The principal investigators are Dr Martin Gardner, Professor Gavin Kenny and Professor Keith van Rijsbergen.
It is funded by the BJA: International Journal of Anaesthesia.
Anaesthetists make hundreds of important clinical choices every day, but rarely consult literature at the time of making decisions, relying instead on recall of documents read perhaps years previously. This is because it is simply impractical to do so.
Current Information Retrieval (IR) systems are designed for researchers, not clinicians. If the utility of consulting evidence is to be realised in full, new IR systems are required.
The primary goal of the project is to build a prototype IR system designed specifically for clinical rather than research use, incorporating a technique based on recent advances in Artificial Intelligence research; and to compare the efficacy of this system with that of existing commercial IR systems, for the task of supporting the decisions of busy anaesthetists with evidence from primary literature sources.
An overview of issues related to the use of Information Retrieval in clinical medicine was published recently by the BMJ ( BMJ 1997 vol 314 pp 950-953).