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Int J Med Inform. 2009 Feb;78(2):83-103. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2008.05.009. Epub 2008 Jul 14.

A development framework for semantically interoperable health information systems.

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eHealth Competence Center, University of Regensburg Medical Center, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, D-93053 Regensburg, Germany.



Semantic interoperability is a basic challenge to be met for new generations of distributed, communicating and co-operating health information systems (HIS) enabling shared care and e-Health. Analysis, design, implementation and maintenance of such systems and intrinsic architectures have to follow a unified development methodology.


The Generic Component Model (GCM) is used as a framework for modeling any system to evaluate and harmonize state of the art architecture development approaches and standards for health information systems as well as to derive a coherent architecture development framework for sustainable, semantically interoperable HIS and their components. The proposed methodology is based on the Rational Unified Process (RUP), taking advantage of its flexibility to be configured for integrating other architectural approaches such as Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), Model-Driven Architecture (MDA), ISO 10746, and HL7 Development Framework (HDF).


Existing architectural approaches have been analyzed, compared and finally harmonized towards an architecture development framework for advanced health information systems.


Starting with the requirements for semantic interoperability derived from paradigm changes for health information systems, and supported in formal software process engineering methods, an appropriate development framework for semantically interoperable HIS has been provided. The usability of the framework has been exemplified in a public health scenario.

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