Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering Purdue University
Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering

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From the Director:

Steve M. Witz

Steve M. Witz

Each project highlighted in this issue – patient-centered design, the Indiana Patient Safety Center, and Healthcare TAP’s gap analysis project – offers unique and valuable approaches to the Regenstrief Center’s mission to improve healthcare safety and quality.

In James McGlothlin’s research in patient-centered design, virtual reality allows users to interact with simulated patient rooms and develop environments that promote healing, integrate best practices and ensure the safety of provider and patient. Safety goals also require an understanding of how and why adverse events occur. Through the Indiana Patient Safety Center, the Regenstrief Center and our partners will have information from across the state to identify, track and correct system events that may compromise safety.

The Indiana Gap Analysis project, conducted through the Regenstrief Center’s Healthcare Technical Assistance Program, connects us with Indiana’s State Department of Health to assess the coordination of public health departments in the event of an influenza pandemic. Coordination of care during a disaster is a key component to maintaining social order and protecting citizens from additional illness or harm.

These projects provide important insights into factors that may compromise healthcare safety. In addition, they empower providers across public and private sectors to implement best practices that will ultimately improve care quality.


Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering

Healthcare Technical
Assistance Program

Discovery Park

Purdue University

Regenstrief Institute


Virtual reality simulations through Purdue's Envision Center allow users to "experience" and manipulate hospital environments before they are built. Read more.

 > McGlothlin leads Regenstrief Center’s research in patient-     centered design. More

 > Regenstrief Center, hospitals partners to launch Indiana Patient     Safety Center. More

 > Healthcare Technical Assistance Program wins Indiana Gap     Analysis Project. More

 > Roudebush VA Medical Center offers clinical research     fellowships. More

 > Regenstrief Center co-sponsors NSF Healthcare Systems     Engineering Workshop. More

 > Conference presentations now available on the Web. More

 > Study receives award from the American Geriatrics Society. More

 > Manufacturing summit tackles industry’s healthcare concerns.     More

McGlothlin leads Regenstrief Center’s research in patient-centered design

Dr. James McGlothlin

James D. McGlothlin

“Healthcare facilities can have a great impact on a healthcare professional’s ability to provide care and a patient’s recovery process,” says James D. McGlothlin, Regenstrief Center scholar and professor in the School of Health Sciences. “The more we understand about the relationships among provider, patient and their environment, the greater potential to design healthcare settings that enhance treatment and healing.”

McGlothlin and his research team recently completed a comprehensive literature review on facility design and human factors to highlight best practices for a number of key issues at St. Vincent Health in Carmel. “Our selection process was very rigorous, and remarkably, only 50 out of more than 1,000 articles met our criteria for best practices,” McGlothlin said. “This points to a real need for additional research to help guide decisions about healthcare-facility design.”

Before his appointment to Purdue University in 1999, McGlothlin was a senior researcher in ergonomics with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He received an master of public health degree in epidemiology and a master’s degree in environmental and industrial health from the University of Hawaii, and earned his doctorate in industrial health with a specialty in ergonomics from the University of Michigan.

Based on initial findings for St. Vincent Health, McGlothlin is overseeing the development of three-dimensional facility simulations at Purdue University’s Envision Center. Using virtual reality technology, facility planners can “experience” patient rooms and workstations, make virtual adjustments to layout, color, and noise level, and measure human physiological responses to these different design variables. These simulations can provide decision-makers with important information before spending time and money to build the actual facility.

McGlothlin aims to apply these best practices to the development of a new hospital facility in Murfreesburo, Tenn., in partnership with Bremner Healthcare and St. Vincent Health.

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Regenstrief Center, hospitals, partners to launch Indiana Patient Safety Center

IHHA logo

Indiana’s hospitals are marshaling the state’s tremendous healthcare and academic assets to dramatically improve patient safety. The Indiana Hospital&Health Association will launch the Indiana Patient Safety Center on July 1 to help its 167 member facilities develop reliable systems that prevent harm to patients.

The center will bring together an unprecedented depth of resources through collaboration with the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, Indiana University School of Medicine, Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana State Medical Association.

A main function of the center will be to provide education, training and other tools to foster cultures of safety in hospitals’ complex work environments. The Regenstrief Center will use evidence-based practices to help eliminate delivery system failures that could cause harm to patients.

Upon the center announcement, IHHA Board Chairman Vincent C. Caponi, CEO of St. Vincent Health System, noted the unique contribution the center will make to improving patient safety. “We will foster a blame-free culture of safety that helps us identify system failures and work aggressively together to prevent them from recurring in all of our organizations,” he said. “What sets us apart from efforts elsewhere is the combination of strong physician leadership and the rich knowledge and research base that our academic partners provide.

Steven M. Witz, director of the Regenstrief Center, also noted the center’s potential for impact. “Voluntary patient safety data collected from hospitals across Indiana will allow us to identify the root causes of adverse events and develop ways to meaningfully improve the quality and safety of healthcare processes.”

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Healthcare Technical Assistance Program wins Indiana Gap Analysis Project

On May 1, the Regenstrief Center’s Healthcare Technical Assistance Program (TAP) began a statewide project to evaluate the pandemic influenza response plans of each of the state’s 94 health departments. The project is funded by the Indiana State Department of Health.

david mckinnis

David McKinnis

“Purdue was chosen for this project because of the expertise available through our College of Engineering, School of Nursing and the Purdue Homeland Security Institute,” said David McKinnis, director of the Technical Assistance Program and principal investigator on the project. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Indiana State Department of Health to help ensure the health and welfare of the entire state.”

