“Welcome to Lesson 7: MedlinePlus Drugs and Supplements, Medical Encyclopedia. My name is _________. (This is our classroom assistant_________.) Before we start the class, I’d like to review a few general points.”

Tell students the following:

  1. This Lesson…
    • Is intended for intermediate students.
    • Is the seventh in a series of nine lessons developed by the National Institute on Aging to help older adults learn to find accurate online health information on their own.
  2. The Medline Plus website they will visit…
    • Is sponsored by the National Library of Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, or NIH.
    • NIH is part of the U.S. Government’s Department of Health and Human Services.
  3. Please be aware that…
    • Online health information is in no way meant to substitute for medical advice from a doctor.
    • In class discussions, students should not attempt to provide medical advice to classmates, however well-intentioned it may be.
  4. Housekeeping Issues…
    • Class will last about __minutes with stretch break(s) lasting ___minutes.
    • Bathroom breaks can be taken anytime. Restrooms are located______.
  5. Ask students if they have any questions.

INTRODUCTIONS (3 Minutes)

“Before we get started, let’s introduce ourselves.”

  1. Introduce yourself, giving your name and your experience teaching computers and the Internet. If you have a classroom assistant or peer coach, introduce that person.
  2. Ask students to give their names and tell whether they are at a beginning, intermediate, or advanced level with regard to their Internet experience.
  3. If time permits, ask each student to tell something about his or her background (family, work, travels, education…), why they decided to take this class, and what they hope to learn.

Purpose of Activity

CLASS PROCEDURES (3 Minutes)

“Let’s talk for a moment about how the class will proceed. You will be learning new ways to use technology, and in order for everyone to be successful, here are some things we need to do.”

Tell students the following:

  1. To make sure everyone grasps the information and learns the skills…
    • We will proceed in a step-by-step manner and at a slow-to-moderate pace.
    • I (or my assistant) will circulate frequently during class to make sure everyone is keeping up with the lesson.
    • There will be plenty of hands-on practice activities to let you apply the skills that you learn.
    • There will be plenty of handouts to help you learn the skills while in class and to use as a reference once you leave class.
  2. As students, you should…
    • Feel free to raise your hand and ask a question if you do not understand something.
    • Feel free to ask me to repeat anything I’ve said.
    • Not worry about hurting the equipment because it is very sturdy.
    • Not worry about making mistakes because that is to be expected when learning a new technology.
    • Have a binder or folder to store the handouts you will receive.
  3. Ask students if they have any questions about class procedures.

Purpose of Activity

To communicate expectations, put students at ease, and facilitate learning.

TAKE-HOME ASSIGNMENT (5 Minutes)

“Let’s go over the homework assignment from the last lesson.”

  1. Restate the take-home assignment from Module 6.
    • Finding out about back pain
  2. Ask students to share the results of their take-home assignments with the class.
  3. Ask students to share any questions about navigating the MedlinePlus website or finding the information they were searching for. Respond to their questions.

Note

Purpose of Activity

LESSON GOALS (2 Minutes)

“This lesson will introduce you to the Drugs and Supplements section and the Medical Encyclopedia of MedlinePlus, a website that is a source of health information for the general public. The website was developed by the National Library of Medicine, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”

Pass out Handout 7A: Lesson Goals.

  1. Go over the handout with students.

Purpose of Activity

SET-UP ACTIVITY: INTERNET TERMS (5 Minutes)

“Before we actually get into the heart of the lesson, let’s review a few basic Internet terms.”

Pass out Handout 7B: Glossary

  1. Knowing the meaning of these Internet terms will help students understand the lesson. All of these terms have been introduced in previous lessons, but going over them again may help students recall their meaning.
  2. You may want to demonstrate the terms for students from your computer projector.

INTERNET TERMS

  1. back arrow
  2. button
  3. link (or hyperlink)
  4. menu
  5. scroll
  6. scroll bar
  7. window

Tips for Glossary review

THINKING ABOUT MEDICAL ISSUES (5 Minutes)

“Before we look more deeply at the website, Id’ like to have you jot down some information.”

Pass out Handout 7C: Thinking about Medical Issues.

  1. Ask students to complete the handout.

Purpose of Activity

CORE ACTIVITY: REVIEW OF THE HOME PAGE (3 Minutes)

“We are going to start with Goal 1 – a review of the main features of the Home Page for MedlinePlus.

