, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 665-688

Assessing the Usability of a Science Gateway for Medical Knowledge Bases with TRENCADIS

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Abstract

Biomedical applications are often built on top of knowledge bases that contain medical images and clinical reports. Currently, these bases are being used to improve diagnosis, research and teaching, but in many cases, the infrastructure required has a prohibitive cost for many medical centres. However, resources can be attached from existing e-Science infrastructures. Therefore, many efforts have been made to establish best practices that allow the use of such infrastructures. However, e-Science relies on open, distributed, collaborative environments, built on top of very specialized technologies, such as Grid and Cloud computing, which require reasonable technical skills for their usage. Therefore, science gateways have become essential tools that assist users in interacting with e-Science applications. This paper describes TRENCADIS, a technology that supports the creation and operation of virtual knowledge bases. To this end, it provides developers with components and APIs for building secure data services that can be annotated and queried through ontology templates, based on DICOM and DICOM-SR. This technology was used in this paper to build a gateway for assisting diagnosis and research in breast cancer. We also present here the results of a study conducted to evaluate the gateway, from the point of view of the usability perceived by a group of physicians and radiologists.