Objectives: The purpose of this study was to create a task-based support architecture for developing clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) that assist physicians in making decisions at the point-of-care in the emergency department (ED). The backbone of the proposed architecture was established by a task-based emergency workflow model for a patient-physician encounter.
Methods: The architecture was designed according to an agent-oriented paradigm. Specifically, we used the O-MaSE (Organization-based Multi-agent System Engineering) method that allows for iterative translation of functional requirements into architectural components (e.g., agents). The agent-oriented paradigm was extended with ontology-driven design to implement ontological models representing knowledge required by specific agents to operate.
Results: The task-based architecture allows for the creation of a CDSS that is aligned with the task-based emergency workflow model. It facilitates decoupling of executable components (agents) from embedded domain knowledge (ontological models), thus supporting their interoperability, sharing, and reuse. The generic architecture was implemented as a pilot system, MET3-AE--a CDSS to help with the management of pediatric asthma exacerbation in the ED. The system was evaluated in a hospital ED.
Conclusions: The architecture allows for the creation of a CDSS that integrates support for all tasks from the task-based emergency workflow model, and interacts with hospital information systems. Proposed architecture also allows for reusing and sharing system components and knowledge across disease-specific CDSSs.