Faculty ProfilesUrmimala Sarkar, MD
1001 Potrero Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
Urmimala Sarkar MD, MPH is Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF in the Division of General Internal Medicine and a primary care physician at San Francisco General Hospital's Richard H. Fine People's Clinic. Dr. Sarkar's research focuses on (1) patient safety in outpatient settings, including adverse drug events, missed and delayed diagnosis, and failures of treatment monitoring, (2) health information technology and social media to improve the safety and quality of outpatient care, and (3) implementation of evidence-based innovations in real-world, safety-net care settings.
Dr. Sarkar is committed to enhancing health information technology approaches to improve primary care and ameliorate disparities in vulnerable populations, through the health-literacy-sensitive, patient-centered approaches such as co-development and usability testing, in partnership with technology development experts. Her current work applies design thinking and interdisciplinary, iterative approaches to characterize and address safety gaps in outpatient settings.
She has conducted studies which explore the impact of health communication (health literacy, English proficiency) and health information technology on patient safety. Her prior studies on internet-based patient portals demonstrate digital disparities by race/ethnicity and health literacy. Her social media studies use mixed-methods approaches to understand patient perspectives about physician quality and about cancer screening behaviors. Her ongoing work employs varied health information technologies to detect and ameliorate adverse events among outpatient chronic disease populations. She is currently funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the National Cancer Institute, with prior funding from the California Healthcare Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
In addition to her research, Dr. Sarkar is Associate Editor for Patient Safety Net www.psnet.ahrq.gov , a national web-based resource featuring the latest news and essential resources on patient safety. She serves as the co-director for the San Francisco General Hospital Primary Care Residency's Quality Improvement, Patient Safety, and Leadership Curriculum with Dr. Claire Horton, and mentors trainees in both research and quality improvement projects. She is responsible for coordinating ambulatory morbidity and mortality conference at the General Medicine Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital, with the UCSF medicine quality and safety chief resident. Dr. Sarkar also serves as co-director for the School of Medicine's Office of Student Research and Research Allocation Program- trainees, with Drs. Daniel Lowenstein and Mallar Bhattacharya.
Education and Training
|Location||Degree or Training||Specialty||Date|
|University of California, San Francisco||Fellow||Internal Medicine||2008|
|University of California, San Francisco||Residency||Internal Medicine||2005|
|University of California, San Francisco||Intern||Internal Medicine||2003|
|University of California, San Diego||M.D.||2002|
|University of California, Berkeley||M.P.H.||Epidemiology||2000|
|Stanford University||B.S. Biology||1996|
Brief implementation science training courses, Clinic, Hospital, Implementation Science, Interdisciplinary research collaboration, Mentoring junior faculty or trainees, Motivational interviewing, Older adults, People with limited English proficiency, Socioeconomically marginalized groups, diabetes, mHealth, post-hospital dischargeRelated Web Sites
In the News
- Electronic Health Communications Often Unavailable to Lower-Income Patients (Feb 26, 2013)
- What Patients Talk About When They Talk About Doctors (Feb 02, 2012)
- Diabetes Public Health: UCSF Study Highlights Need for Better Guidelines (Sep 13, 2011)
Recent Articles (97)
Sarkar U, McDonald K, Motala A, Smith P, Zipperer L, Wachter RM, Shanman R, Shekelle PG. Pragmatic Insights on Patient Safety Priorities and Intervention Strategies in Ambulatory Settings. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2017 Dec; 43(12):661-670.
Clarity C, Sarkar U, Lee J, Handley MA, Goldman LE. Clinician Perspectives on the Management of Abnormal Subcritical Tests in an Urban Academic Safety-Net Health Care System. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2017 Oct; 43(10):517-523.
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.
Handley MA, Quan J, Chao MT, Ratanawongsa N, Sarkar U, Emmons-Bell S, Schillinger D. Use of Complementary Health Approaches Among Diverse Primary Care Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Association with Cardiometabolic Outcomes: From the SF Bay Collaborative Research Network (SF Bay CRN). J Am Board Fam Med. 2017 Sep-Oct; 30(5):624-631.
McDonald KM, Su G, Lisker S, Patterson ES, Sarkar U. Implementation science for ambulatory care safety: a novel method to develop context-sensitive interventions to reduce quality gaps in monitoring high-risk patients. Implement Sci. 2017 06 24; 12(1):79.
Clarity C, Gourley G, Lyles C, Ackerman S, Handley MA, Schillinger D, Sarkar U, Conigliaro J. Implementation Science Workshop: Barriers and Facilitators to Increasing Mammography Screening Rates in California's Public Hospitals. J Gen Intern Med. 2017 Jun; 32(6):697-705.
