Friday August 22 12-1 EST Please Join The #HITsm Tweetchat About Workflow!

http://EHR.BZ/hitsm

[August 18, 2014: Wil van der Aalst, author of many papers, chapters, and books about process-aware information systems, such as business process management and process mining, is generously donating one of his books (signed) to the person who tweets most (besides me!) during the 8/22 tweetchat! Please see my interview Could Dutch Computer Scientist Wil van der Aalst Save U.S. Healthcare 600 Billion Dollars? with Wil several years ago.]

If you are interested in healthcare workflow, want to find people to follow on Twitter interested in healthcare workflow (I’m @wareFLO, ahem!), or want to show off what you know about healthcare workflow, just search Twitter for the #HITsm hashtag from 12 to 1 EST on Friday, August 22nd. If you see something interesting you want to respond to, include the #HITsm hashtag in your tweet and others will see your tweet and do the same. Got it? You can also include the number of the question or theme, T1 through T5 (see below).

Here’s some background material:

Definitions of workflow and workflow tech follow, as well as links to background material, if you are so interested.

  • Introduce yourself!
  • T1: What’s your biggest, grandest (or baddest!) workflow charting, process mapping adventure/accomplishment/debacle ?
  • T2: Workflow isn’t always about work. Do you have an interesting “Lifehack” to share? (Lifehacks are novel or even inspiring improvements to personal workflow increasing efficiency and productivity.).
  • T3: Wearable technology — smartwatches, Google Glass, sensors strapped to all sorts of places — have implications of workflow in the Lifehack sense. Blueskying it, what is the nuttiest, craziest, “wearable workflow” idea you can toss out there?
  • T4: Have you heard of Business Process Management (AKA BPM). Any relevance to healthcare workflow? (See Business Process Management: A Comprehensive Survey)
  • T5: Do you sell software or services that improve healthcare workflow? Introduce yourself (in a low-key manner) and include a link to substantive content (white paper, video, technology description, etc.) illustrating how you do it!

How did I choose these questions? Let me explain, and then define what I mean by workflow and workflow tech.

Everyone in health IT has drawn out workflows for some process, or participated in similar. The Lifehack question is fun and relevant. Personal and professional workflows are full of workflow “hacks”. And the idea of “life hacking” is relevant to “wearable workflow”, ways in which smartwatches, smartglasses, smartrings, smartshoes and so on *might* improve personal and professional workflows. Business Process Management? Workflow engines executing process definitions greater by graphical editors (and a whole lot more). They’re increasingly showing up in healthcare and health IT, though sometimes rebranded as Care or Healthcare Process Management. Finally, health IT vendors play an important role in diffusion ion healthcare of what academics call “process-aware” tech.

Workflow

Workflow is any series of task steps, consuming resources (time, money, supplies, but particularly mental effort and attention), achieving one or more goals. Essentially all purposeful activity relies on workflow. ‎This means you can pivot from workflow to almost any area of healthcare: e-prescribing workflow, workflow of content management, managing your professional health IT job workflow, etc.

Workflow Technology

Any tool or machine used by humans to create value is technology. So, potentially, any tool or machine to improve effectiveness, efficiency, or flexibility of workflow is workflow technology. Workflow tech also involves some sort of model of workflow or work. This model may be prescriptive about step sequence, or it may be high-level and relatively non-prescriptive, perhaps noting goals, subgoals, resources, etc.

This workflow model/model of work may be executed by computer, but it can also be studied and consulted during execution by humans. The model may be in some formal notation (such as BPMN) or it may just be labeled boxes and arrows on the back of a napkin. In fact, a model of work does not even have to be written down, it can be a shared mental model! You and I can discuss workflow, develop a shared mental model, and use that model to better coordinate our joint efforts. And that’s workflow tech too. A model of workflow may be explicit or implicit (such as in machine learning “weights” that learn to predict and help your workflow, such as in Google Now).

P.S. The following is a copy of an earlier version of this post, basically a place holder to get the word out early. The vacation question? Took it out due to other questions competing for time. But feel free to answer it anyway!

VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

Published: AUGUST 3, 2014

Well, I’ve gone and got myself roped into moderating a #HITsm Tweetchat. If you are interested in healthcare workflow, want to find people to follow on Twitter interested in healthcare workflow, or want to show off what you know about healthcare workflow, just search Twitter for the #HITsm hashtag from 12 to 1 EST on Friday, August 22nd. If you see something interesting you want to respond to, include the #HITsm hashtag in your tweet and others will see your tweet and do the same. Got it? You can also include the number of the question or theme, T1 through Tn (see below).

