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Proc AMIA Symp. 2001:672-6.

Development of an ontology to model medical errors, information needs, and the clinical communication space.

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  • 1Medical Informatics, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Medical errors are common, costly and often preventable. Work in understanding the proximal causes of medical errors demonstrates that systems failures predispose to adverse clinical events. Most of these systems failures are due to lack of appropriate information at the appropriate time during the course of clinical care. Problems with clinical communication are common proximal causes of medical errors. We have begun a project designed to measure the impact of wireless computing on medical errors. We report here on our efforts to develop an ontology representing the intersection of medical errors, information needs and the communication space. We will use this ontology to support the collection, storage and interpretation of project data. The ontology's formal representation of the concepts in this novel domain will help guide the rational deployment of our informatics interventions. A real-life scenario is evaluated using the ontology in order to demonstrate its utility.

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