Hospital consolidations raise costs, reduce care quality

According to The Synthesis Project, an ongoing national study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, hospital consolidation generally results in higher prices and a decline in care quality. A second study in the project concludes that for-profit hospitals are more likely to focus on highly profitable services than nonprofit hospitals.

White House: New PCAST report says "systems engineering" can improve healthcare

On May 29, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report to President Barack Obama that identifies a comprehensive set of recommendations, including the implementation of systems engineering, to address cost and quality challenges in healthcare.

What's the difference between "cost" and "cost?"

Virtually everybody, from CMS to veteran muckraker Steven Brill, argues that healthcare costs are too high- but which costs are they really talking about? It's often hard to tell. After cracking his dusty business school textbooks and making the rounds of his finance experts, Michael Koppenheffer can tell you for certain what the problem is: People are talking about no fewer than six different types of "costs." Michael Koppenheffer outlines these six types of costs in an infographic.

Apple reveals newest app. Could it change healthcare?

After months of anticipation, Apple recently unveiled its new health app - its cloud-based information platform known as "HealthKit," and a slew of new partnerships with Epic Systems, Mayo Clinic and a number of other hospitals.

The open question: Will Apple's big play for the health care market end up changing the industry - and if so, how soon?

Predictive analysis for employee retention

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare had a nurse retention problem. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of the system's nurses left within the first year, and a growing number were leaving before the 90-day mark.

Online reviews could help fix medicine

The University of Utah was the first healthcare system to post reviews from patients online - the good, the bad, the ugly. Think of it as Yelp for doctors. This sort of transparency can be stressful for doctors - as it would be for anyone whose performance is open to the public - but the positive effects are undeniable.

Good accounting augments systems engineering

Accounting system design in healthcare facilities should provide data that help systems engineers increase productivity and decrease cost in order to better compete on price.

A framework for reducing suffering in healthcare - HBR Blog

The authors posit that the time has come to deconstruct suffering by breaking it down into meaningful categories that reflect the experience of patients and help caregivers identify opportunities to reduce it. The authors propose a framework for major types of patient suffering so that healthcare providers can organize themselves to address suffering more effectively.

Feds eye crackdown on cut-and-paste EHR fraud

A recent article in Modern Healthcare cites that with the broader adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) the cost of Medicare claims has increased. CMS is investigating whether cut-and-paste features of some of the new EHRs is contributing to either fraudulent and inadvertent up-coding by charging for services that were never provided.

ISE senior design projects offer innovative solutions to industrial challenges

Industrial and systems engineering students at Rutgers University completed a number of senior projects with potential high impact including a hand prosthetic that uses much less energy than current devices and a medicine dispensing machine that improves nursing workflows, inventory management, and documentation.

How's the health of your state?

The America's Health Rankings website has an interactive map that shows the relative status by state for a number of health-related conditions and environmental factors including overall death rate, incidence of cancer and STDs, and levels of pollution.

Organizing for systemwide improvement - Cutting costs without cutting corners: Lessons from Banner Health

There are two keys to successful cost-cutting in healthcare: the first - necessary but not sufficient - is to apply proven tools and tactics from industrial engineering, lean, Six Sigma, and business process re-engineering; the second is to align the initiative with the organization's mission and culture and engage clinical and administrative staff across the organization to collaborate in the process. This post from the HBR Blog Network describes how Banner Health, one of the nation's largest health systems, did it.

Operations Improvement Methods: Choosing a Path for Hospitals and Clinics

Dr. David Belson describes various operations improvement methods used by management engineers in healthcare in this paper prepared for the California Healthcare Foundation.

Simulation in healthcare

As healthcare costs continue to rise and providers move towards patient-center care and measurable outcomes, healthcare organizations have sought out new tools to contain costs and attain these goals. Consequently, the demand for simulation has been rising rapidly based on prior success in other industries.

This presentation will cover the statistical methodology used in discrete event simulation, model development, and common applications review of conceptual and algorithmic logic behind simulation.

