In September 2022, Dr Jen Barcroft, a PhD student at Imperial College London and an Obstetrics and Gynecology registrar, presented her work in collaboration with i-sense colleagues Prof Ingemar Cox, Dr Lampos and David Guzman at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG) World Congress. Dr Barcroft presented the paper: “Can Online Search Engine Patterns Predict Gynaecological Diagnoses?”. Also working on this project at Imperial are Dr Srdjan Saso (who leads the project) and Professor Bourne.
There was much positive feedback about the novelty of the work and Dr Barcroft was awarded the ISUOG Young Investigator Award.
Dr Barcroft presented the study, which aimed to i) evaluate online health-related search patterns in women presenting with gynaecological symptoms and ii) determine if online search patterns can discriminate between benign and malignant gynaecology diagnoses.
The ongoing pilot study showed that it is both acceptable and feasible to evaluate online search patterns in women presenting with gynaecology symptoms. Despite this study having a small dataset, there appeared to be a trend towards increased online search use prior to GP attendance in malignant cases when compared to benign cases. Further work will focus on expansion of the dataset to enable the application of machine learning methods to learn from trends in online search activity. The ultimate aim would be to develop a classification model capable of providing an early warning for malignant gynaecological diagnoses.
Read further about the study here.