Design, implementation, use, and preliminary evaluation of SEBASTIAN, a standards-based Web service for clinical decision support.
Despite their demonstrated ability to improve care quality, clinical decision support systems are not widely used. In part, this limited use is due to the difficulty of sharing medical knowledge in a machine-executable format. To address this problem, we developed a decision support Web service known as SEBASTIAN. In SEBASTIAN, individual knowledge modules define the data requirements for assessing a patient, the conclusions that can be drawn using that data, and instructions on how to generate those conclusions. Using standards-based XML messages transmitted over HTTP, client decision support applications provide patient data to SEBASTIAN and receive patient-specific assessments and recommendations. SEBASTIAN has been used to implement four distinct decision support systems; an architectural overview is provided for one of these systems. Preliminary assessments indicate that SEBASTIAN fulfills all original design objectives, including the re-use of executable medical knowledge across diverse applications and care settings, the straightforward authoring of knowledge modules, and use of the framework to implement decision support applications with significant clinical utility.
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