Effects of Terminology on Health Queries: An Analysis by User's Health Literacy and Topic Familiarity [chapter]

Carla Teixeira Lopes, Cristina Ribeiro
2015 Advances in Librarianship  
Prior studies have shown that terminology support can improve health information retrieval but have not taken into account the characteristics of the user performing the search. In this chapter, the impact of translating queries' terms between lay and medico-scientific terminology, in users with different levels of health literacy and topic familiarity, is evaluated. Findings demonstrate that medico-scientific queries demand more from the users and are mostly aimed at health professionals. In
more » ... dition, these queries retrieve documents that are less readable and less well understood by users. Despite this, medico-scientific queries are associated with higher precision in the top-10 retrieved documents results and tend slightly to generate knowledge with less incorrect contents, the researchers concluded that search engines should provide query suggestions with medico-scientific terminology, whenever the user is able to digest it, that is, in users above the lowest levels of health literacy and topic familiarity. On the other hand, retrieval systems should provide lay alternative queries in users with inadequate health literacy or in those unfamiliar with a topic. In fact, the quantity of incorrect contents in the knowledge that emerges from a medicoscientific session tends to decrease with topic familiarity and health literacy. In terms of topic familiarity, the opposite happens with Graded Average Precision. Moreover, users most familiar with a topic tend to have higher motivational relevance with medico-scientific queries than with lay queries. This work is the first to consider user context features while studying the impact of a query processing technique in several aspects of the retrieval process, including the medical accuracy of the acquired knowledge. Paper category: Research paper In this section, is a literature review of works that explore medico-scientific terminologies with the goal of improving IR. In a second stage, IR works that explore the two main context features used in this work -health literacy and topic familiarity, are also discussed. Exploration of Medico-Scientific Terminologies It is known there are mismatches between consumer terminology and the ones used in health documents and standard medical vocabularies (Eerola & Vakkari, 2008) . To evaluate the impact of this mismatch, Plovnick and Zeng (2004) compared the performance of consumer queries with the performance of the same queries reformulated with terminology from the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). Each query was submitted to Google and MedlinePlus and the relevance was assessed comparing results with a gold standard answer. The authors used P@30 to compare both type of queries and, through descriptive analysis, concluded that this type of reformulation may be a promising strategy to improve consumer health-information searches. Previous studies (Patrick, Monga, Sievert, Houston Hall, & Longo, 2001; Zeng et al., 2002 ) reached similar conclusions. Patrick et al. (2001 compared the performance of lay and medico-scientific queries on the retrieval of diabetes web information. The evaluation was based on the number of sites maintained by non-profit healthcare professional organizations, academic organizations, or governmental organizations that appeared in the top-20 results. Authors found fewer sites of this type when using lay queries. While studying the characteristics of consumer terminology for health IR, Zeng et al. (2002) concluded that 51% of the lay queries returned no information although matching information existed in the database. Considering the poorer results of lay queries and the fact that non-experts use medicoscientific terminology less often than experts (White, Dumais, & Teevan,
doi:10.1108/s0065-283020150000039013 fatcat:efriobqemjby5f5cpoh64p4pqe