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

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 health care.

The report, "Better Health Care and Lower Costs: Accelerating Improvement through Systems Engineering," notes that systems engineering has been widely used in other industries, such as manufacturing and aviation, to improve efficiency, reliability, productivity, quality and safety of systems. It also states that health care in the U.S. would benefit from more widespread adoption of systems engineering. According to the statement, the PCAST report comes at a critical time for the United States and for health systems in particular following the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Report: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/PCAST/pcast_systems_engineering_in_healthcare_-_may_2014.pdf 

Also, you may recall the 2005 report by the Institute of Medicine, which also advocates for a systems engineering approach to healthcare improvement:


SHS is developing its response to the PCAST report, and sees it as an opportunity to advocate for the Society and for our profession at the policy levels across the country. We invite your participation in our work with two requests:

  1. Please share these reports across your organization, so healthcare leaders become familiar with its content and local discussions can begin around its implications.
  2. If you are interested in participating in SHS’s response to this report, please contact Ron McDade, SHS President 2014-2015, at Ronald.T.McDade@MedStar.net.

Stay tuned for future updates on SHS’s activities around this important report.