HDR's Olson and Lussetto Give Presentation on Simulation Modeling at Health Datapalooza IV

(June 13, 2013) - Nearly 2,000 data enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and medical professionals convened in Washington D.C. for Health Datapalooza IV on June 2nd-4th. Health Datapalooza is a national conference featuring the future of health innovation and data use by hospital, private practice physicians, universities, non-profits, and government agencies. Among the roster of distinguished speakers at this year's event were HDR's Amy Lussetto and Brandy Olson, two self-proclaimed "data geeks" and healthcare consultants within HDR's architecture group.

The duo presented "Virtual to reality: how simulation modeling can change the footprint of healthcare." The presentation looked at how simulating health system strategies and operational changes in a virtual environment can be an effective tool in realizing an impressive reduction in healthcare costs and ensuring strategic goals are met. It also looked at how simulation techniques—in combination with big data analytics—can be used to predict and address the healthcare infrastructure of the future.

"Countless companies are working on improving the efficiency of healthcare facilities for the next 10- 20 years, but there are also a number of companies—many of which were at Health Datapalooza—that are focusing on lessening our dependence on these facilities and placing more of an emphasis on mobile applications and digital technology," said Olson. "This means that the future of healthcare is big, but not within the buildings that we know to exist today."

HDR Architecture is one of the companies leading this shift in healthcare delivery and design, and was the only architecture firm that presented at the conference. By using a combination of simulation modeling, big data analytics, and gamification, the firm is helping clients determine and test infrastructure needs of the future.

"We use virtual simulation as a testing ground for change," said Lussetto. "Infrastructure investments are extremely costly, but virtually testing these strategies before implementation can minimize a lot of the risk involved. It allows healthcare organizations to make strategic decisions not on gut feeling, but on data proving that their strategies will be effective."

No matter who was presenting, the overarching theme of the conference was clear: developing ways to use health data to have a positive impact on the wellness of the entire population.

"Every presenter had something unique to add to the discussion," added Olson. "It was one of the most inspiring and meaningful conferences I've ever been to. Two days of learning from one another, inspiring one another, and collaborating with one another to make healthcare better. It's an honor to have been involved."

Olson is an industrial engineer, a Six Sigma Black Belt, and the director of HDR's Operational Design team. Lussetto is a former analytical chemist and an innovation consultant with HDR.