For those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while will see that I’m always revisiting the answer engine concept, most recently two months ago. A month before that I mentioned it in the context of a a Journal of Clinical Q&A

This all stems from my belief that Trip is a wonderful tool to answer clinical questions but a also belief that it could be even better!  After all, it was the reason I started it in the first place – to help me answer clinical questions via the ATTRACT Q&A serviceSurveys have shown that many clinicians agree, with over 70% of questions, supporting clinical care, are helped by using Trip.

Recapping briefly on the answer engine and the Journal of Clinical Q&A:

  • The answer engine will try to predict questions from the search terms and insert an answer above the search results.  Users will get an answer in one click.
  • Journal of Clinical Q&A is a journal idea – radically different from any other journal.  It will be a structured answer to a clinical question, posted on the site (and helping populate the answer engine) which will be peer-reviewed and given a citation.

So far, fairly radical and fairly good.

Now, another variable to consider – the PICO search system.  In the forthcoming upgrade we’ll be enhancing this feature in the premium version.  It will be more guided than the existing version and it could work like this:

  1. Users types in their full-text question.
  2. Users then select the PICO elements from the question.
  3. Users view relevant results.
  4. Users are given the option to write up an answer. If they write up the answer we will show them the articles they’ve looked at and they can indicate which were useful (and thereby form the reference list).
  5. They can choose to keep it private or share it – feeding the answer engine.

Another powerful component for a Q&A environment, what could go wrong (I ask tentatively!)?