For many serious diseases, clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) providing detailed advice on diagnostics and treatment are today being made available by medical societies. Although it has been shown that the success rates of treatments can profit more from adherence to the relevant CPG than by any foreseeable innovations in medication or treatment technique, the level of adherence in clinical practice remains regrettably low, causing measurable damage to the quality of treatments and ultimately lowering survival rates. One cause identified for this situation is the volume and logical complexity of CPGs, which constitute an obstacle for their adoption in practice. This creates a need for machine-supported implementations of CPGs which relieve the medical practitioner from the more cumbersome parts of the decision process. The goal of the SIMPLE project, in which DFKI collaborates with ID Berlin, is to develop a logic-based framework for the implementation of guidelines. In this setup, clinical workflows are inferred from a formal knowledge base representing the guideline by means of ontological reasoning, in particular query answering. Envisaged benefits of this approach are increased robustness, reliability, and flexibility of guideline-based clinical workflow management.
ID Information und Dokumentation im Gesundheitswesen GmbH & Co. KGaA, Alfried Krupp Krankenhaus, Essen und die Städtischen Kliniken Neuss