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What is the role of industrial engineering in healthcare?

Industrial engineers contribute to many aspects of society's infrastructure, including healthcare systems. Industrial engineering in healthcare is a vast field, as it enables hospitals, drug developers, and research institutions to effectively provide advanced patient care. If you want to be involved in improving healthcare systems through engineering, you can start by learning the basics of a healthcare engineer career.

What is the role of industrial engineering in healthcare?

In this article, we explain the importance of healthcare engineering and share an overview of career paths for an industrial engineer in healthcare.

What is Industrial Engineering in Healthcare?

In healthcare, industrial engineering is the practice of coordinating all processes and logistics involved in patient care. They are responsible for optimizing the efficiency and performance of health systems, eliminating waste, and saving money by adjusting and organizing health care operations. Industrial engineering is a vital tool for ensuring that all healthcare systems are safe, accessible and organized. Industrial engineering is important in healthcare because it ensures that healthcare systems are continuously improved and evaluated in response to technological advances and changing patient need

Healthcare engineering practices include medical device design, facility layout optimization, schedule alignment, administration optimization, risk assessment, and modeling the results of any systemic adjustments. Industrial engineers can work on any aspect of healthcare delivery, from determining the ideal floor plan in an emergency room to designing automated systems for manufacturing medical supplies. The application of industrial design in healthcare settings can also help administrators determine the necessary roles and staffing levels to meet patient needs.

Types of Occupations for a Healthcare Technologist

Several healthcare-related roles involve the use of industrial engineering concepts. Some people are solely involved in design, while others use engineering processes to manage a healthcare facility. Medical engineers may work within a healthcare-related organization or provide consulting services to other healthcare providers to improve their processes. Here are some of the top jobs in the field, with an explanation of how each uses industrial engineering in healthcare:

Health Operations Manager: Overseeing hospitals, primary care clinics, and medical research centers requires a deep understanding of how to build effective health systems. Healthcare operations leaders use industrial engineering to control their supply chain and oversee workforce.

Healthcare Safety Manager: To comply with health care safety standards and regulations, Healthcare Safety Managers use industrial engineering to create safe facility layouts, implement testing procedures, and develop corporate safety policies.

Medical device designer: When developing, testing, and releasing new medical products, medical device designers use industrial engineering to ensure that their designs meet the needs of both patients and healthcare providers.

  • Health facility manager: Efficient care for large numbers of patients often requires complex facilities with their own power, plumbing and waste management systems. Healthcare leaders use industrial engineering to design functional facilities and maintain the necessary infrastructure.
  • Hospital director: The hospital director is responsible for the overall performance, operations, and budget of a large healthcare facility, making him a direct participant in the choice of industrial design methods to support healthcare.
  • Healthcare Software Engineer: An understanding of industrial engineering in healthcare helps software developers create useful software systems to manage patient information and run automated processes to solve unique problems in healthcare industries.
  • Health Systems Analyst: The initial stages of industrial design in healthcare involve gathering information and analyzing existing medical systems. Health systems analysts plan research and data collection projects based on industry engineering best practices and procedures.

Benefits of a career as a healthcare process engineer
Choosing a career in healthcare engineering can give you the opportunity to build a successful professional life and make a positive impact on your community. Some of the benefits you can enjoy working in positions related to industrial design in the healthcare industry include:

Ability to contribute to better health systems

Industrial medical engineers and other professionals determine how healthcare systems work. They can have a direct impact on the overall well-being and health of their community through their policies and projects. Successful healthcare process engineers make it easier for patients to access healthcare. Good industrial design in healthcare can improve people's quality of life and even save lives.

Opportunities for innovation

Industrial engineers in the healthcare industry regularly integrate new technologies into their system designs to provide patients with better and more sustainable treatment options. As healthcare-related technology advances, you may have many chances to be innovative and creative at work. As an industrial engineer working on medical and healthcare related projects, you will need to constantly adapt and update previous systems. This provides an attractive, interesting work environment with the opportunity to experiment in new areas.

Career growth and job security

Healthcare is an important part of a functioning society, so there will most likely always be a need for people capable of building better medical systems. The high demand in the healthcare industry is leading to many stable vacancies for qualified professionals. Industrial engineers and other professionals can achieve growth and advancement in their field by managing larger and more complex systems. As you gain experience in design development, you will be able to explore different areas of specialization and seek managerial responsibilities.

Joint work projects

As a process engineer, you will collaborate with many other professionals to improve healthcare systems. Industrial medical engineers work with healthcare providers, patients, manufacturers, building managers, product developers, and more to design their systems the right way. If you enjoy working with others, getting a job related to healthcare industrial engineering can provide you with a satisfying and stimulating work environment.

Transferable skills and experience

Getting a job in healthcare industrial engineering can help you develop an impressive set of professional skills that can be applied in many different contexts. The knowledge and skills you gain in designing very complex industrial healthcare systems can make you an impressive candidate for a number of jobs. Whether you decide to stay in healthcare or engineering or decide to expand into other industries, your ability to manage and optimize healthcare processes can be an asset on your resume.

Skills for Industrial Engineering Jobs in the Healthcare Industry
Regardless of which specific position you choose, there are a few basic skills required to work in industrial healthcare. You can develop these skills over time, but you should hone your experience in these areas before applying for your first position:

Data analysis

Industrial engineering in healthcare relies heavily on data analysis. You need to know how to collect information about how patients receive care in order to develop solutions and solve problems. To excel in healthcare engineering, you must be able to implement data collection techniques, develop data integrity controls, and interpret complex trends from information.

Research work

The ability to research other healthcare systems and develop technologies is critical to your success in healthcare engineering. This includes advanced reading comprehension to understand scientific and academic research, and writing skills to summarize your research. Research skills can help you learn more about how other medical institutions are working to solve problems in your workplace and develop better industrial systems.


Since industrial engineers in the healthcare industry must consider all aspects related to the functioning of the healthcare system, they need to have strong leadership skills. As a healthcare professional, you will use your leadership skills to develop a shared vision for how to reduce waste and improve operations. You will also use your motivation and leadership in working with others to plan the implementation of your policies and procedures.

Solution of problems

The main goal of industrial engineering in healthcare is to solve large-scale problems that affect healthcare systems. Your ability to identify and solve problems will guide the projects you work on and ensure that you can make the most important and useful improvements. Problem-solving skills are important for strategically thinking about the long-term impact of your industrial healthcare projects and finding cost-effective ways to address common problems or barriers for patients and healthcare providers.