Development and evaluation of ontology for intelligent decision support in medical emergency management for mass gatherings

Pari Delir Haghighi, Frada Burstein, Arkady Zaslavsky, Paul Arbon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    119 Citations (Scopus)


    Conducting a safe and successful major event highly depends on the effective provision of medical emergency services that are often offered by different public and private agencies. Poor communication and coordination between these agencies and teams can result in delays in decision-making and duplication of efforts. Another related issue is that emergency decisions are usually made based on individual experience and domain knowledge of relevant managerial personnel. For sustainable knowledge management and more intelligent decision support it is beneficial to collect, consolidate, store and share these experiences in a form of a knowledge base or domain ontology. State-of-the-art surveys identify this gap that there is no common ontology describing the domain knowledge for planning and managing medical services in mass gatherings. Part of the reason is that the process of construction of such an ontology is not a trivial task. In this paper, we describe the process of developing and evaluating a Domain Ontology for Mass Gatherings (DO4MG) with a focus on medical emergency management. As part of the evaluation, we illustrate the application of DO4MG for implementing a case-based reasoning decision support for emergency medical management in mass gatherings. Such an implementation demonstrates the potential of using ontology for resolving terminology inconsistencies and their usefulness for supporting communication between medical emergency personnel in mass gatherings. We also illustrate how this ontology can be applied to different stages of medical emergency management as part of a system architecture. The lessons learnt from building DO4MG for this domain could be beneficial in general to the theory and practice of intelligent decision support and knowledge management in complex problem domains.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1192-1204
    Number of pages13
    JournalDecision Support Systems
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


    • Case-based reasoning
    • Intelligent decision support
    • Keywords
    • Knowledge management
    • Mass gatherings
    • Medical emergency management
    • Ontology development and evaluation


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