Arden/J: an architecture for MLM execution on the Java platform

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2002 Jul-Aug;9(4):359-68. doi: 10.1197/jamia.m0985.


The Arden Syntax was introduced more than 10 years ago, but it is still not in widespread use. One reason might be that for each particular architecture and information system, a different Arden Syntax compiler must be written as well as a program for the runtime execution of the medical logic modules (MLMs). The authors have designed and implemented an architecture that increases the portability of Arden Syntax rules, using the Java platform. The portability to a target information system is achieved by the addition of appropriate adapter components, which they call mappers. These mappers are dynamically selected using explicit and implicit elements of MLMs. Furthermore, they can help translate data from the clinical information system representation into the representation needed by an MLM. This was validated by an experiment in two clinical units. Also, the authors propose a convention to name signals that trigger other MLMs (called intermediate states) so that they remain unique to each institution. The authors implemented this architecture in their clinical system and in an XML-based medical record application that has been used experimentally in their urology and nephrology departments. The Tetrasys company that provided the medical record was able to incorporate their runtime without modifications, and typical MLM execution time was less than 1 sec.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical
  • Hospital Information Systems
  • Programming Languages*
  • Software Design
  • Software*