Patient Narrative and Healthcare Workflow: Story Informatics!

I have a particular interest in the relationship between stories and workflow. On one hand I’m ABD (All But Dissertation, that story here…) in computational linguistics (the science behind the engineering of natural language processing). On the other hand, I’ve spent my professional career focusing on various aspects of workflow technology in healthcare. Often, when dealing with nontechnical users, I substitute the word “story” for the word “workflow.” Workflow sounds scary (or at least boring). Story sounds friendly (or at least interesting). If I were to coin a phrase, Story Informatics comes to mind!

Many of my projects during my graduate degree in computational linguistics involved analyzing various kinds of narratives: Pilot’s conversing with co-pilots, physicians thinking out loud during problem solving, depressed patients ruminating about life, to name just a few areas. The workflows patients experience give rise to natural language descriptions, from patients, of their experiences interacting with those workflows. Wouldn’t it be cool is there was some way to convert those natural language descriptions into models of workflow? In fact, research leads toward this goal.

We don’t have to wait to use patient narrative to create workflow systems. Right now analysts create journey maps from customer descriptions of their experiences. My favorite phrase here is “empathic workflow.” As in design thinking, where empathy of users is so important, empathy is also so important when designing workflows with workflow technology.

I am looking forward to today’s (every Friday at noon EST!) #HITsm tweetchat Using patient narrative to explore gaps in health data interoperability. Although, of course, I always substitute “workflow” for “data” (try it!): Using patient narrative to explore gaps in health workflow interoperability (AKA pragmatic interoperability).

@wareFLO On Periscope!


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