Take a look at your computer screens. You should see the Home Page of the MedlinePlus website. This website contains links to over 800 health topics.”

  1. Make sure students’ screens are set to MedlinePlus at www.medlineplus.gov.
  2. On the Home Page, point out and describe:
    • The 3 broad categories – Mention each one by name (Health Topics, Drugs and Supplements, and Videos and Cool Tools)
    • Medical Dictionary
    • About Your Health
    • Health News
    • Popular Searches (large size indicates the most searched topics)
    • Stay Connected
    • The Search MedlinePlus Box
    • The link to NIHSeniorHealth

TIME CHECK: 30 minutes elapsed; about 1 hour, 30 minutes left.

THE DRUGS AND SUPPLEMENTS PAGE (5 Minutes)

“Now we’ll move to Goal 2 – learning how to find information on a drug.
If you want to find out about a drug, start with the Drugs and Supplements button.”

  1. Click on Drugs and Supplements. Tell students they can find information on a drug by going to the alphabet that appears under Drugs and clicking on the first letter of the drug.
  2. Demonstrate for students how to find information on Aspirin:
    • Under Drugs, click on A in the alphabet.
    • Scroll down to Aspirin and click on it.
  3. Scroll down, pointing out the features of the Aspirin page:
    • A Table of Contents with hyperlinked titles
    • Sub-headings for various categories of data

THE ASPIRIN PAGE (10 Minutes)

“Now let’s have you try this along with me.”

  1. Students’ computer screens should be set to the MedlinePlus Home Page at www.medlineplus.gov.
  2. Repeat the demonstration leading to the Aspirin page, this time asking students to navigate along with you at their computers.
  3. Once you get to the Aspirin page, pause and give students time to read some of the information they see.

Teaching Tip

REINFORCEMENT ACTIVITY: SUMMARIZING (5 Minutes)

“Now let’s take a look at the Goals to see what we’ve covered so far.”

  1. Demonstrate and summarize the following learning objectives from Goals 1 and 2:
    • Using the Home Page
    • Finding information about a drug on the Drugs and Supplements page
    • Scrolling down and scanning a drug page
  2. Ask students if they have any questions.

Refer students to Handout 7A: Lesson Goals

  1. Tell students to check off Goals 1 and 2 on their handout.

Purpose of Activity

CORE ACTIVITY: THE DRUGS AND SUPPLEMENTS PAGE (continued) (5 Minutes)

“Now we will move to Goal 3 – learning how to find information on a supplement.
If you want to find out about a supplement, start with the Drugs and Supplements button.”

  1. Show students how to find information on Ginseng. Starting from the Home Page, click on Drugs and Supplements:
    • Under Herbs and Supplements, click on All herbs and supplements.
    • Click on Ginseng.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom, pointing out the features of the Ginseng Page.
    • A Table of Contents with hyperlinked titles
    • Sub-headings for various categories of information.
    • The studies under Evidence, and their grade rankings (explained after the last study).

THE GINSENG PAGE (10 Minutes)

“Now let’s have you try this.”

  1. Repeat the demonstration leading to the Ginseng page. This time, ask students to navigate along with you at their computers. (Students will be starting from the Aspirin page.)
  2. Once you get to the Ginseng page, pause and give students time to read some of the information they see.

Teaching Tip

REINFORCEMENT ACTIVITY: SUMMARIZING (5 Minutes)

“Now, let’s take a look at the Goals to see what we’ve covered”

  1. Demonstrate and summarize the learning objectives for Goal 3:
    • Finding information about a supplement on the Drugs and Supplements page
    • Scrolling down and scanning a supplements page
  2. Ask students if they have any questions.

Refer to Handout 7A: Lesson Goals.

  1. Ask students to check off Goal 3 on their handout.

Purpose of Activity

OPTIONAL STOPPING POINT: 1 hour elapsed; about 1 hour left.

(If you choose to stop here, you can assign the next activity as homework. Be sure to go over steps in the activity with students. You may teach the remaining material in the next class.)

PRACTICE ACTIVITY: TWO GROUP PRACTICE ACTIVITIES (10 Minutes)

“Let’s practice finding information on drugs and supplements together.”

  1. Ask students to return to the Home Page by having them click on Home at the top of their screens.

Refer to Handout 7D: Find Information on a Drug.

