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On the Role of Question Summarization and Information Source Restriction in Consumer Health Question Answering.
Despite the recent developments in commercial Question Answering (QA) systems, medical QA remains a challenging task. In this paper, we study the factors behind the complexity of consumer health questions and potential improvement tracks. In particular, we study the impact of information source quality and question conciseness through three experiments. First, an evaluation of a QA method based on a Question-Answer collection created from trusted NIH resources, which outperformed the best results of the medical LiveQA challenge with an average score of 0.711. Then, an evaluation of the same approach using paraphrases and summaries of the test questions, which achieved an average score of 1.125. Our results provide an empirical evidence supporting the key role of summarization and reliable information sources in building efficient CHQA systems. The latter finding on restricting information sources is particularly intriguing as it contradicts the popular tendency ofrelying on big data for medical QA.