Dear Mom, “Healthcare IT workflow & Business Process Management expert Chuck Webster”, Love Chuck

This blog post is a selfishly self-indulgent and self-promoting. But then, this *is* my personal website at ChuckWebster dot com. So if I can’t stick a selfishly self-indulgent and self-promoting blog post here, where can I stick it? (Don’t answer.)


Actually, there is a serious point. It’s in the PS. This post is just a place to archive some links and tweets, so I can send it to my Mom (Hi, Mom!).

Dear Mom,

I know that I’ve gone on-and-on for decades about workflow in healthcare and workflow technology and business process management and process-aware information systems. You’ve always nodded sympathetically. I’d just like to let you know that I’m finally starting to make progress in educating healthcare and health IT about this stuff! I’ve been quoted in national on-line health IT trade publications! Twice! I’ve included quotes of me essentially quoting myself, plus what are called “tweets”. Tweets are kind of a cross between email, blog posts, and test messages…. I know you know I tweet a lot. These are examples of tweets that I “tweeted out” or that mention me.

Anyway, thank you for your support, and for allowing me to explore whatever I wanted to explore while I was growing up.

Love Chuck

Bad EHR Workflow Played Role in Ebola Patient’s Release

“The real issue, to paraphrase healthcare IT workflow and business process management expert Chuck Webster, is a lack of process awareness. Today’s EHR systems – from Epic or any other vendor – can’t accept information from public health organizations at the point of care. If they could, that Texas Health physician would have seen that Duncan recently returned from Liberia, combined that knowledge with the symptoms Duncan presented and kept him in the hospital instead of sending him home. Building such process-aware systems will require ‘evolutions in workflow,’ Webster says.”

Hold on: Can we really blame Ebola in the US on an EHR?

““Process-aware systems have some sort model of work or workflow that is executable or at least mechanically consultable. Why do I say this? Because we, as a nation, need to be able to automatically, or at least semi-automatically push candidate workflows from public health organizations down to EHRs at the point-of-care,” Charles Webster, MD, wrote in a blog post. “And to do so in a way that supports, but does not disrupt, evolutions in workflow necessary to, say, flag someone who just came back from Liberia. The only way to do this is to actually model workflow. And to transmit these models of workflow via APIs….

Webster, in fact, suggested in an email exchange with Medical Practice Insider that the desired future state of EHRs should include getting the right patient data in front of the right person.

‘The context is essentially, what, who, where, when, why, and how (why I call it the journalistic model of usability). Of course, it’s a sort of back and forth dance, with the user initiating some workflows and the workflow engine initiating others,” Webster explained. “Much of the usability, safety, efficiency, and even interoperability of structured workflow-based EHRs and health IT systems requires the right platform (the workflow engine, graphical editor, workflow model combo) AND the proper programming of the workflow model by people who truly know the different clinical context and desirable workflows for each of those contexts.’”

My blog post Ebola, APIs & Workflow: We Need A More Process-Aware Health IT Ecosystem was even mentioned on Politico! (The online version of that free paper you see around when you visit me here in Washington DC.)


I’ve also appended a bunch of tweets after the following postscripts.

P.S. I’ve already weighed in about what role “workflow” may or may not have played in the unfortunate release of a patient infected with Ebola. You can review those blog posts here.

P.S.S. Careful with your comments. My Mom is reading this.

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