Ontologies in Healthcare: Supporting the Integration of Knowledge

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Pete Ianace recently wrote in Image & Data Manager, “As we know medical information systems need to be able to communicate complex and detailed medical data securely and efficiently. This is obviously a difficult task and requires a profound analysis of the structure and the concepts of medical terminologies. But while this task sounds daunting it can be achieved by constructing medical domain ontologies for representing medical terminology systems. The most significant benefit that ontologies may bring to healthcare systems is their ability to support the indispensable integration of knowledge and data.”

Ianace goes on, “Unfortunately, ontologies are not widely used in software engineering today. They are not well understood by the majority of developers. Undergraduate computer science programs don’t usually teach ontologies. There is an urgent need to educate a new generation of ontology-savvy healthcare application developers. So I suggest there is a growing need to familiarize oneself with Ontology, and the importance of Semantics.”

He continues, “The goal of an ontology is to achieve a common and shared knowledge that can be transmitted between people and between application systems. Thus, ontologies play an important role in achieving interoperability across organizations and on the Semantic Web, because they aim to capture domain knowledge and their role is to create semantics explicitly in a generic way, providing the basis for agreement within a domain. Thus, ontologies have become a popular research topic in many communities.”

Read more here.

photo credit: Flickr

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