Concept dictionary creation and maintenance under resource constraints: lessons from the AMPATH Medical Record System.

Martin C. Were, Burke W. Mamlin, William M. Tierney, Ben Wolfe, Paul G. Biondich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


The challenges of creating and maintaining concept dictionaries are compounded in resource-limited settings. Approaches to alleviate this burden need to be based on information derived in these settings. We created a concept dictionary and evaluated new concept proposals for an open source EMR in a resource-limited setting. Overall, 87% of the concepts in the initial dictionary were used. There were 5137 new concepts proposed, with 77% of these proposed only once. Further characterization of new concept proposals revealed that 41% were due to deficiency in the existing dictionary, and 19% were synonyms to existing concepts. 25% of the requests contained misspellings, 41% were complex terms, and 17% were ambiguous. Given the resource-intensive nature of dictionary creation and maintenance, there should be considerations for centralizing the concept dictionary service, using standards, prioritizing concept proposals, and redesigning the user-interface to reduce this burden in settings with limited resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-795
Number of pages5
JournalAMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium
StatePublished - 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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