Electrocardiogram (ECG) data are stored and analyzed in different formats, devices, and computer platforms. As a result, ECG data from different monitoring devices cannot be displayed unless the user has access to the proprietary software of each particular device. This research describes an ontology and encoding for representation of ECG data that allows open exchange and display of ECG data in a web browser. The ontology is based on the Health Level Seven (HL7) medical device communication standard. It integrates ECG waveform data, HL7 standard ECG data descriptions, and cardiac diagnosis rules, providing a capability to both represent ECG waveforms as well as perform automated diagnosis of 37 different cardiac abnormalities.
The ECG ontology is encoded in XML, thus allowing ECG data from any digital ECG device that maps to it to be displayed in a general-purpose Internet browser. An experiment was conducted to test the interoperability of the system (ability to openly share ECG data without error in a web browser) and also to assess the accuracy of the diagnosis model. Results showed 100% interoperability using 276 ECG data files and 93% accuracy in diagnosis of abnormal cardiac conditions.