Sep 24, 2009

A truly semantic medical search engine - HealthBase

Image representing NetBase as depicted in Crun...

HealthBase is a new and truly semantic search engine based on NetBase's Content Intelligence platform.When i first decided to try it out, i was not very hopeful, having spent many hours in the past analysing pathetic results from so called Smart search engines. But Boy, i was very pleasently surprised at the results !!

NetBase's Content Intelligence technology reads every sentence inside documents, linguistically understands the content and powers breakthrough search experiences that deliver highly relevant answers and insights.

 I checked the search engine semantics by searching for a simple disease " Asthma".

All the results shown for Treatment, Causes and complications were almost 100% accurate, though the results for Pros and Cons were very ambiguous. In fact i don't see too much justification for that section at present.

A few reviews on NetBase have not been very complimentary. but then, i have perceived a bias in them. Of course there are many other really good medical search engines, a few of them even calling themselves semantic. But most of them are just glorified and customized search engines without any really intelligent tool involved in calculating results.




But for my money, I would go with Healthbase anyday, until someone else can show me a better semantic medical search engine. 

Sep 18, 2009

Best layout and design for pharma- communication

Best layout and design for pharma- communication: "

Over the years companies have adopted various tactics to get doctors to engage with their online product presentations, or e-details. Initiatives include obtaining permission from doctors to email them an e-detail, placing the e-detail on a pharmaceutical website, placing a banner on a website linking to an e-detail, and placing the e-detail on a doctor community website. The results have been varied..
There are a number of ways to e-present to doctors and choosing the best layout and design is not always easy. Making a simple bullet presentation with linear navigation (next/previous arrows) is one simple way to kill your content. But then, What actually works?
  • Pharma websites have been proved rarely to attract doctors (only 2 per cent of the 2,762 doctors questioned in a survey stated pharmaceutical-owned websites as a source).
  • Banners on websites, although considered cheap, do not drive engagement and, dependent on banner location, may not allow you to know the profile of the individual clicking on your banner.
  • E-detail on a doctor community website, however, offers the advantage that doctors are already utilising the site on a daily basis, and campaigns can be promoted to specific specialties.

Understanding the audience recently conducted a survey to investigate the best way to engage doctors with an e-detail. A total of 94 members of the community were surveyed, 32 of whom were GPs and 62 were in specialist care (across a number of different specialities). Of the 62 from specialist care, 43 were consultant/specialist registrar level. The study combined facilitated face-to-face research and non-facilitated online methodology to determine the optimal design structure for an e-detail based on doctor feedback and the speed with which doctors find information.

In the online study, 84 doctors were shown wireframe templates of potential e-detail layouts (template 1 contained three key messages; template 2 offered menu navigation and prioritised key messages; template 3 provided menu navigation, and template 4 was a linear 'click through'). Participants were asked for their preferred layout based on certain criteria such as ease of use, design, and simplicity. The content was presented as data only and did not involve webcasts (or other rich media). The doctors were invited to indicate their favourite and their second-favourite template based on how they would most like to receive information online. Responses were submitted through an online form and results were collated.

Of the 84 doctors, 62 chose template 3: menu option as their most, or second most, preferred layout, making this the clear winner. With two points awarded for a first choice and one point for a second choice, the final rating was template 3: menu navigation in first place with 90 points, followed by template 2: menu navigation and prioritised key messages with 69 points, template 1: three key messages with 47 points and finally template 4: linear 'click through' with 45 points.Doctors stated that they felt template 3 was clearly laid out and that the left hand navigation showed exactly where to go to get the required information. It was also seen to demonstrate good use of space and the top buttons were popular. In addition they felt that the headings were obvious and the fact that they could choose where to go, among other things, was appreciated.

Below is a sample of template 3 - Menu navigation

Template 3: menu navigation prove to be the most popular choice in the online study, it also proved to be the most efficient format for finding information quickly, with the tasks being performed more than twice as quickly as with templates 2 and 4. Based on their speed, they also got to the information they wanted the quickest using template 3.

Template 4: the linear 'click through' model was the least popular with doctors in both studies.

Recommendation to companies wishing to engage with their target doctors using email / epresentations in 2009 would be to use the Left menu navigation approach.

Related articles

Hospitals as Lean machines !

