Published on 11-Jul-2013
"Hospitals outside of major cities across the country, except for university hospitals, often did not have access to information sources, databases or decision-support systems. This access is now available, and our search function is making it easier for users to find the information they need." - Kjell Tjensvoll, Consortium Manager, Norwegian Electronic Health Library
Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services
In the past few years, the emphasis on evidence-based medicine has become critically important. In response, the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services created a new web portal, powered by IBM InfoSphere Data Explorer software, that gives clinicians fast access to relevant medical information across Norway. Easier access to the wealth of information on new medical studies and trials is helping improve information shared at doctor/patient meetings and providing physicians with insight into new approaches that improve patient care.
Doctors and clinicians in Norway needed unified access to evidence-based medical studies, trials and updated research as part of the healthcare decision-making process.
The Norwegian Electronic Health Library website, powered by IBM® InfoSphere® Data Explorer, provides flexible search and content navigation capabilities and access to massive volumes of medical information.
● Provides fast access to relevant medical information across Norway ● Improves information shared at doctor/patient meetings ● Provides insight into new approaches to improve patient care
Founded in 2004, the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services is organized under the Directorate of Health and operates independently. Although the Centre has no authority to develop health policy and does not implement policies, it does disseminate evidence about the effect and quality of methods and interventions in all parts of the health services.
In the past few years, the emphasis on evidence-based medicine has become critically important. While doctors and medical clinicians use a variety of tools to aid with patient diagnosis and treatment, the Knowledge Centre recognized that easier access to the wealth of information on new medical studies and trials could provide insight into new approaches to improve care. Providing medical professionals with access to critical information was one of the driving forces for creating the Norwegian Electronic Health Library (Helsebiblioteket).
“We want medical staff to consult research in addition to the more traditional resources,” says Kjell Tjensvoll, consortium manager, Norwegian Electronic Health Library. “With the focus on evidence-based medicine, clinicians need to consult updated research as part of their decision-making process.”
Selecting a big data technology solution
Given the increasing amounts of available medical information and the criticality for helping patients, Helsebiblioteket sought to develop a web portal to provide clinicians across Norway with fast, easy access to information.
“It became clear to us that it was much too complicated for users to find what they needed in our databases,” says Tjensvoll. “We wanted users to find the information they need easily at any given time.”
Helsebiblioteket invited more than a dozen vendors to participate in its proposal process. After a thorough review, three companies were asked to perform a Proof of Concept demonstration using their solutions and the library’s real data. After evaluating the results, IBM InfoSphere Data Explorer, a core component of IBM’s big data platform, clearly demonstrated the needed capabilities.
“One of the things that made InfoSphere Data Explorer stand out was a great Proof of Concept,” notes Tjensvoll. “We were impressed with the results.”
Helsebiblioteket also liked the InfoSphere Data Explorer interface, making it easy to configure the search engine and the display of results.
“It’s a well-designed interface that indicated to us that the rest of the product was solid,” says Tjensvoll. “We knew we could make some minor changes without relying on expensive third-party consultants.”
In summarizing the experience, Tjensvoll comments, “InfoSphere Data Explorer provides a comprehensive package—with all the functionality we wanted. We knew at the end of the review process that this was the best product for us.”
Implementing the optimal data access solution
After a 10-week implementation, the Helsebiblioteket website (www.helsebiblioteket.no ), powered by IBM InfoSphere Data Explorer, was operational. The solution indexes valuable information sources, government websites and decision-support systems. InfoSphere Data Explorer also provides reports on the most popular search terms—and what results were delivered to users. These reports can be used to help refine and improve search results.
“InfoSphere Data Explorer empowered us with the flexibility to tailor the search experience for our site visitors,” says Tjensvoll. “Because doctors have busy case loads and limited time to spend with each patient, we want to maximize their time. The portal highlights various types of information, so they have the capability to search quickly for clinically relevant information.”
Site visitors can browse topics through clustering, or drill down into practice areas or sources. Additionally, users have a variety of ways to navigate through search results, which can display in Norwegian and English.
Tjensvoll explains, “We’re using a translation capability for all search terms. This means that searching on a Norwegian term will also return results from English resources and vice versa. For us, this is one of the most valuable features of the product, and the capability to edit the dictionary, and see the changes in real time, allows us to increase quality in the search results. There are still quite a few things to be desired before we call it a perfect solution, but it is a key reason for our improved search results.”
Return on investment
Helsebiblioteket.no was created to provide medical personnel and all health workers with fast access to pertinent, reliable information.
“Hospitals outside of major cities across the country, except for university hospitals, often did not have access to information sources, databases or decision-support systems,” says Tjensvoll. “This access is now available, and our search function is making it easier for users to find the information they need.”
Based on user tests, asking for feedback on the site and search capabilities, Helsebiblioteket receives positive comments from its users. Clinicians are able to find information to help diagnose and treat patients. As a result, more users are expected to visit the site to increase the quality of medical care across Norway.
“We see the Helsebiblioteket website as a work in progress and will continue to test and develop the functionality from our current version,” says Tjensvoll. “We want to contribute to enhancing the quality of Norwegian health services—making medical information easily available to everyone.”
For more information
To get involved in the conversation, visit: www.ibmbigdatahub.com
For more information about Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, visit: http://www.kunnskapssenteret.no
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
InfoSphere Data Explorer
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