HITO is a 3-year project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) within the D-A-CH Lead Agency process (Project No. 395585521). The goal of the project is to develop a Health IT Ontology (HITO) that allows systematically describing application systems and software products in health IT. Our motivation is that information management professionals have a strong need to share and compare knowledge about health IT in several situations. These situations are, among others, to describe the components of a health information system as part of its strategic or operational management, to select a new software product, to learn about available evidence regarding an application, or to hire or train health IT specialists.

However, at the moment, health IT descriptions are not easily comparable. Thus, based on these needs, our motivation is to develop a Health IT Ontology allowing a systematic description of application systems and software products within health information systems (HIS). This will allow easier sharing of knowledge and experiences, support better cooperation when planning and operating HIS and allow evidence-based decision making in information management in health care.

The objective of the three-year project is thus to develop a health IT ontology, to connect it with a folksonomy and to verify it in five case studies. To reach these objectives, we will combine an agile research approach and a case-based approach as well as a multi-facet approach to taxonomy development. This project builds on our earlier work such as the 3LGM2 metamodel for hospital information systems, the reference model for the domain layer of a hospital information system, the requirement index for HIS and the Ontology SNIK.

Our idea is innovative, as it combines earlier work on health IT terminology with newer approaches of ontology and folksontology development. The Health IT Ontology will allow describing health IT systems in a comparable way, thus supporting both health IT management as well as health IT research and health IT education. HITO will thus contribute to professional health IT management and evidence-based health informatics.