As has been widely reported in the news lately, heathcare errors are a major cause of death and suffering. In the University of Massachusetts Medical Safety Project, we are investigating if process definition and analysis technologies can be used to help reduce heathcare errors and improve heathcare efficiency. Specifically, we are modeling healthcare processes using a process definition language and then analyzing these processes using model checking, fault-tree analysis, discrete event simulation, and other analysis techniques. Working with the UMASS School of Nursing and the Baystate Medical Center, we are undertaking indepth case studies on error-prone and life-critical healthcare processes. In many ways, these processes are similar to complex, distributed systems with many interacting, concurrent threads and numerous exceptional conditions that must be handled carefully.
This talk describes the technologies we are using, discusses the case studies, and presents our observations and findings to date. Although presented in terms of the healthcare domain, the described approach could be applied to human-intensive processes in other domains to provide a technology-driven approach to process improvement.