Chuck Webster: Drone master, robot maker, man of many degrees (Healthcare IT News Profile)

I’m tweeting a lot before, during, and after the HIMSS15 conference in Chicago. Sometimes folks surf from my Twitter profile to my blog. So I’m reposting here Scott Tharler’s excellent profile, which appeared March 2 Healthcare IT News. If you’re interested in any of my passions — healthcare workflow, workflow tech, wearables, Internet Of Things, 3D-printing, robots, drones, Arduino, Twitter — I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter at @wareFLO!)


[Caption under the above photo of Mr. RIMP and me: Chuck Webster, MD holding a version of the robot he created, Mr. RIMP. "I am not above jumping on the latest gadget because it's a way to generate content.”]

If at HIMSS15 you spot a tall gentleman wearing Google Glass, with a robotic pocket protector and a 4.5 -inch drone hovering over him while taking HD video, you’ve just encountered Chuck Webster, MD.

Otherwise known on Twitter as @wareFLO, has in years past been spotted walking around toting a 3D printer in a small Lucite box. Before that, he was ‘The Hat Cam Guy.’ And this year Webster will serve among the credentialed HIMSS15 Social Media Ambassadors who attend the conference and essentially share what they find via social channels.

“I am not above jumping on the latest gadget because it’s a way to generate content,” Webster explains. Indeed, Webster currently owns three drones. But he doesn’t just adopt gadgets – he creates them.

A year and a half ago, Webster invested time in learning about 3D printing, open source hardware, the Internet of Things, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi; combined those technologies into an interactive wearable device; and the ‘Robot In My Pocket’ (a.k.a. Mr. RIMP, who has his own Twitter account) was born.

Designed for pediatricians and others who work in children’s hospitals, Mr. RIMP can be customized with clever sayings and amusing little animations to entertain children. “There is a serious side to Mr. RIMP,” Webster explains. “He’s my experimental wearable workflow platform.”

A member of the maker movement, Webster – who’s taking classes in injection molding – hints that future versions of the kid-friendly gadget may incorporate slicker design; contain custom electronics; and perhaps be controllable through a Pebble watch.

“I want him to be programmable by people who aren’t programmers,” Webster says. “That’s very consistent with what I would eventually want to see in the health IT world.”

His vision: Doctors, nurses and patients having the ability to adapt their health IT tools and ecosystem to fit their needs, rather than the other way around.

It all makes sense, based on his academic origins.

Back in his undergraduate days at the University of Chicago, Webster – perhaps the world’s only accountancy-pre-med dual major – became interested in healthcare costs. His advisor, president of healthcare operations research with a PhD in applied mathematics from Johns Hopkins, steered Webster toward an MD. His graduate work included programming and analyzing flight simulation emergencies and computerized manufacturing workflow simulations.

Fast forward a few decades and several earned degrees to the present wherein Webster obsessively scans the websites of all (roughly 1,200) vendors exhibiting at HIMSS each year. He’s on the lookout for companies that put an emphasis on workflow in their products, as it pertains to usability, patient safety and interoperability.

“Three or four years ago, I had trouble finding interesting stuff,” Webster admits. But by his estimates, the fraction of workflow-related vendors had doubled twice between 2012 and 2014, up to about 16 percent last year.

Now companies come to him, as they strategize on how best to make their products relevant to healthcare. Not surprising since this perpetual proponent of process-aware technologies lives by the mantra:

“Moderation in everything – except workflow.”

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Let’s Use Dell Business Process Management for End-to-End Healthcare Service Delivery and Transformation

Every year, since 2013, I participate in the Dell #DoMoreHIT Healthcare Think Tank online event. (My past tweets on #DoMoreHIT hashtag.) It’s a wonderful opportunity to push my monomaniacal agenda :) to raise awareness about the need to deploy more true workflow technology in healthcare. This year my angle is this: Let’s Use the Dell Business Process Management Suite In Healthcare! Your mission, should you decide, to accept it…. wait, I’m getting ahead of my self. Please read on.


