March 17, 2011 – We all know the ultimate goal in any document management system is to for our data to be findable. Without that, the rest is a waste of time. If there is any field or genre for which this has never been more important, it is healthcare. 

We found this applicable topic on Healthcare-Digital in their article, “How can healthcare portals boost their ‘findability’?.” Healthcare online portals are often the first step in the relationship or information transaction between the public and the provider. The trouble for many healthcare providers is that the words patients use to describe their health problems and concerns may not be understood in a medical context when inquiries are made online. This can make all the difference when “shot” is perceived as gunshot instead of an injection.  

Receiving back appropriate healthcare information or advice is further challenged more when the information the user is attempting to access may not be sufficiently organized or labeled to come up when only conventional search techniques are applied. Findability is a real issue.

 To achieve a comfortable level of findability and user confidence, an organization should consider taking its information retrieval platform beyond simple search and embrace semantic search technology. By first developing an ontology of the normal language people use to describe their symptoms and then providing automatic content classification of the information on the website, healthcare organizations can increase their information findability.

Melody K. Smith