This research study aims to improve the ability of individuals to use patient-supported online forums to obtain useful information for their personalized concerns. To do so, we are:

  1. Developing a set of new search tools that collect information posted by individuals related to the management and care of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) on a patient-supported online forums; and
  2. Personalizing the information for potential patients and users in a way that adapts to their particular ethnic and demographic background, clinical symptoms, etc.
  3. Building navigational tools that will help users to find information quickly and specific to their own condition through a graphical user-friendly interface.

These novel tools are currently being developed by examining the posts already available on the support forum, Successful personalization requires a deeper understanding of the background of individuals using and posting on the forum and their clinical condition. To achieve this, we are collaborating with and reaching out to their current and past users for their help through participation in a brief survey (link). We expect to make our approach generalizable and apply it to other conditions in the future.

The research team includes researchers with expertise in data analytic techniques, information mining of large data bases, and in information organization and communication, and clinicians with specific expertise in IBS. Please follow the links below to learn more about members of the team. The research project is funded by the Social Science Research Institute at the Penn State University.