Health Systems Engineers Are, In Essence, Industrial Engineers By Another Name

I’m working on slides for my keynote at the Society for Health Systems February Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference in Orlando. (February, Orlando, that sounds nice!). The title of my talk is Wearable Workflow Needs Health Systems Engineering. I have a Masters of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois. That department is now named the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering. So I thought I’d better look up Systems Engineering, just to make sure it’s what I think it is.


There it is, under the Wikipedia entry for Industrial Engineering, “health systems engineers are, in essence, industrial engineers by another name.” I’m good to go! I can use the same outline I’ve used over the years (designing a medical informatics curriculum and an EHR workflow system).

  • Work Study and Human Factors: Tools to improve efficiency in production systems, motion and time Study, job evaluation, human factors (including aviation human factors) and ergonomics (usability).
  • Industrial Engineering Tools: Production and inventory management, scheduling, facilities location and layout, material handling, production chain management, engineering economics.
  • Operations Research and Decision Theory: Statistics, optimization of production systems, probability theory, queuing theory, game theory, graph theory, decision analysis, and simulation.
  • Quality management: Basic tools of determining quality problems in production systems.
  • Automation: Impact of computers on design, implementation and management of production systems; for example, workflow-oriented groupware systems.
  • Project Management: Project planning networks and identifying critical paths.
    Systems Design: Planning, installing and managing of production systems.

Then I realized I didn’t have a blog post on this topic, even though I’ve often thought about writing one. So, here it is!



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