The syntax and semantics of the PROforma guideline modeling language

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2003 Sep-Oct;10(5):433-43. doi: 10.1197/jamia.M1264. Epub 2003 Jun 4.


PROforma is an executable process modeling language that has been used successfully to build and deploy a range of decision support systems, guidelines, and other clinical applications. It is one of a number of recent proposals for representing clinical protocols and guidelines in a machine-executable format (see <>). In this report, the authors outline the task model for the language and provide an operational semantics for process enactment together with a semantics for expressions, which may be used to query the state of a task during enactment. The operational semantics includes a number of public operations that may be performed on an application by an external agent, including operations that change the values of data items, recommend or make decisions, manage tasks that have been performed, and perform any task state changes that are implied by the current state of the application. Disclosure: PROforma has been used as the basis of a commercial decision support and guideline technology Arezzo (Infermed, London, UK; details in text).

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Programming Languages*
  • Semantics