My Rejected Presentation Proposal: Process-Aware Information Systems Come to Healthcare

Short Link: http://ehr.bz/reject

I’m fine! No problem. Only a small percentage of proposals to present at a certain major health IT conference are accepted. That conference shall remain nameless and blameless. High standards are part of the reason why its presentations are always so good. I’ve been lucky to present about a half-a-dozen times, batting about 500, which I understand is pretty good. And, regardless, I go!

This year, if anything like last year, and especially if year-to-year trends extrapolate, social media is gonna be big. Really big. And one of the great things about social media, especially the combo of blogs and live-tweeting, is you, me, anyone can self-publish directly into a roaring, swirling maelstrom of tweets, links, and even HatCam videos!

Therefore I am publishing, and tweeting, my own rejected conference presentation proposal. 🙂

Process-Aware Information Systems Come to Healthcare:
Business Process Management in Healthcare


Mobile, social, cloud, big data, etc. move over: PAIS.

Process-aware information systems (PAIS) ideas and technology — workflow management, business process management (BPM), and adaptive case management systems — are diffusing into healthcare from other industries. A Process-Aware Information System is “a software system that manages and executes operational processes involving people, applications, and/or information sources on the basis of process models.” The best known PAIS is a business process management system or suite. BPM suites include many of the following technologies:

  • Executable process models
  • Codeless development
  • Groupware-based collaboration
  • Event-driven processes
  • Process intelligence and monitoring
  • Simulation and optimization
  • Business rule management
  • Process component archives

Some of these technologies have counterparts in healthcare IT. Others are just beginning to appear. Regardless of maturity of individual technology, perhaps the BPM suite’s greatest value is as a model for how all of these technologies can fit together.

In some instances, process-aware ideas inform new solutions from health IT vendors. PAIS platforms developed outside healthcare are imported and adapted. Key PAIS components, such as workflow engines and process editors, are embedded in new health IT systems or retrofit to existing HIT systems. A cursory search for “workflow engine” AND “EMR” OR “EHR” in Google turns up increasing hits.

After a short history of process-aware systems, I’ll present a meta-analysis of twenty-five de-identified BPM in healthcare case studies. The de-identification prevents incidental, but unnecessary, commercialism. By “meta-analysis” I simply mean I’ll contrast and combine results from different case studies to identify patterns, disagreements, and aspects of interest to a health IT audience. Cases will be compared and contrasted relative to where in healthcare they occurred (hospital vs. ambulatory, back-office vs. point-of-care, and so on), who sponsored the case (academic vs. vendor), and claimed results (both qualitative and quantitative).

I’ll close with…

  • developing and deploying workflow via cloud (including Amazon and Google),
  • mobile workflow (including cross-platform),
  • structured versus unstructured data and workflow, and
  • how to incorporate social into the mix.

As healthcare avails itself of new platforms-as-services, it will find PAIS under the hood and along for the ride.

Takeaways include a powerful new idea (the executable process model), examples of successful applications of PAISs in healthcare, and a positive but skeptical attitude useful for further investigation. This presentation will be the first place many attendees will hear the next big idea in healthcare IT: process-aware information systems.


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