Automated verification of care pathways using constraint programming

Renan Pereira de Figueiredo, Joao Bosco Ferreira Filho, Flávio R. C. Sousa, Philip Weber, Ian Litchfield

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Bad construction of modeled care pathways can lead to satisfiability problems during the pathway execution. These problems can ultimately result in medical errors and need to be checked as formally as possible. Therefore, this study proposes a set of algorithms using a free open-source library dedicated to constraint programming allied with a DSL to encode and verify care pathways, checking four possible problems: states in deadlock, non-determinism, inaccessible steps and transitions with logically equivalent guard conditions. We then test our algorithms in 84 real care pathways used both in hospitals and surgeries. Using our algorithms, we were able to find 200 problems taking less than 1 second to complete the verification on most pathways. Index Terms—Clinical pathway, constraint programming, data-dependent transition system, DSL, satisfiability problems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9017991
Pages (from-to)2718-2725
JournalIEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2020


  • Clinical pathway
  • DSL
  • constraint programming
  • data-dependent transition system
  • satisfiability problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Health Information Management


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