You are here

Collaborative search in electronic health records.

TitleCollaborative search in electronic health records.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsZheng, K, Mei, Q, Hanauer, DA
JournalJ Am Med Inform Assoc
Date Published2011 May 1
KeywordsAcademic Medical Centers, Computer User Training, Diffusion of Innovation, Electronic Health Records, Humans, Information Dissemination, Information Storage and Retrieval, Michigan, Search Engine, Social Support, Sociometric Techniques, User-Computer Interface

OBJECTIVE: A full-text search engine can be a useful tool for augmenting the reuse value of unstructured narrative data stored in electronic health records (EHR). A prominent barrier to the effective utilization of such tools originates from users' lack of search expertise and/or medical-domain knowledge. To mitigate the issue, the authors experimented with a 'collaborative search' feature through a homegrown EHR search engine that allows users to preserve their search knowledge and share it with others. This feature was inspired by the success of many social information-foraging techniques used on the web that leverage users' collective wisdom to improve the quality and efficiency of information retrieval.DESIGN: The authors conducted an empirical evaluation study over a 4-year period. The user sample consisted of 451 academic researchers, medical practitioners, and hospital administrators. The data were analyzed using a social-network analysis to delineate the structure of the user collaboration networks that mediated the diffusion of knowledge of search.RESULTS: The users embraced the concept with considerable enthusiasm. About half of the EHR searches processed by the system (0.44 million) were based on stored search knowledge; 0.16 million utilized shared knowledge made available by other users. The social-network analysis results also suggest that the user-collaboration networks engendered by the collaborative search feature played an instrumental role in enabling the transfer of search knowledge across people and domains.CONCLUSION: Applying collaborative search, a social information-foraging technique popularly used on the web, may provide the potential to improve the quality and efficiency of information retrieval in healthcare.

Alternate JournalJ Am Med Inform Assoc
PubMed ID21486887
PubMed Central IDPMC3078661
Grant ListUL1RR024986 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States
David Hanauer
University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center at North Campus Research Complex
1600 Huron Parkway, Bldg 100, Rm 1004 
Mailing Address: 2800 Plymouth Rd, NCRC 100-1004
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800 
Ph. (734) 764-8848 Fax. (734) 615-0507

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institutes of
Health under Award Number P30CA046592. The content is solely the responsibility
of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the
National Institutes of Health.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institutes of
Health under Award Number P30CA046592 by the use of the following Cancer Center
Shared Resource(s): Biostatistics, Analytics & Bioinformatics; Flow Cytometry;
Transgenic Animal Models; Tissue and Molecular Pathology; Structure & Drug
Screening; Cell & Tissue Imaging; Experimental Irradiation; Preclinical
Imaging & Computational Analysis; Health Communications; Immune Monitoring;

Copyright © Cancer Center Informatics-2011 Regents of the University of Michigan