CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

College of Engineering and Computing

Advisor

Timothy J. Ellis

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Francisco J. Mitropoulos

Abstract

Semantic interoperability within the health care sector requires that patient data be fully available and shared without ambiguity across participating health facilities. The need for the current research was based on federal stipulations that required health facilities provide complete and optimal care to patients by allowing full access to their health records. The ongoing discussions to achieve interoperability within the health care industry continue to emphasize the need for healthcare facilities to successfully adopt and implement Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. Reluctance by the healthcare industry to implement these EHRs for the purpose of achieving interoperability has led to the current research problem where it was determined that there is no existing single data standardization structure that can effectively share and interpret patient data within heterogeneous systems. The current research used the design science research methodology (DSRM) to design and develop a master data standardization and translation (MDST) model that allowed seamless exchange of healthcare data among multiple facilities. To achieve interoperability through a common data standardization structure, where multiple independent data models can coexist, the translation mechanism incorporated the use of the Resource Description Framework (RDF). Using RDF, a universal exchange language, allowed for multiple data models and vocabularies to be easily combined and interrelated within a single environment thereby reducing data definition ambiguity. Based on the results from the research, key functional capabilities to effectively map and translate health data were documented. The research solution addressed two primary issues that impact semantic interoperability – the need for a centralized standards repository and a framework that effectively maps and translates data between various EHRs and vocabularies. Thus, health professionals have a single interpretation of health data across multiple facilities which ensures the integrity and validity of patient care. The research contributed to the field of design science development through the advancements of the underlying theories, phases, and frameworks used in the design and development of data translation models. While the current research focused on the development of a single, common information model, further research opportunities and recommendations could include investigations into the implementation of these types of artifacts within a single environment at a multi-facility hospital entity.

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