User-Centered EHR Design Considered Harmful (Try Process-Centered Instead)

Short link:

Credited father of user- or human-centered system design (variously HCD, UCD, HCSD, or HCD), Donald Norman (DN) wrote a contrarian essay in 2005 (“Human-centered Design Considered Harmful”) offering an alternative vision of usability and design he called “activity-centered design.” Business process management (BPM) and workflow management systems presuppose activity-centered perspectives. I’ve argued that EHRs and HIT usability will benefit from these ideas and technologies. So I’ve titled this essay, User-Centered EHR Design Considered Harmful (Try Process-Centered Instead).

EHR car and WfMS car colliding
Welcome! (EHR + WfMS = EHR WfMS)
(from first post on this blog on 2/9/09)

For an overview of user-centered EHR design, skim my annotated tweets from NIST’s workshop on EHR usability. Dive into UCD’s original 1986 opus “User-Centered System Design” (the initials for which also stand for University of California at San Diego, DN’s then academic home). But I also recommend “Design for Success: A Human-Centered Approach to Designing Successful Products and Systems” by William Rouse (my adviser during a graduate degree in Industrial Engineering).

DN starts out:

“Human-centered design has become such a dominant theme in design that it is now accepted by interface and application designers automatically, without thought, let alone criticism. That’s a dangerous state—when things are treated as accepted wisdom. The purpose of this essay is to provoke thought, discussion, and reconsideration of some of the fundamental principles of human-centered design. These principles, I suggest, can be helpful, misleading, or wrong. At times, they might even be harmful. Activity-centered design might be superior.”

Health IT tends to be behind the curve of what’s hot and what’s not in other industries. Seven years later human/user-centered EHR design is a hot topic in health IT. It promises, supporters say, to solve slow EHR adoption by making EHRs more usable. However, I argue, activity-, or process-centered, work-centered, EHR design might be superior.

What are “activities”?

“To me, an activity is a coordinated, integrated set of tasks….One activity, many tasks.”

To me too.

“Consider the dynamic nature of applications, where any task requires a sequence of operations, and activities can comprise multiple, overlapping tasks. Here is where the difference in focus becomes evident, and where the weakness of the focus on the users shows up … The methods of HCD seem centered around static understanding of each set of controls, each screen on an electronic display. But as a result, the sequential operations of activities are often ill-supported.”

DN makes the same observation I’ve made about most EHRs. Optimization around a user, or user screen, risks the ultimate systems engineering sin: suboptimization. Individual EHR user screens are routinely optimized at the expense of total EHR system workflow usability.

“Note that the importance of support for sequences is still deeply understood within industrial engineering and human factors and ergonomics communities. Somehow, it seems less prevalent within the human-computer interaction community.”

I’ve seen EHR screens, which, considered individually, are jewel-like in appearance and cognitive science-savvy in design philosophy, but do not work together well. In contrast, industrial engineers start with understanding and modeling and optimizing interleaved and interacting sequences of task accomplishment. Information systems that can represent collections of task accomplishment include workflow management systems, business process management, case management and process-aware information systems.

“software gets more complex and less understandable with each revision. Activity-centered philosophy tends to guard against this error because the focus is upon the activity, not the human. As a result, there is a cohesive, well-articulated design model. If a user suggestion fails to fit within this design model, it should be discarded.”

Many EHRs suffer from “featuritis,” Simple elegant EHRs with simple elegant workflows are rare due to lack of cohesive, well-articulated design models; customers naively valuing quantity of features over quality of design; and regulatory requirements and penalties. (As my wife says: “There’s plenty of blame cake for everyone!”)

“Human-centered design does guarantee good products. It can lead to clear improvements of bad ones. Moreover, good human-centered design will avoid failures. It will ensure that products do work, that people can use them. But is good design the goal? Many of us wish for great design. Great design, I contend, comes from breaking the rules, by ignoring the generally accepted practices, by pushing forward with a clear concept of the end result, no matter what.”

