Skip to the main content.
Talk to sales Start for free
Talk to sales Start for free

2 min read

Understanding spidering in healthcare

Understanding spidering in healthcare

Spidering, or web crawling, is used for many purposes in the healthcare industry, contributing to research, data analysis, and improved patient care. 


What is spidering?

Web crawling, sometimes called spidering or web scraping, refers to the automatic extraction of website information through spiders or crawlers. These bots are script-based and systematically navigate each page by following hyperlinks while gathering various data types such as texts, images, relevant links (URLs), etc.


How does spidering work?

  1. Spider initiation: The initial step involves using a web crawler to browse through online content.
  2. URL queuing: The crawler starts with a list of seed URLs, which are initial entry points. Once it explores a webpage, it retrieves links to additional pages. It assembles them into a queue of URLs that will be visited next.
  3. Data extraction: Upon arrival at a webpage, the spider retrieves relevant information according to its programming. Such data may comprise text, images, URLs, and other details stipulated by either the user or the aim of the crawl.
  4. Link following: As it navigates through the links on the page, the crawler adds new URLs to a queue for later investigation. The spider can navigate the huge network of the internet due to this recursive procedure.


The advantages of spidering in healthcare

Access to comprehensive medical literature

Spidering enables information collection from various medical journals, research papers, and healthcare databases. This allows healthcare professionals and researchers to access a comprehensive pool of medical literature, staying updated on the latest advancements and breakthroughs in their respective fields.


Accelerated clinical trial recruitment

Web crawlers can identify eligible patients for clinical trials by extracting relevant information from diverse sources. This accelerates the clinical trial recruitment process, leading to quicker advancements in medical research and the development of new treatments.


Enhanced healthcare data analytics

Spidering contributes to healthcare data analytics by aggregating information from electronic health records (EHRs), public health databases, and medical research repositories. This consolidated data supports comprehensive analytics, epidemiological studies, and evidence-based decision-making.


Maintaining accurate provider directories

Web crawlers assist in maintaining accurate and up-to-date directories of healthcare providers, clinics, and hospitals. This ensures that patients and healthcare professionals have access to reliable information, facilitating better decision-making when seeking healthcare services.


Monitoring pharmaceutical research and development

Spidering can track pharmaceutical research and development activities. By monitoring drug pipelines, clinical trials, and regulatory updates, web crawlers provide valuable intelligence to pharmaceutical companies and researchers, aiding in informed decision-making.


Patient education and empowerment

Aggregating health-related content from reputable sources through spidering enhances patient education. Patients can access curated and reliable information about their health conditions, empowering them to make informed decisions about their care.


Informed healthcare market intelligence

Web crawlers help gather intelligence about the healthcare market. This includes monitoring trends in healthcare services, pricing information, and competitive analyses. Such insights benefit healthcare providers, insurers, and policymakers in making informed strategic decisions.

See alsoHIPAA compliant email marketing: What you need to know


Regulatory compliance monitoring

Spidering helps healthcare organizations monitor regulatory compliance by extracting and analyzing information related to healthcare regulations, policies, and guidelines. This ensures that organizations adhere to industry standards, like the HIPAA Rules, and comply with other legal requirements.


Adaptation to healthcare trends

Spidering is instrumental in monitoring trends in healthcare delivery, patient preferences, and healthcare technologies. This information helps healthcare organizations adapt to evolving needs and implement innovative solutions for improved patient care.



What is HIPAA?

HIPAA, short for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal law established in 1996 to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's knowledge or consent.

Go deeperWhat is HIPAA? 


What are the benefits of web crawling?

The primary benefit of web crawling for business users is that it enables discoverability of their site, content, and data, and is, as such, essential to business SEO and search strategy. Crawling your site is also the easiest way to index your website's data for your search experience.


Are web crawlers good or bad?

Web crawlers, like many tools, can be used for both beneficial and potentially harmful purposes, and their impact largely depends on the intent behind their deployment and how they are used.

Subscribe to Paubox Weekly

Every Friday we'll bring you the most important news from Paubox. Our aim is to make you smarter, faster.