Hemmat S, Schillinger D, Lyles C, Ackerman S, Gourley G, Vittinghoff E, Handley M, Sarkar U. Performance Measurement and Target-Setting in California's Safety Net Health Systems. Am J Med Qual. 2018 Mar/Apr; 33(2):132-139.
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.
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.
Schmajuk G, Tonner C, Trupin L, Li J, Sarkar U, Ludwig D, Shiboski S, Sirota M, Dudley RA, Murray S, Yazdany J. Using health-system-wide data to understand hepatitis B virus prophylaxis and reactivation outcomes in patients receiving rituximab. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Mar; 96(13):e6528.
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.
Issaka RB, Singh MH, Oshima SM, Laleau VJ, Rachocki CD, Chen EH, Day LW, Sarkar U, Somsouk, M.. Inadequate Utilization of Diagnostic Colonoscopy Following Abnormal FIT Results in an Integrated Safety-Net System. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2016; advance online publication.
Issaka RB, Singh MH, Oshima SM, Laleau VJ, Rachocki CD, Chen EH, Day LW, Sarkar U, Somsouk M. Inadequate Utilization of Diagnostic Colonoscopy Following Abnormal FIT Results in an Integrated Safety-Net System. Am J Gastroenterol. 2017 Feb; 112(2):375-382.
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.
Sarkar U, Lyles C, Steinman M, Huang ES, Moffet HH, Whitmer RA, Warton EM, Karter AJ. Changes in Medication Use After Dementia Diagnosis in an Observational Cohort of Individuals with Diabetes Mellitus. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Jan; 65(1):77-82.
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.
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.
Lyles CR, Godbehere A, Le G, El Ghaoui L, Sarkar U. Applying Sparse Machine Learning Methods to Twitter: Analysis of the 2012 Change in Pap Smear Guidelines. A Sequential Mixed-Methods Study. JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2016 Jun 10; 2(1):e21.
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.
Horton C, Sarkar U, Fernandez A. Medical Management of Vulnerable and Underserved Patient: Principles, Practice, and Populations. Applying Principles and Practices of Quality Improvement for Better Care of the Underserved. 2016; 193-203.
Keller D, Sarkar U, Schillinger D. Medical Management of Vulnerable and Underserved Patients: Principles, Practice, and Populations. Improving the Communication Exchange: A Focus on Limited Health Literacy. 2016; 159-167.
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.
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.
Chodos AH, Kushel MB, Greysen SR, Guzman D, Kessell ER, Sarkar U, Goldman LE, Critchfield JM, Pierluissi E. Hospitalization-Associated Disability in Adults Admitted to a Safety-Net Hospital. J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Dec; 30(12):1765-72.
Chan B, Goldman LE, Sarkar U, Schneidermann M, Kessell E, Guzman D, Critchfield J, Kushel M. The Effect of a Care Transition Intervention on the Patient Experience of Older Multi-Lingual Adults in the Safety Net: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Dec; 30(12):1788-94.
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.
Ratanawongsa N, Karter AJ, Quan J, Parker MM, Handley M, Sarkar U, Schmittdiel JA, Schillinger D. Reach and Validity of an Objective Medication Adherence Measure Among Safety Net Health Plan Members with Diabetes: A Cross-Sectional Study. J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2015 Aug; 21(8):688-98.
Chao MT, Handley MA, Quan J, Sarkar U, Ratanawongsa N, Schillinger D. Disclosure of complementary health approaches among low income and racially diverse safety net patients with diabetes. Patient Educ Couns. 2015 Nov; 98(11):1360-6.
Quan J, Lee AK, Handley MA, Ratanawongsa N, Sarkar U, Tseng S, Schillinger D. Automated Telephone Self-Management Support for Diabetes in a Low-Income Health Plan: A Health Care Utilization and Cost Analysis. Popul Health Manag. 2015 Dec; 18(6):412-20.
Brown RT, Pierluissi E, Guzman D, Kessell ER, Goldman LE, Sarkar U, Schneidermann M, Critchfield JM, Kushel MB. Functional disability in late-middle-aged and older adults admitted to a safety-net hospital. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Nov; 62(11):2056-63.
Goldman LE, Sarkar U, Kessell E, Guzman D, Schneidermann M, Pierluissi E, Walter B, Vittinghoff E, Critchfield J, Kushel M. Support from hospital to home for elders: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2014 Oct 07; 161(7):472-81.
Sarkar U, Simchowitz B, Bonacum D, Strull W, Lopez A, Rotteau L, Shojania KG. A Qualitative Analysis of Physician Perspectives on Missed and Delayed Outpatient Diagnosis: The Focus on System-Related Factors. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2014 Oct; 40(10):461-1.