PTBE: Photo To Be Explained

Part of my assumed role as a HIMSS Social Media Ambassador is to use whatever means necessary to accelerate diffusion of workflow tech into healthcare and health IT. Dell will be at the upcoming HIMSS15 conference in Chicago, booth 955. I hope you’ll inquire into their workflow solutions. Healthcare needs more workflow technology and you can help!


The theme of the #DoMoreHIT Think Tank is entrepreneurship, consumerism, and social media. There are lots of interesting connections from those topics to workflow platforms (see my The Intelligent Workflows Behind Engaging Patient Experiences). Look for my tweets on the #DoMoreHIT hashtag on Monday from 11AM to 2PM EST). In this post I’ll drill down into features and benefits of the Dell Business Process Management Suite. The following is a series of quotes I pulled from the Dell BPM brochure along with my amplifying comments.

Dell BPM Suite Relevance to Healthcare
“there’s a growing need to radically change the problem-solving mindset to reduce, streamline and eliminate repetitive process work” So true in healthcare!
“Dell Services has pioneered the concept of Automated Full-Time Employees (AFTEs). The Dell AFTE solution includes over 50 vertical specific and vertical-agnostic tools that reduce, if not completely eliminate, human effort by automating repetitive, high-volume and rules-based tasks.” Interesting! Automated Full-Time Employees. Everyone knows, or should know, that a majority of healthcare cost is expensive human labor. In fact, when setting up a budget one speaks of fully loaded FTEs — no, not inebriated, basically the total cost of an employee, not just compensation. So Dell’s AFTE potentially goes to the very heart of healthcare costs.
  • “Utilize a complex set of sequential process activities, logically broken down by business rules
  • Repeat specific steps without variation and with a high degree of accuracy
  • Enable a set of man-machine interactions that are designed to reduce effort by as much as 50 percent
  • Perform certain activities automatically”
So far, a classic description of business process management!
Benefits of Dell AFTE:

  • Reduce costs: AFTEs cost significantly lower than the price of an offshore full-time employee (FTE).
    Increase efficiency: AFTEs can potentially work 24×7 and each AFTE can replace approximately two to three FTEs.
  • Improve accuracy: AFTEs eliminate errors that humans make in high-volume processes such as missed process steps, inaccurate data entry or calculation errors. AFTEs do it the right way, every time.
  • Utilize in-depth industry knowledge: Using embedded industry knowledge, the AFTE solution is able to automate complex process such as medical coding, claims adjudication and accounts receivable management.
  • Improve speed to market: AFTEs give you the ability to ramp up your process volumes through an iterative implementation model.
  • Improve regulatory compliance: Through detailed audit trails and the assurance of programmatically delivered processes, AFTEs ensure compliance with industry regulations.”
Each and every one of these benefits is highly relevant to healthcare. My favorite? Utilize in-depth industry knowledge. Because this exactly what makes healthcare different. (In fact. it’s what makes every industry different!) Note the mention of medical coding. One of the great debates and push-backs regarding ICD-10 is the increase in the amount of work required by physicians. So, why not use BPM/AFTE’s help reduce cost, increase efficiency, improve accuracy, speed to market, and regulatory compliance of ICD-10 initiatives? (I’ve seen signs of some progress here, but not nearly enough, in my opinion.)
“So what does it take to replace human effort with AFTEs? The Dell AFTE model utilizes an iterative process to deconstruct work activities through identification of each micro step and reconstruction of the work activity by deploying a combination of automated techniques and manual effort.” Again, a classic workflow management/BPM approach. As I have said, over-and-over, we need to create models of work and workflow, and then execute and mechanically consult those models, to systematically improve usability, safety, productivity, interoperability, and even patient experience and engagement.
“we have been automating workflow and knowledge management tasks since 2001. The toolset’s evolution has absorbed thousands of ideas from business process practitioners, leading to the creation of a self-learning, seamlessly integrated suite of business process management applications.” Cool. Not a BPM noobie. Self-learning … can you spell learning health care systems?
“Workflow management portal:

