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Name of Collaboratory :


InterMed Collaboratory (InterMed)


Logo :


URL :  

Collaboratory Status :

Completed   Start Date : 1994 End Date : 2003 Info Last Updated : Sun, Nov 2 2008 1:00am PDT

Primary Collaboratory Function :

  Distributed Research Center  

Secondary Collaboratory Functions :

  Community Data Systems  

Domain(s) :

  Medical research, clinical medicine  

Brief Description of the Collaboratory :


The InterMed Collaboratory was created to provide a distributed suite of clinical applications, guidelines, and knowledge-bases for disseminating clinical guidelines across medical disciplines and settings. Its central product was the development of the GuideLine Interchange Language (GLIF 2.0), a computer-based format that can be used for sharing computer representations of medical treatment guidelines across different institutions and systems. GLIFs represent guidelines as flow-chart diagrams showing patient information, decision steps, action steps, and synchronization steps. Creation and use of GLIFs are supported by software developed by InterMed.

Future research at InterMed will define a set of steps for extending the expressiveness of the GLIF language and for developing methods to translate GLIF into local execution languages, such as Arden Syntax.

An early challenge of the project was negotiating differences between three types of researchers: clinicians, bioinformaticians, and computer scientists. One common early problem was helping clinicians articulate the tacit knowledge about treatments that were necessary for useful guidelines.

Funding ended in 2003, but the research on GLIF continues, though the HL7 Clinical Guidelines Special Interest Group.'


Access to Instruments :

  Not Applicable  

Access to Information Resources :

  Interchangeable, computer-readable format (GLIF) for representing medical treatment guidelines  

Access to People as Resources :

  Inter-communication between clinicians, bioinformaticians, and computers scientists in collaboratory  

Funding Agency or Sponsor :

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
United States Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
U.S. Army

Notes on Funding Agencies/Sponsors:

Organizations with Funded Participants:
Organization name:
Approx # of participants:
Description of organization's role(s):
McGill University
   Centre for Medical Education - McGill U
Decisions Systems Group - Harvard Med, and Brigham and Women's Hospital (DSG)
Columbia University
   Department of Biomedical Informatics - Columbia U
Harvard University
Massachusetts General Hospital
   Laboratory of Computer Science - Mass. Gen. Hospital
Stanford University
   Stanford University School of Medicine
      Stanford Medical Informatics (SMI)
University of Utah

Notes on Participants/Organizations:


Communications Technology Used :

  The project used four communication modalities: progress reports, email, phone conferences, and face-to-face meetings. A project paper (Patel, Kaufman, Allen, Shortcliffe, Cimino, and Greenes, 1999) includes a table describing how the project came to designate different types of tasks to different media types.  

Technical Capabilities :

  Management of technical resources
Access control/login facilities
Support for transition between synch and asynch
Directory of services/experts/resources, Workflow management
Asynchronous object sharing
Index/metadata, General search capability, Vetted knowledge based of multiple authors, Common file space, "Handoff" authoring
Asynchronous conversation
Synchronous conversation
  Key Articles :  

Patel, V.L., Kaufman, D.R., Allen, V.G., Shortliffe, E.H., Cimino, J.J., Greenes, R.A. (1999). Toward a framework for computer-mediated collaborative design in medical informatics Methods of Information in Medicine, 38, .

Peleg M., et al. (2004). The InterMed approach to sharable computer-interpretable guidelines: A review Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 11(1), 1-10.

Shortliffe, E. H.; Patel, V. L., Cimino, J., Barnett, O.G., and Greenes, R. A. (1998). A study of collaboration among medical informatics research laboratories Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, 12, 97-103.


Project-reported performance data :

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