Appl Clin Inform 2016; 07(01): 191-210
DOI: 10.4338/ACI-2015-08-RA-0111
Research Article
Schattauer GmbH

A Design Methodology for Medical Processes

Simona Ferrante
1  Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy
,
Stefano Bonacina
2  Health Informatics Centre, Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
,
Giuseppe Pozzi
1  Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy
,
Francesco Pinciroli
1  Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy
3  Engineering in Health and Wellbeing Research Group at the National Research Council of Italy IEIIT – Istituto di Elettronica e di Ingegneria dell’Informazione e delle Telecomunicazioni
,
Sara Marceglia
4  Dipartimento di Ingegneria e Architettura, Università degli Studi di Trieste, Trieste, Italy
5  Clinical Center for Neurostimulation, Neurotechnology, and Movement Disorders Fondazione IRCCS Ca’Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano, Italy
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received: 15 September 2015

accepted: 24 January 2016

Publication Date:
16 December 2017 (online)

Summary

Background

Healthcare processes, especially those belonging to the clinical domain, are acknowledged as complex and characterized by the dynamic nature of the diagnosis, the variability of the decisions made by experts driven by their experiences, the local constraints, the patient’s needs, the uncertainty of the patient’s response, and the indeterminacy of patient’s compliance to treatment. Also, the multiple actors involved in patient’s care need clear and transparent communication to ensure care coordination.

Objectives

In this paper, we propose a methodology to model healthcare processes in order to break out complexity and provide transparency.

Methods

The model is grounded on a set of requirements that make the healthcare domain unique with respect to other knowledge domains. The modeling methodology is based on three main phases: the study of the environmental context, the conceptual modeling, and the logical modeling.

Results

The proposed methodology was validated by applying it to the case study of the rehabilitation process of stroke patients in the specific setting of a specialized rehabilitation center. The resulting model was used to define the specifications of a software artifact for the digital administration and collection of assessment tests that was also implemented.

Conclusions

Despite being only an example, our case study showed the ability of process modeling to answer the actual needs in healthcare practices. Independently from the medical domain in which the modeling effort is done, the proposed methodology is useful to create high-quality models, and to detect and take into account relevant and tricky situations that can occur during process execution.