A collaboration between a Chinese university and the clinical decision support platform Elsevier is undertaking the momentous task of cataloguing traditional Chinese medical knowledge as global clinical practice increasingly seeks to combine conventional and Eastern techniques.

Beijing University of Chinese Medicine has partnered with Elsevier to create a new taxonomy for traditional Chinese medicine in Elsevier's biomedical and pharmacological literature database, Embase.

More and more Western patients are embracing Eastern medical techniques and Elsevier said its new focus on ancient Chinese health practices will help enhance its content and CDS offerings, building upon existing research and evidence bases.

Beijing University of Chinese Medicine will review terms and help build a detailed taxonomy to encompass traditional Chinese medicine data in Embase, enhancing Elsevier's existing content and making it easily discoverable to clinical users looking to draw upon different practices.

Pharma companies are increasingly interested in traditional Chinese medicine – a global market worth more than US$124 billion dollars worldwide. But despite practices dating back millennia, research into traditional practices pose hurdles in the modern age.

Much of the inherited knowledge has been digitised into discrete data but indexing, searching and retrieving specific pieces of evidence can be challenging. Add to this the complexity of atypical spellings, synonyms, translations, and symbols – often with many ways to refer to the same treatment – and the challenges are even more acute, according to Elsevier.

By working with Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, the company will be able to sort through and structure the various branches of traditional Chinese medicine, allowing for providers to search for specific traditional medicines and find linked results.

“The trend in the use of traditional and complementary medicine is growing globally and, as a result, the volume of published resources into this field is increasing at a rate of around 6 per cent per year, with more than 10,000 scholarly research or review articles published in 2017 alone,” said Cameron Ross, managing director of life science solutions at Elsevier, in a statement.

“By enabling this discovery and analysis of integrated health and medical research, we can provide our customers with more successful outcomes and a deeper understanding of the evidence behind how [traditional Chinese medicine] complements conventional medicine to improve prospects for patients.”

Originally published on the US edition of Healthcare IT News.

 

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