Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering

August/September 2008
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Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering



Center for Health Outcomes Research and Policy

Discovery Park

Jim McGlothlin demonstrates a patient lift

James McGlothlin (Health
Sciences) demonstrates a
patient lifting device in the
interactive booth, “Patient
Care in Motion: Interactive
Movement of Patient Assistive
Care Technologies” at the
American Industrial Hygiene
Association (AIHA) Conference
and Exposition in June. The
booth featured demonstrations
by industry professionals and
was sponsored by AIHA Ergo-
nomics Committee, AIHA
Healthcare Working Group and
the Regenstrief Center.

 > Regenstrief Center welcomes new biostatistician and     research assistant. More

 > PharmaTAP director named as executive director of the     Indianapolis Patient Safety Coalition. More

 > HealthcareTAP and PharmaTAP add new staff. More

 > Political borders, healthcare issues complicate pandemic     planning. More

 > Pharmacy quality project funded by national pharmacy     alliance. More

 > Rural healthcare project progresses in Kewanna, Indiana.     More

 > New partnerships established with American College of     Physicians and VHA, Inc. More

 > State Health Commissioner to present “Indiana’s Public     Health Priorities” as Pioneer Speaker. More

 > Fall conference highlights Regenstrief Center research. More

 > Regenstrief Center and HealthcareTAP leadership featured     on Innovention 08 panels. More

 >  Private-sector fundraising hits high marks, garners national     award. More


Regenstrief Center welcomes new biostatistician and research assistant

Zhiyi Tian

Zhiyi Tian

Zhiyi (Jur-Yee) Tian joined the Regenstrief Center on August 19 as the department's first biostatistician. Most recently she worked as a research lab specialist for the Geriatrics Center at the University of Michigan. There she performed statistical analyses of studies on frailty, multimorbidity, disability and geriatric syndrome. She earned her master of arts degree in applied mathematics at Eastern Michigan University, where she was given the Award for Excellence in Graduate Mathematics. She also completed a master of science degree in biostatistics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Masa Iida

Masahisa Iida

The Regenstrief Center also is pleased to welcome Masahisa (Masa) Iida as the center's graduate research assistant. Masa is a second-year MBA student at the Krannert School of Management and will be working with Regenstrief research scientist Ping Huang on a number of center initiatives. This summer, Masa interned with Boston Scientific, Cardiac Rhythm Management Division in St. Paul, Minnesota. Prior to graduate school, he worked for Citigroup in Citi Cards Japan. He earned his bachelor's degree in international finance and accounting at Texas Christian University.

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PharmaTAP director named as executive director of the Indianapolis Patient Safety Coalition

by Jenny Siminski, Indiana Patient Safety Coalition

Carol Birk

Carol Birk

Carol Birk, PharmaTAP Director, has been named as the Indianapolis Patient Safety Coalition’s new Executive Director. In addition to her duties at Purdue, she will be responsible for the administration and overall direction of the Coalition. Birk replaces Kathy Rapala, who has accepted a new position as Director of Clinical Risk Management at Aurora Health in Wisconsin.

“Carol brings a solid background in catalyzing improvement in patient safety, clinical quality and efficiency in a multitude of settings,” said Dr. Glenn Bingle, chair of the Coalition and Community Health Network vice president for medical and academic affairs. “Her extensive experience assembling multi-disciplinary teams will support the existing work and structure of the Coalition and help to bring its knowledge to a broader set of healthcare providers.”

Birk received her bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Purdue University and a master's of science in pharmacy administration from University of Wisconsin, where she also completed a two-year administrative residency. She has extensive experience in hospital pharmacy practice and healthcare performance improvement.

Since 2003, the Coalition ( has provided a forum for Indianapolis area hospitals to share information about ‘best practices’ and work together to solve the most concerning patient safety issues in a non-punitive setting. The Coalition is comprised of chief executive, medical, nursing and pharmacy officers from Indianapolis-area hospitals. Additional participating entities include the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, Purdue University, Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, WellPoint, Inc., and Indiana University.

