At least one out of every twenty people admitted to a Canadian hospital will acquire an infection. These hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) take a profound individual and system-wide toll, resulting in thousands of deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in additional expenses each year. Surveillance for HAIs is essential to develop and evaluate prevention and control efforts. In nearly all healthcare institutions, however, surveillance for HAIs is a manual process, requiring highly trained infection control practitioners to consult multiple information systems and paper charts. The amount of effort required for discovery and integration of relevant data from multiple sources limits the current effectiveness of HAIs surveillance. In this research, we apply knowledge modeling and semantic technologies to facilitate the integration of disparate data and enable automatic reasoning with these integrated data to identify events of clinical interest. In this paper, we focus on Surgical Site Infections (SSIs), which account for a relatively large fraction of all hospital acquired infections.
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