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Ask the Expert: Health Care

Taking the administrative route

Q:  I’m unsure about what an industrial engineering undergraduate who is interested in health care administration should study while in school. I would like to do all I can now to help my chances of getting into a good graduate school. Should I be taking additional classes on top of my IE classes? What graduate schools are best for education in this area?


Surgical tray solution

Q: I work as a management engineer in a hospital. I am attempting to complete a cluster analysis of surgical trays and the surgical instruments they contain. The overall goal is to standardize the trays to gain efficiencies by combining trays that contain similar instruments.

One obstacle is the large amount of data I’m trying to manipulate. The hospital has more than 900 surgical tray types that may contain any of 16,000 different surgical instruments, which can vary by type, size, and manufacturer.

I am struggling with how to approach this analysis. I have initially attempted to make use of statistical analysis software. Some of the cluster analysis features include a hierarchical cluster and k-means analysis; however, the amount of variables I’m attempting to input into the model seems to surpass the capabilities of the software.

Do you have any suggestions as to how to complete this analysis to determine the opportunities for standardizing instrument trays? 


All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. 
~Thomas E. Lawrence 

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