Clinical Workflow Analysis Using Workflow Patterns

EHR adoption is a relative success story.  I say relative because more clinicians use EHR systems than ever before, but not everyone is happy to be doing so.    The effects of EHR adoption on patients have often been discussed, but mostly from the viewpoint of improved outcomes.   The safety of EHR systems for patients is […]


Over the last two years, I have written three series of posts that address workflow-related topics. The first, Preventing Your EHR from Working Against You, was a view of workflow issues from the standpoint of product selection and test script creation. Petri Nets and Clinical Information Systems, the second, focused on the basics of Petri […]


Control-flow patterns capture process information related to movement from task-to-task.  However, task execution does not tell the whole story of workflows.   Work usually consumes and produces information as well.  Well-designed systems anticipate information needs.     With this in mind, workflow modeling should include information flows as well as task execution sequences. In Workflow Data Patterns, Russell […]


Solving workflow problems requires an orderly approach to discovering details.  One can start by capturing a narrative description of the workflow to be analyzed.  Analyzing narratives for important verbs and nouns is a common technique for developing use cases (1). It works just as well for documenting workflows.  The great thing about starting with a […]


In the last post, we looked at the five basic patterns, and two that were more advanced, along with examples of how they can represent tasks.  Now, we are going to look at the graphical representations of these seven patterns. I find that familiarity with the graphical representations of patterns not only helps me to […]


Since there are more than 80 control-flow and data workflow patterns, an exhaustive review in a blog post (even a series) is unrealistic.  Accordingly, my goal is to present a select group of patterns in order to: 1) demonstrate the value of focusing on core workflow concepts, and 2) illustrate how patterns can be applied […]


Reconciling EHR workflows with the human activities they are supposed to support is one of the most challenging aspects of EHR implementation.   Much of the difficulty arises because EHR systems tend to have hard-coded workflows, and these workflows have no explicit standard representation.  That is, there are no standard charts or diagrams that are […]

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