In medicine, programs have been developed that analyze the disease symptoms, medical history, and laboratory test results of a patient, and then suggest a diagnosis to the physician. The diagnostic program is an example of so_called expert systems_programs designed to perform tasks in specialized areas as a human would. Expert systems take computers a step beyond straightforward programming, being based on a technique called rule_based inference, in which preestablished rule systems are used to process the data. Despite their sophistication, systems still do not approach the complexity of true intelligent thought.
All process instances are executed in a very similar way and it is easy to draw a flowchart detailing the sequence in which tasks are executed. It is also possible to formalize the business rules that guide decisions, normally based on the evaluation of some process variables. But recently other kinds of processes have caught the attention of process management specialists. They are known as knowledge processes, or knowledge_based processes. Knowledge processes can be defined as "high added value processes in which the achievement of goals is highly dependent on the skills, knowledge and experience of the people carrying them out". Some examples could be management, R&D, or new product development processes.