  1. Read the steps in the Captopril exercise on Handout 7D to the class to familiarize them with the activity. Then, demonstrate the exercise as students navigate with you.
  2. Pause at questions requiring a written answer to give students enough time to fill in the blanks.
  3. Review the answers with the class.
  4. If time permits, repeat with the vitamin B12 exercise on Handout 7E: Find Information on a Supplement.

Purpose of Priming Activity

Teaching Tips

INDEPENDENT PRACTICE ACTIVITY (10 Minutes)

“Now you’ll have an opportunity to practice finding information on drugs and supplements of interest to you.”

Pass out Handout 7F: Search For Your Own Medication or Supplement.

  1. Read each of the steps on Handout 7F to the class to familiarize them with the activity. Then, ask students to complete the exercise on their own.
  2. Ask them what was easy and what may have been more difficult about the exercise.
  3. Clear up any questions students may have.

Purpose of Priming Activity

Teaching Tips

CORE ACTIVITY: THE MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA (5 Minutes)

“Now we’ll move to Goal 4 – learning how to use the Medical Encyclopedia.
The Medical Encyclopedia on MedlinePlus has information about diseases, tests, symptoms, injuries, and surgeries.”

  1. Students’ screens should be on the Home Page.
  2. Demonstrate as students navigate with you. Click on the Medical Encyclopedia link at the bottom of the page and look up information about a medical test – a colonoscopy.
  3. Using the alphabet, locate and click on C. Scroll down to Colonoscopy and click on it.
  4. As you scroll down the Colonoscopy page, describe its various features, pointing out:
    • The sub-headings and categories of information
    • The boxes on the right containing a link to the same topic on another part of the MedlinePlus website, images of a colonoscopy, and links to other related topics.
  5. To find information about another topic in the Medical Encyclopedia, scroll up to the alphabet at the top of the page where you can start another search.

TIME CHECK: 1 hour, 25 minutes elapsed; 35 minutes left.

PRACTICE ACTIVITY: INDEPENDENT PRACTICE ACTIVITY (10 Minutes)

“Now, you’ll have an opportunity to practice finding information on your own using the Medical Encyclopedia.”

Refer to Handout 7C: Thinking about Medical Issues.

  1. Refer students to questions 3 and 4 on Handout 7C, and ask them to use the Medical Encyclopedia to find an answer to their question. Ask them to write down the answer at the bottom of Handout 7C.
  2. Ask them what was easy and what may have been more difficult about the exercise.
  3. Clear up any questions students may have.

Purpose of Activity

Teaching Tip

REINFORCEMENT ACTIVITY: SUMMARIZING (5 Minutes)

“Let’s review the Goals again to see what we have covered.”

  1. Demonstrate and summarize and the following learning objective of Goal 4:
    • Using the Medical Encyclopedia
  2. Ask students if they have any questions.

Refer to Handout 7A: Lesson Goals.

  1. Tell students to check off Goal 4 on their handout.

Purpose of Activity

CHECKING FOR UNDERSTANDING (5 Minutes)

“Let’s do a final exercise that brings together the skills we have learned today.”

  1. Choose a drug (i.e., acetaminophen) and ask students to lead you through an information search about the drug from your computer projector.
  2. Starting at the Home Page, ask students the following questions. As they provide each answer, demonstrate for them by clicking on the appropriate link at your computer projector.
    1. “Where do I click to find information on drugs?” (Answer: Click on Drugs and Supplements.)
    2. “Where should I click to find information about a drug like acetaminophen?” (Answer: Under Drugs, click on A in the alphabet.)
    3. “How do I get to the information on acetaminophen?” (Answer: Scroll down the list, and click on acetaminophen.)
    4. “How do I get back to the Drugs and Supplements page?” (Answer: Click on Drugs and Supplements at the top of the page).
  3. If time permits, repeat the exercise using a supplement such as St. John’s Wort or Vitamin C. You may also do the exercise with the Medical Encyclopedia using a medical test (i.e., MRI) or a surgical procedure (i.e., coronary bypass surgery.)
  4. Address any final questions students may have.

Purpose of Activity

WRAPPING UP (5 Minutes)

“Today you’ve learned some basics of navigating the MedlinePlus website. You’ve

  1. Recalled the main features of the MedlinePlus Home Page
  2. Learned to find information on drugs
  3. Learned to find information on supplements
  4. Learned to use the Medical Encyclopedia to find information on various diseases, tests, symptoms, injuries, and surgeries.

