Characterization of laboratory flow and performance for process improvements via application of process mining

Eline Tsai, Andrei Tintu, Richard Boucherie, Yolanda De Rijke, Hans Schotman, Derya Demirtas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background The rising level of laboratory automation provides an increasing number of logged events that can be used for the characterization of laboratory performance and process improvements. This abundance of data is often underutilized for improving laboratory efficiency. Objectives The first aim of this descriptive study is to provide a structured approach for transforming raw laboratory data to data that is suitable for process mining. The second aim is to describe a process mining approach for mapping and characterizing the sample flow in a clinical chemistry laboratory to identify areas for improvement in the testing process. Methods Data were extracted from instrument log files and the middleware between laboratory instruments and information technology infrastructure. Process mining was used for automated process discovery and analysis. Laboratory performance was quantified in terms of relevant key performance indicators (KPIs): turnaround time, timeliness, workload, work-in-process, and machine downtime. Results The method was applied to two Dutch university hospital clinical chemistry laboratories. We identified areas where alternative routes might increase laboratory efficiency and observed the negative effects of machine downtime on laboratory performance. This encourages the laboratory to review sample routes in its analyzer lines, the routes of high priority samples during instrument downtime, as well as the preventive maintenance policy. Conclusion This article provides the first application of process mining to event data from a medical diagnostic laboratory for automated process model discovery. Our study shows that process mining, with the use of relevant KPIs, provides valuable insights for laboratories that motivates the disclosure and increased utilization of laboratory event data, which in turn drive the analytical staff to intervene in the process to achieve the set performance goals. Our approach is vendor independent and widely applicable for all medical diagnostic laboratories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-152
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Clinical Informatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Prof. Dr. Y.B. de Rijke received a personal grant from Roche Diagnostics Nederland B.V. to support this research. The research findings are not related to the interest of Roche Diagnostics.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Author(s).


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