Agfa HealthCare

Description of organisation

Agfa HealthCare is worldwide player in imaging systems, imaging IT, regional image distribution and hospital information systems. Together with the healthcare providers Agfa HealthCare can in that role connect and unleash clinical data, now residing untapped for secondary use.

On top of our experience in Computed Radiography and Digital Radiography (CR/DR) Agfa HealthCare has extensive experience in imaging IT, ranging from large‑scale image distribution to very sophisticated image processing modules such as virtual colonoscopy, mammography microcalcification detection and generic 3D rendering.

Role in the project:

Agfa Healthcare would like to contribute with all these expertises to the goals of the ITFoM project.

We expect to be able to contribute with 5 FTE’s yearly, during this project. In combination with partners (INSERM, APHP) we will be able to provide clinical data from hospitals according to the semantic technology as described below.


Previous experience

Agfa has been working on semantic web technologies and has built up an extensive knowledge in this field. In the EU FP7 project DebugIT a semantic interoperability platform has been created to access clinical data across different hospitals in Europe, using different IT systems ( This technology is further developed in the EU FP7 Salus project ( The bottom line is that Agfa developed a Semantic Interoperability Platform to access this badly needed clinical data.

Apart from that Agfa developed a very powerful (open source: reasoning engine (Eye), capable of reasoning on full first order logic problems. Independent benchmarking has proven this reasoning engine to be one of the fastest available. Apart from classical Horn Logic, also Coherent Logic and even statistical inferences such as fuzzy cognitive maps and Bayesian networks are supported and can freely be mixed. This reasoning engine is the core of our semantic web technologies, ranging from semantically accessing clinical data, smart data mining, decision support and ad hoc dynamic workflow generation. We also built an ‘semantic virtual data warehouse’, shielding business intelligence tools from the ‘dirty’ work of semantic interoperability and making data available with the concepts of a domain ontology in RDF or exporting the data to specific database schemes.

Agfa also researched Optical Coherent Tomography (OCT), which is a new imaging technology that can best be describes as ‘ultrasound’ with light. This technology is able to visualise the cellular structure of the skin up to 1 mm of depth, making it a very powerful new diagnostic tool in dermatology, useful for diagnosis of melanomas, one of the clinical use cases in ITFoM.


Profile of staff members

The total number of researchers doing dedicated IT research is up to 10 people, on top of the developers working on different product lines. As stated above, the research of these people is primarily focused on semantic web technology, data mining, decision support and workflow generation.




Five recent publications relevant to the project

H. Sun, K. Depraetere, J. De Roo, B. De Vloed, G. Mels, D. Colaert. Semantic integration and analysis of clinical data. arXiv Computer Science, (2012).

P. De Potter, H. Cools, K. Depraetere, G. Mels, P. Debevere, J. De Roo, C. Huszka, D. Colaert, E. Mannens, R. Van de Walle. Semantic Patient Information Aggregation and Medicinal Decision Support. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine (2012).

S. Hussain, J. De Roo. Proof‑based Ontology Matching: Finding semantic similarities between ancestor graph structures. Sixth IEEE International Conference on Semantic Computing (IEEE ICSC2012).

R. Choquet, D. Karlsson, D. Schober, P. Daumke, P. Ruch, D. Teodoro, G. Mels, A. Assele, D. Colaert, C. Lovis, M. Jaulent, H. Cools, J. De Roo. Exchanging biomedical information at large scale using the Semantic Web. International Conference of the European Federation for Medical Informatics (MIE 2011).

Building the Semantic Interoperability Architecture Enabling Sustainable Proactive Post Market Safety Studies; Gokce B. Laleci Erturkmen, Asuman Dogac, Mustafa Yuksel (SRDC Ltd, Ankara, Turkey) and Hong Sun, Kristof Depraetere, Dirk Colaert (AGFA Healthcare, Gent, Belgium), Accepted as a poster in SIMI 2012 Workshop (Semantic Interoperability in Medical Informatics), in ESCW 2012: Extended Semantic Web Conference, May 27, 2012 in Heraklion (Crete), Greece,