Department of Industrial Engineering and Management

HEMA Story

What is an industrial engineer or manager doing in a hospital if not being treated as a patient ? This is what everyone was asking in 2003 when three of professor Paul Lillrank’s students entered Töölö hospital surgery department in Helsinki to do some course work. These three students identified serious and unnecessary delays in the surgical process . With corresponding improvements, process was shortened, and both capacity utilization and employee satisfaction were increased. After this, Prof. Paul Lillrank wrote an article named patient-in-progress and published it in the Finnish Medical Journal – a journal read by all the doctors in Finland. It started the journey of applying industrial engineering and management theories and methods to healthcare management. Funding agencies such as the Finnish funding agency for Technology and Innovation, Tekes, were willing to fund relevant research. This was the beginning of Institute of Healthcare Engineering, Management and Architecture, shortly named HEMA Institute, which was established in 2004, host by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management in Aalto University.

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