Thank You To All Who Tweeted About Healthcare Workflow, Wearables, BPM, and Flowcharting!

Do me a favor? Please retweet the following embedded tweet. Thank you very much! — Chuck

Last Friday, for my first time, I moderated one of the weekly 12-1 EST #HITsm tweetchats. Of course the topic was healthcare workflow. You can see my questions below, plus some of the most interesting tweets from participants. Healthcare workflow did well as a topic! Compared to the three previous August #HITsm sessions for 2014 and 2013 (to adjust for seasonal fluctuation) we generated about 40 percent more tweets than average.


Last week’s chat, moderated by @GetWellNetwork, did as well. But, of course, @GetWellNetwork uses a workflow engine! There, I’ve proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that healthcare workflow is simply fascinating and irresistible! :)

Many thanks to the #HITsm regulars, for their warm welcome to the workflow-oriented Twitter accounts I invited. And even more many many thanks to the #HITsm “irregulars” for accepting my invite and participating so enthusiastically! #HITsm regulars are really smart, but, ultimately, if workflow flexibility, transparency, effectiveness, efficiency, quality, consistency, throughput, and user and patient satisfaction are to be substantially improved, it is going to take more than opinions. It’s going to take actual products and services and consultants to help EHR and Health IT users to take back their workflows. (Hmm, Occupy Workflow?).

In no particular order, folks I (think (memory’s a bit hazy) I) invited and showed up! Thank you to you all, but especially the following folks!

@greggalex @alereacs @johnsharp @rightpatient @certifydata @formfast @curaspan @healthnutsmedia @markgraban @actualmeds @lzipperer @versustech @medexofme @annembiernacki @ambiernacki @sjdmd @chadsvoice @madisys @jeronnursecall @elationemr @mmodal @uiandme @lumedx @cmaer @discoverbpm @cliniconex @ehrselector @ehrscience @hdmed4u @stansonhealth @workup_health @healthspek @esseeconsulting @advanctech @kbdenney @voceracom @jimmie_vanagon
@CorepointHealth @FDB_US @zweenahealth @Audrey_C_McL @CommonWell @stanleyhealth @Lumedx @Perficient_HC @VersusTech @saignite @drsxr @PetrosPapapa @DiscoverBPM

On to the tweets!

It was super exciting to see so many new faces! I spoke to several participants afterwords. Both said they’d picked up some new followers. It is my fervent hope to see more health IT folks following workflow tech folks and workflow tech folks following health IT folks. The hybrid vigor of this intellectually exchange cannot lead anywhere except good places.

@Colin_Hung won the workflow book give away by tweeting the most on the #HITsm hashtag between 12 Noon and 1 PM EST. (Colin, please contact me!)

I kicked off this #HITsm tweetchat with an open-ended question about flowcharting experiences, good and bad, because almost everyone (well, that I know) has drawn a flowchart of some workflow or other. It might be to just introduce do a new team member to “the way things are done around here” or it might be part of a quality initiative or it might even be part of gathering user requirements for a new information system. (And, I should mention, it might even be drawn using a graphical workflow editor and then executed by a workflow engine!)

Favorite tweet?

Very dramatic, and, yes, it’s happened to me before too!

This next question, about “Lifehacking” is just something fun, though it does have a point. It’s the multitude of little things we do to improve our personal and professional workflows that add up to great workflow. I strongly suspect that folks who are great of managing their personal workflows are great at managing their professional and workplace workflows. Conversely, I’ll bet these folks can be the most frustrated when it comes to “workflow-obvious” difficult-to-customize EHR and health IT systems!

Awesome! So THAT’s what @MandiBPro is up to? I think Colin just converted me into a selfie taker (was previously an eschewed!).

OK, then there’s this other one from Colin: brilliant! I don’t happen to live near the Canadian/US border (or the US/Canadian boarder, as we call it down here), but I think this is a really good idea.

BTW Colin, contact me about your book!

I’ve become very interested in what I call “wearable workflow”. If you think of workflow as a series of tasks, consuming resources (especially attention), to achieve goals, then wearable tech certainly affects our workflows, in the lifehack sense. Yes, there’s all that data sent heaven-knows-where by our FitBits and such, but it’s notifications that I’m focusing on here. Email, SMS, tweet, upload succeeded, upload failed, how to I move my focus of attention from Google Glass to my smartphone? How do I filter notifications so my smartphone only goes off for the most important one? That’s the kind of wearable workflow I’m taking about. For example, Google Glass startups are getting millions of dollars of investment just to reduce reliance of providers on EHR “clunky” workflow. The permutations are endless! Smartglasses, smartwatches, smartphones, smartrings, smartshoes…. what if they all “go off” at the same time?! We, especially in healthcare, where workflow workflow can do so much good, are also especially bombarded with alerts and reminders. We need some sort of, well, wearable workflow management system, to manage this wearable workflow!

Well, that’s my nutty idea, and I’m sticking to it. In fact, I’m giving the keynote at the Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference in Orlando during February, about this exact topic! Anyway, that’s why asked the question, and here’s my favorite tweets. Actually, there were so many creative and funny I’d I think I include a bunch here…

My next questions, “What is the nuttiest, craziest, “wearable workflow” idea (lifehack or healthcare) you can toss out there?” was like throwing an armful of tinder on a pile of already lit matches! There were so many wonderful nutty/good ideas I can’t just highlight one. But I can’t simply embed a bunch tweets here either. Next month I’m giving a webinar with the Society for Health Systems on “Wearable Workflow”. These tweets are worth a slide, perhaps some sort of word cloud. (I’ll have to think about that…).

