Logo: University of Southern California

USC Viterbi School Initiates Health Technology Short Courses

The first of a group designed to help health care professionals reduce costs and improve care begins this month
Eric Mankin
February 26, 2009 —

As congress debates ways to improve health care in Washington, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering is unveiling a new continuing education program aimed at healthcare professionals, teaching them to use engineering methods to reduce costs and improve care.

David Belson
These techniques have been proven in recent hospital trials, says the course instructor, David Belson, Ph.D., an adjunct professor in the School's Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

"This is the right course at the right time," said Viterbi School Dean Yannis C. Yortsos.

The first offering is a short course, "Process Improvement in Health Care," designed for health care practitioners and administrators. No engineering background is needed. It combines techniques developed in the field of Industrial and Systems Engineering with the needs of the health care industry. Current course offering dates are March 19-21 and July 13-14. Additional information is available at  http://viterbi.usc.edu/shortcourses.

Course participants will learn how to reduce hospital costs and improve patient care by identifying and correcting bottlenecks, delays and other patient flow problems.  The National Academy of Engineering found that an inefficient American health care system causes 100,000 preventable deaths and the unnecessary loss of $500 billion each year.

Belson currently teaches graduate level engineering courses at USC in improving health care operations. He brings more 25 years of Industrial Engineering experience to this Professional Programs short course and has worked with over a dozen hospitals in improving their processes and teaching process improvement methods.

Outpatient Surgery News recently reported on the results of successful tests in implementation at a group of these hospitals.

Three course delivery options are available for participants: on USC’s campus, online with interactive abilities and online with archive access. Participants have the ability to choose the delivery method that fits best with their needs.

Candace House, director of the Viterbi School's Professional Programs, said that other courses in the area are being prepared for launch later this year. "The Viterbi School aims at being a center of specialized retraining."

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering Professional Programs offers an expanding selection of continuing education programs for non-degree seeking professionals, including Short Courses, Custom Programs, and Seminars and Conferences.