Personalized search and recommendation for health information resources
Crain, Steven P.
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Consumers face several challenges using the Internet to fill health-related needs. (1) In many cases, they face a language gap as they look for information that is written in unfamiliar technical language. (2) Medical information in social media is of variable quality and may be appealing even when it is dangerous. (3) Discussion groups provide valuable social support for necessary lifestyle changes, but are variable in their levels of activity. (4) Finding less popular groups is tedious. We present solutions to these challenges. We use a novel adaptation of topic models to address the language gap. Conventional topic models discover a set of unrelated topics that together explain the combinations of words in a collection of documents. We add additional structure that provides relationships between topics corresponding to relationships between consumer and technical medical topics. This allows us to support search for technical information using informal consumer medical questions. We also analyze social media related to eating disorders. A third of these videos promote eating disorders and consumers are twice as engaged by these dangerous videos. We study the interactions of two communities in a photo-sharing site. There, a community that encourages recovery from eating disorders interacts with the pro-eating disorder community in an attempt to persuade them, but we found that this attempt entrenches the pro-eating disorder community more firmly in its position. We study the process by which consumers participate in discussion groups in an online diabetes community. We develop novel event history analysis techniques to identify the characteristics of groups in a diabetes community that are correlated with consumer activity. This analysis reveals that uniformly advertise the popular groups to all consumers impairs the diversity of the groups and limits their value to the community. To help consumers find interesting discussion groups, we develop a system for personalized recommendation for social connections. We extend matrix factorization techniques that are effective for product recommendation so that they become suitable for implicit power-law-distributed social ratings. We identify the best approaches for recommendation of a variety of social connections involving consumers, discussion groups and discussions.