Supporting decisions in medical applications: The knowledge management perspective

Stefania Montani, Riccardo Bellazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the medical domain, different knowledge types are typically available. Operative knowledge, collected during every day practice, and reporting expert's skills, is stored in the hospital information system (HIS). On the other hand, well-assessed, formalised medical knowledge is reported in textbooks and clinical guidelines. We claim that all this heterogeneous information should be secured and distributed, and made available to physicians in the right form, at the right time, in order to support decision making: in our view, therefore, a decision support system cannot be conceived as an independent tool, able to substitute the human expert on demand, but should be integrated with the knowledge management (KM) task. From the methodological viewpoint, case based reasoning (CBR) has proved to be a very well suited reasoning paradigm for managing knowledge of the operative type. On the other hand, rule based reasoning (RBR) is historically one of the most successful approaches to deal with formalised knowledge. To take advantage of all the available knowledge types, we propose a multi modal reasoning (MMR) methodology, that integrates CBR and RBR, for supporting context detection, information retrieval and decision support. Our methodology has been successfully tested on an application in the field of diabetic patients management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 18 2002


  • Case based reasoning
  • Knowledge management
  • Multi modal reasoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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