Director: Professor Ritu Agarwal

Ritu Agarwal

Prof. Ritu Agarwal is the Founder and Director of the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems. She is also Professor and the Dean’s Chair of Information Systems at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park. Prof. Agarwal has evolved her interest in the use of information technologies in healthcare settings into an institutional effort. She and her colleagues started CHIDS to provide an independent third party research platform and organization that could build knowledge and insights into the complex domains of health information and decision systems. In addition to health information technology, Prof. Agarwal’s current research in the area of information technology management is focused on technology-enabled transformations in various industry sectors and the evolving effects of electronic markets. Prof. Agarwal has published extensively on information technology management topics in several top journals, and has made multiple presentations at industry and academic forums.

From the Director's Desk

I am delighted to present CHIDS' activities through this electronic medium, i.e. the CHIDS Website. I have spent considerable time interacting with the vibrant CHIDS community and collaborators. As the saying goes ‘open your windows for the fresh air to come in’; each interaction energizes and invigorates our research agenda. It is heartening to see CHIDS grow and mature. I recall the early days when the concept of the center was first developed and we started reaching out to industry partners to collaborate in our research efforts. We explored many interesting research questions, such as "why hospitals adopt electronic medical records"; and "how the social support provided by online communities facilitates smoking cessation". Our achievements were followed by partners who came to us with more problems and challenges to solve. The journey has not been easy, but each day we are closer to fulfilling our mission of providing thought leadership to the healthcare community.

Since 2005, we have expanded our portfolios substantially, both in expertise and in research. Our core team of student fellows and professionals has grown. We have attracted more faculty members to do research in the health information technology area and currently have more than fifteen different research projects at various stages in process. We strongly believe that our research findings have to influence a broad range of stakeholders. We have collaborations with many non-profits in addition to our academic and industry collaborators. One of our goals in the near future is to bring health information technologies being developed in the commercial arena into academic setting and link them with our research. We are exploring the concept of a unique Health Information Technology Laboratory that will be located in the business school and will explore and research new and emerging technologies. Please contact me if you have a technology that you would like showcased in this lab!

I believe we now have the scale and experience to expand our activities significantly. I look forward to developing the roadmap for CHIDS for the next five to ten years, keeping in view market and user requirements and opportunities, global technology developments and national imperatives. I also seek your guidance and input as we collectively evolve the agenda for transforming healthcare.

Finally, a special word of gratitude and thanks to the Department of Decision, Operations and Information Technologies and the Robert H. Smith School of Business for their continued support for the center. I also thank the members of the center, and a host of other agencies and people who have believed in the mission of the center and provided valuable input and support. We look forward to nurturing old relationships and developing new ones. Please feel free to contact us as you peruse the research, projects and papers through different sections of our Website.