Overall purpose of the Model
The GALEN Common Reference Model is designed to be a re-usable application-independent and language-independent model of medical concepts. The GALEN Common Reference Model is the central feature of the GALEN Terminology Services which is a key enabling technology for:
Electronic Healthcare Records
providing the content and mediating between terminology in different EHCRs and EHCRs and decision support systems.
Clinical User Interfaces
Making EHCRs and decision support quick and easy to use.
Classification and Coding Systems
making it possible to build more systematic, more richly interconnected, and more complete coding and classification systems.
Decision Support System
helping people author compatible families of decision support, hypermedia, and EHCR systems from re-usable components
Knowledge Management Systems
organising and indexing information efficiently and flexibly for decision support, hypermedia, and bibliographic resources - reducing the inference required in decision support systems - providing an indexed repository of key facts.
Natural Language Processing
making structured information available as clinical users expect it; accepting natural language input to structured information systems.
The GALEN Common Reference model is what Rossi Mori refers to as a third generation terminology system [Rossi Mori, Consorti et al. 1997]. The key feature of the GALEN approach is that it provides a model - a set of building blocks and constraints - from which concepts can be composed. By contrast, most traditional classification systems such as ICD9/10, ICPC, or the earlier versions of the Read Codes attempt to provide fully enumerated lists of all of the concepts which might ever be needed. In GALEN, classification of composite concepts is automatic and based on formal logical criteria. In traditional systems, classifications must be performed by hand explicitly for each concept. Traditional systems are usually tuned for use in one primary task, and using them for alternative tasks is difficult. GALEN separates the concept model from the model of use. Where the formal logical criteria in the concept model do not correspond to the model of use in clinical practice, an additional pragmatic is added separately to transform the conceptual model to fit the clinicians requirements. In this way, the underlying integrity of the logical model and its ability to support automatic manipulation by software is not compromised.