Bell Eapen MD, PhD.

Bringing Digital health & Gen AI research to life!

The Context-Aware Knowledge Retrieval – Infobutton


Image Credit: By Roberth Edberg (Own work (Original text: self-made)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Image altered and text added.

Clinicians using patient information systems such as EMRs and HIE clinical viewers need a cross-referencing mechanism to clinical information aggregators such as DynaMed and Medlineplus. Busy practitioners don’t have time to wade through several pages to find what they need. So there has to be a mechanism to convey as much information as possible about the patient at hand to these knowledge providers so that the doctor is presented with information most relevant to the patient being managed. Infobutton is the standard (HL7 Version 3) for this information exchange, and Infobutton manager is the broker that facilitates this data transfer. With the increasing popularity of Personal Health Records (PHR) systems, the infobutton standard is relevant to PHRs as well.

Infobutton implementation can be either URL (REST) based or SOAP based. The information provided by the client system include patient characteristics such as age and sex, provider, care setting, clinical task and diagnosis. The OpenInfobutton project is an initiative led by the United States Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the University of Utah that provides the infobutton manager that brokers the interaction between client information systems and online knowledge providers.

Understanding of Infobutton standard is important to Clinical information system developers, Clinical knowledge resource publishers and health care organizations such as regional clinical viewers. Several studies have demonstrated an increase in productivity for physicians with Infobutton adoption. Since infobutton standard is based on well-known protocols such as SOAP and REST, it is relatively easy to implement.