A Knowledge Authoring Tool for Clinical Decision Support

  • Dustin Dunsmuir
  • Jeremy Daniels
  • Christopher Brouse
  • Simon Ford
  • J. Mark Ansermino


Anesthesiologists in the operating room are unable to constantly monitor all data generated by physiological monitors. They are further distracted by clinical and educational tasks. An expert system would ideally provide assistance to the anesthesiologist in this data-rich environment. Clinical monitoring expert systems have not been widely adopted, as traditional methods of knowledge encoding require both expert medical and programming skills, making knowledge acquisition difficult. A software application was developed for use as a knowledge authoring tool for physiological monitoring. This application enables clinicians to create knowledge rules without the need of a knowledge engineer or programmer. These rules are designed to provide clinical diagnosis, explanations and treatment advice for optimal patient care to the clinician in real time. By intelligently combining data from physiological monitors and demographical data sources the expert system can use these rules to assist in monitoring the patient. The knowledge authoring process is simplified by limiting connective relationships between rules. The application is designed to allow open collaboration between communities of clinicians to build a library of rules for clinical use. This design provides clinicians with a system for parameter surveillance and expert advice with a transparent pathway of reasoning. A usability evaluation demonstrated that anesthesiologists can rapidly develop useful rules for use in a predefined clinical scenario.


Decision support Expert system Situation awareness Usability Anesthesia Monitoring Knowledge resources 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dustin Dunsmuir
    • 1
  • Jeremy Daniels
    • 1
  • Christopher Brouse
    • 2
  • Simon Ford
    • 1
  • J. Mark Ansermino
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and TherapeuticsThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Electrical and Computer EngineeringThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Pediatric AnesthesiaBritish Columbia Children’s HospitalVancouverCanada

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