Computer-based Clinical Guidelines and Protocols


                                      9-11th January, 2008





The aim of the workshop was to bring together researchers from

different branches of computer science (in particular AI), medical

informatics and medicine to examine cutting-edge approaches to

computer-based guideline modelling and development and work on

completing a book on computer-based guidelines and protocols (see



With the rise in the complexity and costs of healthcare, on the one

hand, and increased expectations from society what healthcare is able

to deliver, on the other hand, health-care professionals have

developed a, sometimes urgent, need for care-practice support.

Medical guidelines and protocols have become the main instruments for

disseminating best practices in healthcare. They promote safe

practices, reduce inter-clinician practice variations and support

decision-making in patient care while containing the costs of care.

In many cases, medical guidelines and protocols have been useful in

improving the quality and consistency of healthcare, by supporting

healthcare quality assessment and assurance, clinical decision making,

workflow and resource management. The benefits of having access to

medical guidelines and protocols are widely recognised, yet the

guideline development process is time- and resource-consuming, and the

size and complexity of guidelines remains a major hurdle for

effectively using them in clinical care.


Many researchers expect that the computer-based development, use and

dissemination of guidelines will have a positive effect on the time

required for the development of new guidelines and protocols, for the

revision of existing ones, for deployment in daily care and

dissemination. Guideline development institutes are increasing

exploiting computer-based techniques in the development process; at

the same time guidelines are made available through the world-wide-web.

Current guidelines are evidence based, i.e., based on carefully

weighed scientific evidence from literature. Computer-based methods

are indispensable for ensuring that guidelines are in agreement with

the latest requirement for guideline development.


Despite the guideline-related research spanning a large range of the

AI research community, as well as other research areas, a

comprehensive integration of the results of these communities is still

lacking. Through working in small groups on specific topics (see

below), and plenary feedback sessions, and some invited talks on

important issues in the area, the workshop worked toward a

comprehensive review of the area.




The outcome of the workshop was the publication of the book "A. ten

Teije, S. Miksch and P.J.F. Lucas (Eds.).  Computer-based Clinical

Guidelines and Protocols: a Primer and Current Trends, IOS Press,

Amsterdam, 2008".  It includes both research papers from the field and

tutorial-style papers reviewing the state of the art.




- guideline development and deployment in medical practice

- guideline representation languages

- guideline modelling methods

- use of formal methods in guidelines

- temporal aspects of guidelines

- vocabularies, ontologies and terminologies

- planning

- guideline adaptation

- visualisation and guidelines

- guideline compliance

- research agenda for the coming years




There were 23 participants from many different countries. Most of the

participants were involved in writing the book on computer-based

guidelines and protocols. Some of the participants were PhD students

and postdocs.


Final remarks


The Lorentz Center offered really excellent support for the

organisation of the workshop, and all participants were impressed by

the facilities offered, in particular by the availability of offices,

computers, printing facilities, meeting rooms, and the common

room. The pleasant working atmosphere at the centre had a very

positive effect on the outcome of the workshop.


Peter Lucas (Radboud University, Nijmegen)

Annette ten Teije (Free University Amsterdam)

Frank van Harmelen (Free University Amsterdam)