A four stage approach for ontology-based health information system design

Craig E. Kuziemsky*, Francis Lau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To describe and illustrate a four stage methodological approach to capture user knowledge in a biomedical domain area, use that knowledge to design an ontology, and then implement and evaluate the ontology as a health information system (HIS). Methods and materials: A hybrid participatory design-grounded theory (GT-PD) method was used to obtain data and code them for ontology development. Prototyping was used to implement the ontology as a computer-based tool. Usability testing evaluated the computer-based tool. Results: An empirically derived domain ontology and set of three problem-solving approaches were developed as a formalized model of the concepts and categories from the GT coding. The ontology and problem-solving approaches were used to design and implement a HIS that tested favorably in usability testing. Conclusions: The four stage approach illustrated in this paper is useful for designing and implementing an ontology as the basis for a HIS. The approach extends existing ontology development methodologies by providing an empirical basis for theory incorporated into ontology design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-148
Number of pages16
JournalArtificial Intelligence in Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Contextualization
  • Grounded theory
  • Health information system
  • Ontology
  • Participatory design
  • Problem-solving approach


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