Toward a representation format for sharable clinical guidelines

Aziz A. Boxwala, Samson Tu, Mor Peleg, Qing Zeng, Omolola Ogunyemi, Robert A. Greenes, Edward H. Shortliffe, Vimla L. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Clinical guidelines are being developed for the purpose of reducing medical errors and unjustified variations in medical practice, and for basing medical practice on evidence. Encoding guidelines in a computer-interpretable format and integrating them with the electronic medical record can enable delivery of patient-specific recommendations when and where needed. Since great effort must be expended in developing high-quality guidelines, and in making them computer-interpretable, it is highly desirable to be able to share computer-interpretable guidelines (CIGs) among institutions. Adoption of a common format for representing CIGs is one approach to sharing. Factors that need to be considered in creating a format for sharable CIGs include (i) the scope of guidelines and their intended applications, (ii) the method of delivery of the recommendations, and (iii) the environment, consisting of the practice setting and the information system in which the guidelines will be applied. Several investigators have proposed solutions that improve the sharability of CIGs and, more generally, of medical knowledge. These approaches can be useful in the development of a format for sharable CIGs. Challenges in sharing CIGs also include the need to extend the traditional framework for disseminating guidelines to enable them to be integrated into practice. These extensions include processes for (i) local adaptation of recommendations encoded in shared generic guidelines and (ii) integration of guidelines into the institutional information systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical guidelines
  • Computer-interpretable guidelines
  • Decision support
  • Functional requirements
  • Knowledge representation
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Local adaptation
  • Standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics


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