Trustworthy Pervasive Healthcare Services via Multiparty Session Types

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Abstract

This paper proposes a new theory of multiparty session types extended with propositional assertions and symmetric sum types for model- ing collaborative distributed workflows. Multiparty session types statically guarantee that workflows are type-safe and deadlock-free, facilitate auto- matic generation of participant-specific (“local”) workflow protocols from global descriptions, and support flexible implementation of local workflows guaranteed to be compliant with the workflow protocols. The extensions with assertions and symmetric sum types support expressing state-based (pre)conditions and consensual multiparty synchronization, which are com- mon in complex distributed workflows.

We demonstrate the theory’s applicability to clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) by providing a model-view-controller based prototype implementation targeting mobile healthcare applications. It compiles declarative healthcare workflows specified in a user-friendly spreadsheet-formatted process matrix into type-checked multiparty processes, which are subsequently interpreted on a server. The interpreter provides interface hooks for access by mobile clients. For demonstration purposes we have implemented a role- tailored graphical user interface (GUI) running on Android tablet computers, which reflects the pervasiveness requirements common to clinical and home healthcare scenarios. A physician has, with little prior training, successfully used the prototype to design her own healthcare workflow as a process matrix, employing instantaneous test and usage feedback from the automatically generated client.

Collectively, this provides evidence that multiparty session types can effectively support the design of trustworthy pervasive workflow systems without unduly limiting architectural freedom, restricting implementation flexibility, compromising safety or overwhelming notational machinery.

This paper was presented at FHIES2012.

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