2006 EHR WfMS Tutorial Slides 3-10: Some Workflow Definitions – Some Usability Definitions

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Some Workflow Definitions

  • Order in which specific work is performed
  • Set of interdependent tasks occurring in specific sequence
  • Coordination of people, documents and technology producing an audit trail of activities and allowing authority to be designated
  • Operational aspect of a work procedure: how tasks are structured, who performs them, what their relative order is, how they are synchronized, how information flows to support the tasks and how tasks are being tracked
  • An process description of how tasks are done, by whom, in what order and how quickly. Workflow can be used in the context of electronic systems or people, ie an electronic workflow system can help automate a physician’s personal workflow

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Scope of Workflow

  • Personal
  • Interpersonal (Departmental)
  • Interdepartmental (Intra-organizational)
  • Inter-organizational

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Four Types of EMR EHR Workflow: Time vs Users

Different Time Same Time
Different Person Forward info, Delegate task Who is waiting, where, for what task, how long and who is responsible
Different Person Reminders, Alerts, To-do items Automatic screen navigation, content selection, and presentation format

I find these four categories of electronic health record workflow to be very useful in understanding electronic health record workflow management system.

First there is the different person/different time workflow. This is the classic workflow that most people think of such as a nurse entering some vitals information, which is forwarded to the physician, the physician reviewing that data and other data and then delegating a task back to the nurse.

Different Time & Different User: Four Types of EMR EHR Workflow

Different Time Same Time
Different Person Forward info, Delegate task Who is waiting, where, for what task, how long and who is responsible
Different Person Reminders, Alerts, To-do items Automatic screen navigation, content selection, and presentation format

Then of course there is different person/same time workflow. Because the electronic health record workflow management system what activities are started where how long they’ve been waiting and so forth, all of this information can be feed into todo lists and on to status boards so that everybody can see which patient is waiting for where for what task how long and how is responsible.

Same Time & Different User: Four Types of EMR EHR Workflow

Different Time Same Time
Different Person Forward info, Delegate task Who is waiting, where, for what task, how long and who is responsible
Different Person Reminders, Alerts, To-do items Automatic screen navigation, content selection, and presentation format

Then there is same person/different time workflow. This is the example I mentioned earlier during the discussion of the definition of workflow. Not only can one participant delegate or send information to someone else, they can delegate a task to themselves in the future, such as might be accomplished with a reminder or todo item that the electronic health record workflow management system schedules for some future date for the same user.

Different Time & Same User: Four Types of EMR EHR Workflow

Different Time Same Time
Different Person Forward info, Delegate task Who is waiting, where, for what task, how long and who is responsible
Different Person Reminders, Alerts, To-do items Automatic screen navigation, content selection, and presentation format

Finally, there is same person/same time workflow. People often don’t think about this, but process definitions that are used to forward information from person to person can also be used to drive individual screens that a single person interacts with during the accomplishment of a task. Instead of having to navigate through cumbersome menu lists or drill down through complicated dialogue boxes or scrolling through long lists, why not use the information that has been gathered so far–what is the encounter type? who’s logged in? what is the next step in the activities of the process definition–to present the right screen, to include the right content on that screen either data or order entry options and also to present that information in a form that that user prefers such as alphabetical versus categorical.

Same Time & Same User: Four Types of EMR EHR Workflow

Different Time Same Time
Different Person Forward info, Delegate task Who is waiting, where, for what task, how long and who is responsible
Different Person Reminders, Alerts, To-do items Automatic screen navigation, content selection, and presentation format

[material about micro interaction here?]

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Some Usability Definitions

  • “User Friendliness”

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User Friendliness

The use of terms user friendly and user friendliness should be avoided, as there are no widely accepted definitions for them, and they are thus often used without much substance.

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Some Usability Definitions

  • “User Friendliness”
  • How easy it is for a user to complete a task
  • Degree of convenience and practicality in use
  • The efficiency with which a customer can do their tasks with the product, and their overall satisfaction with that process
  • The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use.

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Usability more than Skin Deep

Usability is often considered only important to developing user interfaces. But the user interface is only the surface of many interdependent components, each with their own features that make them more or less usable. As a result, the overall usability of a system is actually the aggregate of how well individual components that make up the system work together.

(p. 31 Designing Healthcare Solutions with Microsoft Biztalk Server 2004)

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From communication: Authorized access to any information by anyone, anytime, anyplace, on any device.

To Coordination: Authorized access to the right person at the right time in the right place on the right device.

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