Medical Logic Modules (MLMs): Syntax, Goals & Major Functions in Healthcare

Medical Logic Modules (MLMs): Syntax, Goals & Major Functions in Healthcare
The Arden Syntax for Medical Logic Modules is a language for sharing medical knowledge bases that consist of different independent modules. It is used to generate diagnostic interpretations, screening for research studies, and management messages. An Arden Syntax Knowledge consists of rules called as Medical Logic Modules (MLMs) that are stored as ASCII files and can be written on the text editor. 

It is made of sets that are grouped into three categories, namely, library information, medical knowledge, and maintenance information. Most of the medical logic modules are triggered by different events and medical criteria. The Arden Syntax has been used to represent logic in DSS for therapy in patients and Acute Respiratory failure that is under development. 

The medical professionals used the Arden Syntax as a convenient way of transferring and sharing medical knowledge. The codes are easy to use and can be learned without training. In the current system, MLM is used to represent knowledge and to maintain the phases of therapy. 

The maintenance category contains those slots that contain information unrelated to medical knowledge in the module. The title slot shares what the MLM does, and it serves as a comment. The version slot should be changed when the MLMs are modified and updated. 

The library category contains those slots that are associated with the module’s knowledge except the slots that belonged to the knowledge category. The purpose slot describes the purpose of the module. 

The knowledge category contains those slots that specify what MLM does. The data slot defines access to the patient database. The knowledge-based systems have become common these days. The most important thing in the knowledge-based system is knowledge and not technical manipulation. 

The Syntax of MLM

The Arden Syntax is developed between groups and at the University of Utah, Columbia University, Erasmus University, and Linkoping University. They used the Arden Syntax to represent logic in a DSS for therapy in patients. 

The MLM syntax is based on pascal and SQL and has derived many properties from the help and care systems. 

Goals That Make the MLM Syntax Useful for Sharing Knowledge

Here are a few basic goals which are essential for making the MLM Syntax useful. 

1. Lack of Ambiguity

The organization should make sure that MLMs are unambiguous so that data or modules cannot be interpreted in different ways. 

2. Readability

The MLMs should read and interpret by experts without training. 

3. Writability 

The MLMs should be written by experts with minimum training. Remember that readability and writability are different. It doesn’t matter what syntax anyone is using; it would be difficult to write the MLMs if one has made it strictly ambiguous. 

4. Ease of Maintenance

It should be possible to maintain and manipulate MLMs in a computer environment. In the Arden Syntax, time intervals are described in terms of anchor points and are expressed as three months ago, two months before now. 

The queries set related to the patient in the database returns multiple instances. For instance, a query set for a patient’s hemoglobin during the last two-three days may return multiple answers that fulfill the time constraints.

Main Functions of MLM Editors

1. To handle the lists of MLM modules and to update different kinds of cross-reference tables. 
2. To check the knowledge base for redundancy and contradictions. 
3. To incorporate medical terms from a medical dictionary, which includes the terms that are used in the application area and in a work environment-oriented way. 
4. To provide delete, add, and replace functions. 

Most of these functions contain research problems like providing tools for syntax checking, user-friendly functions for maintenance of the knowledge base, mapping facilities to standardized vocabularies, and more. 

How it is Helping in Improving Patient Safety

Healthcare professionals are using several healthcare tools to enhance patients’ safety. Similarly, MLMs are doing a great job in improving patient’s health results and safety.  

1. Dose Adjustment

Healthcare professionals should pay more attention when treating a diabetic patient. They should keep a check on the control of blood sugar levels. 

Now, the clinicians add the current blood sugar level. The MLM uses the patient’s information and combines it with other data. It then checks the algorithm recommendation for the next dose. 

2. Oncology Treatment Calculators

The MLMs read the chart and then display the patient’s history in the set of notes or summaries. An MLM helps in calculating the amount of any medication. 

3. Discharge Summaries

Whenever patients are discharged from hospitals, an MLM checks data, including lab results, discharge medications, and other information. 

Now, with one click, the physicians can use these pieces of information during the discharge time and save their time. This process takes 5-7 minutes and delivers better results. 

Final Words

The Arden Syntax of MLMs is providing valuable help to describe medical knowledge. It is a proposed standard and offers the opportunity to share knowledge between users. It is easy to write and doesn’t require proper training. 

Furthermore, it helps domain experts to be not dependent on knowledge engineers. The most challenging part of developing MLM is to agree on the rules. Once the industry agrees to work upon the rules, then writing the MLM doesn’t take time. Plus, you do not need any in-depth knowledge about it. 

For any healthcare-related services, you can contact us. Our experts have experience in building customer-centric solutions to empower health providers. They understand how the healthcare industry is going through and offer expertise in several medical standards like DICOM, HL7, ICD-9, and more. 
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