  • Skills- and role-based routing logic is used to enable workforce specialization and collaboration across the process chain
  • Its rapid configuration capability enables automated access to files, work process flow design and efficient, granular measurement, as well as process productivity and quality reporting
  • Estimated 10–15 percent improvement of productivity and quality”
Again. Classic. Now think on this. Dell already supplies enormous amounts of tech products and services to the healthcare industry. Given the incredibly complementary fit between the long list of workflow related problems in healthcare, causing a long list of usability, safety, productivity, interoperability, and patient experience and engagement problems in healthcare, the following has just got be inevitable. Dell BPM tech in healthcare. In fact, it’s already here! (See next entry…)
“CodeFinder and ezyCode

  • International Classification of Diseases/Current Procedural Terminology (ICD/CPT) online code finder including cross-walk solution
  • Automated medical coding using natural language processing”
Nuff said! (well, at least here, in this particular table cell element… please read on…)

In addition to Dell’s foundational work Process Management Layer, Dell also describes its Process Transformation Layer (analytics for process health indicators and key performance indicators). And describes its Integration and Access Layer (accepts input variety of formats and from market leading integration tools, plus access via web, Android, and iOS). So you can see that Dell BPM tech is not just relevant to usability, productivity, consistency, agility, etc., but to workflow interoperability as well.

You Mission, Should You Decide To Accept It…

One of my many little projects, adding up to my very big main project (workflow-ization of healthcare?), is finding companies with both a health IT footprint and a workflow tech foot print, and trying to get those feet working together. So, when you get to HIMSS15, go the Dell booth #955, and ask them about using the Dell Business Process Management Suite to solve your healthcare workflow problems.

Tell them The Secretary sent you (who will, of course, disavow any knowledge of your mission).

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45-Minute Youtube Of My Wearable Workflow Keynote at SHS2015

Here it is! Slides and audio from my Society for Health Systems 2015 keynote! Hot off my hard drive! 45-minutes of wearables, Internet-Of-Things, workflow in healthcare goodness! There was quite a torrent of tweeting during the keynote, about the keynote (slides, quoted bullet points, etc.), so I’ve appended many of the best!


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The Intelligent Workflows Behind Engaging Patient Experiences

The intelligent workflows behind engaging patient experience… what do I mean by that? Well, I mean something similar to “the systems behind the smiles”, i.e. the “robust systems and processes” employees need to simply assume exist, so their minds are free to extend fantastic service. Healthcare needs both, great people and great workflow. I tend to focus on the workflow tech necessary to deliver great workflow, but first I must acknowledge healthcare’s great people.


The next couple of paragraphs are somewhat procedural. Basically they describe *my* workflow, in analyzing the Patient Engagement Summit slides for examples of workflow thinking and technology. Feel free to skim, until you get to the output of my workflow, the highlighted slides themselves, and my commentary.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@wareFLO) or reads this blog (EHR Workflow Management Systems) knows I am a persistent continual advocate for wider use of workflow technology in healthcare. (For primers see my 5-part series or my 45-minute Youtube video.) True workflow automation is essential for usability, safety, and interoperability. It’s also essential for scalable, systematically improvable systems of patient engagement.

I was delighted to find that slides for today’s and tomorrow’s Patient Engagement Summit in Orlando are available to be downloaded. So I do what I always do, as a first cut. I search for every use of the word “workflow”. It’s mentioned seven times on the conference website and seven times in the slide sets. Promising!

Since slides sometimes mention workflow in images, which are unsearchable, or talk about workflow or workflow technology, but use different words, I read the sixteen slide decks from beginning to end. I bookmarked 46 slides. Then I sorted the slides in order of priority, from most relevant to my interests, to lease. The rest of the post features that best of the best, so to speak.

Over all the Patient Engagement Summit is a great conference. However, given my narrow interest, The Intelligent Workflow Behind Engaging Patient Experiences, five presentations really stand out. Here are some of the slides, interspersed with my comments, plus links to related material.

