Designing property specifications to improve the safety of the blood transfusion process

Author Department

Emergency Medicine; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Computer scientists use a number of well-established techniques that have the potential to improve the safety of patient care processes. One is the formal definition of a process; the other is the formal definition of the properties of a process. Even highly regulated processes, such as laboratory specimen acquisition and transfusion therapy, use guidelines that may be vague, misunderstood, and hence erratically implemented. Examining processes in a systematic way has led us to appreciate the potential variability in routine health care practice and the impact of this variability on patient safety in the clinical setting. The purpose of this article is to discuss the use of innovative computer science techniques as a means of formally defining and specifying certain desirable goals of common, high-risk, patient care processes. Our focus is on describing the specification of process properties, that is, the high-level goals of a process that ultimately dictate why a process should be performed in a given manner.

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