Alumni Spotlight: Kristin Goin is one of the 2012 New Faces in Engineering

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Kristin Goin, MS HS 2008, has been selected to be the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) representative for the 2012 New Faces of Engineering, a program that honors promising young engineers who are contributing greatly to society, thus promoting the image of engineering globally. As part of this recognition, Goin will be featured in a USA Today advertisement during National Engineers Week February 19-25.

“It is an incredible honor. I feel extremely fortunate to be part of a great program that is seeking to introduce and encourage the next generation to become engineers. It is also a reflection on the wonderful mentors in my life who helped me become an engineer and continue to inspire me in my career today.”

Most recently, Goin has been working with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (Children’s) as a strategy and planning consultant, leading system efforts to drive innovation and improvements in pediatric care across the organization. In March, Goin will be joining Shepherd Center as a Senior Improvement Consultant on their Quality, Outcomes, and Patient Safety team. She will be leading clinical and operations teams to drive system wide process improvements to increase efficiency and effectiveness, enhance care delivery, and drive improved patient outcomes.

Goin has been making a positive impact in the healthcare industry since she was a student in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE).  She originally partnered with Children’s during her graduate studies at ISyE through a joint venture with the Georgia Tech Health Systems Institute, Children’s, and ISyE’s Center for Humanitarian Logistics in the Supply Chain & Logistics Institute. On the project, Goin worked with a team of other master’s students to optimize patient flow at Children’s at Egleston. 

Goin has been a member of IIE since 2002, and believes that her participation with the organization has contributed to her personal and professional development, and has also helped her to establish relationships with other IE's across the country. In addition, Goin, along with her partners at Children’s, published two papers in the Society for Critical Care Medicine that won the 2010 Scientific and Administration awards, and she was selected to present at the 2009 and 2010 Society for Health Systems conferences.

Read the interview below to learn more about Goin and her work in the healthcare industry.

ISyE: Describe a typical day at work.

KG: As an IE, I love working with people to help solve problems and develop new systems and processes. As an internal consultant at Children's, I was very lucky to work on a variety of projects and learn about many aspects of the hospital and our business.

In this type of work, every day is a little bit different, which keeps things interesting. A key aspect of my role with Children’s was leading and facilitating multi-disciplinary teams to solve problems and develop recommendations for new business plans. There was a great mix of analytics, problem solving, and research, coupled with leading meetings and developing presentations. Meeting with our physicians and nurses and seeing patients in the hallways provided a great deal of inspiration for the work.

ISyE: What have been some of your achievements while working in the healthcare industry?  

KG: I have been very lucky to work with other engineers, clinicians, and professionals throughout my career to enhance healthcare delivery. Many of my projects have focused on applying IE skills in unique and collaborative ways to improve quality, outcomes, and access for patients by designing more efficient and effective healthcare systems. Some of the achievements from these collaborative efforts include: optimizing patient flow to reduce length of stay and maximize capacity, improving physician and nursing workflow in the pediatric ICU, reducing medication errors and waste, developing plans to increase access to innovative diagnostic care, and modeling statewide childhood obesity prevalence to guide interventions. Many of these projects and results have been shared through national forums.

ISyE: What are some of the projects you have been involved with at Children’s?

KG: I have been supporting Children's efforts to optimize outpatient services to improve access to care for patients and families. We are analyzing operations and facility space to maximize capacity, throughput, quality of care, and the patient and family experience. This will help Children's better meet the needs of patients today and plan for the future.

We have been developing new models of care for medically complex patients with one or more chronic illnesses. Our goal is to improve the quality of care and reduce cost through improved care coordination, protocols, and care management approaches.

We are also partnering with Georgia Tech to identify collaborative research projects to leverage technology to improve child health. 

ISyE: What influenced your decision to pursue a master’s degree in health systems at ISyE?

KG: After a close family experience I realized there was/is a great need to improve healthcare delivery and the impact on patients and families. Through that experience I developed a passion to be a part of the incredible mission of healthcare organizations. When I learned about the Georgia Tech Health Systems program at ISyE, it was the perfect way to integrate my systems thinking with the complex nature of the healthcare industry. Health Systems was a key factor in my transition into the healthcare industry and preparing me to be able to make a significant impact in the field.

ISyE: How do you apply your IE skills in the healthcare industry?

KG: There are so many incredible opportunities to bring data driven approaches and systems thinking like Six Sigma and Lean to the healthcare industry. Partnering with clinicians to understand key areas of opportunity and how we can work together to solve complex problems has been a key to success. Together we have applied IE skills to improving throughput in the emergency department, creating just-in-time medication production processes, determining root causes for patient safety errors, increasing time at the bedside for nurses, and more. There are many pioneers in the field and organizations like Georgia Tech's Health System Institute, IIE, Society for Health Systems, and Institute for Healthcare Improvement that are continuing to pave the way for IE's in healthcare.

ISyE: What is the most important thing you learned while at ISyE?

KG: The structured problem solving, robust analytical thinking, and innovation at Georgia Tech is incredible. I think these skills, coupled with the ability to effectively communicate complex information, is the most important thing I learned while at ISyE. The ability to effectively communicate an opportunity, recommendations, and impact is critical to the success of any project.

ISyE: How do you stay connected to Georgia Tech? 

KG: One of the key ways I have stayed connected is through collaborative projects between Children's and Georgia Tech. I have partnered with faculty and students from Georgia Tech's ISyE program on various projects, and the expertise and innovation of these partnerships has accelerated the outcomes. I have also been honored to give guest lectures and participate on alumni forums. Of course, watching and attending Georgia Tech sports is a great way to stay connected.

ISyE: What are your goals for the future?

KG: I want to continue to explore the best ways to promote and implement IE skills and methods to improve the healthcare industry. This is still in its infancy with incredible opportunity to make significant impact. I plan to continue to grow my skills and track the implication of healthcare reform on improving healthcare systems.

ISyE: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

KG: Time with family is my first priority. I was born and raised in Atlanta, so I am very lucky to have family close.  We love sports - both watching and playing. We are avid Braves, Falcons, Tech, and Auburn fans. I play tennis and have completed a half marathon for the Train to End Strokes program and two sprint triathlons that benefit Children's. I also love to cook and am always looking for new recipes and techniques on the Food Network.

ISyE: Is there any one person who has been an inspiration to you?

KG: Both of my grandfathers have been great inspirations to me. I have one grandfather who has a doctorate in microbiology and was the Chief of Microbiology for the CDC.  My other grandfather was a mechanical engineer from Georgia Tech who worked with IBM and NASA.  Both made incredible contributions in the fields of engineering and healthcare and taught me great ethics and values.

ISyE: Can you tell us one interesting thing about yourself that you don't mind us sharing with the rest of the world?

KG: Before working in the healthcare industry, I was an Industrial Engineer at the Walt Disney World Company. One of my projects at Disney was to redesign the monorails to increase capacity. A highlight of the project was driving and parking one of the newly designed monorails into the maintenance bay (of course, after the parks were closed and without any guests on board)!


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