  • Robert Wachter, MD - Patient Engagement 2015: Balancing Hope and Hype as Healthcare (Finally!) Enters the Digital Age
  • Jessica Greene, PhD (George Washington University) Patient Activation: The Key to Better Outcomes
  • Melissa Anselmo (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) - Open Notes: The Power of Sharing
  • Edward Martinez (from Miami Children’s Hospital) - Patient Engagement and Care Coordination Technologies for Improved Outcomes
  • Debra Albert & Susan M. Murphy (from University of Chicago Medicine) - Drive Engagement With Interactive Care

There’s definitely a post-EHR feel to the Summit. While “workflow” is mentioned seven times, “EHR” is only mentioned five times (and “EMR” just once). However, of course, like workflow, it’s often simply assumed in the context of many slides.

Dr. Wachter presents the following, sobering series of slides.


President Bush calls for what we now call Electronic Health Records in 2004. They will avoid mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care.


Federal spending on EHRs, through the ONC, has increased 71 thousand percent, from $42 million to $30 billion.

The next two slides are admittedly anecdotal. But I think Dr. Wachter assumes his audience knows about ongoing debate about whether EHRs achieved their goals or not. Just a couple days ago, USA Today referred to this as “the battle of the studies.” But it’s the job of a conference keynote to avoid dry statistics and tell a story, at which Dr. Wachter excels.


On one hand, implementing an EHR made this doc’s staff not even knowing how to to their job.


(Frownie face added for emphasis…)

And on the other hand, NOT having an EMR is literally becoming an employee perk!

For more of Dr. Wachter’s views on the effects of Meaningful Use (the Federal initiative to subsidize certified EHRs) read his widely circulated (and commented upon, wow!) piece Meaningful Use. Born, 2009, Died, 2014?

Thank heaven at the rest of the Patient Engagement Summit is a potent potential antidote to current malaise about EHRs! And the following slides prove it.

The next three slides, from Jessica Greene, PhD, presents definitions of patient engagement and levels of patient activation.

Patient engagement is the action they take. In fact, I often say that patient experience is what happens to patients; and patient engagement is what they do back to the system that generates their experience. (There are interesting workflow implications to this formulation. Since workflow tech involves intelligently and actively “pushing” actionable content to users, what arrives in the patient’s InBox, so to speak, is part of experience, while what they do in response is part of engagement.)


The following slide reminds me of a distinction between data and information. Information is data that makes a difference, to knowledge, to action, to consequences.


The following slide describes four levels of patient activation and engagement. Very useful for designing those intelligent workflows of patient experience and patient engagement I referred to earlier. I think there may be a useful conceptual “zeroth” level, in which the patient is completely self-unaware and lacking in competence or confidence to actively pursue and maintain better health. How to build the systems that more effectively and efficiently and flexibly move patients from level zero to level four?

This sort of layered conceptualization is critical to operationalizing ideas like patient activation and engagement. And they do have to be operationalized, if they are to eventually turn into the systems of people and technology necessary to scale and systematically improve.


I like the following slide from a presentation about an OpenNotes initiative because, (A) it lays out a workflow, and (B) there’s that Plans step or state. It seems to me that OpenNotes projects would be excellent candidates for the use of workflow platforms. Users and designers could design the workflows, and workflow engines could execute the workflows. I also foresee a time when subsets of content could actually intelligently trigger workflows.


The following ten slides, by Edward Martinez (from Miami Children’s Hospital), is a figurative treasure trove of workflow automation applied to patient engagement. The presentation title is Patient Engagement and Care Coordination Technologies for Improved Outcomes. As far as I am concerned, it deserves Best In Show for the Patient Engagement Summit.

I’ve previously written extensively about the relevance of various kinds of workflow automation to care coordination. From workflow management systems and business process management, to dynamic and adaptive case management, I’m seeing considerable diffusion to workflow tech into healthcare exactly in the care coordination and population health management space. Many of these systems also have extremely valuable social, mobile, analytics and cloud functionality. So it’s exciting to begin to see this kind of closed-loop workflow functionality emerge in healthcare. By the way, I cross-indexed “Miami Children’s Hospital” and “care coordination platform” to figure out the vendor being used. It’s PatientPoint out of Cincinnati, Ohio. By the way, PatientPoint will exhibiting at the HIMSS conference (booth 4816) in Chicago.

