Timing is everything - Time-oriented clinical information systems

Yuval Shahar, Carlo Combi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Time is important in clinical information systems. Representing, maintaining, querying, and reasoning about time-oriented clinical data is a major theoretical and practical research area in medical informatics. In this nonexhaustive overview, we present a brief synopsis of research efforts in designing and developing time-oriented information systems in medicine. These efforts can be viewed from either an application point of view, distinguishing between different clinical tasks (such as diagnosis versus therapy) and clinical areas (such as infectious diseases versus oncology), or a methodological point of view, distinguishing between different theoretical approaches. We also explore the two primary methodological and theoretical paths research has taken in the past decade: temporal reasoning and temporal data maintenance. Both of these research areas include efforts to model time, temporal entities, and temporal queries. Collaboration between the two areas is possible, through tasks such as the abstraction of raw time-oriented clinical data into higher-level meaningful clinical concepts and the management of different levels of temporal granularity. Such collaboration could provide a common ground and useful areas for future research and development. We conclude with our view of future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
JournalWestern Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 18 Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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