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Research Overview

Photo of Yuehwern Yih & Dawei Wang teaching Ugandans

Dr. Yuehwern Yih's core research focuses on the development of intelligent decision tools and predictive models for strategies and management in complex systems and operations. The complexity of a system may be induced by the stochastic and dynamic nature of its components, their availability, their interactions, interoperability, as well competing and changing goals from their stakeholders. Dr. Yih's research takes a systems approach to develop framework and methodologies for addressing challenges that industrial or clinical partners are facing. Applications of her research work range from manufacturing, supply chains, health care, humanitarian aids, and global development challenges.

For example, in the healthcare domain, Dr. Yih collaborated with health providers developing solutions to improve care access, equity, patient satisfaction, affordability, and care quality. Dr. Yih edited the first handbook focusing on the delivery system of healthcare, titled Handbook of Healthcare Delivery Systems. This 50-chapter handbook covers the wide arrays of sectors in healthcare delivery systems to provide a holistic view of healthcare delivery as an integrated system. Dr. Yih is also one of the experts who contributed to "Order from Chaos – Accelerating Care Integration", a report of the Lucian Leape Institute Roundtable in 2012.

In 2004-2005, collaborating with a group of physicians, Dr. Yih's work in western Kenya for HIV patients resulted in the first integrated nutrition program that can track patient nutrition data along with their medical records. She led the design, development and implementation of both the food distribution infrastructure and the Nutrition Information System (NIS). This NIS is linked with the patient's electronic medical records to provide a rich data source for researchers to study the impact of nutrition to the HIV patients under antiviral treatment. The donors could see the demographics of beneficiaries who received the food and how their health outcomes improved. The system was the first of its kind and has been in use since 2005. More than 38,000 HIV patients and their family members in Western Kenya benefited from this integrated food system each year. This research work was published in top medical journals such as the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association.  Dr. Yih received the Inaugural Faculty Engagement Fellow Award, Purdue University's highest recognition in engagement. This work was also featured in the Industrial Engineer magazine (March 2006, p.14) and as the cover article in January 2014 issue of the same magazine.

Recently, Dr. Yih has partnered with Eskenazi Health and the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety to tackle a hidden safety issue with infusion pumps – drug limit library update. This research identified nurses' perceptions and knowledge gaps in drug limit library updates, which has direct impact on patient safety in the medication delivery process using infusion pumps. This research delivered a visual cue intervention that Eskenazi is adopting and scaling to the entire hospital. This work is funded by the NIH/CTSI Trailblazer/Firestarter Award.

In 2015, Dr. Yih partnered with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to address this non-governmental organization's (NGOs) concerns in supply chain management in emergency response settings. A cloud based smart sync solution, E+TRA, was co-designed with CRS based on its standard procedures under emergency response settings. The system has been field tested in Dominica and is in process for more field tests. E+TRA has the potential to address several current issues in emergency response among NGOs – delays and inaccuracy in planning and procurement, data sharing, and coordination in response efforts within and among NGOs  In 2017, this technology was leveraged to develop a health supply chain management system with patient records to improve maternal health in Uganda, called E+TRA Health. This solution triangulates patient records and laboratory data with inventory status to determine the need for essential medicines to prevent deaths during childbirth. E+TRA Health has been developed and implemented in two facilities in Uganda. This research is awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations.

Are you interested in using industrial engineering to improve healthcare and save lives? If so, please email Dr. Yih at

Yuehwern Yih, PhD
315 N. Grant Street
Grissom Hall Room 241
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Tel.: 765-49-40826
Fax: 765-49-47693