UAH Industrial and System Engineering students build successful business model for local medical practice

A group of people sitting around a table brainstorming

A group of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Engineering Management students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) recently used simulation software to successfully improve a local medical practice.

“ISE (Industrial and Systems Engineering) students worked on the INNOVA Primary Care project as part of their senior design class. Their first semester on this project was in the spring, and they had two graduate students working with them to simulate and evaluate the current and new facility. ISE students used industrial engineering tools such as SIMIO simulation software, LEAN methods and Six Sigma methodologies,” said Dr. Sampson Gholston, UAH Assistant Professor of ISE and Engineering Management.

With the assistance of implemented analytical methods, UAH ISE students, patients and staff at INNOVA Primary Care (formerly Brooke MD Primary Care) successfully reached their model goal: improved patient care and satisfaction, and facility efficiency. Dr. Brooke Uptagrafft runs the successful practice, a nationally-recognized Level III Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). Last year, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce named INNOVA as the 2016 Medical Practice of the Year. The primary care center recently expanded to a new facility near Crestwood Hospital.

“UAH ISE students have worked on projects like this in the past at various organizations including improving efficiency in the Huntsville Hospital Warehouse Facility and offering more proficient methodologies for the hospital’s equipment storage room,” Gholston said.

LEAN methods implemented at the new clinic by UAH engineering students, assisted INNOVA in achieving special recognition as a “more highly efficient and patient-centered space.” The PCMH is a model or philosophy of primary care that is patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible, and focused on quality and safety.


Dr. Sampson Gholston


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