Thursday, February 24, 2005

Hawaii 2006: You Wouldn't Want to Miss It!

RECIPE’06: Minitrack on Process Integration and Evolution
Healthcare and IT Track

I am looking for a few U.S. members of the Program Committee to review papers. Let me know if you are interested.

Demands from both government and clients for more effective and efficient healthcare services are increasing, and the healthcare industry must find innovative ways to re-invent core processes. Business process reengineering (BPR) projects in the mid 1990s demonstrated that adopting new hospital information systems may leverage this transformation.

However, the goals of increasing revenue, reducing cost, enhancing patient care, and improving customer satisfaction have been difficult to achieve due to high costs of integration of legacy disparate systems, cultural barriers to adoption, and the intrinsic nature of healthcare processes. Healthcare processes are typically complicated in procedure, highly error prone, extremely agile, and have a significant requirement for cross-organizational business process integration.

At the same time, new technologies such as web-and grid-services gracefully fuse IT and business processes, overcoming difficulties of actually implementing reinvented business processes. In addition, novel mobile technologies, e.g., using RFID, provide novel solutions, which were unthinkable before.

Despite the critical need for real time process improvement in healthcare, few institutions have implemented adaptive systems, and this new mode of integration needs discussion in a broader forum to demonstrate the need, illustrate the solution, and motivate implementation of healthcare systems that radically improve efficiency, lower costs, and reduce medical error.

In order to address these issues, existing business process management approaches and technologies in healthcare need to be enhanced to better deal with real-time process monitoring and improvement, detection of adverse events, and adaptive responses to unanticipated breakdown in normal processes.

Minitrack Objectives
Currently, there is a lack of methodologies, tools and applications concerning the integration, management and evolution of cross-organizational business processes in the context of healtcare, e.g., cross-hospital information systems, and healthcare "hubs"..
It is the aim of this minitrack to attract research papers covering issues that help of overcome this gap.

The workshop is focused at business integration and evolution solutions in healthcare (e.g., between hospitals) as in this area there is a huge potential for application of emerging integration technologies and interesting problems and examples can be identified.

Examples of relevant topics include, but are not restricted to:
Process integration with medical web-services
Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) allowing access to and sharing of patient data residing in multiple clinical repositories
RFID tracking of patients, staff, supplies, instruments, equipment accumulating baseline data
Design patterns for successful integration of healthcare processes
Healthcare service integration bus and infrastructure
Ad-hoc workflows for medical processes
Evolution of healthcare processes; proactive change management
Healthcare integration hubs
Process analysis of patient flow bottlenecks and development of process improvements targets
Testing process improvements
Dynamic application generation: real time support for workflow engines to obtain information needed at any step of process
Case studies

Program Committee
Members to be announced.

Jeff Sutherland, PatientKeeper, USA,e-mail:
Willem-Jan van den Heuvel, Tilburg University, The Netherlands, e-mail:

Interview with Alan Kay

A Conversation with Alan Kay
ACM Queue vol. 2, no. 9 - Dec/Jan 2004-2005

Big talk with the creator of Smalltalk and much more.

When you want to gain a historical perspective on personal computing and programming languages, why not turn to one of the industry's preeminent pioneers? That would be Alan Kay, winner of last year's Turing Award for leading the team that invented Smalltalk, as well as for his fundamental contributions to personal computing.

Kay was one of the founders of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where he led one of several groups that together developed modern workstations (and the forerunners of the Macintosh), Smalltalk, the overlapping window interface, desktop publishing, the Ethernet, laser printing, and network client-servers.

Prior to his work at PARC, Kay earned a Ph.D. in 1969 from the University of Utah, where he designed a graphical object-oriented personal computer and was a member of the research team that developed pioneering 3-D graphics work for the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Kay was also a "slight participant" in the original design of the ARPANet, which later became the Internet. He holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and molecular biology from the University of Colorado. After leaving Xerox PARC, Kay went on to become chief scientist of Atari, a Fellow of Apple Computer, and vice president of research and development at The Walt Disney Company.

Today he is Senior Fellow at Hewlett-Packard Labs and president of Viewpoints Research Institute, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to change how children are educated by creating a sample curriculum with supporting media for teaching math and science. This curriculum will use Squeak as its media, and will be highly interactive and constructive. Kay's deep interests in children and education have been the catalysts for many of his ideas over the years.

In addition to winning the Turing Award, Kay recently received the Draper Prize from the National Academy of Engineering and the Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology, awarded every four years by the Inamori Foundation.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Gmail: Free accounts for members of Object Technology group

I passed out quite a few Gmail accounts to members of this list a few months ago. I now have a large batch of new accounts I can send people. Let me know if you are interested. If you did not get one last time, remind me that I owe you one.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Scrum: Involving the Customers

Creation of the Agile Manifesto at Snowbird 2001

There was a dialogue in the scrumdevelopment group today on how customers should be involved with Scrum teams, prompting me to regurgitate a few of the examples I have been involved in since the first Scrum in 1993. Most of my companies have been product companies. The product owner is typically the product manager who spends about half his time with
customers. We also try to get developers out to customer sites.

In my current company, the customers are physicians. We can't get the physicians in the hospital to spend full time with a development team, so we hire them as product managers and they serve as product owners. They must test any new features against a carefully selected group of customer physicians before a feature can come off the product backlog into sprint backlog.

In fact, we have created a special application we sell for $39 bucks on the web that is basically a full medical record on the Palm Pilot that includes most of the enterprise code we ship to our large customers. New features are introduced there and are available to over 50000 downloaders of the product. We get a tremendous amount of feedback from this process which is very useful for validation before we put this into a sprint backlog for release in the enterprise product.

There are many ways to involve the customer. In web portal companies, they usually test market new features to a small subset of users and get real time feedback before they build for large scale distribution.

In projects which are of a consulting nature, I've always had the customer right in the Sprint. For some products we have flown customers in from around the country for every Sprint review for a new product as we built it for them. That was a very successful exercise and a memorable and growing experience for some of the customers.