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There is growing interest internationally in the development and effective integration of efficient and useable electronic health information management systems. However, it is essential that researchers, designers and implementers have a clear understanding of the current care processes in place before they start to develop or implement new electronic systems within health care settings. A critical first step to designing such systems is the development of accurate models depicting existing care pathways and clinical processes. Here, we introduce the concepts of process-mapping, and discuss how these tools are currently being applied to a comprehensive process mapping project of pre-operative assessment services across Scotland.