Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

July 2012    |    Volume: 44    |    Number: 7

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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Work Perfect

The day we strive forAshley Benedict 

Ashley Benedict

Industrial engineer
New England Veterans Engineering Resource Center
Veterans Health Administration
Jamaica Plain, Mass.

I am a senior industrial engineer with New England Veterans Engineering Resource Center (VERC). I work with healthcare practitioners, other engineers, faculty from several affiliated universities, and VA researchers on projects to improve healthcare delivery at region and nationwide VA medical centers.

Currently, I have two major projects. The first focuses on improving inventory management processes within our regional medical sites by applying inventory sciences and supply chain management. The second project is to implement new processes of care for patients on anticoagulation medications based on findings from VA researchers in this field. Patients with implants or congestive heart failure often are treated with medications that require frequent monitoring and dosage adjustments. Research shows that following the medication response in the body using control charts can lead to better control, fewer hospitalizations and fewer adverse effects for patients. I am developing the plan to translate this research into practice in VA New England. I also coordinate our healthcare systems engineering fellowship program.

A “perfect day” would include learning something new about a healthcare process, then working with a team to pilot tests of change. The team would use a patient-centered approach to develop a reliable and safe process. As an engineer, I would want the team to develop metrics that would let us evaluate the changes. Applying analytic skills to processes within the VA allows people to see data and information in a different light. The afternoon would be filled by interacting with the fellows during a fellowship curriculum session covering a topic of human factors or supply chain management.

The “perfect day” would have no junk mail in my email inbox, a passionate discussion focused on important goals for improving patient care, and all items on my to-do list checked off.

– Interview by David Brandt

David Brandt is the Web managing editor for IIE.