, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 211-216,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 Feb 2009

Utilization of a Radiology-Centric Search Engine

Internet-based search engines have become a significant component of medical practice. Physicians increasingly rely on information available from search engines as a means to improve patient care, provide better education, and enhance research. Specialized search engines have emerged to more efficiently meet the needs of physicians. Details about the ways in which radiologists utilize search engines have not been documented. The authors categorized every 25th search query in a radiology-centric vertical search engine by radiologic subspecialty, imaging modality, geographic location of access, time of day, use of abbreviations, misspellings, and search language. Musculoskeletal and neurologic imagings were the most frequently searched subspecialties. The least frequently searched were breast imaging, pediatric imaging, and nuclear medicine. Magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography were the most frequently searched modalities. A majority of searches were initiated in North America, but all continents were represented. Searches occurred 24 h/day in converted local times, with a majority occurring during the normal business day. Misspellings and abbreviations were common. Almost all searches were performed in English. Search engine utilization trends are likely to mirror trends in diagnostic imaging in the region from which searches originate. Internet searching appears to function as a real-time clinical decision-making tool, a research tool, and an educational resource. A more thorough understanding of search utilization patterns can be obtained by analyzing phrases as actually entered as well as the geographic location and time of origination. This knowledge may contribute to the development of more efficient and personalized search engines.