You’ve also succeeded in doing online research on health issues of interest to you.

Here is a handout to help you recall what you learned.”

Pass out Handout 7G: Lesson review with Screen Shots.

  1. Read the cover description, How to Use This Handout, to students.
  2. Go over each screen shot, reading the captions to remind students of the navigation steps they learned on each page. (You do not need to refer back to the computer screen at this point.)
  3. Encourage students to use this handout as a reference when practicing the skills they learned in this lesson.

Purpose of Activity

WRAPPING UP (continued) (5 Minutes)

“The MedlinePlus website has the latest medical news, ways to find doctors, and many more features which we will explore in the next lesson.

Remember, always check with your doctor or health care provider about health information you find on the Internet.

Here is your take-home assignment, which will give you more practice with the skills you’ve learned today. ”

  1. As a take-home assignment, ask students to do some research on a drug, supplement, or a medical test of their choice. They should be prepared to share that information at the next class.
  2. Ask students how they would get to MedlinePlus. Answer: Go to www.medlineplus.gov
  3. Remind them that the address of the website can be found at the bottom of their handouts.

Teaching Tip

END OF LESSON 7

MedlinePlus Drug and Supplements, Medical Encyclopedia: HANDOUTS

HANDOUT 7A: Lesson Goals

During this lesson, you will:

  1. ____ Recall the main features of the MedlinePlus Home Page.
  2. ____ Learn how to find information about drugs from the Drugs and Supplements page.
  3. ____ Learn how to find information about supplements (i.e., vitamins, herbs) from the Drugs and Supplements page.
  4. ____ Learn how to use the Medical Encyclopedia.
  5. ____ Find answers to health questions of personal interest.

HANDOUT 7B: Glossary

  1. Back Arrow
    This arrow, often green, is found at the top of most browsers. When you click on the back arrow, it takes you back – in order – through all of the web pages you’ve seen. (Sometimes called the back button.)
    [IMAGE: Back button on browser]
  2. Button
    Small box that looks like it’s being depressed when you select it. Buttons can turn on (and turn off) many types of functions on the Internet.
    [IMAGE: "Click for answer" button]
  3. Link (or hyperlink)
    A highlighted or underlined feature on a web page that, when clicked, will take you to another web page. A link most often appears as underlined words or an image.
    One sure way to tell if something is a link or not: Whenever your cursor turns into a pointing hand, the image or word you are pointing to is a link.
    [IMAGE: screenshots with links circled]
  4. Menu
    A list of options, or topics, on a website that users can choose from.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of menu bar]
  5. Scroll
    To move text or other information on a computer screen up, down, or sideways, with new information appearing as the old disappears.
  6. Scroll Bar
    A narrow, rectangular bar on the right edge and bottom edge of a web page that lets you move the page to see more of the information it contains. The scroll bar on the right moves the web page up and down, and the scroll bar on the bottom moves the web page right and left.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of scroll bars]
  7. Window
    A framed area of a computer screen that appears in front of the web page. Sometimes the appearance of a window means that you have entered another website. At other times, it means you may still be on the same website.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of overlapping windows]

HANDOUT 7C: Thinking About Medical Issues

  1. Many people are interested in knowing more about drugs and supplements (i.e., vitamins, herbs) on the market today. Name one drug and one supplement (or herb) you would like more information about.
    Drug:
    Supplement:
  2. What specifically would you like to know about:
    The drug?
    The supplement?
  3. Name a disease/condition, a medical test, OR a type of surgery that you would like to have more information about. (Choose only one of the blanks to fill in.)
    Disease/condition:
    OR
    Medical Test:
    OR
    Type of Surgery:
  4. What would you like to know about this subject?
  5. Answer: (Leave blank until later in the lesson.)

HANDOUT 7D: Find Information on a Drug

Drug – Captopril

  1. On the Home Page, click on Drugs and Supplements.
  2. You should be on the Drugs and Supplements page.
  3. Under Drugs, go to the alphabet and click on the letter C.
  4. Find the drug Captopril.
  5. Click on Captopril.
  6. You should now be on the Captopril page.
  7. Read down the page and answer these questions:
    1. What is Captopril prescribed for?
    2. What are the special dietary instructions for someone who takes Captopril?
    3. What is one possible side effect?
  8. Scroll up to the top of the page.
  9. Click on the Drugs and Supplements button.
  10. You should now be back on the Drugs and Supplements page.

