How iMedisearch Works?

Google's Strengths

Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine on the Internet. It searches deeply into websites and can retrieve just about any article anywhere on the Internet. The reasons for its popularity are its fast speed and the high degree of relevance of its search results. It accomplishes these by linking tens of thousands of computers together to work synergistically and utilizing a complex mathematical formula for determining the ranking of each page on the Internet based on the number of other websites linking to it. The site with the most number of other sites linking to it will show up at the top of Google results for a specific keyword containing in that site.

These strategies work for the majority of the searches. However, when Google is used to search for a medical subject matter, the first several pages of the results often don't seem to fit the user's purpose.

Google's Weaknesses

a. Google Cannot Distinguish between Reputable and Nonreputable Sites

As Google's computers crawl through websites on the Internet, they do not distinguish between reputable and non-reputable ones. There is no way for a computer to know that a website is run by a doctor and not by a baseball enthusiast. All it can tell is that both sites contain the keyword "CAP" which means differently to a doctor and a baseball fan. Even if both sites contain medical contents, the computers do not distinguish between a site run by reputable publishers such as the British Medical Journal and a non-reputable one that is run by a blogger who writes of his experiences with a medical condition. Therefore, when a user enters a medical search term into Google, the search results presented tend to be a mixture of reputable and non-reputable resources. The user would have to determine which is which.

b. Google Does Not Know Who is Doing the Search

Google has no way of knowing who the searcher is - whether it is a doctor, a nurse or someone who is not in the medical field. For a search term, Google presents results that are mixtures of materials meant for the general public and those meant for medical professionals. Again, a user would have to sift through the results to find the one that fits her.

Enters iMedisearch

iMedisearch is a customized Google engine specifically built to search medical-related resources. Hence, it enjoys the same advantages of a normal Google search engine - fast speed, deep search and highly relevant results. The difference between iMedisearch and normal Google search is that iMedisearch overcomes Google's weaknesses, thereby its results are from reputables sources and more fitting for the searchers.

It solves Google's weaknesses by:

1. Searching from reputable websites

In contrast to Google which searches from all websites on the Internet, iMedisearch only search from reputable ones. These are carefully selected by a practicing clinical pharmacist based on strict criteria.

2. Separating the search according to who the users are: general public, physician, pharmacist, allied health or nurse.

This leads to the search engine delivering results that are more specific and therefore useful to the user whether he or she is a health professional or a lay person. In addition, iMedisearch has built in search refinements that further fine tune the results to fit an individual searcher's needs. For example, a pharmacist entering a search term "phenytoin" into iMedisearch would have the option to narrow the search to the pharmacist specific refinements such as "pregnancy & lactation" which will pull results that relate to the use of phenytoin in pregnancy and lactating women.

Size of iMedisearch Search Database

Power Point presentation file on iMedisearch at HSICT Professional Practice Day Sept 2011

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