Retrieval of Health Frequently-Asked Questions
There have been a large number of health information providers online on the Internet. They serve as a main channel on which healthcare professionals convey health information to healthcare consumers. In practice, information needs of healthcare consumers are often in question form, and hence many health information providers recruit healthcare professionals to reply to the questions online so that the healthcare consumers may get high-quality responses to promote their health or manage their diseases. The questions and their replies are often accumulated as a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) so that other healthcare consumers with similar questions can directly get answers from the FAQ list. The FAQ list thus has two fundamental contributions: (1) reducing the load of the healthcare professionals in re-replying to similar questions, and (2) promoting the satisfaction of healthcare consumers in getting proper replies promptly. However, as the number of the accumulated FAQs is quite large and increasing, the healthcare consumers have difficulties in reading and checking each FAQ. Therefore, an intelligent FAQ retrieval system in the healthcare domain is essential. In this project, we have extended our previous studies on biomedical text classification and retrieval to develop a novel technique to enhance existing FAQ retrieval systems. The contribution of the project is of both practical and theoretical significance to information retrieval and health information communication.