Background: RESTful web services nowadays are state-of-the-art in business transactions over the internet. They are however not very much used in medical informatics and in clinical research, especially not in Europe.
Objectives: To make an inventory of RESTful web services that can be used in medical informatics and clinical research, including those that can help in patient empowerment in the DACH region and in Europe, and to develop some new RESTful web services for use in clinical research and regulatory review.
Methods: A literature search on available RESTful web services has been performed and new RESTful web services have been developed on an application server using the Java language.
Results: Most of the web services found originate from institutes and organizations in the USA, whereas no similar web services could be found that are made available by European organizations. New RESTful web services have been developed for LOINC codes lookup, for UCUM conversions and for use with CDISC Standards.
Discussion: A comparison is made between “top down” and “bottom up” web services, the latter meant to answer concrete questions immediately. The lack of RESTful web services made available by European organizations in healthcare and medical informatics is striking.
Conclusion: RESTful web services may in short future play a major role in medical informatics, and when localized for the German language and other European languages, can help to considerably facilitate patient empowerment. This however requires an EU equivalent of the US National Library of Medicine.
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