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Process Mining for Quality Improvement — Case Study in Emergency Department

Process map of ED #1 - Cumulative time (click to enlarge)

Figure 1: Process map of ED #1 – Cumulative time (click to enlarge)

This is a guest article by Matthew H. Loxton, a senior analyst for healthcare at WBB. You can request an extended version of this case study with detailed recommendations from Matthew directly. An overview paper about process mining for quality improvement in healthcare environments can be found here.

Historically, Quality Improvement (QI) projects have used a combination of received workflow and observational studies to derive the as-is process model. The process model is used to target interventions to reduce waste and risk, and to improve processes that lead to gains in the target performance indicators. Process mining enables QI efforts to more rapidly discover areas for improvement, and to apply a perspective that was historically not available to QI teams.

Since process mining is algorithmic and uses electronic health record (EHR) data, it can be deployed at scale, and can be used to find process improvement opportunities across an entire healthcare system without undue resource requirements or disruption to clinical operations.


The case studies involved two of the busiest Emergency Departments (ED) in the U.S., and give the reader a picture of how process mining can be used as part of a long-term process improvement regime.

The WBB team used the process mining software Disco to mine ED and EHR data for two EDs for the period 06/04/2015 to 08/02/2015. Data included 2,628 cases for ED #1 and 2,447 cases for ED #2. Each…

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