The Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering

Purdue’s Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering is the nation’s only integrated university–wide effort in healthcare engineering.

Launched by a gift from the Regenstrief Foundation in 2005 and housed in Purdue’s Discovery Park, this interdisciplinary environment draws on engineering, science, management, and social sciences expertise. Here, a sampling of ongoing projects.

Barrett Caldwell, IE professor; Sandra Garrett , IE PhD student
This project focuses on healthcare provider teams and looks at the coordination of information and physical resources within a clinic or hospital environment. “Our work is the first effort to define foraging in a consistent mathematical way that explains how people gather resources based on specific events rather than on general processes,” says Caldwell. An example: ordering extra vaccines based on an upswing of new cases, instead of ordering them “just in case” or based on standard procedures.

Open-Access Scheduling

IE professors: Ron Rardin, Mark Lawley, Hong Wan, Kumar Muthuraman, Leyla Ozsen, Yuehwern Yih
As an alternative to long waiting periods in outpatient clinics, open–access scheduling allows patients to schedule appointments on the day they need to see the doctor in order to improve convenience and reduce the appointment no–show rate. Purdue is testing and implementing the open–scheduling system by applying the quantitative tools used in industrial engineering and operations research. The research is being conducted with the Wishard Primary Care Clinic of the Indiana University Medical Clinics and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Indianapolis.

Radiation Therapy Planning

Ron Rardin, IE professor; Joe Pekny, ChE professor
The laser beams involved in radiation therapy treatment for cancer patients can be divided into many small pieces, each with its own level of intensity. Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) goes one step further by looking at how to arrange the beams and choose intensities for more effective treatment. There are many different options, so Purdue is collaborating with the Indiana University School of Medicine in developing software to help make these choices for each individual patient. “Promise of the work has led to funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, and the Indiana 21st Century Fund that totals over $2 million,” says Rardin.

Clinical Reminder System

IE professors: Yuehwern Yih and Mark Lehto
This project focuses on The clinical reminder system serves as a decision support tool. Patient–specific clinical reminders are generated by a computerized knowledge base and software algorithms and are sent to healthcare providers through electronic patient records. This project collaborates with the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve the usability and effectiveness of clinical reminders in VA medical centers.