Assisting consumer health information retrieval with query recommendations.

Department of Radiology, Decision Systems Group, Thorn 309, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (Impact Factor: 3.57). 01/2006; 13(1):80-90. DOI: 10.1197/jamia.M1820
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Health information retrieval (HIR) on the Internet has become an important practice for millions of people, many of whom have problems forming effective queries. We have developed and evaluated a tool to assist people in health-related query formation.
We developed the Health Information Query Assistant (HIQuA) system. The system suggests alternative/additional query terms related to the user's initial query that can be used as building blocks to construct a better, more specific query. The recommended terms are selected according to their semantic distance from the original query, which is calculated on the basis of concept co-occurrences in medical literature and log data as well as semantic relations in medical vocabularies.
An evaluation of the HIQuA system was conducted and a total of 213 subjects participated in the study. The subjects were randomized into 2 groups. One group was given query recommendations and the other was not. Each subject performed HIR for both a predefined and a self-defined task.
The study showed that providing HIQuA recommendations resulted in statistically significantly higher rates of successful queries (odds ratio = 1.66, 95% confidence interval = 1.16-2.38), although no statistically significant impact on user satisfaction or the users' ability to accomplish the predefined retrieval task was found.
Providing semantic-distance-based query recommendations can help consumers with query formation during HIR.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Query expansion is a commonly used approach to improving search results. Specific expansion methods, however, are expected to have different results. We have developed three different expansion methods using knowledge derived from medical thesaurus, medical literature, and clinical notes. Since the three different sources each have strengths and weaknesses, we hypothesized that combining the three sources will lead to better retrieval performance. Evaluation was performed for the 3 different query expansion techniques and an ensemble method on two sets of clinical notes. 11-point interpolated average precisions, MAP, and P(10) scores were calculated which indicate that topic model based expansion has the best results and the predication method the worst. This finding points to the potential of the topic modeling methods as well as the challenge in integrating different knowledge sources.
    Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Wailea, Maui, HI USA; 01/2013
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This report provides an overview of the field of Information Retrieval (IR) in health-care. It does not aim to introduce general concepts and theories of IR but to present and describe specific aspects of Health Information Retrieval (HIR). After a brief in-troduction to the more broader field of IR, the significance of HIR at current times is discussed. Specific characteristics of Health Information, its classification and the main existing representations for health concepts are described together with the main prod-ucts and services in the area (e.g.: databases of health bibliographic content, health specific search engines and others). Recent research work is discussed and the most active researchers, projects and research groups are also presented. Main organizations and journals are also identified.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Consumer health information is increasingly available online, but this vast amount of information is not necessarily accessible to general consumers. To design effective health information websites, it is critically important to gain an in-depth understanding of how consumers search for health information in these systems. This study is an attempt to explore consumer health information searching behavior in web-based health information spaces by observing their search behaviors in MedlinePlus. Nineteen undergraduate students accomplished three search tasks in MedlinePlus. The participants used both searching and browsing as interaction strategies. This paper reports on the findings of their searching behaviors, particularly query construction, query reformulation, and access to results; and their browsing behaviors, particularly access to different resources, health topics, and related topics. Furthermore, we examined if the number of concepts involved in search tasks had any impact on search behaviors.

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 3, 2014