This Care Coordination Technologies presentation starts out exactly where it should. What obstacles face care coordinators and how can care coordination technology help?


An impressive smorgasbord of self-serve patient services! What I always wonder when I see a relatively exhaustive marketecture such as this: how are these services tied together, and with other stakeholder services, into usable workflows? Luckily, I see plenty of evidence for sophisticated workflow infrastructure.


For example, take this Care Coordination Workflow. It uses gaps in patient care to generate actions to eliminate those gaps, in this case phone calls (IVR stands for Interactive voice response). This is combining clinical intelligence, complex event processing, and workflow automation in a way that is highly reminiscent of my 2010 MedInfo paper presented in South Africa.


The following diagram is a top level view of a set of workflows. I have no doubt that there exist highly detailed representations of workflow here. And, I suspect (or at least hope), some of these workflows aren’t hardcoded. Given that PatientPoint is built on a pure Microsoft stack using MS SQL Server and .NET I wonder if they’re using Microsoft Workflow Foundation, which I’ve written about before. This sort of “secret sauce” detail is often viewed as important intellectual property, and thus not usually conveyed in marketing content. So I’m being speculative here. But this sort of diagram, associated functionality, and, most important, a happy customer is a very good sign, from a healthcare workflow technology perspective.


Again, we’re seeing in these slides the kind of classic, flexible, task management that I’ve been calling for, for years. Note the system only displays actionable information to users, and then posting back to the EMR. EMRs are essentially becoming databases, accessed in real-time by more sophisticated (workflow-wise) workflow platforms.


Automated workflows communicating with patients in the way they prefer! Of course, if they prefer a human voice, and a real-live person, that’s what this kind of tech can facilitate too. I wrote about this in the fifth piece in my 5 part series about healthcare workflow technology.


Here we’re seeing ECM (Electronic Content Management) combines with BPM. This is consistent with a trend, increasingly seen in health IT too, of adding workflow tech to ECM systems and content management to workflow systems.


The next few of slides are very interesting, and not just for the mobile client user interface what a workflow system coordinating and firing off notifications. It’s the trademarked “CareNotify” and “Carrative.” I can’t find anything about them on the web, no matter how I cross-index them…


…are these potentially new products?


I’m thinking of all kinds of exciting possibilities here.


Well, PointPatient and Miami Children’s bear watching. I may be getting ahead of myself, but this could be a prime example of the kind of process-aware tech (that’s what the academics call it) that is the next generation of health IT platform architecture. Of course, only time will tell. And yes I may be getting ahead of myself. I often do. But… exciting!

Last but not least, I’m delighted to see my alma mater, University of Chicago Medicine, represented so well at this Patient Engagement Summit.

Below is a lovely overhead shot of the medical center and medical school, in Hyde Park, by Lake Michigan, in Chicago. I’m particularly taken, because for the first time is several decades I’m staying in Hyde Park during the upcoming HIMSS conference. By the way, I’m a HIMSS Social Media Ambassador, tweeting lots about workflow from April 12-16. If you’re as interested in healthcare workflow as I am, perhaps even the Intelligent Workflow Behind Engaging Patient Experience :) I hope you’ll look me up! (I’m @wareFLO on Twitter, plus my blog’s contact form). I’d also like to put in a plug for a project working on, to create a customizable interactive wirelessly-controlled wearable 3D-printed robot for engaging pediatric patients. See for details.


OK! Back to the subject at hand.

My alma mater is working with one of my favorite companies, GetWellNetwork (booth 6627 at HIMSS15). Why is GetWellNetwok one of my favorites? Because they use, wait for it, workflow technology! I’ve tweeted about this aspect of GetWellNetwork lots.

Interactive Pathways… daily patient touch points before and after hospital visit, cross platform from patient perspective, reduce 30 day readmission, what’s not to like? And, as I said, they’re using the kind of modern workflow tech I continually tout. In fact, I’m seeing some of the most sophisticated workflow tech emerging exactly the patient-facing tech arena.


