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The Army Uses WebLS to
Build a Breast Cancer Decision Guide

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Answering the call to empower breast cancer patients with the information needed to have meaningful discussions and make decisions with their physicians, the U.S. Army created the Breast Cancer Decision Guide. The guide is a Web site, aimed at both military and non-military patients and their families. The purpose is to help in decision making with a physician; not to actually dispense advice.

For its innovative use of computing applications to create the Guide, Amzi! has been named a Laureate for the Smithsonian-Computerworld Innovation awards. Amzi! shared the award with co-developers Science Applications Intl. Corp. and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.

The award was presented on the mall in Washington, D.C. and the project materials have been accepted into the Smithsonian Institution's Permanent Research Collection of Information Technology. The permanent collection, established in 1989, is the world's premier historical record of computing applications and innovations.

The Guide uses WebLS to aid medical decision-making by providing patients and family members with custom-generated information that is specific to an individual's breast cancer diagnosis and personal situation. The Guide was designed to clearly present the information, organized by topic (with citations) and enhanced by the use of graphics.

Allowing complete control over the format of the questions and the generated information (document), the WebLS solution is an ideal basis for the Guide. Additionally, WebLS makes it easy to represent knowledge with if-then rules. The diagnosis and treatment modules have almost 1800 rules,

Users are provided with personalized information that can improve the understanding of a specific breast cancer diagnosis and the treatment options that are likely to apply when that diagnosis and other patient-specific factors (both medical and non-medical) are taken into account. The interactive consultations (built with WebLS) filter out information that is not relevant and select all information that is relevant, including information that the user might not otherwise have accessed.

Additionally, the consultations organize the relevant information into a concise and clearly written report that includes options for verifying that the information applies and suggest how to obtain additional information.

For more information, see Expanding WebLS to Support a Breast Cancer Decision Guide, in the articles section of this web site.

    "...The quality of the information and the site's unique organization and focus make this a must-see. It's among the best patient empowerment sites we've visited -- something doctors should be very aware of. " 

    Stars & Stinkers December 3, 1999

The Guide is a project of the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Prevention, Education and Diagnosis Program Initiative funded by U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Contracts DAMD17-93-C-3141 and DAMD17-96-C-6131.

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