User-centered EHR design does help get to good EHRs. Good enough isn’t good enough. If EHRs and HIT are going to help transform healthcare they need to be better than world-class (compared to what?). They need to be stellar. Traditional user-centered design isn’t going to get us there. We need to open the doors to cantankerous genius, like Steve Jobs, not afraid to break a few rules (or heads). And we need to move from user-centered to process-centered EHR design.

What about patient safety? Hard to argue with government certification and regulation, right? Public health and welfare is a traditional focus of government intervention. Instead of focusing on happy physicians happily adopting EHRs, user-centered EHR design has pivoted toward politically hard-to-argue-with prevention of medical error. User-centered myopic design takes its lumps there as well.

“[In] safety-critical applications, a deep knowledge of the activity is fundamental. Safety is usually a complex system issue, and without deep understanding of all that is involved, the design is apt to be faulty.”

Where might this insight lead? Forgive me for free associating: Safety. Error. Safe systems. Safety engineering. Reliability engineering. Systems engineering. How do all the EHR parts work together? How do all the screens work together? How do all the users work together? Workflow. Workflow technology. EHR workflow systems. True EHR workflow management systems, built with BPM technology. Fun! Thanks!

DN sums up “our” position nicely.

“The focus upon the human may be misguided. A focus on the activities rather than the people might bring benefits. Moreover, substituting activity-centered for human-centered design does not mean discarding all that we have learned. Activities involve people, and so any system that supports the activities must of necessity support the people who perform them. We can build upon our prior knowledge and experience, both from within the field of HCD, but also from industrial engineering and ergonomics.”

Substituting activity-, or process-, centered for human-, or user, -centered EHR design does not mean discarding user-centered design’s insights. Some user-centered EHR design verges on activity-centered design. 1986’s User-Centered System Design contains seminal insights relevant to activity-based design. Much of traditional user-centered design fits usefully into a larger activity-centered framework. Don’t throw it out like the proverbial baby, just let it grow up and be all it can be (to mix a simile with a slogan).

For example, I often distinguish between structured EHR documents and structured EHR workflows.

“[User-centered EHR design] deserve[s] a more instrumented and malleable EHR substrate than current EHRs typically provide….Structured-document-based EHRs and EMRs have relatively frozen workflows. They have no means to use workflow execution context (‘enactment’ in BPM parlance) to decide intelligently at run-time what and how to paint content on each screen, and which screens to present in which order based on user who-what-why-when-where-how context. Structured-workflow-based EMRs and EHRs have exactly this means. Combining this means with traditional usability engineering methods promises more systematically improvable EMR and EHR workflow and therefore EMR and EHR usability.” Comment: Usability Expert Jakob Nielsen Would Like EMRs / EHRs with Big Targets, Less Functionality and Better Workflow Management

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

You may be excused if you wonder if activity-centered design and BPM are really related. And, do other people agree with Donald Norman? Yes, on both accounts.

For example:

“Most of today’s approaches to business process engineering (also called business process management) start from an activity-centered perspective. They describe activities to be carried out within a business process and their relationships, but they usually pay little attention to the objects manipulated within processes.” Business Process Modeling and Workflow Management

Not paying attention to objects manipulated within a process is useful. Process-centered designers can (temporarily) ignore non-workflow related details to focus on process.


“[on Activity-Centered Design] understanding your users as people is far less important than understanding them as participants in activities “ Activity-Centered Design

That’s it, in a nutshell. Focus on processes surrounding users, then workflow roles, then users who fill the roles. At its core, that’s process-centered EHR design. Workflow management systems, business process management technology, and case management software make process-centered design easier. If healthcare needs process-centered EHR design and process-centered EHR design needs process-oriented EHR information systems then healthcare needs process-oriented EHR information systems.

That has been the message of this blog from its very beginning, three years ago: Welcome! (EHR + WfMS = EHR WfMS).

Hold Onto Your Hats: BPM in Healthcare is Taking Off!