Each of the 94 local health districts in Indiana will complete the CDC pandemic influenza planning self-assessment. Healthcare TAP will review the assessments, engage in site visits and telephone interviews with health department staff, and prepare a written analysis for each department. The reports will be submitted to the Indiana State Department of Health in late August. Mark Lawley, associate professor in industrial engineering and RCHE-affiliated faculty, will lead the Healthcare TAP team.

“This project provides a unique opportunity to establish relationships with the public health sector and gain a greater understanding of how they deliver healthcare,” says Steven M.Witz, director of the Regenstrief Center. “Public health plays a pivotal role in the provision of healthcare throughout the nation, and their partnership will be vital to our mission of transforming healthcare delivery.”

Healthcare TAP provides short-term consulting services for Indiana’s hospitals and other healthcare providers through a partnership with the Regenstrief Center, Indiana Hospital&Health Association and Purdue’s Technical Assistance Program. For more information, visit

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Roudebush VA Medical Center offers clinical research fellowships

The Center for Excellence Implementing Evidence-Based Practice at the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis has announced the availability of special research fellowships in health services, outcomes and implementation research. The Center’s mission is to discover, implement and sustain the adoption of best practices, using health information technology to improve healthcare delivery.

Areas or research include (but are not limited to):
    > Health services and outcomes research
    > Medical informatics and health information technology
    > Implementing evidence-based practice
    > Patient safety
    > Mental health, stroke, pain, cancer and diabetes as special emphasis conditions

Fellowship positions are available beginning in July through September 2006 and provide up to two years of funding for formal training and mentoring clinical research. For more information, visit or contact Kurt Kroenke, MD at

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Regenstrief Center co-sponsors NSF Healthcare Systems Engineering Workshop

"Healthcare delivery in this country is in a crisis of inconsistent and sometimes dismal quality, safety and efficiency, with exploding costs," said Ron Rardin, professor of industrial engineering and director of academic operations for the Regenstrief Center. "A major reason for some of these shortfalls is the lack of involvement from the systems engineers and researchers who have done so much to improve the effectiveness of global manufacturing and distribution operations."

Ron Rardin

Ronald L. Rardin

Engineers from across the nation will meet next week during a National Science Foundation (NSF) workshop, led by Rardin, to discuss how they can improve healthcare delivery. The workshop, titled "Healthcare Systems Engineering," will take place Thursday and Friday (June 15-16) at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Va. More information is available online at

Regenstrief Center researchers are using the principles of technology, engineering and supply-chain management to address inefficiencies in health care. He said a 2005 report by the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine also provides a foundation for improved systems.

"But further progress is needed in developing computer models and other tools for engineering-integrated systems of personnel, information and communications technologies, facilities and planning, and control units that together can transform the safety, cost, quality and efficiency of health-care delivery," he said.

The NSF's Directorate of Engineering, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and the Regenstrief Center at Purdue are sponsoring next week's workshop.
A white paper report is planned, and all presentations will be available at


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Conference presentations available on the Web

Presentations from the Regenstrief Center's second annual conference are now available as streaming video at Presentations include:

keynote speaker

Marc E. Mattix

 > Impacts of Pandemic Influenza (presentation)
       Keynote address by Marc E. Mattix, DVM, MSS
       Diplomat, American College of Veterinary Pathologists

 > The U.S. Government's Healthcare Information Technology      
     Strategy: A Progress Report and a Look Ahead
       Keynote address by John W. Loonsk, MD
       Director, Office of Interoperability and Standards
       Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
       U.S. Department of Health & Human Service

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Study receives award from the American Geriatrics Society

Kaycee Sink, MD, received the New Investigator Award from the American Geriatrics Society for the abstract:


Sink KM, Thomas J, Kritchevsky SB, Craig BA, Sands LP. Concomitant use of cholinesterase inhibitors and bladder anticholinergics accelerates functional decline. Presented at the 2006 meeting of the American Geriatrics Society, Chicago, IL. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 54(4)s127, 2006.

This study was completed in conjunction with Laura Sands and Joseph Thomas, Regenstrief Center affiliated faculty members, and their work examining long-term options for Medicaid patients with dementia (see April newsletter).

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Manufacturing summit tackles industry’s healthcare concerns

Steven M. Witz, director of the Regenstrief Center, led a healthcare workshop at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing summit on May 23. His comments focused on fundamental inequities in the costs of healthcare, and the need for private-sector purchasers of healthcare, like manufacturers, to work collaboratively with healthcare providers. According to Witz, solutions begin with a thorough understanding of the factors driving these cost trends and an approach that considers the entire system. “We’re seeing an increasing percentage of patients unable to pay an amount that equals the costs of care they receive, leaving a declining number of purchasers to subsidize the shortfall,” Witz said. “No one is at fault, but everyone needs to be involved in the solutions. U.S. manufacturers have more control over their healthcare costs than they might realize.”

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Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering at Purdue University
(765) 494-9828• •

Editor: Phillip Fiorini,
Co-Editor: Erin Lukesh,