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W3C Launches Group Linking Medical Industry with Semantic Web


Semantic Web for Health Care and Life Sciences Interest Group brings together medical and research communities. -- 22 November 2005 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is launching a new interest Group to connect medical industry verticals with Semantic Web experts in an effort to improve collaboration, research and development, and innovation adoption in the health care and life science industries. The first of its kind for W3C, the Semantic Web for Health Care and Life Sciences Interest Group (HCLSIG) deploys standardized Semantic Web specifications into specific services defined by a user community.

This new venture puts W3C specifications through the paces of a dynamic, multifaceted and interdependent set of communities, said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. We have a remarkable opportunity to listen to the area experts, to see how our work meets their needs, and to serve their future requirements.
Obstacles Prevent Sharing of Related Data, Slowing Clinical Research

In both life science research communities and health services provider settings, boundaries that inhibit data sharing limit innovation and impede efficient care delivery. For example, data and information produced by chemists, biologists and clinicians is often unavailable to each other, yet the material can be of mutual benefit. To create an infrastructure that connects and serves these diverse communities, there is a need to both bring together the people, and ground this work in a framework that supports semantically-rich system, process and information interoperability.
Semantic Web Technologies Can Provide Bridge Between Chemists, Biologists, Clinicians and other Researchers

Health care and life sciences research are rapidly evolving, and a critical key to their success is the implementation of new informatics models that will bridge many forms of biological and medical information across institutions. By embedding semantics into medical and research information, researchers will have better access to the knowledge required to effectively find cures to diseases, make drugs safer and more affordable, and enable health-care providers to offer individualized clinical management to patients. Leveraging Semantic Web technologies will help move away from trial-and-error methods and make it easier to use molecular pathway knowledge for more effective decision making in clinical research.
W3C Takes Step in Uniting Area Specialists with Web Technologies to Improve Communication, Information Sharing

The HCLSIG will develop use cases that demonstrate the value to business of adopting Semantic Web technology, core vocabularies and ontologies, guidelines and best practices for unique identifiers. The group will provide a forum for supporting communication, education, collaboration and implementation. The group will also work with other Semantic Web groups to gather suggestions for future development, and will support and encourage the use of Semantic Web technologies and foster the growth of interoperable, policy-aware data and databases in the health care and life sciences industries.

W3C has brought together diverse communities -- policy makers, technologists, researchers and linguists -- to produce the foundations for Web technology, to tremendous effect. This history has encouraged W3C to take an additional step with the HCLSIG into vertical applications of Web standards.

More information is available from the W3C Semantic Web Health Care and Life Sciences home page.

This work is managed by the W3C Technology and Society Domain and is part of W3Cs Semantic Web Activity.
About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. Over 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


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