Improving Efficiency: Management Engineering Comes to the Safety Net

Publication Date: December 2007

Publisher: California HealthCare Foundation

Author(s): David Belson

Research Area: Health

Type: Brief

Coverage: California


California's safety-net hospitals serve a population that would otherwise not have access to care. To provide the highest quality care to California's underserved residents, these hospitals need to look to innovative ideas to ensure the safety of patients, achieve the best clinical outcomes, and maximize efficiency in their operations. One way to achieve these goals is through the application of management engineering methods. Management engineering is a systematic process for diagnosing and correcting problems in the delivery of care. It can improve care by increasing productivity, controlling costs, and reducing wait times for patients. This issue brief looks at the benefits of applying management engineering processes through three demonstration projects in hospitals in the counties of San Bernardino, Mendocino, and Los Angeles. It describes the keys to a successful intervention, the potential impact, and the lessons learned.