Conceptual alignment of electronic health record data with guideline and workflow knowledge

Int J Med Inform. 2001 Dec;64(2-3):259-74. doi: 10.1016/s1386-5056(01)00196-4.


Even though computerized practice guidelines and workflow management (WfM) are proven effective techniques to improving quality of care and reducing costs, they are not widely deployed today. One reason for this is the impedance mismatch between guideline systems and electronic health record (EHR) systems. This paper presents the Unified Service Action Model (USAM) that has been developed for the HL7 Reference Information Model (RIM) and that conceptually integrates guidelines and WfM in the EHR. We argue that the information items recorded in the EHR are logically similar to elements of guideline and WfM definitions. Therefore, the USAM suggests that guidelines and EHR reuse the same information structures. This reuse is possible through a technique borrowed from natural language grammar and modal logic. The conceptual alignment of guidelines, WfM and the EHR could facilitate the sharing and deployment of guidelines in routine health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cost Control
  • Decision Making, Computer-Assisted
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Linguistics*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Software
  • Time Management*