Ritu Agarwal

Ritu Agarwal

Ritu Agarwal is Senior Associate Dean for Research, Professor and the Robert H. Smith Dean’s Chair of Information Systems at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park. She is also the founder and Director of the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems at the Smith School.

Fearless Idea 2: Bridge the Health Care Divide

Consumers via online communities are sharing information and connecting with each other at unprecedented levels. But to what extent can this phenomenon affect healthcare? A recent study led by Smith School professor Ritu Agarwal identifies two advantages of online communities toward closing the rural-urban gap in access to quality healthcare. First, platforms like Facebook provide opportunities for rural patients to ask questions and receive feedback from qualified experts and urban counterparts. Second, online communities can provide emotional support. Read more...

Bridging the Rural-Urban Healthcare Divide

Online communities are helping patients find, share information and connect with each other at unprecedented levels. But can they also create social value by helping to bridge the disparities between rural and urban health care? As part of a recent study, smith School professors Ritu Agarwal and Guodong "Gordon" Gao, and former doctoral student Jie Mein Goh, now at Canada's Simon Fraser University, asked whether online health communities can create social value, by helping to alleviate regional health disparities between rural and urban patients. Read more...

Smith Researchers: Zika Exposes IT Gaps

Front-line protection of U.S. communities against disease epidemics relies on seamless information sharing between public health officials and doctors, plus the wherewithal to act on that data. But health departments have faltered in this mission by lacking guidance to effectively strategize about appropriate IT investments. And Smith School researchers say incidents like the current Zika crisis bring the issue to the forefront. Read more...

Smith Hosts Tata Innovation Dialogue

The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and the Tata Group of Companies hosted the Tata Dialogue on Innovation luncheon on April 1, 2016, at the College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. The featured speaker was Shankar Venkateswaran, chief of Tata Sustainability Group, who discussed the challenges of taking sustainability from policy to practice.

In Defense of the Unpopular Health Care 'Cadillac Tax'

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday aligned herself with a growing political movement: People who seek repeal of the Affordable Care Act's "Cadillac Tax," a surcharge on the most generous plans offered by employers. Many businesses have opposed the tax, but so have unions and other advocates for employees — not the usual anti-Obamacare coalition. Smith School senior associate dean for faculty and research Ritu Agarwal takes the opposite view. She says the tax has upsides that many critics overlook. Read more...

Experts at UMD Work to Harness Big Data for Your Health

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working to harness fast-accumulating personal health data from the likes of Twitter, Facebook and wearable devices. But more than 90 percent of analysts’ efforts to capitalize on that data falls below the targeted efficiency level for the FDA’s Office of Surveillance and Biometrics in its Center for Device and Radiological Health, said Isaac Chang, who directs post-market surveillance for that office. “We have observations of signals and patterns,” he said. “But they’re one-off maps.”

UMD-FDA Workshop on Mobile Health and Social Media Analytics for Product Safety

The Food and Drug Administration is looking to get, and stay, on the same page with producers and users of medical wearables. The FDA mission to regulate medical devices to protect consumers is challenged by the mobile health field continuously innovating new products. Harnessing user data is one way to keep pace. Thus, regulators and experts from industry and academia will gather on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 in the University of Maryland’s Adele H. Stamp Student Union to discuss the opportunities and challenges these data sources create.

No 'Heckler's Veto' in Online Ratings of Doctors

Doctors have many concerns about online crowdsourced ratings, which are intended to make patients better-informed consumers of health care, but this is a big one: They worry that complainers will be the most outspoken contributors to rating sites, skewing scores and resulting in a kind of heckler's veto. But a new study involving Smith School professors Gordon Gao and Ritu Agarwal shows that something different is happening. Read more...

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