| Clinical technologies projects
Improving medical protocols by formal methods
|Clinical practice guidelines, formal methods, quality, safety,
Asbru guideline representation language, systematic verification of guidelines, KIV interactive verification system.
Protocure I: To assess the use of formal verification methods to improve the
quality of clinical guideline and protocol applications.
Protocure II: To develop formal techniques and tools to support the development of high quality medical guidelines and protocols.
During the last decade, the approach of evidence-based medicine has given rise to an
increasing number of medical practice protocols. However, the work done on developing
and distributing protocols outweighs the efforts on guaranteeing their quality. Indeed,
anomalies like ambiguity and incompleteness are frequent in medical protocols. Recent
efforts have tried to address the problem of protocol improvement, but they are not
sufficient since they rely on informal processes and notations. As a result, many practical
protocols are still ambiguous or incomplete. Even when ambiguity and incompleteness are
intentional, so that organisational or personal practices can be deployed, it is important to
make them explicit. A different approach, grounded on a formal representation of
protocols, can answer these needs. The proposed solution relies on an appropriate protocol
representation language that allows for a systematic verification by formal methods.
The solution suggested to the problem of quality improvement of protocols consists in the
utilisation of formal methods. It supposes the definition of an adequate protocol
representation language, the development of techniques for the formal analysis of protocols
described in that language and, more importantly, the evaluation of the feasibility of the
approach based on the formalisation and verification of real-life medical protocols. For the
first two aspects we will rely on earlier work by consortium partners, on the Asbru
language for protocol description and on the KIV interactive verification system. The third
aspect, namely the evaluation of the feasibility of the use of formal methods for quality
improvement of protocols, constitutes the main objective of this assessment project.
Protocure mailing list
Asbru protocol representation language [on OpenClinical]
Protocure I: one year assessment project to 2002.
Protocure II: 2004-2006.
EU Fifth Framework IST programme
FET open assessment project
(Future and Emerging Technologies).
Protocure II: EU 6th Framework project.
Universitat Jaume I
Marcos M, Balser M, ten Teije A et al.
Experiences in the Formalisation and Verification of Medical Protocols.
Proceedings of the 9th Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Medicine in Europe (AIME-03), Cyprus, 18 – 22 October.
[paper: Free University of Amsterdam]
"Medical practice protocols or guidelines are statements to assist practitioners
and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific circumstances.
In order to reach their potential benefits, protocols must fulfill strong
quality requirements. Medical bodies worldwide have made efforts in this direction,
mostly using informal methods such as peer review of protocols. We are
concerned with a different approach, namely the quality improvement of medical
protocols by formal methods. In this paper we report on our experiences in the
formalisation and verification of a real-world medical protocol.We have fully formalised
a medical protocol in a two-stage formalisation process. Then, we have
used a theorem prover to confirm whether the protocol formalisation complies
with certain protocol properties. As a result, we have shown that formal verification
can be used to analyse, and eventually improve, medical protocols."
| Entry in directory: September 21 2003
Last main update: October 23 2003