The evolution of eProtocols that enable reproducible clinical research and care methods
We describe the use of a frame-based knowledge representation to construct an adequately-explicit bedside clinical decision support application for ventilator weaning. The application consists of a data entry form, a knowledge base, an inference engine, and a patient database. The knowledge base contains database queries, a data dictionary, and decision frames. A frame consists of a title, a list of findings necessary to make a decision or carry out an action, and a logic or mathematical statement to determine its output. Frames for knowledge representation are advantageous because they can be created, visualized, and conceptualized as self-contained entities that correspond to accepted medical constructs. They facilitate knowledge engineering and provide understandable explanations of protocol outputs for clinicians. Our frames are elements of a hierarchical decision process. In addition to running diagnostic and therapeutic logic, frames can run database queries, make changes to the user interface, and modify computer variables.