Ontological Foundations for Tracking Data Quality through the Internet of Things

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2016;221:74-8.


Amongst the positive outcomes expected from the Internet of Things for Health are longitudinal patient records that are more complete and less erroneous by complementing manual data entry with automatic data feeds from sensors. Unfortunately, devices are fallible too. Quality control procedures such as inspection, testing and maintenance can prevent devices from producing errors. The additional approach envisioned here is to establish constant data quality monitoring through analytics procedures on patient data that exploit not only the ontological principles ascribed to patients and their bodily features, but also to observation and measurement processes in which devices and patients participate, including the, perhaps erroneous, representations that are generated. Using existing realism-based ontologies, we propose a set of categories that analytics procedures should be able to reason with and highlight the importance of unique identification of not only patients, caregivers and devices, but of everything involved in those measurements. This approach supports the thesis that the majority of what tends to be viewed as 'metadata' are actually data about first-order entities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biological Ontologies / organization & administration*
  • Data Accuracy*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / standards*
  • Electronic Health Records / standards*
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / standards*
  • Internet / organization & administration*
  • Natural Language Processing