Link2Outcome: Coordinating Social Care and Health Care using Semantic Web Technologies - Design and Architecture


Due to the heterogeneity and complexity of the domain (there is no single schema) we adopted a set of reference ontologies for defining mappings from the different data sources to virtual RDFs. The current different ontologies model the following:

  • Family relationships (including temporal relations to model marital status)
  • Personal and contact details, reusing widely used schemas such as FOAF and VCARD
  • Social care evidences and case records
  • A social care taxonomy (representing a hierarchical arrangement of social care topics) clinical schemas.

The semantic layer hides the distribution and heterogeneity of underlying sources, allowing applications to formulate queries guided by the reference schemas. Data is federated on-demand, only exposing as RDF the data that is needed for care coordination. Data owners retain control of their data respective data (a business requirement in this particular case) and share information by translating distributed SPARQL queries to their proprietary representation at runtime. Although access control is a contested subject and an active research field, due to the highly sensitive nature of the shared information, in this work, we are working on the prevalent model of blanket consent of participants in health home programmes (i.e. consent to share all information regarding an individual across all organizations).

We have developed an enterprise architecture to support our scenario. Due to space restrictions, we describe only the components necessary to understand the basic operation of the system. Web-facing services use a set of REST services, implemented on a custom application running on IBM WebSphere Application Server. The main components for these services are the Node registry, which tracks nodes in the Federated Query Engine, the View definitions, that are used to project information out of the graph model for use by analytics widgets and UI elements. Data Sources are exposed as virtual RDF, using SeDA, an IBM technology to execute R2RML mappings. The virtual RDF Data Sources, the Metadata Repository and the Ancillary Indexes are accessed through the Federated Query Engine, providing transparent access to the distributed information. All core components in this architecture can be clustered, for high availability and performance.

We have developed a proof of concept based on the above architecture, integrating a set of IBM solutions for clinical and social program information:

  • IBM software Patient Care and Insights provides data driven population analysis to support patient centered care processes. It integrates and analyzes the full breadth of patient information sourced from multiple systems and different care providers. It stores three categories of data: extracted patient medical history called clinical summary; medical data analytics results from an analytics component called care insights and personalized electronic care plans.
  • IBM Curam is a business and technology solution to help social program organizations provide optimal outcomes for citizens, satisfy increasing demand, and lower costs for organizations. We have developed a user interface that integrates clinical information and a user interface integrated with IBM Curam to augment its care coordination capabilities with context coming from other enterprise applications.


Architecture diagram