Thursday, March 20, 2008

Long-Term Patterns of Online Evidence Retrieval Use in General Practice

Long-Term Patterns of Online Evidence Retrieval Use in General Practice has just been published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Conclusion: GPs will use an online evidence retrieval system in routine practice; however, usage rates drop significantly after initial introduction of the system. Long-term studies are required to determine the extent to which GPs will integrate the use of such technologies into their everyday clinical practice and how this will affect the satisfaction and health outcomes of their patients

Hardly a huge surprise. But I think the whole study is limited as the average number of searches per month was 0.7! I think the authors discussion lacked imagination. They didn't consider that the search wasn't producing the results, so the docs got tired of asking the question and getting nothing back.

They quote Ely in their paper and I think it was Ely who highlighted that doctors tend to seek information when they think they'll get an answer.

For those who have missed in Dean Giustini has an interesting paper on web 3.0. It's a term I don't particularly like but perhaps that's because I don't understand it properly. Anyway, the paper is Web 3.0 and health librarians: an introduction.

Interestingly I've been approached by a Prof of information retrieval whose supervising a student looking at clinical Q&A. As part of the discussion we started talking about the semantic web (which appears pretty much a synonym of web 3.0). She explained it like this...

In the 'conventional web you would probably use the same search terms for both these questions:

  1. Does asthma lead to obesity
  2. Does obesity lead to asthma

For me I'd start with asthma obesity and see what came up. They'd be some papers discussing obese people's risk of asthma, they'd be others discussing the risk asthmatics have of becoming obese and I imagine they'd be a load of reviews discussing chronic diseases which discuss them both.

In the semantic web they would be an 'understanding' of the relationship between the search terms/concepts and the way these terms are then represented in documents.

Anyway, that's pretty much the sum of my knowledge. As it looks like we'll not be involved in Q&A for the NLH for much longer I think I'll have lots of time to explore this concept...

1 comment:

Dean Giustini - blogger said...

Hi Jon,
I should be visiting your blog more often - great stuff!

To some extent the issues you raise with respect to cause and effect in searching - asthma causing obesity, and vice versa - are similar in natural language searching, right? The new OvidSP basic search interface is supposed to be designed to address this ambiguity.

Do MeSH get at this cause and effect? Sure, try asthma and obesity/adverse effects as MeSH attached to articles dealing with obesity's role in asthma.

The other point I wanted to make is that if you type in asthma first into a search engine and then obesity you'll see different results than if you type in obesity first.

Dean