I’ve been writing, presenting, blogging, and tweeting about HIT / EHR workflow management systems and business process management (BPM) for more than a decade. My 2003 white paper has been number one in Google for “EMR” and “workflow” for years (now watch it drop like a rock!). Also see Well Understood, Consistently Executed, Adaptively Resilient, and Systematically Improvable EHR Workflow.

Here’s an example from 2009:

Picture a graph that depicts progress toward higher and higher levels of market understanding of, and appreciation for, workflow management systems, EMR workflow systems, and business process management. By “workflow” and “workflow management” I don’t mean the meaningless ad copy that is thrown around and sprinkled on most brochures and websites. By “workflow management” I mean the same thing as what professionals and academics and workflow and business process management system vendors mean in the workflow and business process management system industry.


The X axis for that graph is now 10 years long. Data points are based on an unscientific series of impressions and vignettes: questions I received from an audience member at HIMSS, a presentation I attended, a conversation in an exhibit booth. I began to see material on the web besides my own around 2004, plus have an occasional encouraging conversation. But it wasn’t until recently that I began to get the impression of a large uptick surrounding recent discussions of certification, usability, and meaningful use.

This blog has a page called Healthcare BPM, but I stopped updating it when I created a companion Website: The EHR.BZ Report on EMR and EHR Workflow, Usability, (Patient) Safety, and Productivity. If you search that web page for the string “BPM” or “business process management” there’s a couple hundred hits. Even links that do not explicitly mention BPM have something to do with process-aware ideas and technologies on one hand and health IT problems with workflow, usability, patient safety and productivity on the other. EHR.BZ recently passed a thousand links and I add more each week. If a single Drudge Report-style page with over a thousand links seems large, they’re all short links ( plus two characters), so the page is under 200K: download it yourself. Seems OK to me!

In a if-you-predict-the-inevitable-every-day-eventually-you’ll-be-right sort of way, I’m finally right. There’s the recent uptick I mentioned at #HIMSS12. Then there are six sessions (below) at the upcoming IBM Impact 2012 Global Conference in Las Vegas. I prefer to link to such content, but for the life of me I could not figure out how to deep link to these sessions, so copy-and-paste it is. I do hope you visit the website and go to the conference (and come back and write a guest blog post here). I added the bolded phrases and comments after each abstract.

To see the “in situ” sessions go here

and search for “BPM” within “Healthcare and Life Sciences.”

BBA-2108 : Customer Case Study: Cigna Healthcare and BPM process-centric tools

Abstract See how Cigna Healthcare is investing in the innovation needed to maintain its position as a global health services leader by putting the Customer first. Cigna has embarked on what might become their most strategic and transformational initiative ever. Cigna is approaching this complex project utilizing a coherent set of BPM process-centric tools to extract the business rules out of their core systems and business processes. With the ability to link end to end business rules with business process, while supporting business policy, this business led transformation will allow Cigna to strengthen its customer-centric competitive edge while providing the agility needed to grow and evolve over time.

What caught my eye about this abstract was the juxtaposition of “process-centric” and “customer-centric.” How can both be true? Well, this “-centric” is not like the -centric in the patient-centric vs physician-centric debate. Think of it this way. User-centered design is about understanding and adapting to the user. If you adapt a process to a user (customer) it’s being user (customer)-centric. How do you adapt a process to, well, anything? Through process-centric tools, such as workflow management systems, business process management, adaptive case management, clinical groupware, etc. By the way, I think a process-centric approach is a good way to take into account all relevant stakeholders, including physicians and patients.

I didn’t find any relevant white papers about “Cigna” and BPM. But technology-oriented job titles and advertised job requirements are leading indicators for new technology adoption and “BPM” and “Business Process Management” are well represented. Also scan these tweets for BPM job openings at #HIMSS12 if you haven’t already.