ISE senior design projects offer innovative solutions to industrial challenges

Industrial and systems engineering students at Rutgers University completed a number of senior projects with potential high impact including a hand prosthetic that uses much less energy than current devices and a medicine dispensing machine that improves nursing workflows, inventory management, and documentation.  

Career makeover: Shaking off a shy image

This article describes how one self-described introvert addressed a perception of shyness and increased his influence at work. 

Applying systems engineering principles in improving health care delivery

This article discusses about systems engineering's concepts and some applications including therapeutic optimization and hospital operations modeling with an objective to bridge the gap between systems engineering and healthcare. This is an excellent resource for those interested to learn about applications of Systems Engineering in healthcare.

How systems engineering can improve healthcare technology?

The March/April-2013 issue of AAMI's peer reviewed journal Biomedical Instrumentation and Technology (BI&T) has a cover story on Systems Engineering applications in Healthcare Technology Management. "Many of the challenges in healthcare are the same challenges other industries have faced decades ago," says Pat Baird, an engineering director with Baxter Healthcare Corporation. "Healthcare needs to catch up, and I think that 'systems thinking' could help speed the process."

Discrete Event Simulation: Answering the "what if"

This article describes the application of discrete-event simulation skills to enhance the efficiency of healthcare system, reduce costs and increase patient satisfaction at Mayo Clinic. According to Dr. Sarah Lam, associate professor of systems science and industrial engineering at Binghampton University, "Discrete-event simulation is a technique that enables the user to evaluate the efficiency of existing healthcare delivery systems, to ask "what if" questions and to design new systems."

Do I want to become a consultant?

Many people consider becoming a consultant at some point in their career. Longtime SHS contributor, John Templin, shares his perspective as a person with more than 40 years consulting experience. The presentation and paper describe some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of consulting including marketing, pricing, estimating time, career options and what it takes to run a healthcare consulting business. Presentation | Financial worksheet  

Science of improvement, how to improve - Institute for Healthcare Improvement

IHI offers a comprehensive healthcare improvement framework through an interactive website based on Plan-Do-Study-Act.

Use Google Scholar to find journal articles and more

Wouldn't it be great to Google scholarly literature to find all relevant articles quick and easily? Google Scholar does that! Just as Google looks across the world wide web, Google Scholar searches across many disciplines and sources, which includes articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. You can also set up e-mail alerts to receive notice when a newly published paper with your topic of interest is available so you can keep up to date in your field. Set up Google Scholar to use your library's online subscriptions to allow for even more availability of sources.

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Engineering undergrads solve real-world problems and gain practical experience, Wayne State University

The Wayne State University College of Engineering website features how undergraduate students are solving complex problems - and uncovering potential cost savings - for automotive and healthcare industry giants. As part of their senior capstone projects, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) students worked closely with GM and Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital to discover more effective and efficient ways to do business.

Introduction to healthcare for industrial engineers

Do you have difficulty describing what you do? This presentation provides a description of what process improvement professionals in healthcare do. It incorporates the work of many active IIE and SHS members to whom the society expresses its appreciation for their efforts and continuing the growth in our field.

New book promotes lean efficiency in hospital buildings

Lean-Led Hospital Design by Naida Grunden and Charles Hagood describes how, from the earliest possible concept phase, Lean ideas and processes can improve the efficiency of hospital design, and support better and better processes.

W. Edwards Deming: The man and the method 

This presentation provided by Doris Quinn provides some insight into the latter part of W. Edwards Deming's life as well as some of the key values, teachings and goals of his lifelong work. From these insights you will:

  • Have an appreciation for the kindness and generosity of Dr. Deming.
  • Understand why Dr. Deming’s teachings are still relevant in today’s economic situation.
  • Appreciate the value of his “Profound Knowledge for quality improvement today.

PowerPoint presentation | Diary following Deming in his final years | Video presentation 

A crash course in healthcare systems engineering

In this presentation at the 2011 SHS conference, Sandra Garrett and Samantha Sissel provide an overview of current challenges to healthcare delivery and how industrial engineers apply tools, techniques, and principles to address these challenges through examples. The presentation may be useful to anyone explaining the role of industrial engineers or other process improvement specialists in healthcare.