Guideline execution engine

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A guideline execution engine is a computer program which can interpret a clinical guideline represented in a computerized format and perform actions towards the user of an electronic medical record.

A guideline execution engine needs to communicate with a host clinical information system. Virtual Medical Record (vMR) is one possible interface which can be used.

The engine's main function is to manage instances of executed guidelines of individual patients.


The following modules are generally needed for any engine:

  • interface to clinical information system
  • new guidelines loading module
  • guideline interpreter module
  • clinical events parser
  • alert/recommendations dispatch

Guideline Interchange Format[edit]

The Guideline Interchange Format (GLIF) is a computer representation format for clinical guidelines.[1] Represented guidelines can be executed using a guideline execution engine.

The format has several versions as it has been improved. In 2003 GLIF3 was introduced.

Use of third party workflow engine as a guideline execution engine[edit]

Some commercial electronic health record systems use a workflow engine to execute clinical guidelines. RetroGuide[2] and HealthFlow[3] are examples of such an approach.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Guideline Representation Page: GLIF 2.0, 3.4, 3.5 Specifications". Stanford University, School of Medicine, InterMed Collaboratory. 
  2. ^ Huser, V.; Narus, S. P.; Rocha, R. A. (2010). "Evaluation of a flowchart-based EHR query system: A case study of RetroGuide". Journal of Biomedical Informatics. 43 (1): 41–50. doi:10.1016/j.jbi.2009.06.001. PMC 2840619Freely accessible. PMID 19560553. 
  3. ^ Huser V, Rasmussen LV, Oberg R, Starren JB (2011), "Implementation of workflow engine technology to deliver basic clinical decision support functionality", BMC Med Res Methodol., 11: 43, doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-43, PMC 3079703Freely accessible, PMID 21477364 

Further reading[edit]