BBA-1599 : Improving Healthcare Processes and Quality of Care by Leveraging BPM

Abstract Processes within healthcare systems are generally well standardized and managed. Unfortunately, much of the care delivery processes exist outside of these systems. While carried out with the highest degree of good intention and hard work, execution errors often occur in carrying out these processes and there is a high degree of process variability. With this in mind, The Ottawa Hospital is developing a Care Process Management platform leveraging BPM, rules, collaboration and analytics technologies, resulting in improved patient safety, patient flow and providing clinical areas a better view into how their processes are operating and where bottlenecks are occurring in order to solve problems in real-time.

Hmm. Not sure about the “Processes within healthcare systems are generally well standardized and managed.” But I agree with the rest of the abstract. The difference between “good intentions” and “execution errors” reminds me of cognitive psychology’s distinction between mistakes and slips. Workflow engines executing process definitions, tracking task states and alerting users if there is a problem, help prevent uncompleted tasks from slipping between the cracks.

You can see how BPM occasionally gets re-branded in healthcare, such as Care Process Management (here) or Healthcare Process Management. I think it’s to make BPM more palatable to those (like myself) who feel healthcare should be about more than profit. That said, the same technology that helps companies in other industries make lots of money can be used in healthcare to save lots of money (uppermost on healthcare executives minds).

“Views into…processes” and “bottlenecks” reminds me of BPM’s exciting new (to healthcare) process mining technology, about which I recently presented (video, paper) at the recent Healthcare Process Improvement Conference in Las Vegas (Again? What is it about that place?). Process mining has three purposes, all relevant to this abstract: process discovery (“view into…processes”), process conformance (“execution errors…patient safety”), and process enhancement (such as finding “bottlenecks”).

There’s also this podcast about Care Process Management at Ottawa Hospital (hundreds of views and 4.6 out of 5.0 stars, that is impressive).

TPA-1930 : Case Study (Independent Health): Increase Agility With a BPM Center of Excellence

Abstract Independent Health (IH) is striving to become a more process centered organization in response to the changing nature of the Healthcare Industry. Agility and Process Excellence are key elements in our ability to respond to the demands of Healthcare Reform. IH has recently built a Business Process Center of Excellence and implemented IBM Business Process Manager as our Business Process Management System tool. Learn about IH’s experience of building the Business Professional Code of Ethics, the selection process for our BPMS and the actual implementation of our Pilot Project for BPMS

There’s that phrase again: “process-centered.” In a nutshell, “user-centered” requires “process-centered” because health information systems need to adapt, or be easily and systematically adapted, to organizational and user workflow. I suspect we’ll see more Process Centers of Excellence in healthcare (whether prefaced by “Business,” “Care,” or “Healthcare”). Finally, the “selection process for [a] BPMS” will be increasingly relevant to healthcare organizations as awareness for BPMS advantages grows. “Selection” is smack dab between “awareness” and “implementation.”

TPA-1901 : Case Study (Lund University): Immunization Scheduling Optimization for Business Process Excellence

Abstract Around 1.4 million Children die because of preventable diseases today. Each 193 sovereign states of the world have their own immunization schedule regulating vaccines, doses and intervals. The schedules differ significantly. That is a major problem for General Practitioners (GPs) when fighting to prevent deadly child diseases. The situation is in need of remedy why the VacSam project designed a business rules centric digital service using IBM Websphere Ilog JRules. The immunization practice craves exact conformance to regulations, why the incorporation of SOA, BRA and BPM became a fruitful design method advocating to separate concerns in the SOA, permitting business logic to become boundless available i.e., a Service Oriented Business Process.

Here’s some links relevant to the VacSam project

VacSam – Digital eService for Coordinated Vaccination Control

Business Process and Business Rules Modelling In Concert for e-Service Design and Business Alignment

in which they say

Ideally, business rules (BRs) and business processes (BPs) should be kept as separate services. However, BRs and BPs are interrelated and should be designed in parallel. In this paper, we argue for why and how this is important with an example from a major development and research project called VacSam.


