In this video, Dr. Eric Horvitz, Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research, discusses how search queries in the web can give doctors and drug companies information on the side effects of drugs or even the interaction between different drugs that has been overlooked during clinical trials. The summary from this talk:
- Nearly two-thirds of the people in the web are looking for health care information and to do self-diagnosis.
- Dr. Horvitz and his collaborators used this search information to determine potential drug interactions from 82 million search queries on Bing, Google, and Yahoo.
- They found that if a popular anti-depressant and a popular cholesterol-lowering drug are both taken by the same individual could cause a rise in blood sugar.
- Dr. Horvitz believes that this technique can be used to detect dangerous drug interactions earlier than the FDA's adverse event reporting system.
- The same line of reasoning can be applied beyond drugs to medical devices. For example, medical device companies can use this method for post-market surveillance, to understand the impact of medical devices on users and/or patients.
- In short, the world wide web becomes a hub for health care.
Photo credit: J. Troha, via Wikimedia Commons.