Automated Support to Clinical Guidelines and Care Plans
Clinical guidelines are a powerful method for standardization and uniform improvement of the quality of medical care. Clinical guidelines are often best viewed as a set of schematic plans, at varying levels of abstraction and detail, for screening, diagnosis, or management of patients who have a particular clinical problem (e.g., fever of unknown origin) or condition (e.g., insulin-dependent diabetes). Clinical guidelines typically represent the consensus of an expert panel or a professional clinical organization, and, as much as possible, are based on the best evidence available. However, unless automated support is provided, guidelines are not easily accessible, nor applicable, at the point of care. As we shall see, reasoning about time-oriented data and actions is essential for guideline-based care.