Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Electrical Engineering


The hospitals in South Dakota, like all other hospitals, need engineering services for efficient and economical operation. Presently, about one-half of the hospitals licensed by the State Health Department are accredited by the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation. Mr. Norton, Administrator at Yankton's Sacred Heart Hospital, indicated that about one-half of South Dakota's hospitals are meeting the required standards, for hospital safety and equipment maintenance, of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. The larger hospitals in the state have personnel providing engineering services, but these larger hospitals comprise a small part or' the total health care facilities in the state. This thesis is concerned with the smaller hospitals in South Dakota that cannot afford full-time services of this type. Before the subject can be presented, some data pertinent to South Dakota will be discussed. Located in the upper Midwest, South Dakota is a ''land of infinite variety'', consisting of hills, rolling plains, farmland, and rural communities, with a total population of 672,000. Of the 67 counties, two counties with populations of 86,600 and 58,200 characterize the two semi-metropolitan areas located at opposite ends of the state. Seven other main trade centers are dispersed mainly in the eastern half 7 of South Dakota and range from 12,700 to 34,100 population. The majority of trade centers are located east of the Missouri River, where approximately 489,000 of South Dakota's 672,000 people live. South Dakota's population is served by 72 hospitals providing 4,992 beds. Of these 72 hospitals, 62 are licensed by the state Health Department and are non-federally supported, providing 3,676 beds. Hospital sizes range from 14 beds to 357 beds. Ten federally supported hospitals exist in South Dakota providing 1,296 beds. Seventeen of the 62 state licensed hospitals are west of the Missouri River; the remaining 45 are east of the Missouri River. Occupancy rates of these hospitals range from 20% to 87% with the average occupancy being 58%. The average state licensed hospital capacity throughout the state is 59.3 beds per hospital. The average total hospital capacity in South Dakota is 70.0 beds per hospital. In comparison, the average hospital capacity in the United States is 133 beds per hospital. This thesis will address those 62 South Dakota hospitals licensed by the State Health Department. South Dakota hospitals licensed by the State Health Department were selected as being most in need of engineering services and being subject to similar budgets and cost constraints.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Hospitals -- South Dakota

Biomedical engineering



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University