Note the following process objectives as part of the Clinical Practice Design Process. Note especially the Clinical Workflow Design and Configuration of Tools. These are exactly the process objectives for which workflow technology is ideal. Instead of “hardcoding” workflows and then users having to adapt to the software, workflow tech allows an organizations, in this case my alma mater (did I mention that?) to systematically move all the way from long-term strategic vision to daily nuts-and-bolts execution.


All in all, at a 30,000 foot level of abstraction, to characterize a trend I’ve observed in health IT: We’re moving from Systems For Transactions to Systems for Engagement. Here’s a slide from a different conference (a Business Process Management conference, by the way) that draws out this distinction.

Systems For Engagement focus on delivering adaptive user experience. They’re idea for fast-paced change. And they support new work patterns, such as embracing mobile and social.

Workflow tech continues to diffuse into healthcare and health IT, especially with its maturing hooks into social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and even Internet of Things and wearable technology. As a result, health IT, and even EHRs, are becoming more effective, efficient, flexible, and relevant to the patients who encounter it when they have to, and the providers who use it daily.

The end result, one hopes, are more intelligent workflows, better patient experience, and more engaged and healthier patients!

See you, in person or online, at #HIMSS15!

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The Sharing Economy’s Crowdsourcing of Health IT Workflow Will Require Workflow Tech

This post is promoted by Ryan Lucas (@dz45tr: get it? > “disaster”) moderating today’s #HITsm tweetchat. His topic is The Sharing Economy in Health IT. I’ve archived his questions/topics (and my short responses) below (since they disappear from their temporary link on HL7standards when replaced by the next weeks theme).

Last year I attended a presentation titled “Transformational Impact of Cloud Labor” here in DC. Much of it was relevant to health, healthcare, and health IT workflow! I’ve been meaning to write a long post on the topic, but that will have to wait until later. For now I’m archiving some of those tweeted slides, so I can tweet a link to them during the #HITsm tweetchat, and also as a reminder to return and elaborate later. (After I wrote that, I just couldn’t resist adding more remarks: read on!)

Much as been made of the potential Uber-ization of healthcare. Who will be the Uber of healthcare? (Before that, it was who will be the Amazon of healthcare?!) The sharing economy potentially exploits a variety of sorting, matching, and transaction cost reducing online mechanisms. Online platforms sort and signal who’s available to those in need of what they supply (transportation, in Uber’s case), and create temporary virtual enterprises to reduce transaction costs.

It’s happening in healthcare too, from online medical consults, to services that match your suddenly free time to suddenly available appointment slots. However, in contrast to Uber, many healthcare workflows are much more complex, consuming many more resources, over a much longer durations, and subject to many more complexities: expertise, insurance, and regulatory.

In healthcare, complexity is often too much for even expensive humans to manage well. Those are two important drivers of healthcare cost: the intrinsically difficult nature of the managed workflows, and the intrinsically expensive nature of the human expertise manage them. As a result, mistakes occur and time and motion is wasted.

At some point (not sure if it will be a tipping point, or a much more slow, but nonetheless inexorable process) health, healthcare, and health IT will begin to leverage a variety of workflow technologies. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words, and tweeted tens of thousands of tweets, about them. But in this space, the sharing economy and the crowdsourcing of health, healthcare and health IT workflow (after all, a majority of H/HC/HIT costs are human labor) will likely be a lightweight (no install or one-click install from the cloud) participation in networks of flexible, but continually optimized, resources: people, supplies, knowledge, and experience.

Well, I’m just about out of time, if I want to show up at Ryan’s #HITsm tweetchat. But I encourage you to browse the next few slides. Who every will become the Uber of healthcare (or whatever comes after Uber) will necessarily deal with, and in some cases master, the following topics:

  • Variable cost
  • Programmatic access to human labor
  • Quality control
  • Workflow building blocks
  • Ideation
  • Freelance expertise
  • Software services
  • Microtasks

And, most important:

  • Asking the right questions
  • Selecting the right workers
  • Interating and optimizing

I’m looking forward to the tweetchat!

