Report on HIT Activity

Since receiving the 2CI award in Health Information Technology last year, there has been considerable activity by the members of the departments involved. They are outlined below.

The Hiring of New HIT faculty

  • The Department of Computer Information Systems has successfully recruited Dr. Cath Oh, until recently a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Oh is working on an “Empirical Analysis of Patient Readmissions across Multiple Hospitals” in Texas and is studying the “Economic Impact of Health IT.” She earned her bachelors and masters degrees in mathematics at Seoul National University in Korea, a masters degree in financial mathematics at the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. in information systems at the University of Washington.
  • The Institute of Health Administration has successfully recruited Aaron Baird, who completed his doctoral studies at the Carey School of Business at Arizona State in May. Dr. Baird’s dissertation is on “Extending Diffusion of Innovation Theory with Consumer Influence: The Case of Personal Health Records and Patient Portals.”
  • The Georgia Health Policy Center in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies is still actively engaged in its recruiting efforts and is undergoing discussions with potential candidates.

The Establishment of a Center for Health Information Technology

  • To provide a central focus for the 2CI activities in HIT and to make these activities visible to the external healthcare and business communities, a Center for Health Information Technology (CHIT) was created in the fall of 2011. The Web site can be found at The HIT Center is a part of the larger Center for Research on Information Systems located in the Department of Computer Information Systems in the Robinson College of Business.
  • As one of the new features of this HIT Center, a bibliography of healthcare publications by members of the participating departments has been complied. There are 60 publications currently listed and more are in the process of being added.
  • The Center has recruited Richard Dent, M.D., a retired cardiologist currently living in Savannah, GA. Dr. Dent was previously on the faculty of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Senior Vice President, Managed Care and Medical Director, Blue Cross Blue Shield in Rochester, NY. He is volunteering his time and expertise to aid the development of the Center’s mission.
  • The Center has agreed to partner with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce to undertake the hosting and management of the Chamber’s Bioscience Work Force Development database. With the recognition that Atlanta has become the “HIT Capital of the United States,” this database will be a highly visible source of information about HIT in Georgia.  This database will go “live” in the fall of 2012.

Activities in the HIT Community

  • new in 2013
    Dr. Jeong-ha (Cath) Oh’s current research focuses on healthcare analytics. Her research interest focuses on utilizing large scale patient level data acquired by the implementation of EHR and developing risk stratification models to evaluate patient care outcomes. Specifically, her recent work involves developing risk propensity models for predicting patient readmissions related to chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure. Aligned with the emergent interest to evaluate and to improve population level healthcare outcomes, her research connects patients’ migrations across multiple hospitals and their health outcomes.

    Dr. Oh’s research also seeks to evaluate the economic impact of health information systems on the cost and quality outcomes of healthcare delivery. One of the problems she investigates is the economic trade-offs between a healthcare provider’s short-term benefits of increasing throughput and the long-term costs of increased readmission risk. By modeling the length of stay and readmission risk simultaneously, she draws economic analysis that finds thresholds where the long-term economic benefit of reduced readmission risk can justify the immediate cost of longer stay in hospital.

  • new in 2013
    The state of Georgia is keen on exploring various options to redesign the process through which citizens become eligible for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids programs. The state is particularly interested in identifying the right mix of various channels — online, physical, and call centers — that would enable citizens to qualify for various benefits seamlessly; provide them with adequate help they may need during the application process; enhance satisfaction; and yet reduce costs for the state. In this research, we draw upon process virtualization and systems theories to examine the extent to which either the entire eligibility process or specific aspects of it can be virtualized, and the impact of such virtualization on peoples’ satisfaction levels. In order to investigate these issues and to help shape state policy, we have surveyed more than 2,000 randomly chosen respondents within the state. The key theoretical contribution of our research will be to extend the state of extant knowledge on process virtualization by examining a process that has been largely ignored in the literature. The key policy contribution of our research will be to provide guidance to the state of Georgia on how and how much to virtualize.

    Team members include Dr. Abhay Mishra, Dr. Angie Snyder, Dr. Jim Marton, Dr. Pat Ketsche, and Susan McLaren, MPH.

  • new in 2013
    Dr. Aaron Baird’s research focuses on digital, consumer-firm interactions in the context of healthcare. Of particular interest are the emerging classes of health information systems that connect patients and health providers through digital mediums such as patient portals, telemedicine, and smart-phone based health applications (mHealth). His current research projects include:

    1. Survey-based experimental research seeking further understanding of how consumer-level technology sophistication (e.g., amount of prior experience with technology) impacts preferences and comparative judgments associated with features available in patient portals
    2. Evaluation of how individual traits, situational differences, and social factors impact the propensity to use mHealth
    3. How persuasion plays a role in the design of information systems in consumer markets

    In this research, he has collaborated with a variety of health systems and agencies including the Mayo Clinic, Dignity Health, and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

  • Dr. McLean, chair the CIS Department, has become active in the Bioscience Workforce Development Subcommittee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber and is a member of the State of the Technology Industry Taskforce of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).
  • Dr. Sumner, director of the Institute for Health Administration, is a member of TAG Health, the group that is one of the main sponsors of the national HIT Summit that meets here in Atlanta each fall.

HIT Teaching

  • In addition to the long-standing residency requirement in healthcare facilities as part of the Masters of Health Administration (MHA) degree in the Institute of Health Administration, the Department of Computer Information Systems has begun to expand its student intern and capstone projects in the healthcare field, with projects at CDC, Grady/Emory, and Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH).
  • As part of the 2CI award, HIT doctoral students are being sought out nationally (and internationally) to be HIT Doctoral Fellows. Currently, six Robinson College doctoral students hold these Fellowships.
  • With the Robinson College’s decision to convert a number of its graduate degree offerings to a one-year, “Fast Track” model, the current Health Informatics MS concentration in the CIS Department is also being converted to this Fast Track model.
  • The present PMBA-MHA joint degree program is scheduled to be offered next fall as a dedicated in-house program for the healthcare firm, WellStar.Discussions are currently underway between the School of Nursing and the CIS Department and the Institute of Health Administration to create a new undergraduate B.I.S. degree program in Nursing HIT.