Health Care Systems Engineering Program

Health care systems engineering is an area of research in health care delivery science that provides a mechanism to design or redesign the systems and processes of how care is delivered to increase efficiency, reduce errors, and improve access and overall quality of care.

The Health Care Systems Engineering Program brings together expertise, both from data-driven and mathematical sciences as well as human-based sciences, to provide integrated solutions to today's complex health care problems.

The data-driven and mathematical sciences include operations research, informatics, management and computational sciences that focus on quantitative evaluation and modeling of processes and systems of care to promote optimal care delivery and data-driven decision-making. The fields of human factors, ergonomics and organization sciences are dedicated to identifying and correcting incompatibilities among people, technology and work environments. Research in these fields focuses on improving technologies and systems so that they work optimally within the capabilities and limitations of humans, both physically and psychologically.

The mission of the Health Care Systems Engineering Program is to advance science through scholarship and innovation and make significant impacts in practice through implementation, while educating future researchers and practitioners.

The program is accomplishing this by:

  • Identifying practice stakeholders within Mayo Clinic and beyond and establishing long-term research engagements
  • Leveraging scientific knowledge to transform health care delivery
  • Advancing knowledge in systems engineering and understanding of health care systems through scholarship and innovation
  • Disseminating knowledge to the health care and systems engineering community
  • Educating health care practitioners in systems engineering and engineering students in health care
  • Leading the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery's Clinical Engineering Learning Laboratories (CELL) initiative.

For patients, this is leading to health care that is more centered on patients, as well as improvements in safety, access to care, efficiency and satisfaction. Importantly, health care providers likewise benefit from safer, more efficient health care delivery.

Areas of focus

  • Understanding risk factors and indicators of deterioration in hospitalized patients, and developing and implementing tools to improve care processes
  • Increasing the utilization and improving capacity management of surgical processes
  • Understanding workflow and teamwork in surgical suites and establishing work environments that enable providers to feel motivated and satisfied with their performance
  • Examining the workload in the surgical suite, and proposing and testing interventions to optimize task performance and staff well-being
  • Understanding the usability of medical equipment and its socio-technical impact
  • Embedding research in practice through clinical engineering labs to ensure research has relevance and practice changes are informed based on scientific rigor
  • Improving the understanding of patient demand and outpatient access and developing decision-support systems


Major findings and implementations by the program include:

  • Forecasting models for internal-referral specialty appointments at Mayo that have improved access times and reduced unfilled appointment slots
  • Prediction models and heuristics to increase the efficiency of surgical schedules
  • Increases in safety in the operating room for patients and surgical staff
  • A better understanding of the interactions among workload, workflow and team dynamics


Daryl J. Kor, M.D.

Susan Hallbeck, Ph.D.

  • Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Scientific Director for Health Care Systems Engineering
  • Email: