April 2014 |   Volume: 46 |   Number: 4
The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers
The day we strive for
Quality engineerMD Anderson Cancer CenterHouston
MD Anderson has been the No. 1 cancer center ranked by U.S. News and World Report for the last seven years. We are the largest freestanding cancer center in the world, and 1 million patients have been treated since 1944. I work in the Office of Performance Improvement in Quality Measurement and Engineering. We have 14 industrial engineers working directly with clinicians and leadership. We focus on making healthcare follow the Institute of Medicine aims of being safe, efficient, effective, timely, equitable and patient-centered.
My job functions as an internal business consultant leading and facilitating process improvement teams in clinics across the cancer center. Through these teams I act as a change agent for the organization and ensure that process improvement activities are communicated, understood and supported within the organization. I also train clinicians and administrative support staff in lean so they can facilitate their own lean projects.
I know that I am making a difference and that my work helps alleviate not only frustrations of the employees, but of the patients as well. I can have a direct impact on their patient experience.
My perfect day would start out with volunteering to greet patients. I volunteer once a month to help patients find their way around the hospital. Then I would catch up on my email before heading into an inpatient or clinic floor. I like to spend time with the physician or nurse I am working with, observing their process and collecting data. After lunch I would spend my time data mining or building tools for teams to use.
I am studying to get my Six Sigma black belt as well as my project management professional (PMP) credential. I plan to get my MBA with a focus on healthcare in the near future and apply those skills to the administrative side of healthcare.
– Interview by David Brandt
David Brandt is the Web managing editor for IIE.