HealthRecSys: A semantic content-based recommender system to complement health videos

Carlos Luis Sanchez Bocanegra, Jose Luis Sevillano Ramos, Carlos Rizo, Anton Civit, Luis Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The Internet, and its popularity, continues to grow at an unprecedented pace. Watching videos online is very popular; it is estimated that 500 h of video are uploaded onto YouTube, a video-sharing service, every minute and that, by 2019, video formats will comprise more than 80% of Internet traffic. Health-related videos are very popular on YouTube, but their quality is always a matter of concern. One approach to enhancing the quality of online videos is to provide additional educational health content, such as websites, to support health consumers. This study investigates the feasibility of building a content-based recommender system that links health consumers to reputable health educational websites from MedlinePlus for a given health video from YouTube. Methods: The dataset for this study includes a collection of health-related videos and their available metadata. Semantic technologies (such as SNOMED-CT and Bio-ontology) were used to recommend health websites from MedlinePlus. A total of 26 healths professionals participated in evaluating 253 recommended links for a total of 53 videos about general health, hypertension, or diabetes. The relevance of the recommended health websites from MedlinePlus to the videos was measured using information retrieval metrics such as the normalized discounted cumulative gain and precision at K. Results: The majority of websites recommended by our system for health videos were relevant, based on ratings by health professionals. The normalized discounted cumulative gain was between 46% and 90% for the different topics. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates the feasibility of using a semantic content-based recommender system to enrich YouTube health videos. Evaluation with end-users, in addition to healthcare professionals, will be required to identify the acceptance of these recommendations in a nonsimulated information-seeking context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number63
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2017



  • Health Recommender System
  • Information Retrieval
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Patient Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics

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