Service orienting the Swedish vaccination recommendation activity with the business rules centric digital service VacSam

The “Hold on to Your Hats: BPM in Healthcare is Taking Off” point I’ll make here is that as SOAs (Service-Oriented Architectures) become more popular and prevalent in healthcare (and they are becoming so), BPM will also become more popular and prevalent. BPM is a great way to coordinate all of these services in the cloud; they don’t coordinate themselves. By the way, BPM is also moving to the cloud, even Amazon is adding workflow functionality for free and then pay-as-you-go.

TPA-2593 : Case Study (MedImpact): BPM & Decision Automation for Benefits Management

Abstract Pharmacy Benefits Management is a process-centric and business rules intensive, multi-party information management business. As a benefits management service provider, MedImpact’s value to customers lies in the efficiency of its processes and the implementation agility and accuracy of customer-driven policies for the various benefit management decisions. MedImpact is leveraging the IBM BPM and WebSphere Operational Decision Management products to increase agility, accuracy and auditability of business functions. This presentation will review MedImpact’s success story in implementing BPM & JRules, to automate the Prior Authorization process and Coverage Determination decisions. The presentation will review our goals, challenges, and lessons learned.

I wasn’t able to find much but here is copy from a Webinar:

MedImpact has gained a competitive edge in the pharmacy benefits management arena by:

  • Taking the first step to build a process based organization as part of a company wide BPM initiative
  • Capturing important process knowledge that resulted in the deployment of consistent processes and improved business results
  • Building an entry point for a governance structure that enables MedImpact to develop detailed steps for compliance measures and policy procedures

This initiative is pharmacy benefits management. I think it applies well to health information technology in general and even electronic health records in particular. EHRs are increasingly becoming healthcare organization-wide initiatives (that is, not just about patient documentation anymore). Current EHRs aren’t good at “capturing” (documenting, representing, tracking, mining, etc.) process knowledge needed to reduce clinical and business process variability and improve clinical and business results. BPM systems are.

TIH-2422 : Transforming Canadian Healthcare – Why The Ottawa Hospital Chose IBM for BPM

Abstract Canadian hospitals and health ministries are focused on improving delivery of health services while managing budgets and satisfying government regulations such as wait times. Health professionals are a highly mobile workforce and recognize everything they do is a process, heavily interactive, but currently in a siloed environment of technologies. No Canadian academic health sciences centre sees more patients than The Ottawa Hospital (TOH). TOH is a leader in healthcare and serves people across eastern Ontario, striving to provide each patient with the world-class care, exceptional service and compassion. This session will discuss why the hospital started the journey with Business Process Management, why TOH chose IBM as its partner, the results and the steps taken on its journey to date. BPM has already provided significant value in areas such as chart management, and is demonstrating how BPM and the partnership with IBM will realize the hospital of the future.

The Ottawa Hospital is represented twice in these six sessions. I’ve already commented and provided a link to a podcast. So I’ll move on…but not before noting the word “journey” and the phrase “hospital of the future.” HIT and EHR BPM systems are not static applications. They are designed to flexibly change, and to be changed, over time. Once BPM infrastructure is in place, this is when real opportunities for systematic improvement of healthcare processes present themselves. Sort of like opening a Pandora’s Box full of opportunities (instead of troubles).

So that’s my latest evidence that BPM in healthcare is taking off. Whether it does so like a rocket or a heavily-loaded crop duster remains to be seen. It will probably be somewhere in between. In either case, hold onto your hat!

P.S. In case you may think I’m making a big deal about a single data point (though, technically, it’s five or six), here’s another. Check out this recent series-of-three articles about BPM in healthcare.

  1. BPM: Healthcare’s prescription for serving patients better
  2. BPM offers healthy prognosis for improving electronic health records
  3. BPM plays a critical role in healthcare compliance

Not long ago I would have been hard-pressed to find even a series-of-one about BPM in healthcare. “Series-of-one”: that’s a joke. (Not a good one. But I couldn’t resist.) I suspect we’ll be seeing lots of other series’s, sponsored magazine inserts and eventually even conferences (besides ProHealth, an academic more than a trade conference) before long.

