HCLS/ClinicalObservationsInteroperability/HL7 RIM

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The O-RIM is a representation of the the RIM as OWL. The objectives are:

  • express the RIM in a standard logical model for processing with generic tools.
  • use the O-RIM to define extensions to the RIM, espcially for FHIR instances.
  • use OWL tooling to address terminfo use cases

HL7 Version 3: O-RIM

The HL7 Version 3 specifications are centered around a static conceptual model, called Reference Information Model (RIM) which covers all domains of the healthcare industry. The scope of RIM is global, which means it is inherited by all Version 3 complying healthcare institutes. In addition to the RIM, two local interrelated types of information models are the Domain Message Information Model (DMIM) and Refined Message Information Model (RMIM). The DMIM is a local model (a refined subset of the RIM) and is used for modelling a particular domain (e.g., Lab, Hospital Admin). The RMIM is a subset of a DMIM and is used to express the information content for a message or set of messages (e.g., Lab Observation Order Message). All three interrelated models use the same notation and have the same basic structure but differ from each other in their information content, scope (context), and intended use. The RMIM model is exported in XML Schema and an implementation technology like XML is used for the actual construction and exchange of clinical messages.

The RIM is organised in three categories: (i) Data Type (ii) Structure (i.e., hierarchy of classes and attributes) and (iii) Vocabulary. The RIM data types are futher divided into two groups (Foundational and Basic), where foundational data types are designed to construct the other data types. Basic data types are built by extending foundational data types for clinical message construction. The semantics of Version 3 are expressed using UML, i.e., object-oriented notion and any concrete implementation of the HL7 standard uses these built-in data types for their implementation technology. With the UML semantic specification, an Implementable Technology Specification (ITS) provides a mapping between the constructs of implementation technology and the HL7 Version 3 data type semantics. The UML models are stored using Model Interchange Format (MIF). In Version 3, the separation of semantics from implementation technology aids in the consistent use of data types and vocabularies, irrespective of the implementation technology. Figure below shows an envisioned importing structure (in OWL) of various RIM components and it's relation to local models (or ontolgies) such as DMIM. The RIM Data Types, Structure, and Vocabularies form the global ontology. DMIM and RMIM represent the local ontologies.


The binding arrow in the above importing structure and its implications is discussed separately at terminfo use cases

Ratnesh Sahay: O-RIM design choices

Based on a O-RIM example:

Example O-RIM

The document below discusses/suggests some modelling choices on how the RIM classes and attributes can be better represented using OWL

O-RIM Modelling

Tasks Ahead

  • Lifting mechanism for MIF/XSD to OWL ontologies
  • Layering mechanism to arrange and integrate global (RIM) and local ontologies (DMIM, RMIM)