Ontology-enhanced Search for Primary Care Medical Literature

Reference: McGuinness, D. L. Ontology-enhanced Search for Primary Care Medical Literature. Prodeedings of the International Medical Informatics Association Working Group 6 - Medical Concept Representation and Natural Language Processing Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, December, 1999.

Abstract: Primary care physicians are challenged with a vast array of rapidly changing medical literature in a broad spectrum of content areas. It is difficult to stay current with the literature, yet patients' treatment depends on a physician's ability to use tests and treatments that are effective medically, of minimum invasiveness, and fit within insurance restrictions (or other financial considerations). This combination strengthens the need for effective coping mechanisms such as online search that supports physicians in finding literature relevant to a patent's situation and meeting basic quality standards. While standard information retrieval methods provide an excellent foundation, and content-specialized search access (such as Paperchase's early interface to Medline) may be effective in some cases, many physicians seek smarter and more versatile online search capabilities. We combined techniques in knowledge representation with standard information retrieval tools to produce an ontology-enhanced online search capability for unstructured and semi-structured medical documents. We also addressed the resulting issues of scale and maintenance by building an environment for use by distributed teams of domain-literate, but computer science-na´ve users. We will present our ontology-enriched online search environment along with our web tool for collaborative development and maintenance of ontologies.

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