Background: Treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a complex problem. A clinical decision support system (CDSS) based on massive and distributed electronic health record data can facilitate the automation of this process and enhance its accuracy. The most important component of any CDSS is its knowledge base. This knowledge base can be formulated using ontologies. The formal description logic of ontology supports the inference of hidden knowledge. Building a complete, coherent, consistent, interoperable, and sharable ontology is a challenge.
Results: This paper introduces the first version of the newly constructed Diabetes Mellitus Treatment Ontology (DMTO) as a basis for shared-semantics, domain-specific, standard, machine-readable, and interoperable knowledge relevant to T2DM treatment. It is a comprehensive ontology and provides the highest coverage and the most complete picture of coded knowledge about T2DM patients' current conditions, previous profiles, and T2DM-related aspects, including complications, symptoms, lab tests, interactions, treatment plan (TP) frameworks, and glucose-related diseases and medications. It adheres to the design principles recommended by the Open Biomedical Ontologies Foundry and is based on ontological realism that follows the principles of the Basic Formal Ontology and the Ontology for General Medical Science. DMTO is implemented under Protégé 5.0 in Web Ontology Language (OWL) 2 format and is publicly available through the National Center for Biomedical Ontology's BioPortal at http://bioportal.bioontology.org/ontologies/DMTO . The current version of DMTO includes more than 10,700 classes, 277 relations, 39,425 annotations, 214 semantic rules, and 62,974 axioms. We provide proof of concept for this approach to modeling TPs.
Conclusion: The ontology is able to collect and analyze most features of T2DM as well as customize chronic TPs with the most appropriate drugs, foods, and physical exercises. DMTO is ready to be used as a knowledge base for semantically intelligent and distributed CDSS systems.
Keywords: Clinical decision support system; Diabetes mellitus; Knowledge modeling; Ontology; Treatment plan.