Discussion: Workflow Modeling
Workflow modeling is widely used throughout many different types of businesses, including health care organizations, to visually summarize the steps of complex processes and systems. When constructing a workflow model, it is important to ensure that the model accurately reflects the actual steps in a process.
In this Discussion, you consider a case study of a health care clinic and its process for ordering medical supplies. You then examine a workflow model that is meant to reflect that process and analyze the model’s accuracy based on the information in the case study. You also analyze the importance of accurate workflow modeling and consider strategies for creating accurate workflow models for health care processes.
Deerborne Dialysis is a local dialysis clinic that is part of a larger health care network, Buckeye Health. Buckeye Health executives have recently been examining the processes by which organizations within the network manage their supplies. Deerborne Dialysis was identified as an exemplary model of efficient supply management, and Buckeye Health executives have requested a workflow model of how Deerborne Dialysis handles their supply management process.
Sharon is the nurse who oversees the process of ordering and stocking supplies for Deerborne Dialysis. She knows the process well and developed a description of the steps in the supply management process. First, Sharon conducts a daily check of the supplies in the storage room. If there is a supply that is running low, Sharon submits an order to the medical supplier. When the clinic receives the shipment, Sharon unpacks the shipment and cross-checks the supplies that were shipped with the supplies that were ordered. If there is a discrepancy, the entire shipment must be returned to the medical supplier, who then rushes a new shipment to the clinic to be received the next day. If there is no discrepancy, or once the new shipment is received, unpacked, and cross-checked, Sharon stocks the shelves in the storage room and gives the supply bill to the clinic’s accountant, who ensures that the medical supplier receives payment.
Sharon has created the following workflow model to reflect the steps she goes through to manage the clinic’s inventory of supplies:
- Review the case study above and examine the workflow model that is meant to reflect the process described in the case study.
- Identify problems with the workflow model. How could the model be revised to be more accurate, clear, and effective?
- Reflect on the importance of creating an accurate workflow model of health care processes. What are the challenges involved in workflow modeling? What are the consequences of inaccurate workflow models?
- Consider strategies that you can use to ensure that workflow models are effective and accurate.