Towards personalized Internet health information: The STEPPS architecture
Primary objective: STEPPS (STructured Evaluated Personalized Patient Support) proposes a strategy for integration of electronic patient records with Internet health-related content and its consequent use in personalized information retrieval for patient education. The application domain is the post-discharge support of burn patients in the Netherlands. Materials and methods: We developed an electronic patient record interface for structured data collection in burn care. The systems thesaurus was projected to UMLS terms and the corresponding codes were incorporated in our software. A list of topics central to burn patient education was identified and a collection of related Web pages was compiled using meta-search software (Copernic2001Pro®). The HTML pages were filed into catalogues by the Collexis®indexing-matching software, using the UMLS Metathesaurus as indexing vocabulary. Results: The bilingual (English and Dutch) structured data interface is currently used to create a database of retrospective patient data. Each patients profile, i.e. set of characteristics employed to personalize information retrieval, can be automatically extracted. We have assembled a collection of more than 2500 Internet pages containing relevant information for burn patients. When patient data is available, the Collexis®matching engine will accept the patients profile as input and retrieve the most relevant HTML documents available in the catalogues. Discussion: We have addressed some basic issues around the technical feasibility of linking electronic patient record data to online content. Although the functionality of STEPPS is not yet optimal, it contributes to the efforts towards improved relevance of information retrieval. Electronic patient record applications in conjunction with Internet resources can give a significant boost to the availability of tailored health education material. In this context, quality assurance of online health information is an indispensable element.
- Information retrieval
- World Wide Web
- Patient education
- Electronic patient record