Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Achudhan, S. Robust System for Infection Control: An Industrial Systems Engineering Approach,University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2014


A THESIS Presented to the faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Under the supervision of Professor Ram Bishu. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Sundaravel Achudhan


Health care delivery in the United States needs improvement. Each year about 98,000 people die as a result of medical errors and the United States is outranked by a number of developed countries in life expectancy, mortality and comorbidity. Healthcare quality is determined based on the quality of the service provided to the patient during their visit. Apart from the traditional problem solving design and development tools used to improve healthcare quality, The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine recommend systems engineering principle and systems engineering tools to be used in health care to improve the industry. Systems engineering approach is a way to gain insight into a process by looking at the interactions of the various sub-processes within the whole system. It is a sequential approach which suggests that the performance of the components of a sub-system is essential to drive the performance of the entire system. On application of this approach to healthcare delivery system, the existing system of care for infection control is sub-divided into four broad subsystems based on the phases involved in healthcare delivery - pre-diagnosis, diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment. The attributes driving these subsystems were identified and failures of these attributes were tested for dependency on patient mortality. Upon analysis, the approach proved to be an efficient tool for developing an ideal patient centered healthcare delivery system, and attributes were suggested for improvement by adopting evidenced based care practices.

Advisor: Ram Bishu