And, if you still think I’m making way too big a deal about BPM in healthcare, generalizing from not enough data points, well, how about a thousand points of data?

“HatCam” goes to #HIMSS12: Video Interviews, Fisheye Tours, BPM & Process Mining

At the recent #HIMSS12 in Las Vegas I walked around with a small, but noticeable, bluetooth “HatCam” clipped to my Fighting Illini ballcap. I even changed my Twitter avatar to show the HatCam. Tweeting one-minute (on average) interviews with hashtag #HIMSS12 (click it to search Twitter for related tweets), I had lots of fun. With other video (such as Meet the Bloggers: #HealthIT Edition) I even started a YouTube channel.


After tweeting a HatCam interview I’d sometimes check my Twitter stream to check that it posted. Didn’t work. Watching my Twitter stream felt like standing at the edge of Niagara Falls. I’d tweet. Check my tweet stream. Not there. Oh it was there. Just already hundreds of tweets ago. However, except for the increased volume #HIMSS10 Best Ever: Due in Large Part to Social Media is still a pretty accurate qualitative description. And regarding this year’s Meet the Bloggers at the Health Social Media Center, a lot of what was said two years ago (sometimes by the same people) still applies (at least to blogging): Meet the Bloggers Revisited: Can You Identify Who Said What?

I was going to wear the HatCam at the Society for Health Systems 2012 Healthcare Systems Improvement Conference (#SHS2012, where I talked about EHRs, BPM, and process mining) but I chickened out (first time attendee and all). When #HIMSS12 arrived and I saw all the bright and shiny mobile gadgets, I found my resolve and donned my own bright and shiny mobile gadget.

(By the way, regarding #SHS2012 and #HIMSS12, I tweeted both hashtags for couple days, figuring early bird #HIMSS12 folks were in town during the #SHS2012 conference. #HIMSS12 attendees are great at building #HealthIT systems but could use #SHS2012 process improvement techniques to systematically improve #HealthIT -mediated processes.)

I came to #HIMSS12 with two separate goals that unexpectedly (to me) melded together. (1) Have fun (especially with my HatCam). (2) Network with attendees about healthcare workflow and analytics.

I’d interview someone and tweet it. Then, they’d ask why I’m doing this (or I’d bring it up) and I’d whip out my business card (specifically the back of my business card, see below) and ask if I could deliver a 60 second pitch. No one refused and most seemed entertained in bemused sort of way. Since I’d many more conversations about what I was doing than actual doing, I got to (briefly) talk about process mining EHR and HIT data with lots of tolerant, then intrigued, #HIMSS12 attendees.


What a gimmick! I’m even mentioned on @TechGuy‘s much trafficked EMR and HIPAA blog. Here’s the bit mentioning me:

In between this keynote and the afternoon keynote, I planned to do a 1 minute video interview with Charles Webster, MD who had a hat cam. Well, the 1 minute video didn’t turn out quite like I thought it would go. I guess HIMSS finally caught up with me. Here’s the video :

Charles Webster has a really simple but powerful service called EHR Workflow. He allows someone to take some really simple to create data elements from an EHR and to create a nice looking map of where the bottlenecks in your EHR workflow exist. I encourage people to take a look at it and let me know what you think.

I hope you visit EMR and HIPAA because it’s one of my favorite blogs and, eventually, if you post or interact with John on Twitter, he is a most generous social media maven.

This dynamic, of giving something fun and potentially valuable (from a marketing perspective) in exchange for an opportunity to explain what I am passionate about, made my antenna quiver. I’ve been writing and presenting about EMR and EHR workflow management systems, business process management, process-aware information systems since the 2000 HIMSS in Dallas. More recently I’ve advocated process mining EHR event data (here, here, and especially here).

Back to the HatCam…

The HatCam is controlled by bluetooth from my Android (or iPhone) smartphone, which serves as a viewfinder (you’ll see it once in a while in the videos). I’ve a bunch of different lenses attaching to the HatCam, from zoom to fisheye to macro (for close ups, small print perhaps?). Anyhoo, here’s a fisheye tour of #HIMSS12, from education session and onto the exhibit floor.

