CEC Theses and Dissertations


An Analysis of the Implementation of a Workflow System for Health Information Management

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Sumitra Mukherjee

Committee Member

Getrude W. Abramson


Workflow occurs in all business settings (Bajaj, 1997). Computerized workflow systems provide automated support for business processes. Workflow is categorized as a group support system which supports a group of people trying to solve problems with the use of communications, computing and decision support technologies (Aiken, Vanjami & Krosp, 1995). Workflow refers to software integration and development to automate business processes. Information is routed among users and applications in a formal manner to meet established business requirements. Workflow involves a combination of human and machine based activities which interact with information systems and information technology applications and tools (Hollingsworth, 1994). Workflow is praised as the technology on the forefront of collaborative computing efforts (Bothrick, 1997). However, the challenges to the successful implementation of workflow systems are greater than expected. Several reasons are cited for this. These reasons include a miscalculation of the complexities of human interaction required to implement collaborative technologies (Khoshafian & Buckiewicz, 1995), a misunderstanding of how to use the technology (Bothrick, 1997), and a misunderstanding of system capabilities (Leibert, 1997).

This study investigated the implementation of a workflow system in health information management. In health information management, workflow systems are used to automate the flow of medical records and other processes requiring access to the patient information contained in those records (Mahoney, 1997).

Workflow is an emerging technology (Silver, 1995). The purpose of this research is to increase the knowledge base in relation to the successful implementation of workflow technology. The research methodology employed a multiple case study in which workflow implementation was assessed in real world settings. Six theoretical propositions defined the scope of the study and provided the framework for data collection and data presentation. These propositions address the multiple phenomena identified as having a major impact on the implementation of workflow technologies. The goal of the research is to provide information to healthcare organizations to assist them in the successful implementation of the powerful new paradigm of workflow technology.

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