A New Tool for Clinical Quality Improvement

October 25, 2016

Author: Chris Markle, Healthcare Analyst at ESAC, Inc.

On October 20, 2016, during another great “Cooking with CQL” webinar, a new tool silently debuted. CQL Online was used a digital whiteboard during Bryn Rhodes engaging exposition of how to use the Clinical Quality Language to support semantic interoperability of clinical concepts.

As a powerful domain specific programming language, CQL allows the user to express complex clinical concepts in an intuitive, near english-looking manner that programmers and clinicians alike can read and write with minimal learning curve. To make the adoption of CQL even easier, the development team at ESAC Inc has released CQL Online, a free online syntax directed editor.

CQL Online is designed to promote “sand-box” learning by allowing the user to play with the language and get instant feedback. This tool performs instant syntax checking, suggested code completion, even conventional formatting assistance. For the “power user”, CQL Online allows simultaneous parallel editors to be utilized in a familiar tabbing environment.

In its current form, CQL Online is built using Xtext 2.9.2 and Ace softwares. To accomplish this the ESAC team re-wrote the original CQL grammar (ANTLR 4) into an Xtext compatible form (similar to ANTLR 3). This has allowed rapid deployment and debugging of the software. Using an Ace editor makes CQL Online clean and lightweight, perfect for embedding in any web application. Let’s not forget, CQL Online is free to use AND free to re-deploy. Any developer interested in only using CQL Online’s editor can embed it directly into their site as an iframe, no strings attached.

ESAC Inc will continue to support CQL Online as updates to standards arise. Be on the look out for further improvements to the UI (Save/Load capabilities, fast tabbing, ELM generation, etc).

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Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics at Georgetown University Medical Center

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