One organization that is highly reputable for its involvement in the improvement of healthcare delivery, patient safety, and patient education initiatives is the National Institutes of Health.
The organization, which is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is a forerunner Federal group that mainly undertakes and supports research in the field of medicine and health care (National Institutes of Health, 2009).
The people behind this organization are mainly scientists and researchers who devise and develop new ways, techniques, and methods to prevent diseases and find cures for a lot of illnesses and disorders.
Basically, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is mainly composed of 27 Centers and Institutes, with each having a specific type of specialization.
The 20 institutes are the National Cancer Institute, National Eye Institute, National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institute on Mental Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Nursing Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (National Institutes of Health, 2009).
On the other hand, its 7 centers include the Center for Information Technology, John E. Fogarty International for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences, National on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institute of Health Clinical Center, Center for Scientific Review, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and National Center for Research Resources (National Institutes of Health, 2009).
In general, all of these Centers and Institutes play a major role in the improvement of health care, the education of patients regarding a broad range of diseases and illnesses, and also in providing skilled people in the field of medicine with an avenue to conduct research.
The target of audience of the website is primarily American citizens or patients who seek basic health education or health information. It also targets interested researchers, scientists, and health personnel who may have ideas, theories or research proposals that can provide new breakthroughs in the treatment of certain diseases or illnesses which have no form of cure yet.
Moreover, it can also serve as a resource material for students who are involved in the field of health care, and medicine, and other related disciplines.
However, since almost of all of its information is available on the site, it also encompasses a broader or global audience. Looking at the 27 Centers and Institutes that comprise the NIH, it can be deduced that a person who is curious about a certain disease can simply access the website, no matter where which part of the world he or she is in, and read on it.
In this regard, this is also why the website is very useful. Aside from its easy accessibility, it also covers an extensive range of information on diseases and its symptoms and treatments.
For example, if a person is interested in knowing about cancer. He or she can simply go to the website and access the NIH’s National Cancer Institute, which contains useful information such as the history of cancer, the different types of cancer, the stages of cancer, the available treatment for the disease, the current research and studies currently being done on it, and other pertinent information that can be useful to the person viewing the website.
On the other hand, if a certain person thinks he or she is experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, he or she can again access the website and go to the National Institute on Mental Health, which contains a broad range of topics on psychological disorders and mental illnesses such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.
In addition, all the NIH’s Centers and Institutes provide links to other related websites that can give people a better understanding of their topic of interest. However, the NIH stresses that merely reading the information on their website cannot help a person with a certain disease.
Thus, the information contained in its website also instructs people to see a doctor or a specialist when necessary. In other words, possibly the best and most useful aspect of NIH’s is that educates patients with a simple click of a mouse.
It encompasses a wide array of topics in general health which makes it arguably one of the first websites that a person should access when he or she has health-related questions. It is a well-known fact that education is one of the first and most crucial steps in both the treatment and prevention of a disease and the NIH is one of the leaders in providing free and quality education to ordinary people across the globe.
Although the NIH’s website is extremely useful it still has certain areas where it needs improvement. For example, even though it provides detailed information on diseases and its symptoms and treatments, it does not always include all the ways that one can do to prevent illnesses from occurring.
It basically gives little to no information on the nutritional and dietary adjustments necessary for the effective treatment of the disease. Meaning to say, while the NIH is a reputable and highly reliable resource website, it can still add other types of information that further help people in educating themselves with diseases and illnesses, among others.
National Institutes of Health. (2009). NIH Organization. U.S. Department of Health & Services. Retrieved March 14, 2009 from http://www.nih.gov/about/organization.htm.