The SADI Personal Health Lens: A Web Browser-Based System for Identifying Personally Relevant Drug Interactions

Ben Vandervalk, E Luke McCarthy, José Cruz-Toledo, Artjom Klein, Christopher J. O. Baker, Michel Dumontier, Mark D. Wilkinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The Web provides widespread access to vast quantities of health-related information that can improve quality-of-life through better understanding of personal symptoms, medical conditions, and available treatments. Unfortunately, identifying a credible and personally relevant subset of information can be a time-consuming and challenging task for users without a medical background.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of the Personal Health Lens system is to aid users when reading health-related webpages by providing warnings about personally relevant drug interactions. More broadly, we wish to present a prototype for a novel, generalizable approach to facilitating interactions between a patient, their practitioner(s), and the Web.

METHODS: We utilized a distributed, Semantic Web-based architecture for recognizing personally dangerous drugs consisting of: (1) a private, local triple store of personal health information, (2) Semantic Web services, following the Semantic Automated Discovery and Integration (SADI) design pattern, for text mining and identifying substance interactions, (3) a bookmarklet to trigger analysis of a webpage and annotate it with personalized warnings, and (4) a semantic query that acts as an abstract template of the analytical workflow to be enacted by the system.

RESULTS: A prototype implementation of the system is provided in the form of a Java standalone executable JAR file. The JAR file bundles all components of the system: the personal health database, locally-running versions of the SADI services, and a javascript bookmarklet that triggers analysis of a webpage. In addition, the demonstration includes a hypothetical personal health profile, allowing the system to be used immediately without configuration. Usage instructions are provided.

CONCLUSIONS: The main strength of the Personal Health Lens system is its ability to organize medical information and to present it to the user in a personalized and contextually relevant manner. While this prototype was limited to a single knowledge domain (drug/drug interactions), the proposed architecture is generalizable, and could act as the foundation for much richer personalized-health-Web clients, while importantly providing a novel and personalizable mechanism for clinical experts to inject their expertise into the browsing experience of their patients in the form of customized semantic queries and ontologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e14
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


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