Interesting Topics of Healthcare

Forums Academic discussion Healthcare Interesting Topics of Healthcare

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    Shuaikun Hou

    What are some interesting topics/paper you’ve read related to the healthcare field? Thanks for sharing!

    Andrew Trotter

    If you’re interested in healthcare papers, there are a lot of case studies and examples provided in ISyE 417. One topic I was exposed to for a longer period of time was modeling hospital evacuations due to inclement weather with discrete event simulation. I’d recommend checking it out on the course guide.

    Nicholas Kizewski

    Reply to Shuaikun Hou of #4101: I would like to start by seconding what @Andrew Trotter said about ISYE 417. The class offers a very interesting perspective into the would of US healthcare, including topics such as health insurance, different treatment models, etc. A topic that I got the opportunity to research was the use of helicopters to either deliver or supplement health care. The topic is very interesting!


    A topic within healthcare that I find interesting is medical decision analysis. As patients often face various options for treatment, this analysis provides a way to determine which option will result in the highest effectiveness, which is commonly measured in QALYs (quality-adjusted life years). These expected utility values and probabilities must be known for various outcomes. From here, one can calculate and compare expected values and then choose the option with the highest expected value. Although this approach may at first sound straightforward, estimating the expected utility values and probabilities of various outcomes can be challenging.

    Ellie Schlaefer

    Below is a link for one of the cases Andrew and Nick were referring to. You may find it useful. It looks specifically at improving the administering of portable x-rays!


    Jack Grahek

    Reply to Shuaikun Hou of #4101:


    Hi Shauikun,

    A very interesting topic in the healthcare field that specifically relates to industrial engineering concepts is the balance between flexibility in care and standardization. As an industrial engineering student, I am taught that variability is the enemy to excellent outcomes. However, when it comes to healthcare, this is not the case. In the healthcare industry, it is important that standard operating procedures, otherwise known as “playbooks” are implemented, but they can not be so restrictive that providers are unable to be flexible to deliver care that is uniquely tailored to each patient. I have been to a few conferences that address this issue in healthcare, and I recommend you take a look into some publications as well.

    Chenyi Zhao

    As the above replies said, ISYE 417 is a very interesting class about the health care system. After taking this class this semester, I found that industrial engineering actually can help improve the health care system in a lot of fields.  I think one field most popular in using ISYE is the emergency department. We can use ISYE tools to reduce the patient waiting time, and make the whole system run faster.

    Casey Miller

    I’ve enjoyed taking ISyE 417 this semester, and I’m curious what classes are recommended to take after in order to continue learning. Are there classes that build on the foundation of 417 and go into more advanced topics?

    Benny Boelter


    As an industrial engineer, I’ve found it interesting how resistant to change the healthcare industry is. A project I am currently working on dives into the closing counts process at the end of surgical operations. It is frustrating as well as astonishing how many barriers my group and I have run into when trying to implement new processes. It seems as though because of the complexity of the healthcare system, it is extremely hard to execute improvement projects and get buy-in from everyone involved on a project.

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