North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, a new member of the Center for Inte­gra­tion of Med­i­cine and Inno­v­a­tive Tech­nology (CIMIT), held its first meeting of the Boston-​​based organization’s del­e­gates on Tuesday for a dis­cus­sion between health-​​care providers and engi­neers about devel­oping inno­v­a­tive solu­tions to making med­ical prac­tice safer and more efficient.

CIMIT is a con­sor­tium of teaching hos­pi­tals, research lab­o­ra­to­ries and engi­neering schools in and around Boston ded­i­cated to inter-​​institutional col­lab­o­ra­tion among sci­en­tists, engi­neers and clin­i­cians, helping to fund early-​​stage, high-​​risk ideas in the first phase of innovation.

At Tuesday’s meeting, held in Raytheon Amphithe­ater, James Ben­neyan, the director of Northeastern’s Center of Health Orga­ni­za­tion Trans­for­ma­tion, spoke about the need for a sys­tems engi­neering approach to solving com­plex health-​​care prob­lems such as safety, effi­ciency, patient care, time­li­ness, effi­ciency and equity. Some 30 per­cent of health-​​care costs — about $760 bil­lion a year — is waste, Ben­neyan said.

Things are not good and for the most part, they’re get­ting worse, not better,” said Ben­neyan, speaking of America’s health-​​care system com­pared with those in other indus­tri­al­ized coun­tries. “Poorly designed sys­tems and processes are respon­sible for at least part of our problem.”

Ben­neyan said that while many of the health-​​care industry’s prob­lems are on the front lines of patient care, some of the most com­pli­cated issues are best tackled by sys­tems engi­neers who use com­puter models and other high-​​tech methods to model prob­lems and test solutions.

Most prob­lems — 70 to 80 per­cent of them — can be solved with simple methods,” Ben­neyan said. “Others are very com­plex: maybe you’re designing a new hos­pital and you’ve got one shot at get­ting it right.”

North­eastern became a CIMIT member last year, joining con­sor­tium mem­bers Beth Israel Dea­coness Med­ical Center, Boston Med­ical Center, Boston Uni­ver­sity, Brigham and Women’s Hos­pital, Children’s Hos­pital Boston, Charles Stark Draper Lab­o­ra­tory, Har­vard Med­ical School, Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­eral Hos­pital, Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nology, Newton-​​Wellesley Hos­pital, Part­ners Health­Care and the VA Boston Health­care System.

Northeastern’s mem­ber­ship in CIMIT sup­ports the University’s research mis­sion and its focus on use-​​inspired research that solves global chal­lenges in health, secu­rity and sustainability.