Towards an intelligent hospital environment: OR of the future

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2005;118:278-312.


Patients, providers, payers, and government demand more effective and efficient healthcare services, and the healthcare industry needs innovative ways to re-invent core processes. Business process reengineering (BPR) showed adopting new hospital information systems can leverage this transformation and workflow management technologies can automate process management. Our research indicates workflow technologies in healthcare require real time patient monitoring, detection of adverse events, and adaptive responses to breakdown in normal processes. Adaptive workflow systems are rarely implemented making current workflow implementations inappropriate for healthcare. The advent of evidence based medicine, guideline based practice, and better understanding of cognitive workflow combined with novel technologies including Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), mobile/wireless technologies, internet workflow, intelligent agents, and Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) opens up new and exciting ways of automating business processes. Total situational awareness of events, timing, and location of healthcare activities can generate self-organizing change in behaviors of humans and machines. A test bed of a novel approach towards continuous process management was designed for the new Weinburg Surgery Building at the University of Maryland Medical. Early results based on clinical process mapping and analysis of patient flow bottlenecks demonstrated 100% improvement in delivery of supplies and instruments at surgery start time. This work has been directly applied to the design of the DARPA Trauma Pod research program where robotic surgery will be performed on wounded soldiers on the battlefield.

MeSH terms

  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Hospital Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Inventories, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Maryland
  • Operating Rooms / organization & administration*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Systems Integration
  • User-Computer Interface