Digital Health

For technology to truly revolutionize health, digital tools must work for low-income and diverse populations.

Our research demonstrates that there are disparities in current use of health information technologies by race and ethnicity as well as health literacy, suggesting that existing technologies and related polices are not reaching diverse populations. This has sparked our efforts to actively enable inclusive digital health innovations, whether by identifying barriers that low-income and diverse patients face when attempting to use health technology, or partnering with a vendor to pilot health technology in the safety-net care setting.

To support this work, Dr. Sarkar and Dr. Courtney Lyles founded SOLVE Health Tech, the nation’s first health equity accelerator dedicated to adapting health technology for Medicaid and other vulnerable populations.

Dr. Sarkar has also spoken about this disconnect between health apps and the real-world needs of patients at venues such as South by Southwest.

In addition to our deep collaborations with the private sector, our laboratory designs, develops, and implements both provider- and patient-facing innovations in real-world settings.

Example of a digital health intervention for anticoagulation therapy in the safety-net

 

FUNDING Sources

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) P30 grant: Building an Ambulatory Patient Safety Learning Laboratory for Diverse Populations: The San Francisco Ambulatory Safety Center for iNnovaTion (ASCENT)

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation grant: Provider Engagement and Excellence in Reviewing Diagnosis (PEER-Dx)

Commonwealth Fund grant: Advancing Our Understanding of the IT Enabled Consumer

California Health Care Foundation Health Innovation Fund

selected publications

  1. Ackerman SL, Sarkar U, Tieu L, Handley MA, Schillinger D, Hahn K, Hoskote M, Gourley G, Lyles C. Meaningful use in the safety net: a rapid ethnography of patient portal implementation at five community health centers in California. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017 Sep 01; 24(5):903-912. PMID: 28340229.

  2. Luxenberg A, Chan B, Khanna R, Sarkar U. Efficiency and Interpretability of Text Paging Communication for Medical Inpatients: A Mixed-Methods Analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Aug 01; 177(8):1218-1220. PMID: 28628695.

  3. Lee SY, Cherian R, Ly I, Horton C, Salley AL, Sarkar U. Designing and Implementing an Electronic Patient Registry to Improve Warfarin Monitoring in the Ambulatory Setting. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2017 Jul; 43(7):353-360. PMID: 28648221.

  4. Tieu L, Schillinger D, Sarkar U, Hoskote M, Hahn KJ, Ratanawongsa N, Ralston JD, Lyles CR. Online patient websites for electronic health record access among vulnerable populations: portals to nowhere? J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017 Apr 01; 24(e1):e47-e54. PMID: 27402138.

  5. Schillinger D, McNamara D, Crossley S, Lyles C, Moffet HH, Sarkar U, Duran N, Allen J, Liu J, Oryn D, Ratanawongsa N, Karter AJ. The Next Frontier in Communication and the ECLIPPSE Study: Bridging the Linguistic Divide in Secure Messaging. J Diabetes Res. 2017; 2017:1348242. PMID: 28265579

  6. Rajan JV, Moura J, Gourley G, Kiso K, Sizilio A, Cortez AM, Riley LW, Veras MA, Sarkar U. Understanding the barriers to successful adoption and use of a mobile health information system in a community health center in São Paulo, Brazil: a cohort study. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2016 11 17; 16(1):146. PMID: 27855685.

  7. Price EL, Sewell JL, Chen AH, Sarkar U. Minding the Gaps: Assessing Communication Outcomes of Electronic Preconsultation Exchange. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2016 08; 42(8):341-54. PMID: 27456415.

  8. Sarkar U, Gourley GI, Lyles CR, Tieu L, Clarity C, Newmark L, Singh K, Bates DW. Usability of Commercially Available Mobile Applications for Diverse Patients. J Gen Intern Med. 2016 Dec; 31(12):1417-1426. PMID: 27418347.

  9. Patterson ES, Militello LG, Su G, Sarkar U. Characterizing a Naturalistic Decision Making Phenomenon: Loss of System Resilience Associated with Implementation of New Technology. J Cogn Eng Decis Mak. 2016 Sep; 10(3):229-243. PMID: 28138316.

  10. Garg SK, Lyles CR, Ackerman S, Handley MA, Schillinger D, Gourley G, Aulakh V, Sarkar U. Qualitative analysis of programmatic initiatives to text patients with mobile devices in resource-limited health systems. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2016 Feb 06; 16:16. PMID: 26851941; PMCID: PMC4744448.

  11. Tuot DS, Leeds K, Murphy EJ, Sarkar U, Lyles CR, Mekonnen T, Chen AH. Facilitators and barriers to implementing electronic referral and/or consultation systems: a qualitative study of 16 health organizations. BMC Health Serv Res. 2015 Dec 19; 15:568. PMID: 26687507; PMCID: PMC4684927.

  12. Tieu L, Sarkar U, Schillinger D, Ralston JD, Ratanawongsa N, Pasick R, Lyles CR. Barriers and Facilitators to Online Portal Use Among Patients and Caregivers in a Safety Net Health Care System: A Qualitative Study. J Med Internet Res. 2015 Dec 03; 17(12):e275. PMID: 26681155; PMCID: PMC4704882.

  13. Lyles CR, Sarkar U, Schillinger D, Ralston JD, Allen JY, Nguyen R, Karter AJ. Refilling medications through an online patient portal: consistent improvements in adherence across racial/ethnic groups. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2016 Apr; 23(e1):e28-33. PMID: 26335983; PMCID: PMC4954621 [Available on 04/01/17].


Creative Commons License
This work by Urmimala Sarkar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License .
Based on a work at sarkarlab.ucsf.edu.