Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the January
18, 2006 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Health Watch: Website Review
New Jersey is the first state to put up a comprehensive healthcare
consumer information website. Governor Codey, who has taken a special
interest in health issues, was behind the project, which consolidates
information from six websites into one central online address,
(www.nj.gov/njhealthlink). Formerly, pieces of the information were
available from the departments of health and senior services, human
services, labor, commerce, banking, or insurance.
The site’s links put users through to treatment and screening
services, emergency resources, mental health, addiction, prescription
drugs, nutrition, long-term care, insurance, financial assistance, and
vocational rehabilitation services, and more. In addition to grouping
health information by topic, the website also breaks it down by
categories such as children, family, senior citizens, individuals
adults, individuals with diabetes, and uninsured or underinsured
Before its launch, the website was evaluated by user groups, including
senior citizens, county welfare staff, and the New Jersey Healthcare
The website has a clean interface, and is easy to use. The information
it offers is succinct and helpful. It is not an unending source of
reading material on any of its subjects, but rather is a gateway to
The alphabet is strung along the top of the search page. Looking for
addiction services? Press "A" and a list of resources pops up under
two subheads, "tobacco" and "drugs and alcohol." Anyone hoping to put
butts behind him or her forever can then click on links to Mom’s Quit
Connection, NJ Quit Centers – five are listed, including the Mercer
Trenton Addiction Service Center and the UMDNJ School of Public Health
Quit Center – the NJ Quitline or NJ Quitnet. For those who are
struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, there are links to
everything from opiate detoxification to group recovery homes.
One minor quibble with the alphabetic system is that there is not a
clear link to health insurance information. It’s there, under
"individual health coverage program," but using the word "insurance,"
an issue at the top of many people’s healthcare agendas, would have
The range of subjects covered is immense. There is a link to the
Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund Program, the Deaf
Enhanced Screening Center, family planning services, homeless services
for the mentally ill, diabetic eye disease detection services,
pharmaceutical assistance to the aged and disabled, project healthy
bones, HIV testing, and Medicaid.
This is not a website on which to find in-depth information about a
particular illness, nor does it have any forum or chat room features
for the exchange of information. What it does is provide a summary of
many, many in-state health-related programs, along with phone contacts
for more information, and links to these programs’ websites.
For each topic, users are given what amounts to a very clear referral.
The information for each link is organized in exactly the same way,
which is incredibly helpful. There is no need to hunt through pages of
information for an E-mail address, physical address, or phone number.
All contact information is presented in a box on the left of each link
page. Hours of service are also given, as is information on how to
apply for services.
The bulk of information is contained in a larger box to the right.
There is a one-paragraph program description, information on fees and
eligibility requirements, a list of geographical areas served and
languages spoken, and a website address. Care has been taken to fit
all of the information on one page.
Think of New Jersey Healthlink as a quick ready reference. An
outstanding use of the Internet, it provides well-organized
information without raising anyone’s blood pressure by throwing in
registration information, a multi-layered, flash-filled homepage, or
convoluted detours. The no-nonsense healthlink is worth a bookmark.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.