The goals of Active Semantic Documents (ASD) are to reduce medical errors, improve physician efficiency and improve patient safety and satisfaction in medical practice. Semantic Web technology helps achieve these goals in an ontology driven process that involves multiple populated ontologies, automatic semantic annotation of documents, and rule processing.
ASD are documents (typically in XML based format). ASDs are semantic since they are semantically annotated using one or more relevant OWL ontologies which provide the nomenclature and conceptual model for interpreting and reasoning with the concept, and optionally annotated using lexically significant concepts and phrases (hence providing weaker semantics than the concepts and phrases that are annotated with and interpreted with respect to ontologies). ASDs are active because they support automatic and dynamic validation and decision making on the content of the document. This is accomplished typically by executing rules (such as SWRL or in the form of RDQL (with current plans of migrating this to SPARQL)) on semantic annotations and relationships that span across ontologies. Examples of semantic rule include prevention of drug interaction (i.e., not allowing a patient to be prescribed two interacting drugs) or ensuring the procedure performed has a supporting diagnoses. ASDs display the semantic and lexical annotations in document displaced in a browser, show results of rule execution, and provide the ability to modify semantic and lexical components of its content in an ontology-supported and otherwise constrained manner (such as through lists, bags of terms, specialized reference sources, or a thesaurus or lexical reference system such as WordNet). This functionality is time saving when if come to fixing broken rules due to the ability of the ASD to offer practical suggestions resolving the problem.
Active Semantic Electronic Medical Record (ASEMR) application exemplified a practical implementation of ASDs [See example with explanations]. See the ASEMR description and demo, resulting from collaboration between Athens Hearth Center (AHC) and the Large Scale Distributed Information Systems (LSDIS) lab at the University of Georgia.