Rochester, Minnesota




Harold R. Solbrig has been a pioneer in the medical computing field since the early 1970s. Over the past two decades his emphasis has been on the role of formal semantics in data interoperability with a focus on clinical terminology, and terminology and data binding. Mr. Solbrig joined Mayo Clinic in 1999 and is currently working on terminology standards and adoption within the Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics.

Additionally, he has participated and contributed to multiple standards organizations, including Health Level Seven International (HL7), the World Health Organization, International Standards Organization (ISO), the Object Management Group (OMG), the International Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Focus areas

  • Terminology services. Mr. Solbrig focuses on models, interfaces and standards for representing, querying and maintaining terminological resources.
  • Information model terminology binding. Mr. Solbrig is a key contributor to the ISO 11179-3 Edition 3f specification that formalizes the relationship between ontologies and data. He has worked with multiple organizations on linking ontology semantics with data models and instances, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Library of Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC).
  • Formal ontology. His research includes distinction between types, categories and definitions in formal ontology models and in collaboration with the NCI and other organizations. The goal is to develop new approaches to separating definition knowledge from secondary artifacts.
  • Semantic MediaWiki. His work includes the incorporation of semantics into information resources like Wikipedia. He developed a model and set of tools for crowd-sourced ontology development called LexWiki, which was subsequently adopted by the NCI for the use with the NCI Thesaurus and the Neurolex community.

Significance to patient care

The standards and methodologies derived from Mr. Solbrig's work form a key foundation for interoperability and sharing clinical data, which in turn allows researchers to make new discoveries. This improves the healthcare process and more fundamentally, enables sophisticated decision support tools to assist providers at the point of care.

Professional highlights

  • Editor, Common Terminology Services 2 Standard, 2011
  • HL7 Volunteer of the Year Award, 2005


See my publications



  1. Master of Science - Software Engineering Oxford University
  2. BS - Mathematics Westminster College, Salt lake City, Utah

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