Faced with a minor illness or major health-care crisis, many people turn to the Internet for information. But with the misinformation that absolutely anyone can post on the Web, and the medical jargon, the task can be daunting. Physicians provide basic information, but they don't have time to answer every question.
Becky Hughes and her daughter Hannah (left), who was born with spina bifida, have done research on the birth defect with the assistance of Mary Anne Fernandez (right), a medical librarian at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
Medical librarians have master's degrees or doctorates, often with special certification in health care. They are trained to distinguish good information from bad. Major hospitals have offered medical library services to physicians on staff for years. A new trend is the development of libraries that offer medical information to consumers.