Archive of Ryan Lucas’ #HITsm questions for Friday, January 30, 2015:

#HITsm T1: Is a sharing economy model realistic for the healthcare industry, in whole or in part? Where? How?

As a whole, probably not at first. But for so-called low lying fruit? Of course! (Take me to the top of this post!)

#HITsm T2: What should a sharing economy model prepare for with the current status of #HealthIT and #Healthcare?

I’m a broken record on this. Move from current hoary systems to modern workflow tech in the cloud. (Take me to the top of this post!)

#HITsm T3: If a sharing economy model were to come about, who wins and who loses in #HealthIT and #healthcare generally?

Aye! There’s the rub. In the short, possibly even intermediate run, the workers. It could/would/will be wrenching. (Take me to the top of this post!)

#HITsm T4: What other technology models are out there that #HealthIT can borrow from to enable those changes?

Workflow management systems, business process management, dynamic/adaptive case management platforms. (Take me to the top of this post!)

#HITsm T5: Any other thoughts on #healthcare economic models and how #healthIT can help?

Workflow tech can’t fix screwed up healthcare economics. But that can’t be fixed w/o workflow tech. (Take me to the top of this post!)

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Dear Health IT Folks, Please Submit a Proposal to The BPM and Case Management Summit!

Every year more ideas and technology from the business process management and case management software industry show up in the health IT industry. (BTW “case management” has a different, though related, meaning in the workflow industry than the healthcare industry.) For example, I see more-and-more BPM/case management IT vendors and professionals show up at the annual HIMSS health IT conference (see my HIMSS14 and Workflow: Are We Making Progress Taking Business Processes Out Of Applications?).


At the same time, knowledge about healthcare workflows and unique workflow technology requirements must flow in the reverse direction, back into the BPM and case management industry. The very best way to transport knowledge is in a human brain.

So, I encourage all health IT workflowistas to submit proposals (250-word abstract by Feb 28th) to the upcoming BPM and Case Management Summit here in Washington DC. Last year I encouraged health IT folks to attend, presented myself, and we had a great reception from the workflow folks. Here’s a link to my trip report from last year, including my presentation archived as a Youtube video: BPM and Case Management: US Healthcare Wants You, But May Not Know It, Yet!

Here is this year’s call for proposals (just 250 words!):

(BTW, ignore, for the moment, any buzzwords that may appear unfamiliar. The workflow tech industry and health IT often have different terminology for similar topics. You could very well be engaged in a BPM/case management initiative, but simply call it something different!]

Who Should Submit?

Program Leaders Involved With BPM, Case Management, Analytics, Architecture or Similar Initiatives

Practitioners and Consultants Experienced With Designing and Delivering Adaptable and Innovative Solutions Demonstrating Superior User Experience

Subject Matter Experts Engaged in Dynamic Business Processes and Data-driven Knowledge Work

Researchers and Educators Involved With Business Process Issues, Architecture and Modeling, Collaboration and Knowledge Worker Effectiveness, Standards Development, Information Interoperability or Related Fields

Why Should I Submit?

Submitting a proposal is quick, easy and risk-free. We will provide feedback to help refine your submission, and if selected you will:

Gain Visibility at the Industry’s Most Prestigious Forum, Plus the Opportunity to Network With Peers

Advance Understanding of Your Work and Achievements

Have the Opportunity to Published to With Visibility to an Audience of 10,000s Per Month

Be Considered for Inclusion in a Forthcoming Book

The topics below frame the topics covered during the event, however, you are welcome to submit a proposal on any subject you believe is relevant.

