Developing online support for clinical information system developers: the FAQ approach.
Integrated Advanced Information Management Systems
Information Storage and Retrieval
We investigate a knowledge-based help system for developers of an integrated clinical information system (CIS). The first objective in the study was to determine the system's ability to answer users' questions effectively. User performance and behavior were studied. The second objective was to evaluate the effect of using questions and answers to augment or replace traditional program documentation.
A comparative study of user and system effectiveness using a collection of 47 veritable questions regarding the CIS, solicited from various CIS developers, is conducted. Most questions were concerning the clinical data model and acquiring the data.
Answers using current documentation known by users were compared to answers found using the help system. Answers existing within traditional documentation were compared to answers existing within question-answer exchanges (Q-A's).
The support system augmented 39% of users' answers to test questions. Though the Q-A's were less than 5% of the total documentation collected, these files contained answers to nearly 50% of the questions in the test group. The rest of the documentation contained about 75% of the answers.
A knowledge-based help system built by collecting questions and answers can be a viable alternative to large documentation files, providing the questions and answers can be collected effectively.