BACKGROUND: Self-management is crucial to diabetes care and providing expert-vetted content for answering patients' questions is crucial in facilitating patient self-management.
OBJECTIVE: The aim is to investigate the use of information retrieval techniques in recommending patient education materials for diabetic questions of patients.
METHODS: We compared two retrieval algorithms, one based on Latent Dirichlet Allocation topic modeling (topic modeling-based model) and one based on semantic group (semantic group-based model), with the baseline retrieval models, vector space model (VSM), in recommending diabetic patient education materials to diabetic questions posted on the TuDiabetes forum. The evaluation was based on a gold standard dataset consisting of 50 randomly selected diabetic questions where the relevancy of diabetic education materials to the questions was manually assigned by two experts. The performance was assessed using precision of top-ranked documents.
RESULTS: We retrieved 7510 diabetic questions on the forum and 144 diabetic patient educational materials from the patient education database at Mayo Clinic. The mapping rate of words in each corpus mapped to the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) was significantly different (P<.001). The topic modeling-based model outperformed the other retrieval algorithms. For example, for the top-retrieved document, the precision of the topic modeling-based, semantic group-based, and VSM models was 67.0%, 62.8%, and 54.3%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that topic modeling can mitigate the vocabulary difference and it achieved the best performance in recommending education materials for answering patients' questions. One direction for future work is to assess the generalizability of our findings and to extend our study to other disease areas, other patient education material resources, and online forums.
- education materials
- information retrieval
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics