News at Smith

New Center Opens at Smith

May 01, 2005

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The Robert H. Smith School of Business has established the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS), a research and development focusing on the use of advanced information technologies in the health care system’s business processes and management systems.

CHIDS is a collaborative effort drawing on the expertise of the Decision and Information Technologies (D&IT) department at the Smith School, the University of Maryland Medical Center, University Hospital, and other resources in the University of Maryland network. CHIDS will work to improve the delivery of health care with researched solutions that impact safety, quality, access, efficiency, and return on investment.

“The potential savings and other benefits of fully moving the health care industry into the digital age are substantial but so are the challenges,” said Howard Frank, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. “The Smith School’s Center for Health Information and Decision Systems comes at a critical time and answers significant gaps in current health information technology education and research.”

The primary purpose of CHIDS is to encourage and sponsor research related to health care IT. The center will also:

  • Offering cutting edge education and opportunities for Smith School students to solve real-world problems related to the development, implementation or use of technology and analytical tools in a health care setting;
  • Hosting industry meetings, seminars and forums to encourage knowledge exchange on the most important issues facing the industry with the recent adoption of IT into business processes;
  • Disseminating knowledge and best practices through white papers, journals and publications.

“Health care comprises 14 percent of GDP in the United States today and is multi-billion dollar industry,” said Ritu Agarwal, director of the center, professor and Dean's Chair of Information Systems at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. “Information technology has transformed other information-intensive industries such as financial services and retailing, but health care is lagging. There is tremendous potential for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care delivery process through the application of advanced information and decision technologies. CHIDS has been established to fill this need. The center is currently working on research related to the adoption of electronic medical records, privacy issues and the transformation of physician work practices through mobile technologies.”

Improving health care technology has been a national priority for the Bush Administration, which supports the formation of a national electronic health record system within the next 10 years that would assist in tracking and sharing information on every U.S. citizen. According to the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, an agency created by President Bush in April 2004, such a system would produce efficiencies saving $140 billion a year.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.