Tech for trauma: Grad student designing better health IT

// Industrial & Systems Engineering

Tags: 2019, News, students

Photo of Bat-Zion “Betsy” Hose

Bat-Zion “Betsy” Hose is using human factors and systems engineering methods to help develop information technology tools to support transitions in pediatric trauma care.

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When Bat-Zion “Betsy” Hose walked into Union South for her student orientation—SOAR, in University of Wisconsin-Madison lingo—in summer 2011, she fully intended to major in biology.

But when the announcement came for engineering advising, she had a change of heart.

“I had teachers in high school who told me, ‘You should do engineering.’ At that moment, I was curious and thought, ‘I’ll try it at least for a semester,’” Hose recalls.

Eight years later, Hose (BSIE ’16, MSIE ’18) is a two-time graduate of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and is about a year away from earning her PhD. She’s published as the first author on a scientific journal paper and presented at a major international conference.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she says. “I think my brain really works as an engineer.”

As part of Leon and Elizabeth Janssen Professor Pascale Carayon’s team in the Wisconsin Institute for Healthcare Systems Engineering, Hose is using human factors and systems engineering methods to help develop information technology tools to support transitions in pediatric trauma care.

The project, supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, aims to improve patient safety through technology that delivers timely and relevant information to the appropriate team members. In a hectic emergency department, such technology could improve efficiency and prevent critical information from being missed during staffing rotations or transitions to different hospital units.

“There’s so much information throughout the electronic health record, so we’re trying to pull it and organize it in a way that is useful, so that care team members can be on the same page about what’s happening to the child,” says Hose, who’s worked on the project since its outset, initially helping to gather and understand the varied needs of different clinicians and staff.

Those interviews and subsequent analysis formed the basis for her paper in the January 2019 issue of Applied Clinical Informatics and her presentation at the triennial congress of the International Ergonomics Association in Florence, Italy, in August 2018.

“Betsy has gained self-confidence and developed her own unique research interest, with a focus on human factors design of team health information technology,” says Carayon, an internationally respected expert in patient safety and healthcare systems engineering. “Betsy’s commitment to improve the quality and safety of care provided to hospitalized children is unwavering.”

Hose’s dedication to her work comes, in part, from the memory of her childhood best friend, who died from a recurrence of brain cancer during her first semester of college in 2011. Hose says in the future she’s interested in designing health IT for long-term care and disease management in settings like pediatric oncology.

“I think children are a priority population to study,” she says. “They’re a vulnerable population. If you think about adults going to the hospital, we can advocate for ourselves and we’re constant in the care. But a child, maybe their parent’s not there the entire time. So they’re more vulnerable to patient safety issues and medical errors.”

Author: Tom Ziemer