LewisGale Hospital Alleghany
Danielle Morgan, director of surgical services at LewisGale Hospital Alleghany in Low Moor, Va., faced a challenge: An overstuffed, poorly organized equipment room.
"You couldn't get anything out, you couldn't get anything in," she says. "It was increasing time between surgical cases, increasing staff and physician frustration, and increasing patient wait time."
Led by Professor Eileen Van Aken, a team of industrial and systems engineering students, in a design capstone course, took on the job of revamping the operating room suite.
"I brought them into that equipment room and said, 'This is what we need you to do,'" Morgan explains. "I invited them into the surgical suite and asked them to just watch my staff, watch the physicians, watch the patients. Introduce yourselves. Tell them why you're here."
The students studied the situation and told Morgan: "You've got a problem!"
Applying industrial design principles, the students joined with the hospital's surgical staff to clear out the equipment area and other connected rooms. They removed three tons of metal, creating better organization and more space.
"It's been such a success story. I've shared it with my board of directors," Morgan says. Improvements include "a decrease in turnaround time, decrease in times between cases." Both doctors and other staff members have reported higher levels of satisfaction.
Earlier this year, Morgan told the story on a panel at the Engagement Academy for University Leaders in Roanoke. "Hers was one of several partnerships that are contributing to better health outcomes and increasing regional prosperity, with Virginia Tech leading the way," says Jeri Childers, a Fellow with the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement.
For more on the project, see: YouTube video story.