Digitalization of Clinical Guidelines—Advisor of a Master Thesis

Medexter’s CEO and Scientific Director, Klaus-Peter Adlassnig, functioned as the advisor for the Master thesis on “Evidence-based clinical guideline processing with a business process management engine and an Arden-Syntax-based rule engine”. The British Medical Journal reported in May 2016 that medical errors are estimated to be the third leading cause of death after cancer and heart disease. Medical errors include diagnostic errors, error of omission, and failure to follow guidelines. Clinical guidelines are usually evidence-based and clearly understandable instructions on the latest available treatments for specific diseases. Due to the fact that they are currently mostly available in paper-based form, their updating is difficult, and their consultation is time-consuming. Since time of clinicians is scarce, digitalizing them as well as triggering automated alerts and reminders might increase their acceptance and usage, thereby significantly improving the decision-making process and patient care. The aim of this thesis was to present a software solution for the digitalization of clinical guidelines. The business process model and notation (BPMN) workflow processing framework Activiti was used to formalize a clinical guideline as automated computerized workflow. As a use case, a clinical guideline regarding diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B during pregnancy was implemented. It was provided by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University Hospital Viennal, Austria. The Arden-Syntax-based rule engine by Medexter Healthcare was used to process medical knowledge and was connected to Activiti via RESTful web services. The process was simplified by splitting it into several user and service tasks, and by separating the medical knowledge in Arden-Syntax-based medical logic modules (MLMs). The guideline’s digitalization and automatization were a big success! This software solution could be a way to implement complex guidelines in a usable manner, increasing their acceptance and usage among clinicians, and thereby improving patient care.

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