Using software to save lives and improve health care
I have always been inspired by innovators- at GE, I have the opportunity to work with true innovators every day. It began when I was a boy in Istanbul, Turkey. Our home was subject to regular power outages, and electricity-and its absence-was a frequent topic of conversation. We appreciated what power meant to a comfortable life in a very tangible way. Every time the lights went out, my grandfather would ask, “How can you not thank Edison for what he did?” Ever since those days, Edison has been my role model and his words “I find out what the world needs, then proceed to invent it,” drive me every day.
Today, I’m a Principal Engineer in the Software Sciences & Analytics organization at GE Global Research, finding ways to use industrial engineering and software technology to solve complex problems. Working in software at GE has led me to a number of different exciting and diverse experiences where I have been able to help bring real value to our customers. I’ve had a lot of amazing experience at GE but am most proud of the work I am doing today to make hospitals safer and more efficient.
Together with my colleagues at GE Global Research and at GE Healthcare we are finding ways to minimize delays in moving patients between areas of care, to minimize the risk of infections or serious complications during long waits, and to help hospitals operate at optimum efficiency, both for patient health and safety and for financial stability. Delays in care seen so often in hospitals have many repercussions: they may impact the stress level of caregivers which can also impact the quality of care; they can result in rushed medical procedures and lengthier hospital stays which raise health concerns and hospital and patient costs; they can cause patients to be diverted to other care centers, hurting hospital revenues; and they can result in poor patient satisfaction and lower reimbursement rates. This is life-changing work, and it is indicative of what technology can do to improve our lives. It may not be as obvious as the light bulb, but to patients in need of care, it is just as essential. Working in software for GE gives me this unique opportunity to be able to directly impact the well-being of people’s lives.
The technology our team is developing will help to streamline the very complicated process of moving patients between hospital areas: from emergency department waiting room to later waits for doctors, nurses, diagnostic imaging, and test results. And there are other “waits” that tie up treatment time, such as for a bed to become available, for a medial team to be ready, or for transport to another area of the hospital. Smooth transitions require the right resources to be available at the right time. Our technology recognizes that a hospital is a complex system and all of these issues of waiting are related to supply and demand. The technology is capable of assessing the whole system instead of making localized improvement decisions. For example, to minimize wait times in an emergency department, a hospital may not need to invest in a new building wing, but simply change its discharge process.
Hospitals today face real challenges: the processes are inefficient, and there are significant safety problems and real financial troubles. Many of these concerns are likely to increase as health insurance reforms and the rise in aging baby boomers put more pressure on the medical system. To provide safer and more efficient care, hospitals must do more and better with less. Our technologies are aimed to do just that. We develop, test and validate these technologies in real clinical settings with our hospital partners to assure that their problems are addressed and that we provide real value. When these technologies are implemented, it will bring science to the design and operations of hospitals so that they may serve patients more smoothly, and more safely, while maintaining fiscal balance. Our system approach will assure all different components of the hospitals are designed and operated efficiently for increased quality, reduced cost and increased throughput and access for the whole hospital.