Modeling nursing terminology using the GRAIL representation language

Nicholas R Hardiker, Alan L Rector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The purpose of the study is to explore the use of formal systems to model nursing terminology.

Design: GRAIL is a formal, compositional terminologic language, closely related to frame-based systems and conceptual graphs, which allows concepts to be formed from atomic-level primitives and automatically classified in a multiple hierarchy. A formal model of the alpha version of the International Classification for Nursing Practice (ICNP) classification of nursing interventions was constructed in GRAIL.

Measurements: The model was analyzed for completeness, coherence, clarity, expressiveness, usefulness, and maintainability.

Results: GRAIL is capable of representing the complete set of atomic-level concepts within the ICNP as well as certain cross-mappings to other vocabularies. It also has the potential to represent many more concepts, to an arbitrary level of detail.

Conclusions: Formal systems such as GRAIL can overcome many of the difficulties associated with traditional nursing vocabularies without restricting the level of detail needed to describe nursing care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling nursing terminology using the GRAIL representation language'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this