Health IT Ontology

2 weeks ago I solicited help to put together this Health IT Ontology (see Components of HIT…a start). This post is the result of 6 rounds of edits. The new name, I think, better represents the goal of defining all the entities and relationships within the domain of health IT. Click on the image below to see it full size.

Health IT Ontology

Following are the top-level categories:

  • Health Information Technology
    • Clinical Information System
    • Hospital/Clinic Management
    • Consumer-Oriented Technologies
    • Public Health & Biosurveillance
    • Reference
    • Research
    • Regional & System-Level HIS

The initial motivation behind this was to determine where ART-focused EMRs sat in the scope of HIT, but what I expected to be a trivial exercise quickly became a difficult task. Health IT is an extremely complex and expansive domain and every item in this heirarchy could be broken down into even smaller pieces (similar to EMR/EHR). My goal for this diagram was to cover the breadth of health IT more than the depth. It is certainly possible that there are some oversights, in which case I would love to hear from you.

I welcome your thoughts, criticisms, and suggestions on the HIT Onthology. Using social media (esp. Twitter and Aardvark) was so successful this time around that I plan to pursue more online collaborative projects in the future.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed, and a special shout out to Jacob Sattelmair, Janette Heung, blog commenters, Richard Thall and Eddie from Aardvark, and the score of Twitterers who provided very valuable feedback!


7 responses to “Health IT Ontology

  1. Good stuff. I’m going to look through in more detail tomorrow and pass around the link to some others I work with at DoD (Defense Health Information Management System) tomorrow. Great contribution!
    twitter – medc2

  2. Pingback: aaron c beals » Blog Archive » feedback on health IT ontology

  3. How do you think of MAR(Medication Administer Records)

  4. Matthew,

    Thank you for your comment. MAR, also referred to as a drug chart, is an important report that outlines the medications and care provided to a patient over a period of time, often to document that appropriate care was given. As such, the MAR is sometimes more of an output of an EMR rather than a system in itself. But, I have seen many clinics, especially in rural areas, enter clinical information directly onto MAR sheets. This has been especially useful for more chronic care, such as antiretroviral therapy. I still think of this as a minimalistic and targeted EMR. Thoughts?


  5. Jon,
    You definitely are a clearthinker to categorize HIT. Totally agree to your point.

  6. This is the first coherent view of HIT systems I have seen and it clarified a few things for me.

    Thank you for posting and thank you even more for putting into a more visual friendly format.

  7. Pingback: Components of HIT…a start « singularity

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