By the way, I won’t be nearly as good as such moderators as @ochotex, @mandibpro and @dz45tr (BTW “disaster”! Get it?). Why? Two reasons come to mind: I only really care about one topic (workflow, most #HITsm twepes have more diverse interests) and, yes, I’m argumentative. So, “moderate”, as in “moderator”, I’m not.

Still, I’m honored to be ask‎ed! I’ll do my best. And if healthcare workflow benefits, even vaguely, ambiguously or indirectly, fantastic!

“Workflow” means a lot of things to a lot of people. So I’ll lay out what I mean by it. But any other working definition at all will be welcomed. In fact, just show up for the incredible camaraderie! ‎I know I do lots, even when the subject isn’t workflow. The back-and-forth joshing is infectious.

Workflow is any series of task steps, consuming resources (time, money, supplies, but particularly mental effort and attention), achieving one or more goals. Essentially all purposeful activity relies on workflow. ‎This means you can pivot from workflow to almost any area of healthcare: e-prescribing workflow, workflow of content management, etc.

OK, what is workflow technology then? Workflow tech is more than just workflow definitions, created by workflow editors, executed by workflow engines. (Though I do go on about those a lot, don’t I!?). Any tool or machine used by humans to create value is technology. So, potentially, any tool or machine to improve effectiveness, efficiency, or flexibility of workflow is workflow technology.

However, I will place one constraint on the above definition of workflow technology. Workflow tech involves some sort of model of workflow or work. This model might be very prescriptive about step sequence, or it can be very high-level and relatively non-prescriptive, perhaps just noting goals, subgoals, resources, etc.

This workflow model/model of work may be executed by computer, but it can also be studied and consulted during execution by humans. The model may be in some formal notation (such as BPMN) or it may just be labeled boxes and arrows on the back of a napkin. In fact, a model of work does not even have to be written down, it can be a shared mental model! You and I can discuss workflow, develop a shared mental model, and use that model to better coordinate our joint efforts. And that’s workflow tech too.

The following are just draft questions for the August 22 “even”. I’m open to addition or substitution. I’m writing this post almost three weeks prior to the #HITsm tweetchat so we’ve got plenty of time to come up with even better questions!

While I’ll introduce each questions every 5 or 10 minutes, as far as I am concerned, any of the following can be addressed at any time between Noon and One o’clock. So feel free to jump right in with T4-T6 right out of the gate! One bit of advice, make your tweet “self-contained” as much as possible, meaning not requiring someone to look up the original question in order to understand your central point. I’ll be retweeting lots to my 4,400+ followers and I want them to benefit, even if they have the audacity not to participate in the #HITsm tweetchat!

  • T1: What’s been your biggest, grandest (or baddest!) workflow charting, process mapping adventure? (I remember covering all the walls of a large conference room with butcher paper full of Sharpie scribbles…)
  • T2: Workflow isn’t always about work. Do you have an interesting “Lifehack” to share? (Lifehacks are novel or even inspiring improvements to personal workflow increasing efficiency and productivity.).
  • T3: Intermission question! Have you recently been, or are you currently at, or will you soon go to some cool vacation destination? Details!
  • T4: Wearable technology — smartwatches, Google Glass, sensors strapped to all sorts of places — have implications of workflow in the Lifehack sense. These include patient monitoring or engagement sense, and the provider health IT user experience sense. “Notifications” are an important function of some wearables. Notifications are similar to alert and reminders in workflow systems. So, blueskying it, what is the nuttiest, craziest, “wearable workflow” idea you can toss out there?
  • T5: OK, I gotta go here: have you heard of Business Process Management (AKA BPM). Any relevance to healthcare workflow? (See Business Process Management: A Comprehensive Survey)
  • T6: Do you sell software or services that improve healthcare workflow? Introduce yourself and include a link to substantive content (white paper, video, technology description, etc.) illustrating how you do it!

Anyway, if you are interested in healthcare workflow, I hope you’ll participate, or at least lurk (and then give into any sudden impulses to participate!) August 22, Noon to One EST, around the #HITsm coffee cooler!

One more thing. I’ll be giving away a special workflow-related gift to the person who tweets most from Noon to One on August 22 on the #HITsm hashtag!


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2 Comments

  1. Posted August 22, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to participating!

  2. chuckwebster
    Posted August 22, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Awesome! What a great potential example of “hybrid vigor”: workflow, quality, Lean experts plus health IT experts plus HIT social media influencers!

    –Chuck

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