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Researchers propose guide to selecting nursing homes

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A three-person team of UL Lafayette and Drexel University researchers is a semifinalist in a national competition intended to generate innovative ways to use data to educate communities about health issues.

It is participating in the Knight News Challenge sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The team has proposed combining public health data from, personal reviews and visual displays to help consumers choose nursing homes. It hopes to earn $250,000 to $500,000 that would be used to create a prototype.

“The innovation in our solution lies in the search capabilities. The default search will allow the users to specify which ratings are important or unimportant, as well as the scores they consider desirable . . . . The ultimate goal is to visualize the search results in light of the preferences of the user,” the team’s proposal states.

There were 641 Challenge entries. Only 39 – or 6 percent – are semifinalists.

Winners will be announced in January 2014.

Two team members are from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette: Cian Robinson, associate director of the Center for Business and Information Technologies and site director for the Center for Visual and Decision Informatics; and Dr. Ryan Benton, a research scientist at the Center for Advanced Computer Science and the CVDI. The third member is Dr. Michelle Rogers, an assistant professor in the College of Information Science and Technology at Drexel University, a private institution in Philadelphia.

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