NC Health Info was first developed by the Health Sciences Library in collaboration with the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science. Funded by the NLM, a part of the National Institutes of Health, it was launched in January 2003 as NC Health Info “Go Local”, a collection of Web links to North Carolina health services. This database of local links was the first resource of its kind to link local health services with corresponding information from MedlinePlus, the consumer health site maintained by NLM. It served as the model for the “Go Local” program supported by NLM that included “Go Local” sites from over 30 states. NLM support for “Go Local” ended in 2010.
In 2005, a group of librarians from academic, health sciences, and public libraries formed a planning group to develop ways for libraries to work together to ensure improved access to health information for North Carolinians. The State Library of North Carolina, using LSTA funds, supported this effort as well as the development of a portal of health information pages to be added to NC Health Info. Launched in 2006, the portal consists of easy-to-use, reliable health information pages on topics important to North Carolinians. Available in English and Spanish, the pages are compiled and reviewed biannually by volunteer librarians.
NC Health Info has continued to be responsive to technology developments and the public’s changing health information needs. In 2014, new information to help users become more informed patients and manage their health care was added along with resources about health and wellness, mobile apps, and support groups.
Today NC Health Info is a fully supported service of the Health Sciences Library. It provides links to information about researching illness; choosing a doctor; evaluating health information; mental health; medications; treatments and procedures; health care; insurance; wellness; and current health news as well as information on more than 50 health concerns and issues. The Providers & Services section helps users understand the various kinds of medical providers that are available to manage many health conditions and provides links to directories to help locate them. NC Health Info also links users with answers to their health questions through the Health Sciences Library Ask a Librarian service.