A Methodology for Bi-Directional Knowledge-Based Assessment of Compliance to Continuous Application of Clinical Guidelines

Avner Hatsek, Yuval Shahar

Clinicians often do not sufficiently adhere to evidence-based clinical guidelines in a manner sensitive to the context of each patient. It is important to detect such deviations, typically including redundant or missing actions, even when the detection is performed retrospectively, so as to inform both the attending clinician and policy makers. Furthermore, it would be beneficial to detect such deviations in a manner proportional to the level of the deviation, and not to simply use arbitrary cut-off values. In this study, we introduce a new approach for automated guideline-based quality assessment of the care process, the bidirectional knowledge-based assessment of compliance (BiKBAC) method. Our BiKBAC methodology assesses the degree of compliance when applying clinical guidelines, with respect to multiple different aspects of the guideline (e.g., the guideline's process and outcome objectives). The assessment is performed through a highly detailed, automated quality-assessment retrospective analysis, which compares a formal representation of the guideline and of its process and outcome intentions (we use the Asbru language for that purpose) with the longitudinal electronic medical record of its continuous application over a significant time period, using both a top-down and a bottom-up approach, which we explain in detail. Partial matches of the data to the process and to the outcome objectives are resolved using fuzzy temporal logic. We also introduce the DiscovErr system, which implements the BiKBAC approach, and present its detailed architecture. The DiscovErr system was evaluated in a separate study in the type 2 diabetes management domain, by comparing its performance to a panel of three clinicians, with highly encouraging results with respect to the completeness and correctness of its comments.

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