openEHR logo

Task Planning Visual Modelling Language (TP-VML)

Issuer: openEHR Specification Program

Release: PROC Release-1.6.0

Status: TRIAL

Revision: [latest_issue]

Date: [latest_issue_date]

Keywords: task planning, visual language, workflow, care pathway, guideline, order set

openEHR components
© 2017 - 2021 The openEHR Foundation

The openEHR Foundation is an independent, non-profit foundation, facilitating the sharing of health records by consumers and clinicians via open specifications, clinical models and open platform implementations.


image Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.


Issues: Problem Reports

Amendment Record

Issue Details Raiser Completed

PROC Release 1.6.0


Add Task Repeat.

T Beale

15 Nov 2020


Add parallel synchronisation example.

N Iglesias,
T Beale

30 Oct 2020


Add concurrent end blocks and T/F Gates.

T Beale

03 Jun 2020

PROC Release 1.0.0


Update to modelling shapes used in main specification.

T Beale

07 Mar 2019


SPECPROC-2 Initial Writing.

T Beale

20 Oct 2017


Primary Author

  • Thomas Beale, Ars Semantica (UK); openEHR Foundation Management Board.


This specification benefited from formal and informal input from the openEHR and wider health informatics community. The openEHR Foundation would like to recognise the following people for their contributions.

  • Borut Fabjan, Program Manager, Marand, Slovenia

  • Matija Kejžar, Marand, Slovenia

  • Eugeny Leonov, Solit Clouds, Moscow, Russia

  • Bjørn Næss, DIPS, Norway


The work reported in this specification has been funded by the following organisations:

  • City of Moscow, Russia

  • DIPS, Norway

  • Marand d.o.o., Slovenia

  • Ars Semantica, UK


  • 'openEHR' is a trademark of the openEHR Foundation.

  • 'OMG' is a trademark of the Object Management Group.

1. Preface

1.1. Purpose

This document describes a visual modelling language for the openEHR Task Planning Model, known as TP-VML. This is designed to enable visually efficient visual representations of Task Plans to be authored with appropriately configured tools.

The intended audience includes:

  • Task Plan and workflow authors;

  • Tool vendors.

Prerequisite documents for reading this document include:

1.3. Status

This specification is in the TRIAL state. The development version of this document can be found at

Known omissions or questions are indicated in the text with a 'to be determined' paragraph, as follows:

TBD: (example To Be Determined paragraph)

1.4. Feedback

Feedback may be provided on the process specifications forum.

Issues may be raised on the specifications Problem Report tracker.

To see changes made due to previously reported issues, see the PROC component Change Request tracker.

1.5. Conformance

Conformance of a data or software artifact to an openEHR Reference Model specification is determined by a formal test of that artifact against the relevant openEHR Implementation Technology Specification(s) (ITSs), such as an IDL interface or an XML-schema. Since ITSs are formal, automated derivations from the Reference Model, ITS conformance indicates RM conformance.

2. Overview

2.1. Tool mode

The following files can be downloaded and then imported into as libraries to provide a working palette for TP-VML diagrams.

3. Elements

The elements of TP-VML are based directly on the openEHR Task Planning formal specification, and can be used to construct exectuable Plans.

3.1. Composites

The TP-VML elements in this section are composite structures that contain primitive elements.

3.1.1. Plans

TP-VML icons for WORK_PLAN and TASK_PLAN are used (TP plan structure), enabling some of the relevant meta-data to be visualised.

TP VML plans
Figure 1. Plans

3.1.2. Task Groups

Task Group icons and their conditional structure derivatives use two visual elements to indicate the extent of the (container structure) they represent from the TP model.

Since Tasks and other Task Groups within any Task Group are included by ordered containment (i.e. 'list' semantics) rather than chaining, contained items are shown connected with dashed arrows, indicating the implied ordered.

TP VML task groups
Figure 2. Task groups

3.1.3. Conditional Structures

TP conditional structures follow the same structural logic as Task Groups, with the addition of various specific meta-data as per the specificaion.

TP VML conditionals condition
Figure 3. Conditional structures - CONDITION_GROUP
TP VML conditionals decision
Figure 4. Conditional structures - DECISION_GROUP
TP VML conditionals event
Figure 5. Conditional structures - EVENT_GROUP

3.2. Primitives

The TP-VML elements in this section are atomic primitives that are used within various levels of containment structure, including Task Groups, the various kinds of conditional structure, Task Plans and Work Plans.

3.2.1. Tasks


Performable Tasks may have one or more associated capture_datasets. Dispatchable Tasks may have an associated callback wait state (CALLBACK_WAIT).

TP VML tasks
Figure 6. Tasks

3.2.2. Task Repeats

A Task, or more usually a Task Group may have a repeat specification (TASK_REPEAT) associted with it (TP Repetitions). Various forms are possible. This is diagrammed as follows.

TP VML task repeat
Figure 7. Task (group) repeat

3.2.3. Events

TP-VML Events are defined in the Events section in the TP specification and can be visually represented in three forms:

  • full form: with icon and named attributes from the TP model;

  • short form: with icon and implicit attributes from the TP model;

  • informal: via an icon, with no further specification of details.

Events are specified as triggers for the wait states TASK_WAIT, TIMER_WAIT and CALLBACK_WAIT.

TP VML events
Figure 8. Events

4. Patterns

4.1. Synchronisation of Parallel Paths

The following example shows two parallel activity paths, where the completion of one (lab results arriving) causes the termination of the other (medication).

EX parallel sync
Figure 9. Parallel synchronisation