G. Kremer; "Utility Function Based Patient...", Nov. 26, 13:40, G035
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  • G. Kremer; "Utility Function Based Patient...", Nov. 26, 13:40, G035

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Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences 





Utility Function Based Patient Prioritization in the Emergency


Gül E. Okudan Kremer, The Pennsylvania State University





With the increased awareness of productivity problems in healthcare operations, many researchers have proposed the implementation of tools and methods developed in other fields to benefit healthcare delivery. Accordingly, in this talk we present an application of a decision making methodology, the multi-attribute utility analysis, to healthcare. The sample problem presented as part of the application involves patient prioritization in an emergency department (ED), where several patients require immediate attention and they all have the same acuity level. Utility theory is selected for this application to appropriately account for the uncertainty in the decision problem. Further, integration of the decision-making system with RFID technology is discussed to bring dynamicity to the decision-making approach.


In order to recognize who is most in need of care, most EDs utilize a triage system to sort patients by severity of illness or injury. The triage is a dynamic process in decision-making, where patients are prioritized according to their medical condition and chance of survival on arrival at the ED. This system inevitably results in waiting periods, especially for those with less acute problems. Due to under-staffing in many EDs, triage assessment can be done only once for most patients. This is a serious concern since patients’ conditions change over time, and not having current information will result in less than optimum care. Accordingly, we are experimenting with dynamic vitals monitoring, and thereby providing dynamicity to the usage of MAUT for the prioritization. Currently, we are collecting data from three hospitals: Hershey Medical Center, Mount Nittany Medical Center, and Williamsport Susquehanna Hospital. During the talk, challenges and opportunities of working with healthcare institutions will also be covered.





Gül E. Okudan Kremer is an Associate Professor of Engineering Design and Industrial Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. She received her PhD in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering from University of Missouri-Rolla in 1997, her MS and BS in Industrial Engineering from Yildiz Technical University in 1995 and 1992, respectively, and her MBA from Istanbul University in 1995. Her research interests include product design and supply chain integration, decision-making theory and applications in design and healthcare domains. She is the author of two books on Engineering Design and Product Family Design topics as well as over 100 refereed papers, including 26 journal articles. She teaches courses on product design and decision making. She is the recipient of the PSES Outstanding Teaching Award from Penn State. She is a member of ASME and IIE, and currently serves as the chair of the ASME Design Education Executive Committee.



Wednesday, November 26, 2008, 13:40-14:30,  FENS G035