Strategic Health Information Management and Forecast: The Birdwatching Approach

  • Arash Shaban-Nejad
  • Volker Haarslev
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6423)


To facilitate communication and the exchange of information between patients, nurses, lab technicians, health insurers, physicians, policy makers, and existing knowledge-based systems, a set of shared standard terminologies and controlled vocabularies are necessary. In modern health information management systems, these vocabularies are defined within formal representations called ontologies, where terminologies are only meaningful once linked to a descriptive dataset. When the datasets and their conveyed knowledge are changed, the ontological structure is altered accordingly. Despite the importance of this topic, the problem of managing evolving ontological structures is inadequately addressed by available tools and algorithms, partly because handling ontological change is not a purely computational affair. In this paper, we propose a framework inspired by a social activity, birdwatching. Using this model, the evolving ontological structures can be monitored and analyzed based on their state at a given time. Moreover, patterns of changes can be derived and used to predict and approximate a system’s behavior based on potential future changes.


Change management Biomedical ontologies Multi-agent system Health information management 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arash Shaban-Nejad
    • 1
  • Volker Haarslev
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and Software EngineeringConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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