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Acta Inform Med. 2008; 16(2): 64-67

Semantic Data Integration in a System for Cancer Studies

Marcos Martínez, José M. Vázquez, M. Gloria López, Francisco M. Arnal, Benito, González-Conde, Javier Pereira, Alejandro Pazos.


Purpose: The aim of this work consists in providing an information system for multicenter epidemiological studies on cancer with capabilities of reusing the data collected during the achievement of epidemiological studies, with the final purpose of allowing the development of future studies on a larger set of data. Methods: The system stores the data gathered during interviews to patients and their relatives in a centralized database. In order to make these data openly available, we mapped the fields in the database to terms from an ontology of the cancer domain. By means of a Web service, the system uses the defined mappings to answer remote queries written in the terminology of the ontology. In addition, the information system is able to use the ontology as a reference to query remote data sources in an integrated manner. Results: Our system 1) allows to remotely access the data gathered during epidemiological studies on cancer and 2) makes it possible to retrieve information from remote data sources in an integrated manner. Conclusion: The study of multifactorial diseases such as cancer requires a large amount of data that need to be compiled, stored and analyzed, and from which new information must be extracted. Reusing these data in other studies would provide great benefits. Information and Communication Technologies can contribute significantly to this task thanks to the development of information systems such as the presently proposed one.

Key words: Hospital IS, Ontologies, Cancer, Knowledge management.

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