Healthcare Business Process Management, Adaptive Case Management & Process-Aware EHR & Health IT Systems

First Steps: List Low Complexity Workflows



Okay. Well, once you’ve done that, you need to winnow down those workflows a little bit further. What you need to do, because you need to walk before you run, you need to say, “Well, what are the low complexity workflows? What are the workflows that will be easiest to accomplish? Because a lot of people are going to be watching and you want to plan for success and so you want to do the things that are going to give you the biggest bang for the buck and then people are going to line up because of the latent demand for fixing workflow problems.



What is workflow complexity? It is also the number of users because users are different so you have a lot of users and they’re all different. Well, guess what, that causes complexity.

Now, you’ve got the number of steps. The more steps that you have to model and to execute, the more complicated the workflow definition, the more complicated the executable process model will be. The more other systems that the system has to touch, the emails that need to be sent automatically, the data that needs to be downloaded from a clinical laboratory or the prescription that needs to be sent someplace or the database in the medical records department that has patient demographics and forms content, the more complicated the workflow is going to be.

Then finally, the more logically complex the decision making and the problem solving across that workflow, the more complicated the workflow. The simpler the decision making, the more likely you can create an business rule someplace, but some business rules are more complicated, the more you’re going to require human intervention and that equals complexity.

Automate High Value, Low Complexity Workflows, Then High Value, High Complexity Workflows



You scan your environment and you say, “Here’s all the workflows.” You grade them according to high value versus low value, low complexity versus high complexity and while you probably don’t want to bother with low value, anything, low value, low complexity, low value … certainly not low value high complexity…



…but you want to start with a success because people are watching. You choose that and when you’re successful, you then start to move up into more complex but also higher value.

Vendor-Specific Best Practices: Your Vendor Knows Best



Now, we finally made it down to actually tackling that workflow. Where is the knowledge that is going to make you successful? Well, business process management, especially in healthcare and workflow automation, workflow management systems technology, case management systems, the terminology hasn’t yet been standardized and the best practices have not been standardized. You kind of need to go native with the vendor.



The workflow vendor has a track record of success. They know what works. They’re invested in your success and so you need to spend the amount of time they think you need to spend the amount of time on training and so forth and so on. In a sense, you’ve got to pick the right Kool-Aid and then you’ve got to drink that Kool-Aid. You’ve kind of got to go native in order to bring the workflow mindset, the workflow culture from the vender over into your organization.

(In The Long Run) Improving Big Workflow Requires Big Data



Okay. We’re closing in the end of this presentation and I just want to show that big data slide one more time. We’ve got this wave. It’s in the headlines but I am firmly convinced that even more important than big data is big workflow. Big workflow requires big data. It requires the data necessary to systematically improve workflow based on analytics that are hooked to things like cycle time, throughput, patient safety and so forth and so on.

The Future is Bright for Healthcare Business Process Management



I’m very, very cheerful and optimistic about more and more of this kind of technology, workflow engines, process definitions, workflow management systems, workflow automation, business process management, case management, these are all kind of mixed together in amalgam. I call it “healthcare business process management”.

Now, some people have a problem with the word “business” in healthcare and so you’ll also sometimes see healthcare process management or care process management but if you drill down and you look in the footnotes, you’ll typically see workflow engines, models, executable models of work. I’ve created a website at, for healthcare business process management dot com. Hope you’ll stop by. I’ve got lots of content there and links off to case studies and so forth.

My Next Speaking Engagement!


BPM Solutions

Process Orchestration Engine (AKA workflow engine) to drive the progression of work in structured and unstructured processes or cases

Model-Driven Composition environment for designing processes and their supporting activities and process artifacts

Content Interaction Management supporting e progression of work, especially cases, based on changes in the content itself (documents, images and audio)

Human Interaction Management enables people to naturally interact with processes they're involved in

Connected Processes and Resources they control, such as people, systems, data, event streams, goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)

Continuous Analytics monitor activity progress, and analyze activities and changes in and around processes

On-Demand Analytics to provide decision support using predictive analytics and optimization

Business Rule Management systems guide and implement process agility and ensure compliance

Management and Administration monitor and adjust technical aspects of BPM platform

Process Component Registry/Repository for process component leverage and reuse

Cloud-Based Deployment of about features and functions across desktop platforms and mobile devices

Social Media Compatible external and/or similar internal activity streams integrated with workflows

*Adapted from Gartner

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