Automatic indexing and retrieval of encounter-specific evidence for point-of-care support

Dympna M. O'Sullivan, Szymon A. Wilk, Wojtek J. Michalowski, Ken J. Farion, Dympna O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence-based medicine relies on repositories of empirical research evidence that can be used to support clinical decision making for improved patient care. However, retrieving evidence from such repositories at local sites presents many challenges. This paper describes a methodological framework for automatically indexing and retrieving empirical research evidence in the form of the systematic reviews and associated studies from The Cochrane Library, where retrieved documents are specific to a patient-physician encounter and thus can be used to support evidence-based decision making at the point of care. Such an encounter is defined by three pertinent groups of concepts - diagnosis, treatment, and patient, and the framework relies on these three groups to steer indexing and retrieval of reviews and associated studies. An evaluation of the indexing and retrieval components of the proposed framework was performed using documents relevant for the pediatric asthma domain. Precision and recall values for automatic indexing of systematic reviews and associated studies were 0.93 and 0.87, and 0.81 and 0.56, respectively. Moreover, precision and recall for the retrieval of relevant systematic reviews and associated studies were 0.89 and 0.81, and 0.92 and 0.89, respectively. With minor modifications, the proposed methodological framework can be customized for other evidence repositories. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-631
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Biomedical Informatics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in O'Sullivan, Dympna; Wilk, Szymon A.; Michalowski, Wojtek J. and Farion, Ken J. (2010). Automatic Indexing and Retrieval of Encounter-specific Evidence for Point-of-Care Support. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 43, 4 (2010) DOI: 10.1016/j.jbi.2010.03.003


  • evidence-based medicine
  • abstracting and indexing as topic
  • automated indexing
  • point-of-care systems
  • decision making
  • computer-assisted
  • information storage and retrieval
  • unified medical language system
  • metathesaurus


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