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NIH Award from the National Library of Medicine

Answering Information Needs in Workflow

  • Principal Investigator: Eneida Mendonca, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in Pediatrics, Computation Institute, University of Chicago
  • Start Date: September 30, 2009
  • Total Award Amount: $185,745

Project Description

Needs for information arise continuously during the course of clinical practice, especially for physicians in training, e.g. when examining a patient or participating in rounds. In most of these situations, it is difficult or impossible for the clinician to immediately access appropriate information resources. Most needs are never adequately articulated or recorded, and consequently are forgotten by the end of the day. Moreover, when clinicians do recall information needs, they don't act on them, due to the significant limitations of current retrieval systems and the exigencies of clinical practice.

The specific aims of the proposed project are: 1) to capture information needs in a convenient manner at the moment they occur using different modalities such as text input and voice capture on hand-held devices, 2) to translate high-level information needs into complex search strategies that adapt to user needs and are tuned to the capabilities of resources, and 3) to deliver relevant materials to the clinician in an accessible format and in a timely manner. The project will develop a central hub for addressing the information needs of medical students and residents, to be transmitted electronically as they occur in the field. A unique feature of the project is the use of natural language processing technology to identify context, goals and preferences in clinicians' questions. The major innovation is the generation of complex search strategies that exploit this contextual information, based on studies of human searching experts (reference librarians).

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, NIH Award number: 3R01LM008799-03S1

Eneida Mendonca

Eneida Mendonca, MD, PhD,
Associate Professor in Pediatrics, Computation Institute, University of Chicago