Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Kai Yang


The healthcare system in the United States is considered one of the most complex systems and has encountered challenges related to patient safety concerns, escalating costs, and unpredictable outcomes. Many of these problems share a common cause - a lack of efficient business process management and visibility into the real-time location, status, and condition of medical resources. The goal of this research is to propose a newly integrated system to model, automate, and monitor healthcare business processes using an automatic data collection technology to record the timing and location of activities and identify their various resources.

This dissertation makes several contributions to the design and implementation of RFID-based business process and workflow management in healthcare. First, I propose a road map to implement RFID in hospitals with performance matrixes for technology evaluation, key criteria for resolution level setting, and business rules for information extraction. Second, RFID-based business process management (BPM) concepts and workflow technologies are used to transform the reprocessing procedures in a Sterile Processing Department (SPD) for the purpose of reducing infections caused by unclean reusable medical equipment. In the proposed pattern for healthcare business process management, the importance of execution status control is emphasized as a key component to handle complex and dynamic healthcare processes. A five-level framework for service-oriented business process management is designed for SPDs to share information, integrate distributed systems, and manage heterogeneous resources among multiple stakeholders. This research proposes a healthcare workflow system as a deliverable solution to manage the execution phase of reprocessing procedures, which supports the design, execution, monitoring, and automation of services supplied in SPDs. RFID techniques are adopted to collect relative real-time data for SPD performance management. Finally, by identifying key architectural requirements, the subsystems of a service-oriented architecture for the SPD workflow prototyping system, SPDFLOW, are discussed in detail. This research is the first attempt to explore healthcare workflow technologies in the SPD domain to improve the quality of reusable medical equipment and ensure patient safety.