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OWL is good for your health

From: Ian Horrocks <horrocks@cs.man.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 13:11:31 +0000
Message-Id: <28F39C58-27C7-441A-BF67-CF531C238F93@cs.man.ac.uk>
To: public-owl-dev@w3.org

I thought that I would pass on some recent good-news stories related  
to the use of OWL and OWL tools.

The first of these was reported in a paper at the OWLED workshop [1]  
by a group from the IBM T. J. Watson Research Lab. Among several  
other successful applications, they describe a project in which they  
worked on the Medical Entities Dictionary (MED) terminology, a large  
ontology (100,210 classes and 261 properties) that is used at the  
Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. The ontology was converted into  
OWL, and checked using an OWL reasoner. This check revealed  
"systematic modelling errors", and a significant number of missed  
subClass relationships which, if not corrected, "could have cost the  
hospital many missing results in various decision support and  
infection control systems that routinely use MED to screen patients".

A similar story has emerged with respect to the extended version of  
the SNOMED ontology used in the UK National Health Service. This is  
another very large medical terminology ontology, and includes over  
400,000 classes. The OWL version of this ontology was checked (by  
Chris Wroe of BT Labs Healthcare) using an OWL reasoner, again  
revealing a large number of missing subClass relationships. Given  
that this ontology is used throughout the UK healthcare system, we  
can only speculate as to the potential improvements in patient care  
that could result from this work.

[1] http://owl-workshop.man.ac.uk/acceptedPosition/submission_19.pdf


Received on Thursday, 21 December 2006 13:11:54 UTC

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