GLIF3: A representation format for sharable computer-interpretable clinical practice guidelines

Aziz A. Boxwala, Mor Peleg, Samson Tu, Omolola Ogunyemi, Qing T. Zeng, Dongwen Wang, Vimla L. Patel, Robert A. Greenes, Edward H. Shortliffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Guideline Interchange Format (GLIF) is a model for representation of sharable computer-interpretable guidelines. The current version of GLIF (GLIF3) is a substantial update and enhancement of the model since the previous version (GLIF2). GLIF3 enables encoding of a guideline at three levels: a conceptual flowchart, a computable specification that can be verified for logical consistency and completeness, and an implementable specification that is intended to be incorporated into particular institutional information systems. The representation has been tested on a wide variety of guidelines that are typical of the range of guidelines in clinical use. It builds upon GLIF2 by adding several constructs that enable interpretation of encoded guidelines in computer-based decision-support systems. GLIF3 leverages standards being developed in Health Level 7 in order to allow integration of guidelines with clinical information systems. The GLIF3 specification consists of an extensible object-oriented model and a structured syntax based on the resource description framework (RDF). Empirical validation of the ability to generate appropriate recommendations using GLIF3 has been tested by executing encoded guidelines against actual patient data. GLIF3 is accordingly ready for broader experimentation and prototype use by organizations that wish to evaluate its ability to capture the logic of clinical guidelines, to implement them in clinical systems, and thereby to provide integrated decision support to assist clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-161
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Grant LM06594 from the National Library of Medicine, with collaborative support from the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center of the US Army, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Elmer Bernstam, Ronilda Lacson, and Peter Mork have made important contributions to the development of GLIF3.


  • Guidelines
  • Knowledge representation
  • Knowledge sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'GLIF3: A representation format for sharable computer-interpretable clinical practice guidelines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • GLIF3: the evolution of a guideline representation format

    Peleg, M., Boxwala, A. A., Ogunyemi, O., Zeng, Q., Tu, S., Lacson, R., Bernstam, E., Ash, N., Mork, P., Ohno-Machado, L., Shortliffe, E. H. & Greenes, R. A., 2000, Proceedings of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Annual Symposium. p. 645-649 5 p. (Proceedings / AMIA ... Annual Symposium. AMIA Symposium).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Cite this