Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Beating the Flu Queue

PostedNovember 6, 2005

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As you go through the line at Montgomery County flu clinics this year, you might notice people carefully watching and timing your every move.  University of Maryland engineers, lead by professor Jeffrey Herrmann, are working to streamline the process, especially if it becomes crowded during a dangerous pandemic.  They're combining engineering principles from manufacturing and information about human nature with common spreadsheet software.  Health officials can plug in data such as number of staff, clinic space, and whether people will arrive all at once or trickle in.  Herrmann says the system then points to ways of optimizing available resources and minimizing your time waiting among potentially contagious people.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.

Public health officials anywhere in the world can download the software program for free.  To find out more about this, and other "Innovative Engineering" stories, go to and look under "Features."