Patient Lifecycle Management: An Approach for Clinical Processes
Abstract. Clinical processes can be described, inside the Biomedical scope, like a systematic guideline to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances. In industry, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products. Applying the concepts of PLM to Biomedical processes we create a synergy between the product's concept in the industrial case and the patient into the health care environment. This point of view improves the actual clinical processes with a most specific treatment for each patient, by modifying the statements to assist the patient according to the needs of the patient and his illness. This research proposal tries to shift the focus of the eHealth systems onto the patient, adapts the existing and defined clinical processes or clinical paths to the patient's needs, applies Big Data principles to bring even more attentions for the patient, and provides an easy to use system for the medical staff.
Keywords: Biomedical, Biomedicine, Product Lifecycle Management, PLM, Clinical Processes, Patient, eHealth, Big Data, Software Engineering.
In the last decade, the health care sector has used clinical guidelines and protocols as helpful instruments for decision-making. As defined by the Institute of Medicine, clinical guidelines are systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances . They describe all the decision points and corresponding actions to be carried out depending on a specific patient's state or situation. Furthermore, clinical guidelines identify the clinical tests to be performed in order to confirm or determine the patient's state. Based on the test results, the guideline determines the treatment alternatives. Among the most important potential advantages of documenting and using clinical guidelines are assessing and improving the quality of care, providing support for medical decision-making, controlling health care costs and reducing both practice variability and the inappropriate use of resources [1,2].
In industry, product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products . PLM integrates people, data, processes and business systems and provides a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.
The inspiration for the burgeoning business process now known as PLM came from American Motors Corporation (AMC). The automaker was looking for a way to speed up its product development process to compete better against its larger competitors in 1985 . The first part in its quest for faster product development was computer-aided design (CAD) software system that makes engineers more productive . The second part in this effort was the new communication system that allowed conflicts to be resolved faster, as well as reducing costly engineering changes because all drawings and documents were in a central database.
The main motivation for this research comes from several projects, regarding health care and PLM, in which the research group is involved. After analyzing and identifying the advantages and disadvantages of each research area, we focus on trying to improve health care systems using the main advantages that PLM paradigm brings. Our approach focuses on improving biomedical systems, by merging the main principle of clinical processes, or clinical pathways, with the Product Lifecycle Management paradigm in the industrial case. In this research proposal, we try to improve the attention of a patient with a chronicle illness, adapting the base clinical process, defined by specialist, for the patient. Biomedical informatics [5-12] incorporates a core set of methodologies that are applicable to data, information, and knowledge management across the translational medicine continuum, from bench biology to clinical care and research to public health .
The paper is structured as follows: Section 2 describes the PLM methodology as it is in the industrial environment. Section 3 explains our proposal to transform the idea of PLM to Patient Treatment. Finally, chapter 4 describes our conclusions and future work.