Montana State University Industrial Engineering (IE) program in collaboration with the MHREF Rural Hospital Flexibility Program selects two students to participate in a summer internship performing Lean Rapid Improvement Projects in 6 Critical Access Hospitals across rural Montana.  Over each two-week event, students work in conjunction with hospital staff to apply their knowledge of Lean principles and tools towards a pre-determined improvement project within each facility.

  • 22 of 48 Critical Access Hospitals in Montana have hosted students for Lean events
  • 38 improvement projects have been performed by 10 students  since 2010
  • Interns are mentored, long-distance, by a MSU faculty member and a rapid improvement event coach
  • The MT-Flex Program Director and the MSU IE faculty coordinator work together with hospital stakeholders to define the project objectives, coordinate the student requirements and conduct follow-up assessments

Past Projects


Fallon Medical Center

Efficency Improvement within Supplies Inventory at a Critical Access Hosptial Project


Broadwater Health Center

BHC Partners with MHA and MSU