Modeling and Analyzing Biomedical Processes using Workflow/Petri Net Models and Tools


 

Mor Pelega, Samson Tub, Abhijit Manindrooc, and Russ B. Altmanb

aDepartment of Management Information Systems, University of  Haifa, Haifa, Israel

bStanford Medical Informatics, and cDepartment of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Computer simulation enables system developers to execute a model of an actual or theoretical system on a computer and analyze the execution output. We have been exploring the use of Petri Net (PN) tools to study the behavior of systems that are represented using three kinds of biomedical models: a biological workflow model used to represent biological processes, and two different computer-interpretable models of health care processes that are derived from clinical guidelines. We developed and implemented software that maps the three models into a single underlying process model (workflow), which is then converted into PNs in formats that are readable by several PN simulation and analysis tools. We show how these analysis tools enabled us to simulate and study the behavior of two biomedical systems:  a Malaria parasite invading a host cell, and patients undergoing management of chronic cough.