Expand to full screen (lower right) for full fisheye effect!

My favorite “serious” interview was @pekharrison a statistician from Mercy who co-authored a wonderful poster about Process Mining of Clinical Workflows for Quality and Process Improvement. I’ve been interesting in process mining ever since I met its godfather, Prof. Wil van der Aalst, at MedInfo2004 in San Francisco. I follow, on Twitter, a bunch of BPM and process mining researchers in Europe and some of them follow me back (Hi!).

[3/3/12 Update: Kindly supplied by authors at
here is paper associated with poster:
Process Mining of Clinical Workflows for Quality and Process Improvement

And here’s my favorite “fun” interview (serious content, ebulliently delivered), @MelSmithJones of @Perficient_HC.

@MelSmithJones had just interviewed me! … in full HatCam regalia no less. Yep. HatCam was running. I’ll post the HatCam version of this interview later. (It has a “Being Chuck Webster” a la “Being John Malkovich” sort of feel.)

The Whole HatCam Etiquette Thing

If you listen to me talking to myself during the fisheye tour of #HIMSS12, I do address some issues I confronted. If the HeadCam is running and I bump into someone I know or turn into a vendor booth, I turn off the HatCam and point it upwards. (Reminds me of my father’s gun safety lessons. “Never point it at anyone unless you intend to use it!”.) I was afraid that folks might think walking around with a HatCam was obnoxious, but the opposite was true. Folks chased me to find out what I was doing and then dragged me back to their booth to interview someone. Sometimes I had to take it off because I couldn’t get to where I was going otherwise.

The HatCam was, and is, fun. I’d (and will) do it again.

By the way, might you be interested in a one-minute tweetable interview on a topic of your choice? If you were to do so, what would be a good question for me to ask you? That’s a fantastic question! Let’s do it!

I think you get the idea. I’m always looking for an angle. My HatCam was a fun way to introduce myself at #HIMSS12 to complete strangers and start conversations about BPM-style workflow automation, case management, and process mining.

P.S. By the way, there was substantial uptick in the marketing of BPM at #HIMSS12. Just take a look at the results below from searching Twitter for #HIMSS12 and #BPM. Against a backdrop of many thousands of #HIMSS12 tweets, these may not seem like a lot (and, of course I admit, lots are mine) but it’s still impressive when you think that the last time I attended HIMSS (#HIMSS10 in Atlanta) I didn’t see any at all besides mine.

I will go out on a limb and make a quantifiably testable prediction. The same search for #HIMSS13 and #BPM next year will return even more tweets. I can hardly wait!

Tweets at #HIMSS12 mentioning #BPM:

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
Dear #HIMSS12 : I tweet year long on #EMR #EHR #workflow #usability #productivity #ptSafety #ROI #BPM checkout » Best, Chuck

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
Negotiating Deadline Constraints in Inter-org. Logistic Systems: Healthcare Case Study #BPM #HealthIT #HIMSS12 not

Chris Taylor @BPMForReal
Back in Pasadena following #HIMSS12 . A great conference for passion and controversy.… << Some takeaways #Healthcare #BPM

Gilles Tousignant @docseggi
Healthcare: Set my data free! #HIMSS12 #BPM via @zite

Melody Smith Jones @MelSmithJones
#Healthcare set me data free! #HIMSS12 #BPM #healthcare #FreeAtLast

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
Need #EHR #WfMS #BPM #ACM RT @SuccessfulWork Our health depends on EMRs #HIMSS12 #BPM #healthcare

Chris Taylor @SuccessfulWork
Our health depends on having electronic medical records #HIMSS12 #BPM #healthcare

Chris Taylor @BPMForReal
Healthcare: Set my data free! #HIMSS12 #BPM

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
Executive Meet and Greet starts NOW in #HIMSS12 booth 5130. #ECM #BPM #healthIT #HCSM

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
RT @SuccessfulWork #MeaningfulUse requires coordination of humans, not just technology. #EMR systems failing 4 #BPM reasons. #HIMSS12 @TIBCO

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
Alert! #BPM #Healthcare sighting “EHR…Simplify business processes 2 remove workflow bottlenecks” @PerceptiveSW #HIMSS12

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
Don’t miss the Perceptive Exec Meet & Greet Thur @ 10:30 @ #HIMSS12 booth 5130. Hear #ECM #BPM #healthcare f/ the execs.

