Tutorials

My enthusiasm for workflow patterns stems, to a significant extent, from the fact that they provide an extraordinary library of process information.   By providing a pattern library, van der Aalst et al. have made available a set of modeling hints that are detailed and very helpful to workflow analysts.   Having them, one need not start […]

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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 […]

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Designing software, like practicing medicine, is in essence about solving problems.   Patients do not present with a series of multiple-choice answers from which one may select, and complex software systems are never built using stock requirements.   Both activities are as much art as science, and the results vary greatly among practitioners.   Like most people, I […]

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Clinical care consists of processes.  Examining patients, prescribing medications, mailing bills, reviewing charts–they are all processes.   Fortunately, there exists a perfectly good way of describing processes mathematically using graphs.  Graph theory originated when Leonhard Euler attempted to solve a simple problem mathematically.  The town of Konigsberg, where he lived, had four land areas that were […]

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Until I began studying discrete math, my idea of a function was something along the lines of formulae such as f(x) = x3, e=mc2, or F=ma.  Very likely, this is true for most people.   Math education from elementary algebra to differential equations focuses on functions that return a real number value.   However, this is a very […]

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We saw in the last post that taking the Cartesian product of two sets results in a collection of ordered pairs.   Now, we are going to explore how ordered pairs and larger groupings can be used to organize information using relations. Here is the definition of a relation taken from Discrete Mathematics with Applications, by […]

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Everything can be expressed as a set—the rooms in a building, the providers in a practice, penicillins—everything.  When one studies the basics of set theory – unions, intersections, subsets and the like—the concepts seem so simple, even obvious, that it is difficult to believe that Georg Cantor  had to dream them up and then convince […]

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