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Please join the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (SPCEET) and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering for our Spring 2022 Seminar Series with Dr. Kevin Taaffe from Clemson University! Light refreshments will be provided.


Improving Patient Safety, Patient Flow and Physician Well-being in Emergency Departments by Dr. Kevin Taaffe, Harriet and Jerry Dempsey Professor and Chair of Industrial Engineering at Clemson University


The Emergency Department (ED) is a critical segment in the US health system where patients receive care for various conditions, ranging from minor non-urgent medical conditions to life-threatening emergencies. As society's health care safety net, patients with no other options for medical care access the ED because the federal government mandates an ED to provide screening and stabilizing care to all patients regardless of their ability to pay. According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, approximately 140 million visits are made to US EDs annually (and around 50% of hospital admissions), making it an essential patient entry point into the health care system. Apart from the ever-increasing volumes of patient arrivals and diverse medical conditions of patients seeking care, any other natural disaster and pandemic add a significant burden to EDs. Our research focuses on three critical aspects of the ED, improving patient flow, patient safety, and physician well-being in the ED. Handoffs, or transfer of patient care from one physician to another, are a common occurrence and are predisposed to errors as a result of interruptions and high workload. Moreover, the Institute of Medicine reported that a majority of treatment delays are a result of communication errors associated with a shift change. Utilizing a novel simulation modeling approach to represent the physician and patient activities in the ED, we identified physician shift policies that can improve patient safety and patient flow by reducing handoffs and patient time in the ED. Further, we used a mixed-integer programming model to propose shift schedules that minimize the combined cost of handoffs, patient wait times, and physician staffing costs. Finally, after collecting over 100 hours of physiological data from the physicians working in the ED, we developed a machine learning model to detect the early onset of stress among ED physicians.


Short Bio
Dr. Kevin Taaffe is the Harriet and Jerry Dempsey Professor and Chair in Industrial Engineering at Clemson University. After receiving B.S. and M.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois, Dr. Taaffe worked in the transportation logistics industry (American Airlines, Sabre) for eight years, before returning to academia to obtain his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Dr. Taaffe’s research interests include the application of simulation and optimization in healthcare, production, and transportation logistics. Dr. Taaffe focuses on healthcare logistics problems that range from patient flow to operating room management to clinical space capacity management. Dr. Taaffe has worked with clinicians, administrators, managers, and support staff to identify and solve problems related to the patient and staff experience within emergency medicine, surgical services, and sterile processing. He also enjoys working on industry-sponsored projects that bridge the gap between theoretical research and application. In addition to his academic and research interests, Dr. Taaffe plays an important role in the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) where he recently served as the Senior VP of North American Operations. He also advised the Clemson undergraduate chapter for 12 years, winning the outstanding advisor award for the region twice.



About the Series:
The Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (SPCEET) Seminar Series is designed to encourage the exchange of ideas within and across the college’s disciplines through research. We invite speakers from top research institutions and within SPCEET to give presentations on their ongoing and most recently completed research projects each semester.


The Seminar Series provides faculty, staff, and students an excellent opportunity to directly interact with leaders in their research areas, get valuable feedback on their ongoing work from peers, and create possibilities for high-impact collaboration.

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