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Modeling healthcare processes as service orchestrations and choreographies

Morad Benyoucef (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Craig Kuziemsky (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Amir Afrasiabi Rad (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Ali Elsabbahi (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 26 July 2011




Service‐oriented architecture is becoming increasingly important for healthcare delivery as it assures seamless integration internally between various teams and departments, and externally between healthcare organizations and their partners. In order to make healthcare more efficient and effective, we need to understand and evaluate its processes, and one way of achieving that is through process modeling. Modeling healthcare processes within a service‐oriented environment opens up new perspectives and raises challenging questions. The purpose of this paper is to investigate one of these questions, namely the suitability of web service orchestration and choreography, two closely related but fundamentally different methodologies for modeling web service‐based healthcare processes.


The authors use a case‐based approach that first developed a set of 12 features for modeling healthcare processes and then used the features to compare orchestration and choreography for modeling part of the scheduled workflow.


The findings show that neither methodology can, by itself, meet all healthcare modeling requirements in the context of the case study. The appropriate methodology must be selected after consideration of the specific modeling needs. The authors identified usability, capabilities, and evolution as three key considerations to assist with selection of a methodology for healthcare process modeling. Further, sometimes one method will not meet all modeling needs and hence the authors recommend combining the two methodologies in order to harness the benefits of modeling healthcare processes in a service‐oriented environment.


Although literature exists on process modeling of web services for healthcare, there are no criteria describing necessary features for micro‐level modeling, nor is there a comparison of the two leading service composition methodologies within the healthcare context. This paper provides some necessary formalization for process modeling in healthcare.



Benyoucef, M., Kuziemsky, C., Afrasiabi Rad, A. and Elsabbahi, A. (2011), "Modeling healthcare processes as service orchestrations and choreographies", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 568-597.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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