Physicians, no matter how well prepared, generate an average of two clinical questions per every three patient encounters. In 2009, the 1.3 billion visits to physicians'offices, hospital outpatient departments, and hospital emergency departments produced roughly 867 million questions. Answers to such questions likely exist, typically spread among several content sources. However, up to 70% of the questions went unanswered, potentially affecting the quality of care for 405 million patient visits. The questions remain open in part because it is so time-consuming to log on and search the various databases that contain relevant information. A critical part of the solution to this problem is a search engie keyed to physicians needs not only for specialized content but also for speed and location at the point of care. The MedSocket Search Engine offers physicians seamless access to the best curated clinical content sources. It uses a single search box providing access not only to medical resources, but also to organization-specific information, and personal knowledge stored in electronic documents. This project will integrate MedSocket into the electronic health record (EHR) system to further increase physician efficiency and improve care. Because no single source can answer all clinical questions, physicians need a search engine that searches multiple information sources simultaneously and aggregates the results. Better information aids clinical decision-making and the practice of evidence-based medicine. Unfortunately, current search engines are not effective at retrieving clinical evidence from high-quality sources and are not integrated into the EHR, which is the principal information technology that physicians use at the point of care. This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project proposes to enhance physicians'access to needed information from high quality resources at the point of care with MedSocket, an innovative medical search engine with a patent-pending ranking algorithm. This project will integrate MedSocket into the University of Missouri's EHR system, measure its impact and create a commercialization and feasibility plan. By integrating MedSocket into the EHR, we will be able to conduct a substantial multi-dimensional evaluation of its effects and lay the groundwork for research, product development and enhanced evaluation measures for health information technology.

Public Health Relevance

In order to treat patients as effectively as possible, physicians working at the point of care need quick access to high-quality, specialized information from varied sources (clinical, organizational, and more). However, such access does not exist, and so physicians have many questions that go unanswered, which may increase costs, and diminish decision-making and patient outcomes. This project proposes to integrate the innovative MedSocket Search Engine into an electronic health record system to provide point of care access to disparate content sources. Development of this health information technology has the potential to improve healthcare decisions, enhance efficiency, decrease healthcare costs, and improve patient outcomes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-C (11))
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Ye, Jane
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Medsocket of Missouri, Inc.
United States
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