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Providing Semantic Interoperability Between Clinical Care and Clinical Research Domains

Laleci, Gokce Banu
Yuksel, Mustafa
Doğaç, Asuman
Improving the efficiency with which clinical research studies are conducted can lead to faster medication innovation and decreased time to market for new drugs. To increase this efficiency, the parties involved in a regulated clinical research study, namely, the sponsor, the clinical investigator and the regulatory body, each with their own software applications, need to exchange data seamlessly. However, currently, the clinical research and the clinical care domains are quite disconnected because each use different standards and terminology systems. In this paper, we describe an initial implementation of the Semantic Framework developed within the scope of SALUS project to achieve interoperability between the clinical research and the clinical care domains. In our Semantic Framework, the core ontology developed for semantic mediation is based on the shared conceptual model of both of these domains provided by the Biomedical Research Integrated Domain Group (BRIDG) initiative. The core ontology is then aligned with the extracted semantic models of the existing clinical care and research standards as well as with the ontological representations of the terminology systems to create a "model of meaning" for enabling semantic mediation. Although SALUS is a research and development effort rather than a product, the current SALUS knowledge base contains around 4.7 million triples representing BRIDG DAM, HL7 CDA model, Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium standards, and several terminology ontologies. In order to keep the reasoning process within acceptable limits without sacrificing the quality of mediation, we took an engineering approach by developing a number of heuristic mechanisms. The results indicate that it is possible to build a robust and scalable semantic framework with a solid theoretical foundation for achieving interoperability between the clinical research and clinical care domains.