Case Management

Investigative Case Management approaches and applications

Definition of Adaptive Case Management (ACM) as its own discipline (apart from BPM)

Data-centricity (state transitions and data interchange focus) of case management activities

Impact of Case Management Modeling Notation (CMMN) on practitioners and tool vendors

Case management in targeted vertical markets (notably Financial Services, Insurance, Health Care, as well as Federal, State and Municipal Government)
Services integration in case management applications

Business Process Management (BPM)

Definition of business process management (BPM) as its own discipline (apart from ACM)

Impact of Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) on practitioners and tool vendors

Process analysis and re-engineering using simulation, mining, and monitoring key performance indicators

Business process as-is anti-patterns and to-be redesign patterns (best practices)

Distributed, end-to-end, and cross-organizational business processes

Cloud impact on BPM and executing business processes in the cloud

Enabling data-driven business processes

Business Analytics

Impact of “big data” and attendant issues on business analytics

Survey of technologies for performing process monitoring and other business analytics

Promise of semantic technologies for bridging big data divides across authoritative data sources

Process mining and its application in business analytics

Modeling and predictive analytics for enterprise computing

Collaboration enterprise analytic platforms

Business process intelligence (e.g., process performance management)

Continuous, online analytics for big data in the enterprise

Business Rules

Business rule languages and engines

Managing granularity of business rules from the line-of-business (LOB) to the enterprise

Rules interchange and interoperability across heterogeneous execution platforms

Modeling business rules and the relation between business rules and business processes

Business rules and service computing

Business rules and compliance management, business process compliance

Event-Driven Rules-based Business Processes for the Real-Time Enterprise

Process and Data Governance

Role of process classification frameworks and other normative architectures

Demonstrating compliance and establishing provenance of submitted models

Service policies, contract definition and enforcement

Security/privacy policy definition and description languages

Policy interoperability

Information Interoperability

Making data interchange work across BPM and ACM a reality

Business object modeling methodologies and approaches

Taxonomies, ontologies and business knowledge integration

Master data management, data mining and (real-time) data warehousing

Flexible information models and systems (e.g., object-driven processes)

Data quality and trustworthiness

The role of NIEM and standard data descriptions to achieve interoperability

Evolution of SOA and API management to support mobile computing

A uniform resource identifier (URI) for everything the worker needs

Business Architecture Modeled Across the Enterprise

Enterprise architecture frameworks vs. business architecture frameworks

Design and population of architecture models – state of the market and practices today

Relationship of architectures to BPM and ADM disciplines

Enterprise or business architecture analysis, assessment and prediction

Cloud computing and the evolution of architectures

Enterprise ontologies and common vocabularies

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Who Will Be On The HIMSS15 Top Ten List Of Healthcare Workflow Movers & Shakers?


During the upcoming HIMSS15 conference, April 12-16, in Chicago, at the peak of #HIMSSanity I’ll publish and tweet, one at a time, the HIMSS15 Top Ten List of People and Organizations improving Healthcare with Health Information Technology.

The Rules:

  1. I am not eligible.
  2. You’ve made a significant positive impact on healthcare workflow using information technology during the previous year…
  3. Or, you’ve published, in some online form, promising ideas or persuasive opinions about healthcare workflow. (This, because this whole healthcare workflow thing is so very nascent.)
  4. You have some presence on social media (basically, Twitter).
  5. Winners may publish the above POWHIT! social badge on websites as long as there is a link back to the Top Ten list.
  6. You don’t have to be an HIMSS15 exhibitor. (Though I’d love to drop by to “chat you up”, as my English accented wife puts it.)
  7. You don’t even have to be a HIMSS15 attendee. (Though I’d love to meet you face-to-face in Chicago.)
  8. The Rules is in no way affiliated with the book of the same name.
  9. I made the rules so I can break the rules.
  10. There is no rule number 10.
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Listen To My Interview About Workflow On IntrepidNOW and Plans For HIMSS15

Many thanks to Joe LaVelle (@Resultant) at IntrepidNow!

  • What is the definition of workflow from the workflow guru?
  • What is a workflow engine?
  • How do workflow engines work with EHRs?
  • How many EHRS really have significantly configurable workflow?
  • Our listeners are interested in the role of standards with workflow? How do things like HL/7 and IHE play with workflow?
  • What vendors are really good at workflow?
  • Last year at HIMSS, #BigData was the star of the show; Will #BigWorkflow be the star of HIMSS15? What does Chuck have planned for HIMSS15?
Posted in healthcare-BPM | Leave a comment