October 14, 2010 – Solid ontologies are important in every use. However, when used in information platforms dealing with medical records and medical care, they takes on a whole new level of importance. Project HealthDesign is a good example. It is a project that capitalizes on advancements in information technology to investigate how soliciting patients’ observations of daily living could improve care for chronic illnesses.

This interesting piece of news was brought to our attention by Fox News in their article, “Beyond Bedside Manner: Patients Help Doctors’ Plan of Care.” Project HealthDesign uses secure Web sites, smart phones and other wireless monitoring devices and encourages patients to record the sensations, feelings, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that provide clues about a person’s health state. The data, collected from patients at hospitals across the country, is transported to a patient’s doctor and charted to create visual trend lines on a Web site that can be viewed and interpreted by clinicians.

Another example is PatientsLikeMe, a privately-funded company dedicated to making a difference in the lives of patients diagnosed with life-changing diseases. Beyond informal online exchanges, PatientsLikeMe provides participants with medical information. “We respect the language of the patient and communicate in their voice which we’ve mapped to medical ontologies,” says Ben Heywood, co-founder.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.