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HealthcareTAP and PharmaTAP add new staff

Kyle Hultgren

Kyle Hultgren

Kyle Hultgren and Theresa Knotts have joined Purdue as performance improvement project managers for two of Purdue’s technical assistance programs. Hultgren, who comes with experience in pharmacy practice at Indiana University Hospital, has joined the PharmaTAP staff. While at IU, he participated in and led the development and implementation of solutions to medication-related issues. He is a member of numerous pharmacy organizations and participates in multiple community service organizations.

Theresa Knotts

Theresa Knotts

Knotts contributes her 20 years experience in performance improvement as a project manager for both PharmaTAP and HealthcareTAP. Most recently, she was executive vice president for corporate compliance at Cummins Behavioral Healthcare Systems, Inc, where she led the organization to national recognition as the winner of the 2007 Negley Award for Excellence in Risk Management.  She also has extensive experience in risk management, patient safety, Joint Commission accreditation for hospitals and behavioral health.  She is a certified professional in healthcare quality and worked as a skilled nurse in medical and cardiac intensive care as well as the medical floor.

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Political borders, health-care issues complicate pandemic planning

Content provided by Amy Patterson Neubert and Marydell Forbes, Purdue University

Panic, staffing issues and geographic boundaries are some of the challenges that public health experts need to address as they plan for a possible influenza pandemic, according to a new report from Purdue University.

George Avery

George Avery

"Most public health experts who are leading planning efforts for an influenza outbreak are focusing on specific geographic areas, usually counties, as defined by political lines," said George Avery, an assistant professor of health and kinesiology and a Regenstrief Center research associate. "This is problematic because if there is an outbreak, planners need to take into account the people and healthcare systems that are or are not around them.

"Counties that border other states may experience nonresidents seeking treatment in their area, while other counties may be home to the only isolated hospital system in the region and can expect the population from other states to travel there for care. Healthcare, especially in a crisis, is not defined by county or state lines."

Members of the Purdue Alternative Care Site Planning Team interviewed public health planners in 13 of Indiana's 92 counties from November 2006 to August 2007 as part of a pandemic planning gap analysis. The counties are Allen, Clay, Dearborn, Fulton, Huntington, Lake, Johnson, Montgomery, Orange, Posey, Randolph, Sullivan and Warrick. Purdue's Healthcare Technical Assistance Program assembled the team to look at issues about planning for alternative care sites and other surge capacity issues during a pandemic such as staffing concerns, medication supplies, medical equipment access and insurance limits. The study was funded by the Indiana State Department of Health.

Mark Lawley

Mark Lawley

"Another significant planning concern is related to staffing, especially at alternate care sites," said Mark Lawley, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and Regenstrief Center faculty. "During a pandemic, we can expect that caregivers will become ill, some caregivers will be reluctant to work and others will stay home to care for their own family members. Many planners are suggesting alternate care sites during an outbreak, but finding additional staff members for these units will be a big impediment."

As a result, alternate sites often are not a feasible alternative, Lawley said. Also, the strain on the work force will likely affect the standard of care. "The public has expectations about the standard of healthcare," he said. "For example, doctors prescribe medications and nurses administer them, but what happens if one group is understaffed during a crisis? How are roles reassigned and how is that communicated to the patients?"

In addition to staffing and community coordination issues, the researchers also found that misunderstandings about projected mortality and illness rates are creating panic.

"In several counties, many planners are anticipating devastating impacts that even exceed the worst case scenarios historically," Avery said. "The confusion results in a sense of helplessness among some planning teams because they believe any planning will be rendered useless by the magnitude of the problem."

To counter this, the researchers suggested more explanations by federal, state, international and academic experts about statistics and surveillance.

The research team also observed some contradictions in planning efforts. Counties planned on limited resources and expected to compete among themselves for basic medical supplies and other necessities. At the same time, the plans acknowledged assistance would be sought from external groups, such as the National Guard or governor's office.

