Health ontologies are commonly used as the standardization for interoperability between different health institutions. Since health knowledge changes rapidly, health ontology also evolves frequently. A mechanism of change propagation is needed to maintain the consistency between the ontology with the dependent artefacts. In this paper, we present the classification of health ontology changes based on their semantic meaning. Based on the classification, we define the basic operations used to perform the changes. Using those basic operations, we develop a method to propagate the ontology changes to one type of the dependent artefacts, i.e. the sub-ontologies which are extracted from the health ontology. We have applied the method to a case study which is based on the SNOMED CT ontology - one of the ontologies mostly used in health information systems. Our propagation mechanism will minimize the need to extract and re-create sub-ontologies from the base ontology every time the base ontology evolves. We also demonstrate that our approach produces a consistent sub-ontology state with the base ontology at any given time by comparing the propagated sub-ontology with the evolved SNOMED CT base ontology.


health, ontology, SNOMED CT, evolution, change propagation


ISBN: [978-1-86435-644-1]; Full paper