def: multi-level information modelling is an approach to software development to create semantically interoperable applications by using a generic reference model as a basis for software and then defining concept models as restrictions on the reference model. The concept models contain the semantics for that particular concept and can be shared across applications. In most cases there are additional layers of restriction such as GUI templates that are often application dependent and do not affect the semantics of the concept model.
Do you know why interoperability is hard? With traditional software design approaches, the semantics are locked up in the application code and database schema. Having access to the semantics of the data is essential for clinical and epidemiological decision support.
Unlock Your Semantics!
MLHIM is first a concept. Based on this concept are frameworks, applications and tools used to develop health care applications and the governance of knowledge artifacts using a multi-level information model. MLHIM is an implementation independent model. The reference implementation is expressed in XML Schema Language v1.1
It is multi-level in regards to a reference model that is developed in software with the conceptual knowledge models implemented using XML schemas that express constraints on the reference model.
The XML schemas can then be easily shared between systems so that the semantic context is made available to the data in any conforming application. These XML schema knowledge models can be aggregated in order to form queries, messages, screen forms, reports, etc.
It is important, in the context of the current global world of health informatics, to describe what MLHIM *IS NOT*.
MLHIM is not an EMR/EHR specification. MLHIM is not a messaging specification.
MLHIM is the foundation of these and other healthcare IT applications. It is the foundation that provides the capability for full semantic interoperability via open standards and open specifications.
Technical documentation for the reference implementation is online here. We also have an example Concept Constraint Definition (CCD) documented here with links back to the reference model. This should help you understand how the restriction based interoperability works.
See the Constraint Definitions page for more details.
See the Getting Started page for Decision Makers, Educators, Students, Knowledge Modellers and Developers.
Hear how to pronounce MLHIM.
The concept models and tools for their development are being hosted at the Healthcare Knowledge Component Repository.
MLHIM uses the XML technology suite for constraint definition, invariants, querying, etc. Though presentation and persistence are left to the local developers. There are plenty of native XML tools and databases to create a consistent, end-to-end infrastructure.
These concepts cannot operate in closed, IP silos. We must change the way we approach the creation, use and management of data.
Feel free to explore and ask questions. You can join the mlhim-owners team on Launchpad and ask questions, contribute to development, edit documents, translate, etc. or simply participate in research discussions.
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