Background: There are several challenges in encoding guideline knowledge in a form that is portable to different clinical sites, including the heterogeneity of clinical decision support (CDS) tools, of patient data representations, and of workflows.
Methods: We have developed a multi-layered knowledge representation framework for structuring guideline recommendations for implementation in a variety of CDS contexts. In this framework, guideline recommendations are increasingly structured through four layers, successively transforming a narrative text recommendation into input for a CDS system. We have used this framework to implement rules for a CDS service based on three guidelines. We also conducted a preliminary evaluation, where we asked CDS experts at four institutions to rate the implementability of six recommendations from the three guidelines.
Conclusion: The experience in using the framework and the preliminary evaluation indicate that this approach has promise in creating structured knowledge, to implement in CDS systems, that is usable across organizations.