Abstract: The ambiguities and overspecificities of prescription semantics along with their lack of standardization hinders the adoption of electronic prescriptions in some countries, limit data interoperability and are potential sources of error. An ontology of drug prescriptions could help overcome such difficulties and ultimately reduce adverse drug events. This article presents the Prescription of Drugs Ontology (PDRO), a reference ontology founded on the Open Biomedical Ontology Foundry (OBO Foundry) realist principles and built on the upper ontology Basic Formal Ontology (BFO). It imports by the methodology Minimum Information to Reference an External Ontology Term (MIREOT) classes and object properties from the Information Artifact Ontology (IAO), the Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI), the Ontology for General Medical Science (OGMS), the Ontology for Medically Related Social Entities (OMRSE) and the Drug Ontology (DRON). It categorizes a prescription and its parts as information content entities. It defines a key component of prescriptions, a drug administration specification, as an action specification that directs a process of drug administration. This article also discusses how to deal with synonymy and provides a pre-formal analysis of the social ontology underlying drug prescriptions, involving entities such as permissions, recommendations or mild obligations.
Keywords: Prescription, ontological realism, information content entity, social ontology, OBO Foundry