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.
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.
- Journal Article