Applying Computer Assisted Process Modeling To Improve Anatomic Pathology Workflows.
David S McClintock, Roy E Lee, Chris G Oberg, Thomas M Gudewicz, John R Gilbertson. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
Background: Anatomic Pathology (AP) labs are complex entities, a fact easily recognizable once attempts are made to map out the tens to hundreds of possible workflow processes involved in the daily preparation and processing of specimens. In areas outside of medicine, there are many computer assisted business process management and workflow modeling techniques available to help break down this complexity, reduce redundant processes, and improve efficiency. However, to date, there has been minimal application of these techniques to the pathology laboratory.
Design: Multiple business process management software applications were considered with two primary software solutions chosen to describe the workflow processes in the MGH Anatomic Pathology laboratories. Surgical pathology accessioning, grossing, and histology; cytology and autopsy workflow processes were initially charted with their respective domain experts using Microsoft Visio 2007. The completed workflow charts then were imported into iGrafx Process (Corel) and estimated time data inserted for each process step. Computer assisted process models with associated simulations were subsequently built in iGrafx Process in order to better identify potential trouble areas.
Results: Over the course of four months (05-09/2010), 29 workflow process maps were created (7 AP master lab processes and 22 AP lab sub-processes), with an additional 35 AP lab sub-processes queued for completion (sample flowchart, figure 1).
Computer assisted simulation of workflow process models is ongoing, with a sample simulation provided (figure 2).
Conclusions: Improving AP laboratory processes is a constant challenge and requires a solution that meets the ever expanding complexity of modern pathology practices. As more efficiency is demanded from limited resources, computer assisted process modeling of AP workflows will not only easily identify problem areas, but also allow for constant adjustment of the workflow in order to achieve the desired results.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 1:00 PM
Poster Session IV # 179, Tuesday Afternoon