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
Booth 5130–demos happening now! See how #ECM amd #BPM can make all the difference in your #healthcare organization. #HIMSS12

Jonena Relth @relth
RT @perceptivesw : Join us in booth 5130 at #HIMSS12 for @Gartner_inc research VP Barry Runyon for IT Consolidation Strategy. #ECM #BPM

Chris Taylor @SuccessfulWork
#MeaningfulUse requires coordination of humans, not just technology. #EMR systems failing for #BPM reasons. #HIMSS12 @TIBCO

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
#ECM #BPM #healthcare demos happening now…and what happens in Vegas… Booth 5130 #HIMSS12

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
Join us in booth 5130 at #HIMSS12 for @Gartner_inc research VP Barry Runyon for IT Consolidation Strategy. #ECM #BPM #HCSM #healthIT

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
TX! Lots #EHR #HeathIT #workflow chatter but not much #BPM RT @fluxiconlabs @EHRworkflow How is #HIMSS12  Love Ur 1min interviews! #EHRvideo

[relatively speaking!]

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
Here’s a great thinking game 2 play @ #HIMSS12 Every time any1 says “workflow” every1 has 2 think #BPM #workflowEngine!/EHRworkflow…

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
Like to welcome @6Vidya to Twitter! She co-authored #HIMSS12 clinical process mining poster… pls follow! #BPM #healthIT

Michael Hopkins @MHopkinsPS
Don’t miss @gartner_inc analyst Barry Runyon speaking – @PerceptiveSW at booth 5130 tomorrow at 10:30am. #ECM #BPM #himss12 #HIMSS #HIT

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
15 min #healthcare overview on #ECM & #BPM solutions at booth 5130. Just 20 min away! #HIMSS12

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
Don’t miss the Perceptive 15 min #healthcare overview at booth 5130. Just 1 hour away! 3pm at #HIMSS12 #HIT #healthIT #HCSM #ECM #BPM

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
Find out about #ECM and #BPM #careers . We’re #hiring at #HIMSS12 . Booth 5130.

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
We’re hiring at #HIMSS12 . Drop by booth 5130 and ask about out open positions in #healthcare #hiring #jobs #ECM #BPM #careers

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
Don’t miss the Perceptive 15 min #healthcare overview. 3pm, booth 5130 #ECM #BPM #HIMSS12 #HIT #HIE #HCSM

Perceptive Software @PerceptiveSW
Don’t miss our 15 min #healthcare solutions overview TODAY 3p, booth 5130 #ECM #BPM #HIT #HIMSS12 #HCSM

Chris Taylor @SuccessfulWork
Would #healthcare #interop be more effective if frameworks used? #BPM @apqc @rwebb_apqc… #HIMSS12 << Provocative!

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
LEAN Strategies/Rapid Response #Workflow Improve #ptSafety “HIT & #BPM 2 automate care process” #HIMSS12 #SHS2012

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
Following #HIMSS12 ? Check out #SHS2012 too increasing overlap btwn #HealthIT #Lean #process #BPM #EHR#EMR #simulation

Charles Webster, MD @EHRworkflow
RE last tweet: if U don’t want LOTS of tweets abt #HealthIT #workflow #usability #BPM this wk U prolly ought 2 unfollow me #HIMSS12 #SHS2012

Chris Taylor @SuccessfulWork
Power of the CHECKLIST! Prepping to leave for #HIMSS12 on a Saturday morning. #DeathValley on the way to #LasVegas , Baby! #BPM #healthcare