Transforming Health Care on Multiple Fronts

Tech and Texas A & M Share Research Initiative

The National Science Foundation has awarded funding to the Georgia Institute of Technology's H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Texas A&M Health Science Center (HSC) School of Rural Public Health to establish the Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT). The center will focus on transformational changes in health organizations on issues related to information technology implementation, quality and safety management, chronic disease management, clinical change initiatives and other evidence-based management approaches similar to Six Sigma and Total Quality Management.

CHOT brings together the top U.S. school of systems engineering at Georgia Tech and the nation's only school of rural public health at Texas A& M. with the shared goal of transforming health care on multiple fronts. The unique partnership will ensure that innovative knowledge produced by the center will reach both large urban areas, as well as rural and underserved areas.

"Health care organizations need continual innovation in management and clinical practices to address critical issues related to care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, and equitable in addition to offering the latest clinical technologies to remain competitive," said Dr. Rathindra DasGupta, NSF program director. "CHOT links excellent faculty and student talent to advance research and practice in health systems management, information systems, and systems. We are delighted to welcome this new Center and its partners."

Larry Gamm, Ph.D., professor and head of health policy and management at HSC-School of Rural Public Health, will serve as the CHOT director joined by CHOT co-director, Eva K Lee, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Center for Operations Research in Medicine and HealthCare at the Georgia Tech H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

"The faculty and students from these great universities look forward to developing even stronger working relationships with visionary health systems, urban and rural, that share a commitment to transformation in health care," Gamm said. "All of us seek to ensure that the center adds value for all participants taking health care research and education to the next level."

"The ability to directly inject innovative concepts into health systems, and to validate and refine them for actual usage is very exciting work, and is critical to the transformation process," said Lee. "The chain of events in patient care, from diagnosis to treatment to delivery, as well as the entire finance and organizational infrastructure, offer much room for systems advances and innovation."

The center's total research budget is funded by the NSF, along with a number of technology companies and progressive health-focused organizations including health systems composed of multiple hospitals and outpatient clinics in Georgia, Texas and several other states. Health system leaders and their staff will collaborate with the universities in guiding and conducting the center's research.

"We applaud our industrial partners for their foresight in supporting this research and are grateful for their participation and support in the transformation effort," said Lee.

A listing of health systems and their transformation leaders who are participating in CHOT will be online beginning September 4 at http://www.isye.gatech.edu/NSF-CHOT/.