  • Using RFID to track hospital gowns! Who’d want to take one home?! @Colin_Hung
  • Mr. RIMP!!! @GreggAlex LOL (@MrRIMP is a “wearable robot” living in my shirt pocket)
  • Recognize patient face, greet by name (creepy?) @jalfson @HealthFusionKMc
  • Automatics patient checkin (@uhna_engels suggested this. BTW There’s at least one Glass-based hotel guest checkin app!)
  • Are smartphones “wearables”? @2HealthGuru (Thats an interesting question! Traditionally, no, but when they start interacting with wearables, such as when a smartphone notification causes you to take your smartphone, or when you wear a smartphone in a shoulder holster when running…)
  • McCoy’s StarTrek TriCorder @HealthFusionKMc (Kathy “McCoy”! Ha! I wonder if one of the roles of TriCoder-like smartphone functionality will be to collecting and interpreting data from smaller, implantable, swallowable wearable tech)
  • Hands-free patient care @VoceraCom (I think this will likely the biggest use for Google Glass certainly, see my trip report from the recent healthcare wearable conference)
  • Swallowables! @dz45tr (fun, how so many new words are being created for wearable-able-like tech… maybe we’ll have “fearables” by Halloween!)
  • Manage notifications across multiple devices @wareFLO (This was my idea. Do we really want the same notifications occurring in both Glass and our watches at the same time? We’ll need some way to manage info-flow and workflow across wearable devices)
  • Startrek comm badge, instant contact w/Aalst :) @EHRscience (This one of was funny, though only to those who know who Will van der Aalst. He’s a Dutch workflow researcher who I’ve interviewed)
  • Glass “brown bag” medication reconciliation (on roadmap) @ActualMeds (Yes, I think I have seen Glass-based object recognition applied to IDing pills)
  • Make wearables just part of life in Lifehack sense @dz45tr (I included the T2 Lifehack question for exactly this reason, wearable workflow is so “intimate” psychologically and physically that personal, professional, and workaday workflows will necessarily sort of merge…)
  • Patient GPS for indoor navigation @jalfson (I think this is wonderful idea. Of course, until, and unless, Glass-like heads-up-displays become more prevalent among consumers, the hospital may have to “provision” patients with the devices. BTW, these folks are working on something similar, though not in a healthcare context)
  • Auto-generating links to literature for second opinions @lzipperer (Very interesting idea! I mentioned similar in my 2013 Google Glass column in HIMSS FutureCare)
  • Translation tool, doc-speak to lay-speak too @uhna_engels (Folks are working on the human language to human language aspect, not to my knowledge technical to folk terminology, may be version of previous idea)
  • SMS/Texting key component of any workflow approach/text message metadata/structure sent and returned @ShimCode (As more and more of our workflow is through texting, especially due to wearable form factors — those tiny screens! — we’re going to need to manage that workflow better, and that is going to require some sort of structured metadata)
  • Replace bad TV/promo mags with patient-relevant content @uhna_engels Lots of excellent wearable workflow ideas from Uhna! (Assumes consumers show up in medical offices wearing Glass or similar. Ha! I’m reminded of this tweet about who folks get absorbed in watching videos on Glass and look really weird to the folks around them.
  • Identify “swiss cheese” holes in workflow @lzipperer (I think Lorri is referring to Reason’s Swiss Cheese model of healthcare system failure. Mistakes happen, and have consequences, when the “holes” in successive layers of systems line to to allow an error to cause something bad to happen. Glass could be useful in two ways, that I can think of: (1) recording video of workaday events for retroactive analysis, and (2) proactive monitoring and guidance to prevent those holes from lining up.)
  • “Omniscient systems” @dz45tr @2HealthGuru (not sure, what this is, but sounds interesting! There’s a reference to SkyNet, the computer in the Terminator movie trying to exterminate humans. But I do think that we’ll need some sort of intelligent workflow layer to manage not just individual wearable devices, but also workflow, that is, user experience, across wearable devices. “Omniscient” carries the idea too far, but perhaps simply “knowledge across wearable device and user or team context” works…)

Wow! What an incredible outpouring of nutty/crazy/just-might-work ideas!

My next question: T4? Come’on… you knew I was going to ask about something kind of technical and jargony having to do with workflow technology.

So I am so glad a couple of workflow tech/BPM experts showed up.

LOL. No….

Ahhh… Vedy nice!

But I also want to thank @DiscoverBPM for showing up!

@DiscoverBPM is from “worldwide” according the his/her Twitter profile. I’m just so delighted to see the BPM folks showing up at health IT venues. I hope @DiscoverBPM will come back for more #HITsm.

OK, finally, I asked for substantive links to content — case studies, white papers, videos, etc. — from people who actually have something to sell! Oh, shame on me… But, truthfully, as I said at the outside, we need more than noisy #HITsm influencers and bloggers, we need actual software and services, combined by the right consulting expertise with native EHR and HIT system user experience, common sense, and creativity, if… we are going to substantiality improve healthcare workflow flexibility, transparency, effectiveness, efficiency, quality, consistency, throughput, and user and patient satisfaction.

That is why I invited who I invited to the 8/22/14 #HITsm on healthcare workflow!

Now, when’s the next scheduled #HITsm tweetchat devoted to healthcare workflow?

:) Chuck

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