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Assignment: Informatics Expert

Assignment: Informatics Expert

Assignment: Informatics Expert


It may take several sessions of analysis to complete a process map, as details are uncovered and workarounds discussed. There is a tendency for individuals who participate in process redesign sessions to describe workflow as they believe it to be occurring, rather than not how it really is. The informatics expert and/or the process team facilitator should determine what is really happening, however, and capture that information accurately. Regardless of whether a swim-lane or simplistic process map design is used, the goal is to capture enough details to accurately portray the process as it is happening today.

Other techniques (aside from process mapping) may be used to help the team understand the workflow as it exists in the current state. The future-state workflow planning will be only as good as the reliability of the current state; thus it is crucial to undertake whatever other actions are needed to better understand what is happening in the current state. Observation, interviews, and process or waste walks are also helpful in understanding the current state.

Value Added Versus Non–Value Added

Beyond analysis of tasks, current-state mapping provides the opportunity for the process redesign team to distinguish between value-added and non-value-added activities. A value-added activity or step is one that ultimately brings the process closer to completion or changes the product or service for the better. An example of a value-added step would be placing a name tag on a specimen sample. The name tag is necessary for the laboratory personnel to identify the specimen and, therefore, its placement is an essential or value-added step in the process. Some steps in a process do not necessarily add value but are necessary for regulatory or compliance reasons. These steps are still considered necessary and need to be included in the future process. A non-value-added step, in contrast, does not alter the outcome of a process or product. Activities such as handling, moving, and holding are not considered value-added steps and should be evaluated during workflow analysis. Manipulating papers, moving through computer screens, and walking or transporting items are all considered non-value-added activities.