Wednesday, June 09, 2010

TRIP in the future

It's been a while since I last posted, it's been a busy reflective time at TRIP. We've been preoccupied with our new project called TILT as well as looking at our business model. At the same time we're questioning the 'worth' of search (which overlaps with our TILT work).

Looking at the business model is difficult at the best of times and this is especially difficult when the people at TRIP are not natural business people. We're good at innovating and developing products, but turning these into commercial products has always proved difficult. At the heart of this is how to make 'search' profitable. In the mainstream world of Google there is the advertising model which works wonderfully for them. However, our efforts at TRIP to use such a model have never really delivered, even with our hundreds of thousands of searches per month.

We've been in a few discussions with bigger companies recently (and these are ongoing) looking at working more closely with them to benefit from the better business brains. It's very early stages but we're hoping that more formal arrangements will be forthcoming, giving TRIP a firm foundation to carry on and develop. One of these developments is to move on from the current state of search.

I've posted a few times on the limitations of search but will briefly recap here. Imagine if search engines had not been developed and you got 10,000 clinicians in a room and asked them what product would they like to see if they had a clinical question. I would be surprised if a single one would say they wanted to see a screen of 10-20 results which may contain the answer to their question - based on searching with 1-3 search terms related to their clinical question. Yet, this is the current situation. While TRIP is a great search engine, search is limited.

The next stage of TRIP is to try and move on from the above paradigm and TILT is our approach. Without giving too much away, TILT seeks to extract clinically useful content from a wide range of sources. So, you may have a research article which contains multiple nuggets of evidence/knowledge. Why leave them hidden in the document? So, much of TILT is about deconstructing evidence into constituent parts. However, there is another very important layer above that. The layer is how to decide what nuggets are clinicially useful/relevant.

We're mid-way through piloting our approach and we're very close to being able to deliver on the above. How our approach is initially received and adopted will decide it's success and having decent partners to help market and approach TILT will be invaluable. We're also looking to content providers to work with us and we're currently in discussions with a few groups we'd like to have on-board at launch.

After over ten years working in search and information support for clinicians I'm getting really excited as TILT has the potential to move significantly closer to where we need to be in helping clinicians practice better healthcare.


Health Perspectives said...

Good on you. TRIP was ahead of it's time, and TILT will be too!

Martin said...

I'd really appreciate a free TRIP (though I understand that you need someone to nourish you)
Makers of hospital software could pay you for an integrated version of TRIP...

Anne Marie said...

The limitations of search? People don't feel that way about google. And to be honest, I don't feel that way about Trip.
I think it does what it says on the tin very well. I've not to my knowledge every came across a document later and wondered why it didn't show up in a Trip search.
I will say again that the way that Trip could be improved is by links to local- but that is hard to do- as most of the local information is not yet available.
It may be that TILT helps facilitate that kind of local aggregation in the future.
Must talk more to you about this sometime.

Jon Brassey said...

Hi Anne Marie,

Thanks for your kind words about TRIP!

However, I still feel search is limited. It's a great way of searching for relevant documents, but people don't necessarily want documents, they want answers. Alternatively, they want nuggets of evidence.

As for TILT, it could well (depending on how people use it) have a geographic facility. I'd been thinking of talking to you about it. Significant implications for medical education.