Medical Communication

Archive for April 30th, 2009

Learning tools and search engine ranking

Posted by drneelesh on April 30, 2009

Recently read the Latest edition of Journal of Health informatics in developing countries. Specifically, Search engines : a study of nine search engines in four categories by Dallas Knight (Health Informatics Programme University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand). This study’s objective was to determine how search engines within different categories compare, and to look at features and trends of search engines that are commonly used for queries by both health consumers and professionals.

The query terms used for this study are

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Benign positional vertigo
  • Pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma
  • “online tool” for help with depression
  • exercise after bowel cancer operation

Evaluation of the first ten sites for each scenario in each search engine included relevance, usefulness, usability of sites, and quality of health information evaluation.

Search engines within the general category (Google, SearchYahoo!) performed best overall. Meta search engines (Dogpile, Jux2) also performed well with vertical search engines (Healia, Kosmix, Healthline) next. Health portals (Revolution Health and WebMD) produced relevant useful results for common terms, but not for unusual query terms.

Other important medical education and learning tools the study talks about include

  • Custom built Search engines ( eg Google, Rollyo and EureksterSwiki )
  • Blog sites, wikis and podcasts
  • social bookmarking with and
  • RSS site feeds read by aggregators or emails
  • Yahoo Pipes! for channelizing information

The few services and tools it missed include,

I think i shall now close this list or i shall be spending hours trying to compile a complete list. Anyways, most of the useful tools for medical education and learning have been mentioned here. If you can think of any more study tools or services, kindly add them in the comments.

Read the complete study Here

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