Key to the kingdom

Connecting docs with data that’s ‘comprehensive, trusted and fast’

LONDON, ON –"Knowledge is key," the saying goes. But sometimes getting to that knowledge – as quickly as possible – can be a challenge for clinicians.

Vast troves of health data are terrific for studying population health or spurring improvements in operation-wide efficiencies. But for a physician working in the moment, trying to provide the best care for a specific patient, all that information can be only so much noise, obscuring the signal.

"We don’t have a lot of time during our days to make long hunts for the right information," says Stephen R. Thompson, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic at the University of Western Ontario.

Aiming to help bring greater speed and accuracy to bear on physician workflow, Elsevier has launched a new clinical reference, called ClinicalKey.

ClinicalKey runs using Elsevier's Smart Content, a technology that aims to "understand" the conceptual relationships between clinical concepts. By searching data tagged with the firm's EMMeT taxonomy system, officials say ClinicalKey seeks out the most relevant content – information that might be missed by other search engines.

"Physicians are under severe time pressure and want their answers fast and relevant, with comprehensive depth available if they want," said Jonathan Teich, MD, Elsevier's CMIO. "By reducing the time it takes to find the best answer and providing trusted, more comprehensive content, we're able to help clinicians spend more time with their patients to achieve better outcomes."

That content derives from some 700 textbooks and 400 medical journals, offering MEDLINE abstracts, third-party research and assorted other clinical commentary.

Jim Donohue, managing director for Elsevier's Global Clinical Reference Group, said the firm spent about a year speaking to approximately 2,000 physicians in an effort to learn more about their work habits.

For 60 percent of their day, on average, "they're working in a way that required the use of clinical information," says Donohue. "It might be a consult with a colleague, a discussion with a specialist, a look at a journal, a look at a point-of-care content product or a book."

Elsevier realized it could do a better job getting that information to the right person, at the right time, he says. "While we had fantastic content, it was no longer matching the workflow of physicians we were serving."