Other authors of this study include Purdue professors Barrett Caldwell and Dulcy Abraham, as well as former and current Purdue graduate students Sandra Garrett, Marshall P. Durr, Feng Lin, Po-Ching C. DeLaurentis, Maria L. Peralta and Alice Russell.

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Pharmacy quality project funded by national pharmacy alliance

woman in pharmacy

Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, in collaboration with the Regenstrief Center, the Regenstrief Institute (an informatics and healthcare research organization) and the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance, was recently awarded funding from PQA, Inc., a pharmacy quality alliance, to launch a demonstration project to test the feasibility of creating systems to monitor the quality of pharmacy performance. PQA, Inc. has allocated over $800,000 of its funds to support five demonstration projects, which will conclude in summer 2009.

PQA, Inc. is a membership-based alliance that represents a broad group of stakeholders including pharmacist practitioner groups, health plans, pharmacy benefit management companies, government agencies, employers, long-term care pharmacy groups, pharmaceutical manufacturers, consumer groups, patient advocacy organizations and quality improvement organizations.

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Rural healthcare project progresses in Kewanna, Indiana

by Lindsay Morgeson, DURI Intern and Junior in the Purdue School of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Lindsay Morgeson


On June 23, Steven Witz, director of the Regenstrief Center and I traveled through the corn fields of northern Indiana to the small town of Kewanna. It is here in this small community where, over the past month and a half, I have been working directly with the town council and residents to establish a rural health clinic. This opportunity was made possible through the Regenstrief Center and the Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI) program. I am continuing work begun this past fall by Jillian Jweinat, another DURI student.

This summer, I have produced and helped the town council disperse a healthcare needs assessment to all of the town residents. With responses from the assessment, we are working to determine what healthcare options are most appropriate for this town and their healthcare needs.

During our recent visit to Kewanna, we met with members of the town council, healthcare professionals from the previous clinic including a physician and a nurse practitioner, and caring citizens of the community. We engaged the group with an open discussion about positives and negatives associated with different clinic options.

I am now working to compile the assessment responses, analyze the data, and research additional opportunities. The meeting was a strong step forward in achieving the town council’s ultimate goal to provide their citizens with a convenient and much-needed source of healthcare in their close community.

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New partnerships established with American College of Physicians and VHA, Inc.

The Regenstrief Center has established new relationships with two influential national organizations, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and VHA, Inc. These organizations will critique the pertinence and potential impact of research findings on healthcare delivery, disseminate research findings, promote implementation across the country and influence policy makers and legislation.

ACP logo

ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. Its membership of 126,000 includes internists, internal medicine subspecialists, and medical students, residents, and fellows.

VHA logo

VHA, Inc. is a healthcare provider alliance that serves more than 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals and 21,000+ non-acute care organizations nationwide. Founded in 1977, VHA provides supply chain management services and promotes and supports the formation of regional member networks.

“The new collaboration with ACP and VHA, Inc. expands RCHE’s influence by providing avenues for national exposure and dissemination,” said Steven Witz, Regenstrief Center director. “Along with our other national partners, Ascension Health and WellPoint, Inc., these organizations provide an invaluable national perspective to advance the center’s mission to transform healthcare delivery."

State Health Commissioner to present "Indiana's Public Health Priorities" as a Pioneer Speaker

Judy Monroe

Judy Monroe

Judy Monroe, MD, FAACP, Indiana’s State Health Commissioner, will be on campus Friday, Sept. 26 as part of the Regenstrief Center’s Pioneer Speaker Series. Her presentation is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. in the Burton D. Morgan Center in Discovery Park. Box lunches will be provided for those who register in advance at

"Indiana is facing many public health challenges ranging from natural disasters to an increasing burden of chronic disease. Solutions to these challenges require systems-thinking and 'all hands on deck,'" said Monroe. She will discuss the priorities of the Indiana State Department of Health and the research questions posed by these challenges and priorities.

