initial states for instructions / when do we need actions?

Heath Frankel heath.frankel at
Tue Jul 12 20:28:54 EDT 2016

Hi Pablo,
Some comments below.


From: openEHR-technical [mailto:openehr-technical-bounces at] On Behalf Of pablo pazos
Sent: Tuesday, 12 July 2016 12:29 PM
To: openeh technical <openehr-technical at>; openehr clinical <openehr-clinical at>; sec at
Subject: ISM: initial states for instructions / when do we need actions?

Hi all,

This message is related to my previous message "ACTIVITY.description vs ACTION.description archetypes‏" (didn't got any answers :( but this is focused on when we need actions to change a instruction state, and what's the initial state.

Considering the specs:

I think when an instruction is firstly recorded, it should have a state. But I'm not 100% if that state should be INITIAL, or can also be PLANNED, SCHEDULED or ACTIVE, since at least for SCHEDULED and ACTIVE I think we need an ACTION to be recorded to trigger the transition, but it is not clear that we need that to trigger the transition "initiate (INITIAL -> PLANNED)".

[HKF: ] I personally consider the Initial state as your standard state diagram starting point rather than a usable state. The AE has allowed the initial state to be used, which I think is incorrect and we translate this to a subsequent state for real use.

1- Is INITIAL the state associated with an instruction when no action is recorded?

[HKF: ] This is how I consider this. In fact I usually explain to my developers that an instruction is not initiated unless there is an action to start the instructions workflow. Without an action, it is just a definition of an instruction that is waiting to have its workflow started.

2- If what it's recorded is a medication prescription, I guess the initial state should be PLANNED, do we need to record an action alongside with the instruction to make the "initiate (INITIAL -> PLANNED)" transition? OR, we can just set the initial state to PLANNED, even though no actions are recorded for the instruction/activity?

[HKF: ] As indicated, I would have an ACTION with a PLANNED state to make this clear. You may choose to go straight to Active.

3- On the case of recording a treatment that should be scheduled, do we also need an action to trigger the "schedule (INITIAL -> SCHEDULED)" transition? (I guess yes if the instruction is created at one time, and the schedule comes later).

[HKF: ] As above.

3.1- If yes, what happens on the case the instruction includes scheduling? Should we include an action to trigger the transition or can we set the state to SCHEDULED directly?

[HKF: ] Sorry, I don’t understand this one.

At least for me this is not 100% on the specs. If this happens to others, we might need to improve the specs and add more examples to make this topic clear for newcomers.


Kind regards,
Eng. Pablo Pazos Gutiérrez
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