Assisted Knowledge Discovery for the Maintenance of Clinical Guidelines

TitleAssisted Knowledge Discovery for the Maintenance of Clinical Guidelines
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsPasche, E, Ruch, P, Teodoro, D, Huttner, A, Harbarth, S, Gobeill, J, Wipfli, R, Lovis, C
JournalPLoS ONE
Date Published04/2013

Improving antibiotic prescribing practices is an important public-health priority given the widespread antimicrobial resistance. Establishing clinical practice guidelines is crucial to this effort, but their development is a complex task and their quality is directly related to the methodology and source of knowledge used.

We present the design and the evaluation of a tool (KART) that aims to facilitate the creation and maintenance of clinical practice guidelines based on information retrieval techniques.

KART consists of three main modules 1) a literature-based medical knowledge extraction module, which is built upon a specialized question-answering engine; 2) a module to normalize clinical recommendations based on automatic text categorizers; and 3) a module to manage clinical knowledge, which formalizes and stores clinical recommendations for further use. The evaluation of the usability and utility of KART followed the methodology of the cognitive walkthrough.

KART was designed and implemented as a standalone web application. The quantitative evaluation of the medical knowledge extraction module showed that 53% of the clinical recommendations generated by KART are consistent with existing clinical guidelines. The user-based evaluation confirmed this result by showing that KART was able to find a relevant antibiotic for half of the clinical scenarios tested. The automatic normalization of the recommendation produced mixed results among end-users.

We have developed an innovative approach for the process of clinical guidelines development and maintenance in a context where available knowledge is increasing at a rate that cannot be sustained by humans. In contrast to existing knowledge authoring tools, KART not only provides assistance to normalize, formalize and store clinical recommendations, but also aims to facilitate knowledge building.