I’m always looking for new material on the Web about process-aware information systems in healthcare. They go by many names: EMR workflow systems, EHR workflow management systems, mentions of “workflow engine” in healthcare contexts, clinical groupware (see my definition), EHR BPM systems (for Business Process Management), and adaptive case management, to list a few. Since I also write about these subjects, I often stumble upon my own blog posts, white papers, and tweets. Occasionally I even find my work cited, which really sends my serotonin through the roof (figuratively speaking, of course).
Here’s a mention of my Process-aware EHR BPM Systems: Two Prototypes and a Conceptual Framework that I presented at MedInfo’s 2010 conference in South Africa. It’s in Issues in Information Science: Informatics: 2011 Edition. Fascinating how one can so easily embed the actual page into a blog, such as I have done below.
If you’re interested in more information about “Process-aware EHR BPM Systems” and its associated presentation, the slides and speaker notes are in my blog post Clinical Intelligence, Complex Event Processing and Process Mining in Process-Aware EMR / EHR BPM Systems.
There’s also a follow-on paper about process mining EHRs and process-aware ideas in healthcare called EHR BPM: From Process Mining to Process Improvement to Process Usability that I presented at the 2012 Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference in Las Vegas.
I continue to see more-and-more references to workflow management systems, business process management systems, and process-aware information systems in healthcare. In fact, if you’ll humor me, I’d like to make an analogy, between the ragtag band of BPM enthusiasts (and not so ragtag, there are some really big BPM companies with crosshairs on healthcare) and the Star Wars Rebel Alliance. Hmm. Who or what is the Death Star? I’d argue that the Death Star is what I call the structured-document based EHR. What’s the alternative? The structured-workflow based EHR.
Here’s a bit more on structured-document versus structured-workflow based EHRs. A structured-workflow based EHR has a workflow engine that executes process definitions to save users mental and physical effort, and achieve higher levels of effectiveness, efficiency, and user and patient satisfaction. A structured-document based EHR, without a process-aware, workflow management systems-style foundation, forces the user to become the workflow engine. Users figuratively drag the EHR through a patient encounter, instead of the EHR anticipating user needs and fulfilling them in the background or with a minimum of user effort.
I’m *not* arguing that we need to do away with structured-documents. Just that we should not base EHRs *on* structured-document architectures. Start with structured-workflow management systems, and then implement structured-document functionality on top of that. You’ll end up with much more flexible and usable EHR workflow. And structured-documents too!
That’s having your cake and eating it too.