Using intermediate states to improve the ability of the Arden Syntax to implement care plans and reuse knowledge.

E. H. Sherman*, G. Hripcsak, J. Starren, R. A. Jenders, P. Clayton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The Arden Syntax is one of a few knowledge representation languages currently in use for clinical decision support. While some of these languages are being used in active patient care settings, none have gained widespread acceptance as a clinical tool. Prior attempts to represent temporally complex care plans in the Arden Syntax have revealed difficulties in representing and tracking series of consecutive time-oriented events and recommendations, in sharing and reusing knowledge and in dealing with unobtainable data. In an attempt to improve Arden's ability to deal with these problems and demonstrate the importance of these factors, the clinical event monitor has been adapted to store coded data representing Intermediate States in the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center (CPMC) central data repository. The Intermediate States define the current state of the patient as laid out in the care plan. Four care plans were constructed. The findings include an improved ability to track complex series of events and recommendations over long periods of time. The knowledge generated by the electronic care plans was able to be reused by the care plan that generated it, by other elements of the knowledge base and by non-decision support applications. Modular development, facilitated by the changes, simplified dealing with data not available to the central data repository by aiding the implementation of those parts of the care plan for which sufficient data is available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-242
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings / the ... Annual Symposium on Computer Application [sic] in Medical Care. Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care
StatePublished - Dec 1 1995


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