An ontological knowledge framework for adaptive medical workflow

J Biomed Inform. 2008 Oct;41(5):829-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2008.05.012. Epub 2008 Jun 20.


As emerging technologies, semantic Web and SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) allow BPMS (Business Process Management System) to automate business processes that can be described as services, which in turn can be used to wrap existing enterprise applications. BPMS provides tools and methodologies to compose Web services that can be executed as business processes and monitored by BPM (Business Process Management) consoles. Ontologies are a formal declarative knowledge representation model. It provides a foundation upon which machine understandable knowledge can be obtained, and as a result, it makes machine intelligence possible. Healthcare systems can adopt these technologies to make them ubiquitous, adaptive, and intelligent, and then serve patients better. This paper presents an ontological knowledge framework that covers healthcare domains that a hospital encompasses-from the medical or administrative tasks, to hospital assets, medical insurances, patient records, drugs, and regulations. Therefore, our ontology makes our vision of personalized healthcare possible by capturing all necessary knowledge for a complex personalized healthcare scenario involving patient care, insurance policies, and drug prescriptions, and compliances. For example, our ontology facilitates a workflow management system to allow users, from physicians to administrative assistants, to manage, even create context-aware new medical workflows and execute them on-the-fly.

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Communication Networks
  • Database Management Systems*
  • Hospital Information Systems / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods
  • Integrated Advanced Information Management Systems
  • Medical Informatics Computing*
  • Systems Integration
  • User-Computer Interface*