MDLogix Health Science Process Framework and Clinical Research Management System: Ruby on Rails and XSB

Allen Tien and Anocha Yimsiriwattan, MDLogix Health

Bringing together health scientists, computer scientists, software engineers, and client-centered business process analysis and re-engineering is a challenge and opportunity. MDLogix (Medical Decision Logic, Inc.) has made some progress in this direction, with significant support from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. We have built enterprise scalable web applications for clinical research. One of the main applications, the Protocol Schema and Subject Calendar module, uses logic programming (Constraint Handling Rules) as a key component. We will describe the structure and operation of this module. The current web technology can also serve as a platform for research and innovation in many areas. We will present several examples.

Speaker Biography

Allen Y. Tien, MD, MHS: My strategic approach to contribute to health and care is to enhance and expand the development and application of health science informatics and information technologies. Our software implementation approach is highly-client centered in order to assure a high level of usability and utility. To lead and contribute to these areas of research and development, I have a unique combination of training, knowledge, and expertise that spans biostatistics, psychiatric epidemiology, clinical research, developmental neuroscience, public mental health research, computer science, and software engineering. I have been developing health information technology systems since 1987. The integrative and transformative potential of my contributions stem from an interdisciplinary conceptual framework I have developed over the past 20 years. In the first decade (1986-1997) I worked in two distinct areas of health research: 1) public mental health epidemiology, prevention, and services, and 2) clinical neuroscience. During that period (at Johns Hopkins), I worked on developing a multi-level integrative model for teaching students about the range of etiologic factors and interacting developmental processes for mental disorders. Following this logic, I worked to bring measures of cognitive function into community epidemiology and prevention research. In the following decade (1998-present), I made a major transition from academic health research and teaching to entrepreneur, founding Medical Decision Logic, Inc. (“MDLogix”) with long-term visionary involvement in software purpose, architecture development, interface design, and evaluation. At the same time, I continue with intellectual interaction and contributions in the role of Adjunct Associate Professor in the Division of Health Science Informatics (DHSI) at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, participation with the ongoing informatics and multi-level scientific conceptualization, grant preparation, and technology considerations with the Johns Hopkins Quality and Safety Research Group (QSRG), with other MDLogix clients, and with ongoing service to the NIH community with peer review panels. In several important ways, the work carried out at MDLogix provides a unique foundation. These are: 1) tackling some difficult problems with prior Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) support; 2) learning about the barriers to creating successful technology-based products for health research and practice; 3) engagement as a partner and vendor with leading academic medical centers; 4) creation of a state-of-the-art-leading product system (MDLogix CRMS) and health science-based web technology development platform (MDLogix HSPF); and 5) collaborations and partnerships for business growth, sustainability, and innovation.

Anocha Yimsirawattana, PhD: I have worked in the information technology field since 1990, starting as a programmer and systems analyst. I was a faculty member in departments of computer science, mathematics and electrical engineering in Bangkok, Thailand , and then in 2004 received my PhD in Computer Science with a dissertation on quantum computing. I joined MDLogix in 2005, working as a software architect and engineer. My main focus at MDLogix has been the architecture and implementation of the Protocol Schema and Subject Calendar (PSSC) module in the MDLogic Clinical Research Management System (CRMS). PSSC uses a Domain Specific Language (DSL) approach to define a temporal language for clinical research protocols, and Constraint Handling Rules (CHR) engine to provide users with adaptive scheduling capabilities. I am interested in parallel/distributed computing, specifically language and tools which allow developer to easily analyze design and implement parallel/distributed applications.