Diagnose this if you can: On the effectiveness of search engines in finding medical self-diagnosis information

Zuccon, Guido, Koopman, Bevan, & Palotti, Joao (2015) Diagnose this if you can: On the effectiveness of search engines in finding medical self-diagnosis information. In 37th European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR 2015), 29 March - 2 April 2015, Vienna University of Technology, Gusshausstrasse, Vienna.

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An increasing amount of people seek health advice on the web using search engines; this poses challenging problems for current search technologies. In this paper we report an initial study of the effectiveness of current search engines in retrieving relevant information for diagnostic medical circumlocutory queries, i.e., queries that are issued by people seeking information about their health condition using a description of the symptoms they observes (e.g. hives all over body) rather than the medical term (e.g. urticaria). This type of queries frequently happens when people are unfamiliar with a domain or language and they are common among health information seekers attempting to self-diagnose or self-treat themselves. Our analysis reveals that current search engines are not equipped to effectively satisfy such information needs; this can have potential harmful outcomes on people’s health. Our results advocate for more research in developing information retrieval methods to support such complex information needs.

Impact and interest:

10 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 82599
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: information retrieval, health search, consumer health search, medical search
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-16354-3_62
ISBN: 9783319163536
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Springer
Deposited On: 19 Mar 2015 22:27
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 21:21

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