Stepping up to improve health care

Engineering techniques can be used to eliminate inefficiencies in Canada’s health care system, as the work by a new Toronto research centre shows. In the modern race to innovate, the health care industry is lagging decades behind manufacturing and other service industries. Michael Carter is ready to launch a game of catch-up.

As head of the new Centre for Research in Healthcare Engineering at the University of Toronto, Dr. Carter’s job seems simple on paper, but a lot tougher to execute: Replace the isolated elements of the system with a more efficient, productive health care system that gets everyone pulling in the same direction and makes the best use of limited resources.

“Every time I go into a hospital, I’m looking at it with a different eye,” Dr. Carter says. “Everywhere I look I see opportunities for improving efficiency. … It’s not just cutting costs. It’s really important to have the system set up properly.”

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