Lean means creating more value for customers with less resources. Starting with Toyota in Japan, Lean methodologies are being increasingly stressed upon all industries, and health care is there too, with a few important caveats.In the current international scenario, All healthcare institutes are following some, if not most, strategies to improve quality and streamline its activities without wasting resources. The percieved value of care and cost is ingrained in a lot of minds, and its difficult to convince people that healthcare quality can be maintained without overspending and overstaffing.

Healthcare services are complex processes which involve diverse professional skills, varying patient needs with cutting edge technologies. Variation and Non-value added activities are inherent on the process. Lean can assist healthcare providers in reducing costs, improving service levels and increasing value but must do so without compromising quality of care, compliance, brand, patient safety, or conformance
Interviewed by Modern Healthcare reporter Jean DerGurahian, Delnor ommunity Hospital, Geneva, Ill., executives discuss Lean methodologies that they say have helped the facility find cost savings, improve processes and increase satisfaction. Tom Wright, president and CEO, and Jim Kearns, chief information officer, say that organizational changes like Lean will become crucial to hospitals as they face continuously shrinking reimbursements and an unclear path to healthcare reform.


The Iowa Healthcare Collaborative brings health care services closer to the people, urging them to take charge of their treatment. The Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) is a provider-led and patient-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a culture of continuous improvement in health care.  



Also check The Institute for health care improvement on  IHI website 


Here are also a few articles by Lean management consultancy, VIP Group.
So lets stand up and take charge.

Sep 9, 2009

Technology based learning in Medical sciences

healthcare IT

Internet based training has been adopted in a number of disciplines but for some vested interests, not much progress has been made in the Medical field. Reasons given for this hesitation range from constructive real doubts (Will it teach them all the nuances they need to know?) to manipulative self doubts (what if the students don't need me anymore?).Not too many of the Teachers realize that these tools are to assist them in grooming future doctors, and not to replace them in the system. The last time any major breakthrough was achieved in education was when oral teaching was supplemented by printing of books. I can only imagine the astonishment and resistance the teachers of that era would have expressed on realizing that students could get information in their absence, too!! "Stop printing Books!", they said, " It will poison the minds of our students. And anyways, what can some ink on paper teach a student without having heard the same thing from a Guru"s mouth?". But very soon we had the same gurus jostling to publish their own books and integrate those into their own evolving didactic styles. Use of internet in education is probably the single most beneficial addition to education after Printing press.

A study led by a team of education researchers from Mayo Clinic and recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that Internet-based education generally is effective.The study was conducted by David Cook, M.D, and Denise Dupras, M.D., Ph.D., Patricia Erwin, and Victor Montori, M.D., all of Mayo Clinic; and Anthony Levinson, M.D., and Sarah Garside, M.D., Ph.D., from McMaster University.

"The research also showed that Internet-based instruction compared favorably to traditional instructional methods... confirm that, across a wide variety of learners, learning contexts, clinical topics, and learning outcomes, Internet-based instruction can be as effective as traditional methods." Dr. Cook notes that Internet-based instruction has unique advantages, including flexible scheduling, adaptability of instruction, and readily available content that is easily updated. "As health care workers balance challenging practice demands, the ever-expanding volume of medical knowledge requires us to find more effective, efficient ways to learn," says Dr. Cook. "Internet-based instruction will be an important part of the solution."

News report on Eureka alert

This is not the first report which says this, and this definitely wont be the last. Private players in India, like MEdRC Edutech have taken a bold lead in creating computer based medical e learning content and LMS, but with so much resistance in the higher places, it seems like a long war ahead for CBT pioneers in medicine.

Related articles-
  • Twitter in Health care (

  • Impact of EHRs on Medical Education (

  • Technology based learning in Medicine? You wish! (

  • Sep 8, 2009

    13th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference

    The 13th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference takes place November 2-4, 2009 at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV. The conference is presented by the Forum for Health care Strategists and sponsored by and Staywell Custom Communications. The program includes-

    • 30 Best-Practice Case Studies
    • Sessions on the Use of Personal Health Records, Patient Portals and Integration with EMRs including two special sessions on: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s use of Microsoft’s Health Vault & Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital’s use of Google Health
    • Sessions Highlighting the Effective Use of Social Media
    • Sessions on How to Measure and Report ROI
    You can also join their community portal here.

    Conference details

    From the look at the stated interests of all participants, it seems that social media is on the top of everyone's radar

    • Make your reservations by Friday, October 2, 2009.
    • You can register online Here.


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