I just attended The BPM in Government Conference, hosted by the Workflow Coalition, last week and it is clear that the opportunity for Process Automation in Government and Healthcare is large. There was a great deal of talk around how President Obama's plan includes bringing the healthcare industry into the 21st century in terms of automation, and in some cases, is providing stimulus funding to do so.
BPM, with its advanced tracking ability, integration and rules functionality, enables healthcare providers to implement secure systems and processes. As mentioned at The BPM in Government Conference, secure, traceable processes are becoming increasingly critical to our society and way of life. We are seeing more and more implementations of BPM Systems in all areas from the Department of Homeland Security to the thousands of hospitals and healthcare clinics that span our nation. One area that was most interesting was the discussions and video related to the exchange of information and knowledge between government agencies, healthcare officials, and chemists upon a Flu pandemic.
The video, while entirely fictional, describes a situation much like that of the H1N1 outbreak. In the video a BPM solution is implemented to facilitate the tracking of information between various governments, agencies and officials. The advanced collaboration capabilities and visibility provided by the BPM system allowed healthcare officials to control the pandemic by sharing knowledge and data to develop a vaccine for the illness.
As required under Obama's plan and supported with stimulus funding, all hospitals and healthcare facilities must take initiatives to develop and implement improved HIT systems, as well as begin the transition to EHR by 2011. Implementing a BPM solution facilitates this initiative as it:
- Creates greater visibility across agencies, healthcare systems, and medicine development
- Provides the government, agencies, and other participants with the ability to easily record, track, and protect healthcare information
- Improves patient and customer service
- Streamlines information and initiatives for a more diplomatic approach to daily operations
- Improves collaboration among agencies and participants, particularly in the area of research and development of new medicines
- Provides greater insight and control for disease outbreaks and potential health scares
BPM systems with the ability to model, automate, manage, and optimize processes
allow for a more detailed and comprehensive approach to the tracking and processing of tasks and information. The ultimate result of this high level solution is the ability for healthcare professionals to more quickly and effectively assess information and treatments, as well as to research and test new drug developments. To ensure the health and safety of our nation as the world continues to grow in numbers and complexity, how can hospitals and healthcare professionals not afford to have a BPM
system in place?
An interesting slant on process efficiencies I am seeing is controlling the amount of "rework" that has to be done in order to change or improve errors in existing processes. In other words, how can the "human error" factor be identified, measured, and controlled? These questions are being asked to me, in terms of business process management, as process managers and business line directors are continuing to look to control costs, reduce process time, and improve data integrity in their business processes. Lean Six Sigma was originated to help with these types of concerns, and applying Lean Six Sigma practices inside your corporation will enable you to identify them. Moreover, coupling Lean Six Sigma best practices with BPM execution can ensure the day-to-day automated operations in your company are streamlined. Consider the following concerns in the following sample process:
A BPMS can help cut down on the human "rework" by providing controlled data input interfaces, and ensuring forms cannot be submitted forward until the right information is provided. A full list of the Ultimus BPMS features that provide value to the Lean Six Sigma mandates can be found in Ultimus' Lean Six Sigma white paper.
Additionally, as part of the business process construction, the times and costs associated with each step in the process is recorded. This results in time, costs, and efficiency reports being able to be generated and reported upon. By having insight in workload, productivity, and how business processes are flowing, you can have the necessary visibility into your business processes. Is process "rework" a current concern inside your corporation? If so, have you consider implementing a BPMS to help drive your Lean Six Sigma initiatives?
Mary Katherine Strupe