Protocure - Ensuring Quality in Healthcare

Start date: 01.01.2004
End date: 30.06.2006
Funded by:
Local head of project: Wolfgang Reif


Ensuring Quality in Healthcare


Protocure - Ensuring Quality in Healthcare

The amount of medical studies conducted per year has long passed a point, where every doctor can keep track of all results and also judge their quality. To ease the workload, the instrument of guidelines has been devised. Guidelines represent a summary of the best evidence concerning the interventions to manage a particular clinical condition. Guideline developers take over the cumbersome work of literature search and the evaluation of the quality of the relevant studies. Current tendency in medicine is to devise guidelines for a a steadily increasing group of diseases with the result, that the number of patients treated in accordance with guidelines is growing. This makes guidelines very important documents, as hundreds to thousands of physicians may act upon them, treating several thousands of patients according to them. An error within such a guideline may cause great harm and therefore, the quality of the guideline itself must be assured. The Protocure projects aim to provide methods and tools to support the goal of quality assurance.

The Protocure II project links into the development of such guidelines. Applying scientific methods of software engineering, it aims to reduce the flaws introduced into the guideline during development phase. Furthermore, Protocure II provides means to take the natural language text and translate it to a structured language with an underlying formal semantics, that is executable. It has been chosen to select the language Asbru for this. Apart from the flaws that are discovered during the translation process, it is possible to run simulations on the structured representation of the guideline, which further increases the confidence in the correctness of the guideline.

If the quality of the guideline has been established by simulation and testing, it is possible to translate the structured guideline into the input language of the KIV theorem prover in a semi automatic process. This makes it possible to verify the correctness of the guideline representation using the temporal logic engine of KIV or temporal model checkers.

Tasks for the formal methods group in Augsburg within this project are to specify and validate the semantics of the Asbru language, provide support for the verification of Asbru in KIV and SMV and to assist with the translation of Asbru into the KIV verification tool. The project has been started in January 2004 and is to be finished in June 2006. It has been registered as Project IST-FP6-508794, funded by the Future and Emerging Technologies arm of the IST Programme. Detailed information on the progress can be found at the Protocure website

Publications in Protocure