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Monday, April 04, 2011 - OU students complete senior design projects at Crittenton Hospital
Three more industrial and systems engineering majors at Oakland University are completing student internships at Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Rochester, Mich. for their senior design projects.

The program started when Crittenton Hospital contacted OU a few years ago to see if it had industrial and systems engineers to help out with process improvement at the hospital.

This semester, Christie Bucklin, Salvatore Maceri and Jason Olson have been working as a team in Acute Therapy Services at the hospital, focusing on improving the efficiency of the department.

The team monitored the therapists and created a value stream map of their activity, seeking out where the waste was and what the value-added tasks were.

Bucklin said that one of the goals of the project was to see what the students could do as engineers to help the department reach its goals.

Through the project, the team sought to increase throughput for the therapy team and reduce the number of patients that went "unseen" due to a lack of time.

“We have collected data to create the value stream map and have used that data to identify areas where non-value added time can be reduced,” Maceri said. “We have been meeting with the leadership at Crittenton to come up with potential solutions to reduce the frequency and duration of the identified delays.”

Maceri also said that the group is in the process of implementing two solutions: standardizing work to reduce variance in each process and assigning a walker to each therapist to address the number one cause of delays for therapists.

The student team worked with Gary Altman, process improvement engineer for Crittenton; Kim Allen, director of Acute Therapy Services; and Erin Hart, manager of Acute Therapy Services as well as the rest of the therapy team at Crittenton.

“The team I have been working with has been outstanding,” Maceri said. “This project has been helpful as it has allowed the opportunity to be a part of a team which has applied the principles of ISE in the health care industry. I currently work in manufacturing, and the application of these principles is easy to see and identify in that environment. Seeing this firsthand in a service industry will, I believe, certainly help in making me a more rounded engineer for the future."

According to Bucklin, this project has been an extremely helpful way to wrap up her college experience.

“It gives us an idea of how everything is applied and how we can use it in real life,” she said.

For more information on Lean internships, visit oakland.edu/lean.