Partitioning an object-oriented terminology schema

H. Gu, Y. Perl, M. Halper, J. Geller, E. Kuo, J. J. Cimino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Controlled medical terminologies are increasingly becoming strategic components of various healthcare enterprises. However, the typical medical terminology can be difficult to exploit due to its extensive size and high density. The schema of a medical terminology offered by an object-oriented representation is a valuable tool in providing an abstract view of the terminology, enhancing comprehensibility and making it more usable. However, schemas themselves can be large and unwieldy. We present a methodology for partitioning a medical terminology schema into manageably sized fragments that promote increased comprehension. Our methodology has a refinement process for the subclass hierarchy of the terminology schema. The methodology is carried out by a medical domain expert in conjunction with a computer. The expert is guided by a set of three modeling rules, which guarantee that the resulting partitioned schema consists of a forest of trees. This makes it easier to understand and consequently use the medical terminology. The application of our methodology to the schema of the Medical Entities Dictionary (MED) is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-212
Number of pages9
JournalMethods of Information in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Health Information Management


  • Comprehension
  • Forest Hierarchy
  • Medical Terminology
  • Object-oriented Schema
  • Partitioning


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