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Can social media provide patients with better healthcare services? What if the information and feedback we provide online could be used to improve the healthcare services we receive and tailor them to our preferences? More and more people are providing reviews of their interactions with healthcare professionals, giving opinions along with location information and the outcomes they experienced. With expertise in databases, health informatics, social networks and information retrieval, UCR computer scientist Vagelis Hristidis wondered if social media data could improve health outcomes for patients.

Aiming to make the information in databases easily accessible and useful, Hristidis cofounded SmartDocFinder, a big data-driven service to match patients with healthcare providers in a personalized manner. In order to deliver tailored recommendations, SmartDocFinder employs unique data aggregation, machine learning, personality profiling, and text analytics techniques to extract and combine the right knowledge from a wide range of data sources, from health outcome metrics to provider reviews, so patients can make informed decisions about the care they receive.

Vagelis Hristidis

Professor, Computer Science and Engineering Bourns College of Engineering

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