Kitware to Develop a Universal Healthcare Exchange Language Infrastructure

Kitware is pleased to announce the award of $149,983 in Phase I SBIR funding from the U.S. Army for the development of an adaptive healthcare exchange language for interaction between patients and healthcare organizations. With the proposed system in place, the flow of healthcare information and knowledge between patients, healthcare providers, and researchers will be dramatically improved, facilitating better care; personalized, evidence-based medicine; and longitudinal research yielding medical breakthroughs.

This flexible communication approach aligns with the evidence-based medicine practices recommended by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). In 2010, PCAST issued the report “Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information to Improve Healthcare for Americans: the Path Forward,” which called for a universal exchange language based on metadata tags, rather than relying on a single data model. This metadata-driven dictionary model has long been successful in notable healthcare information exchange systems such as VistA, developed by the U. S. Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Composite Healthcare System (CHCS), developed by the Department of Defense.

The result of this project will be an open-source, patient-centric “sandbox” that uses existing VistA and CHCS data dictionaries to create a hands-on demonstration of a Semantic Web approach for providing a universal healthcare exchange language. The open-source nature of the system will allow for easy interaction with other open-source health initiatives, including the VA-launched Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA).

The project team represents decades of experience in the design, implementation, and deployment of electronic health records, consolidating the efforts of one of the original designers of both the VA and DoD metadata systems (Munnecke Enterprises, Inc.); a company that has developed a Semantic Web interface to both of these systems (Caregraf); and a company that is a leader in advancing technology through open-source communities (Kitware). As a team, they bring practical experience in data analytics, languages, and Semantic Web technology, in addition to substantial experience in the development and support of large-scale, open-source software.

“We are delighted to be creating a universal language for connecting patients and their healthcare providers,” said Dr. Wesley Turner. “Our team’s experience and specialized knowledge gives us confidence that we’ll be successful in making strides towards improving the overall healthcare experience and making more evidence-based, patient-specific medical decisions.”

If you would like more information on Kitware’s medical computing and bioinformatics expertise, and how it can be leveraged to benefit your organization, please contact kitware@kitware.com.

This work is supported by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract No. W81XWH-13-C-0042. The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by other documentation.

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