Interactions between Health Searchers and Search Engines

by   George Philipp, et al.

The Web is an important resource for understanding and diagnosing medical conditions. Based on exposure to online content, people may develop undue health concerns, believing that common and benign symptoms are explained by serious illnesses. In this paper, we investigate potential strategies to mine queries and searcher histories for clues that could help search engines choose the most appropriate information to present in response to exploratory medical queries. To do this, we performed a longitudinal study of health search behavior using the logs of a popular search engine. We found that query variations which might appear innocuous (e.g. "bad headache" vs "severe headache") may hold valuable information about the searcher which could be used by search engines to improve performance. Furthermore, we investigated how medically concerned users respond differently to search engine result pages (SERPs) and find that their disposition for clicking on concerning pages is pronounced, potentially leading to a self-reinforcement of concern. Finally, we studied to which degree variations in the SERP impact future search and real-world health-seeking behavior and obtained some surprising results (e.g., viewing concerning pages may lead to a short-term reduction of real-world health seeking).


page 1

page 2

page 3

page 4


Biased or Not?: The Story of Two Search Engines

Search engines can be considered as a gate to the world of WEB, and they...

web crawler strategies for web pages under robot.txt restriction

In the present time, all know about World Wide Web and work over the Int...

Demographic differences in search engine use with implications for cohort selection

The correlation between the demographics of users and the text they writ...

Medical Information Retrieval and Interpretation: A Question-Answer based Interaction Model

The Internet has become a very powerful platform where diverse medical i...

A Deeper Investigation of the Importance of Wikipedia Links to the Success of Search Engines

A growing body of work has highlighted the important role that Wikipedia...

Not Just Skipping. Understanding the Effect of Sponsored Content on Users' Decision-Making in Online Health Search

Advertisements (ads) are an innate part of search engine business models...

Please sign up or login with your details

Forgot password? Click here to reset