Ontohealth - Problem-aware Semantic ehealth Services

Duration: 2013 - 2017

Funding: Austrian Science Fund (FWF)



An ever-increasing number of patients that comes along with a permanent increase of techniques and medical knowledge for diagnosis and treatment put high pressure on the healthcare system. In order to keep costs low and guarantee respectively increase quality of treatment there is, among other things, the need for information systems that are highly flexible and guarantee a high level of functional quality along the process of medical treatment. A problem, which is not tackled sufficiently by the majority of the current efforts, is the functional level of Electronic Health Records.

Electronic Health Records are still very often regarded solely as records allowing basic access to data such as to view and retrieve existing documents and not as integrated, complex systems of data and functionality. Although EHRs are regarded as distributed, inter-organizational information systems from a data perspective, they are often (implicitly) regarded as monolithic software systems from a functional perspective. Even if projects use e.g. web service as their technological base, the general idea of dynamically orchestrated services (functions) or the idea of service (function) orchestration according to certain clinical problems as far as to the level of the user is not widely recognized.

The projects pursues the following goals:

  • Conceptualize and implement a workflow-enabled IHE-based trans-institutional information system architecture
  • Determine and categorize functional respectively informational needs as well as non-functional requirements of health care professionals
  • Design and implementation of a semantic service grid for Electronic Health Records based on the information system architecture
  • Identify and prototypically implement selected common clinical services for the semantic service grid
  • Evaluate all concepts with regard to their usefulness and ability to support health professionals.

The project results in several new and innovative concepts and solutions, including:

  • an IHE-based information system that allows native, dynamic workflow support regardless of the type of the clinical workflow;
  • a user-centered, workflow-oriented and (semi-) formal model to describe functional/informational needs as well as additional non-functional requirements to support automated, semantics-based service orchestration in a clinical context;
  • a semantic-services-enabled EHR (semantic services grid) framework that allows for the (semi-) automatic, dynamic orchestration of services along clinical workflows and problems;
  • selected common services in the context of diabetes.

OntoHealth is funded by FWF (Austrian Service Fund)

Lasierra N, Schweitzer M, Gorfer T, Toma I, Hoerbst A.
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. 2016;228:137-41.
Schweitzer M, Lasierra N, Hoerbst A
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. 2016;223:124-31
Schweitzer M, Lasierra N and Hoerbst A
Stud Health Technol Inform. 2015;216:1118
Schweitzer M, Lasierra N and Hoerbst A
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. 2015;210:25-9
Schweitzer M, Lasierra N, Oberbichler S, Toma I, Fensel A, and Hoerbst A
Journal of Applied Clinical Informatics. 2014, 5(2): 512-526
Presentation of the OntoHealth project in e-Health summit Vienna
Speaker: Marco Schweitzer
Title: Structuring Clinical Workflows for Diabetes Care - An overview of the OntoHealth Approach
23 May 2014, 13:30-14:30
Session 5: Electronic Health Records and Interoperability