Form Follows Function

Model-Driven Engineering for Clinical Trials
  • Jim Davies
  • Jeremy Gibbons
  • Radu Calinescu
  • Charles Crichton
  • Steve Harris
  • Andrew Tsui
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7151)


We argue that, for certain constrained domains, elaborate model transformation technologies—implemented from scratch in general-purpose programming languages—are unnecessary for model-driven engineering; instead, lightweight configuration of commercial off-the-shelf productivity tools suffices. In particular, in the CancerGrid project, we have been developing model-driven techniques for the generation of software tools to support clinical trials. A domain metamodel captures the community’s best practice in trial design. A scientist authors a trial protocol, modelling their trial by instantiating the metamodel; customized software artifacts to support trial execution are generated automatically from the scientist’s model. The metamodel is expressed as an XML Schema, in such a way that it can be instantiated by completing a form to generate a conformant XML document. The same process works at a second level for trial execution: among the artifacts generated from the protocol are models of the data to be collected, and the clinician conducting the trial instantiates such models in reporting observations—again by completing a form to create a conformant XML document, representing the data gathered during that observation. Simple standard form management tools are all that is needed. Our approach is applicable to a wide variety of information-modelling domains: not just clinical trials, but also electronic public sector computing, customer relationship management, document workflow, and so on.


Customer Relationship Management Trial Protocol Consort Statement Software Artifact Form Completion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jim Davies
    • 1
  • Jeremy Gibbons
    • 1
  • Radu Calinescu
    • 2
  • Charles Crichton
    • 1
  • Steve Harris
    • 1
  • Andrew Tsui
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Computer Science Research GroupAston UniversityBirminghamUK

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