The history of

In 2002, in response to growing clinical and commercial interest in eHealth and medical knowledge management, John Fox and Richard Thomson at Cancer Research UK created a free information service,, to improve awareness and use of decision support and other knowledge technologies in patient care and clinical research and promote high standards in their development. The concern at the time was that newcomers to the field were unfamiliar with the 30 or more years of research in the field and were in danger of “reinventing the wheel” and perhaps not doing it very well.

At its peak in about 2010 the web site was being visited by about 350,000 people a year (about 50% from the US and around 3/4 from the English speaking world). The site had about 600 pages of information covering many topics in eHealth but had a particular focus on clinical decision support, integrated care pathways, computer interpretable guidelines and the use of artificial intelligence and knowledge engineering techniques. Most of the content on the site was written and maintained by Richard Thomson, whose work was a key springboard for a radically new idea, was started c. 2004 but began to be developed in earnest some years later by COSSAC, an interdisciplinary research collaboration (IRC) between computer and cognitive science researchers and clinical groups at UCL, Oxford and Edinburgh Universities. The Tallis application authoring and web deployment platform was originally developed by Cancer Research UK, and enhanced at Oxford University, University College London and Deontics Ltd.

The COSSAC IRC benefited from grants from CRUK and other funding bodies shown below.

A new implementation of the PROforma Technology