Ginger: Data Abstraction Tooling Technology for Managing the Complexities of Industry-based Standards - overview
Information models used in healthcare IT data standards are often quite complex. This presents a challenge to implementers, who are often not standards experts but need to efficiently build applications that produce and consume standard-compliant data. Ginger is a tool that allows standards experts to create sets of reusable domain-specific data abstractions that insulate application developers from the inherent complexities and steep learning curves posed by standards. In the diagram above, we illustrate the high-level operation of the Ginger tool. The first step is to import sample instance data that conforms to a given standard. In this example, we are using a healthcare IT data standard (HL7 Clinical Document Architecture). Once imported, the user identifies the fixed and variable pieces of information in the given sample instance. The variable pieces of information are used to generate a simplified view of the data that includes the creation of a simplified type system. Here the Body Weight type is created with three attributes (value, unit and time). These simplified types are orgnanized into a dictionary. The types can also be used to generate artifacts that are useeful to implementers. These artifacts may include simplified XML schemas and bi-directional transformations.