Handout 7E: Find Information on a Supplement

Supplement – Vitamin B12

  1. You should be on the Drugs and Supplements page.
  2. Scroll down to Herbs and Supplements and click on All herbs and supplements.
  3. Click on Vitamin B12.
  4. Click on Background.
  5. The Background section begins with information about foods that are good sources of Vitamin B12. List one of those foods:
  6. Scroll down to the section on Evidence.
  7. Find and read the section entitled “Vitamin B12 Deficiency.” It describes symptoms that occur when people don’t get enough Vitamin B12.
  8. Name one symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency
  9. How strong is the scientific evidence for this information? (Circle one)
    A = Strong scientific evidence for this use
    B = Good scientific evidence for this use
    C = Unclear scientific evidence for this use
    D = Fair scientific evidence against this use
    F = Strong scientific evidence against this use

HANDOUT 7F: Search for Your Own Medication or Supplement

  1. Look at Handout 7C to recall the drug or the supplement you wrote down in step #2 and the question(s) you wanted answered.
  2. On the Home Page click on Drugs and Supplements.
  3. Scroll down to Drugs OR Herbs and Supplements to start your search.
  4. If you are searching for a drug, go to the alphabet under Drugs, and click on the first letter of the drug. Then find the drug and click on it.
  5. If you are searching for a supplement, go to Herbs and Supplements and click on All herbs and supplements. Then click on the supplement.
  6. You should now be on the page for the drug or supplement.
  7. Scroll down and scan or read the page until you find the answers to your questions.
  8. Write the answers in the space below.
  9. When you are finished, scroll back up to the top of the page.
  10. Click on the Home link to return to the Home Page.

MedlinePlus Drugs and Supplements, Medical Encyclopedia: Handout 7G: LESSON REVIEW WITH SCREEN SHOTS

How to Use this Handout

LESSON REVIEW MedlinePlus Drugs and Supplements, Medical Encyclopedia

  1. You went to the MedlinePlus website at www.medlineplus.gov.
    You learned about some of the features on the MedlinePlus home Page, including the (1) 3 broad categories; (2) Search MedlinePlus Box; (3) About Your Health; (4) Health News section
    [IMAGE: screenshot of MedlinePlus home page with items circled]
  2. You learned that you could find information about drugs, supplements and herbs by clicking on Drugs and Supplements.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of MedlinePlus home page with "Drugs & Supplements" circled]
    Your Question(s):
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
  3. You learned that clicking on Drugs and Supplements would take you to this page where you could choose to search for information on a drug or supplement.
    • Under Drugs, go to the alphabet and click on the first letter of the drug. Then find the drug and click on it.
    • Under Herbs and Supplements, click on All herbs and supplements. The find the supplement and click on it.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of MedlinePlus Drugs, Herbs and Supplements page with the Drugs and Herbs and Supplements headers circled]
    Your Question(s):
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
  4. Clicking on an alphabet letter for a drug takes you to a page with a list of drugs starting with that letter. Scroll down to find your drug.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of MedlinePlus Drugs - Letter A page]
  5. Clicking on All herbs and supplements takes you to a page with a list of supplements. Scroll down to find your supplement.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of MedlinePlus Herbs and Supplements page]
    Your Question(s):
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
  6. You learned that you could find information about diseases, tests, symptoms, injuries and surgery by clicking on Medical Encyclopedia from the Home Page.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of MedlinePlus home page with Medical Encyclopedia link circled]
  7. The Medical Encyclopedia page has an alphabet that you can use to find information. Just click on the first letter of the disease, test, symptom, injury or surgery you are interested in.
    Screen Shot 3: Drugs and Supplements Page
    [IMAGE: screenshot of MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia page with alphabet links circled]
    Your Question(s):
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
  8. Clicking on an alphabet letter takes you to a page with a list of topics starting with that letter. Scroll down to find your topic.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia page C]
  9. On the page of a specific topic (i.e.,colonoscopy), you learned you could click on more links to find in-depth information.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia colonoscopy page with links circled]
    Your Question(s):
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
  10. To find information about another topic, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Browse the Encylopedia.
    [IMAGE: screenshot of the bottom of MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia page with link circled]
    Your Question(s):
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________
Last reviewed: September 2010