Monroe was appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels as the Indiana State Health Commissioner in March 2005. She is the President-elect of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and a member of the Healthiest Nation Steering Committee to build an integrated 21st century health system that values equity. In early 2007, Monroe partnered with Purdue and led the design and implementation of the Indiana Public Health System Quality Improvement Project to strengthen local public health capacity, infrastructure and system performance.

Monroe received her medical degree from the University of Maryland and completed her residency in Family Medicine at the University of Cincinnati. She fulfilled a four-year National Health Service Corps commitment in Appalachia before joining the faculty at Indiana University and subsequently directing the Family Medicine Residency Program and Primary Care Center at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.

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Fall conference highlights Regenstrief Center research

Fall Conference banner

The Regenstrief Center’s fall conference, Transforming Healthcare Delivery: Advancing Multidisciplinary Research at Purdue University, is an opportunity for Purdue researchers to learn about the progress of multidisciplinary healthcare research on campus, network with colleagues and students with similar research interests and establish multidisciplinary partnerships to pursue new healthcare research directions. Last year, more than 150 researchers were in attendance.

The 2008 conference will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center. Sessions will highlight research topics that are within the Regenstrief Center’s “sweet spots," including:

   > Patient/provider interaction
   > Health literacy and e-learning
   > Patient safety
   > Evaluating patient care outcomes
   > Healthcare supply chains
   > e-Prescribing

Purdue graduate or undergraduate students will display their healthcare-related research posters at the conference. These posters will also be viewed during the Discovery Park Advisory Council Meeting.

The symposium is free to Purdue faculty, students, staff and collaborators. For more information, visit or contact Mary Schultz with the Regenstrief Center at or (765) 494-9828.

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Regenstrief Center and HealthcareTAP leadership featured on Innovention 08 panels

Mary Anne Sloan

Mary Anne Sloan, director of
Purdue's HealthcareTAP
engagement program,
participates in a response panel
at the Indiana Health Industry
Forum's Innovention conference.

Steven M. Witz, director of the Regenstrief Center and Mary Anne Sloan, director of Purdue’s HealthcareTAP engagement program were featured in panel discussions at the Indiana Health Industry Forum’s (IHIF) annual Innovention conference. Witz moderated a panel titled, “Partnerships in Preventative Healthcare” which examined trends and progressive approaches to reducing employer healthcare costs. Sloan participated in a response panel to the keynote address, “Perception vs. Reality: Understanding the Economics of the Cost of Healthcare,” presented by Peter J. Neumann, Director of the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center.

IHIF is a not-for-profit organization with members representing a private/public alliance of manufacturers, suppliers, educational institutions, health care providers, service providers and government. Since 1994, IHIF has worked to define the factors that lead to economic development success in Indiana's already significant health industry and build programs supporting future growth for the industry in the state.

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Private-sector fundraising hits high marks, garners national award

Purdue University announced Aug. 29 that private fundraising and non-government sponsored research and programs brought in more than $247 million in the recently concluded fiscal year. Of that amount, gifts to the university reached $201 million, exceeding the year's fundraising goal.

In recognition of Purdue's fundraising success in the previous three years, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, also known as CASE, recently awarded the university a WealthEngine Award for Educational Fundraising in the overall performance category.

"We are very pleased that we exceeded our goals this year in spite of the fact that we had just completed our largest fundraising drive ever with the Campaign for Purdue ending on June 30, 2007," Blackwelder said. "It's fairly common for giving to trend down after a campaign in which so many of our most loyal donors gave large gifts. In addition, we had one large pledge in the 2006-2007 report which, of course, made that period's $394 million total higher than usual."

The top gift made during the 2007 fiscal year was $13.45 million from the Regenstrief Foundation supporting the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, the Cancer Care Engineering Program, and Patient Health and Telehealth Research.

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Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering at Purdue University
(765) 494-1531 •

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