Greysen SR, Hoi-Cheung D, Garcia V, Kessell E, Sarkar U, Goldman L, Schneidermann M, Critchfield J, Pierluissi E, Kushel M. "Missing pieces"--functional, social, and environmental barriers to recovery for vulnerable older adults transitioning from hospital to home. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Aug; 62(8):1556-61.
Wallace BC, Paul MJ, Sarkar U, Trikalinos TA, Dredze M. A large-scale quantitative analysis of latent factors and sentiment in online doctor reviews. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2014 Nov-Dec; 21(6):1098-103.
Berkowitz SA, Karter AJ, Lyles CR, Liu JY, Schillinger D, Adler NE, Moffet HH, Sarkar U. Low socioeconomic status is associated with increased risk for hypoglycemia in diabetes patients: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2014 May; 25(2):478-90.
Ratanawongsa N, Handley MA, Sarkar U, Quan J, Pfeifer K, Soria C, Schillinger D. Diabetes health information technology innovation to improve quality of life for health plan members in urban safety net. J Ambul Care Manage. 2014 Apr-Jun; 37(2):127-37.
Sarkar U, Lyles CR, Parker MM, Allen J, Nguyen R, Moffet HH, Schillinger D, Karter AJ. Use of the refill function through an online patient portal is associated with improved adherence to statins in an integrated health system. Med Care. 2014 Mar; 52(3):194-201.
Lyles CR, Aulakh V, Jameson W, Schillinger D, Yee H, Sarkar U. Innovation and transformation in California's safety net health care settings: an inside perspective. Am J Med Qual. 2014 Nov-Dec; 29(6):538-45.
Lyles CR, Sarkar U, Ralston JD, Adler N, Schillinger D, Moffet HH, Huang ES, Karter AJ. Patient-provider communication and trust in relation to use of an online patient portal among diabetes patients: The Diabetes and Aging Study. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2013 Nov-Dec; 20(6):1128-31.
Lyles CR, Schillinger D, Lopez A, Handley M, Ratanawongsa N, Sarkar U. Safety events during an automated telephone self-management support intervention. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2013 May 01; 7(3):596-601.
Lyles CR, López A, Pasick R, Sarkar U. "5 mins of uncomfyness is better than dealing with cancer 4 a lifetime": an exploratory qualitative analysis of cervical and breast cancer screening dialogue on Twitter. J Cancer Educ. 2013 Mar; 28(1):127-33.
Baxi S, Lakin J, Lyles CR, Berkowitz S, Horton C, Sarkar U. Points for improvement: performance measurement for glycemic control in diabetes patients in a safety-net population. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2013 Mar; 39(3):109-13.
Berkowitz SA, Aragon K, Hines J, Seligman H, Lee S, Sarkar U. Do clinical standards for diabetes care address excess risk for hypoglycemia in vulnerable patients? A systematic review. Health Serv Res. 2013 Aug; 48(4):1299-310.
Schickedanz A, Huang D, Lopez A, Cheung E, Lyles CR, Bodenheimer T, Sarkar U. Access, interest, and attitudes toward electronic communication for health care among patients in the medical safety net. J Gen Intern Med. 2013 Jul; 28(7):914-20.
Omachi TA, Sarkar U, Yelin EH, Blanc PD, Katz PP. Lower health literacy is associated with poorer health status and outcomes in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. J Gen Intern Med. 2013 Jan; 28(1):74-81.
Sarkar U, Bonacum D, Strull W, Spitzmueller C, Jin N, López A, Giardina TD, Meyer AN, Singh H. Challenges of making a diagnosis in the outpatient setting: a multi-site survey of primary care physicians. BMJ Qual Saf. 2012 Aug; 21(8):641-8.
Hilton JF, Barkoff L, Chang O, Halperin L, Ratanawongsa N, Sarkar U, Leykin Y, Muñoz RF, Thom DH, Kahn JS. A cross-sectional study of barriers to personal health record use among patients attending a safety-net clinic. PLoS One. 2012; 7(2):e31888.
Bailey SC, Hasnain-Wynia R, Chen AH, Sarkar U, Schoua-Glusberg A, Lindquist LA, Schillinger D, Wolf MS. Developing multilingual prescription instructions for patients with limited english proficiency. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2012 Feb; 23(1):81-7.
Ratanawongsa N, Handley MA, Quan J, Sarkar U, Pfeifer K, Soria C, Schillinger D. Quasi-experimental trial of diabetes Self-Management Automated and Real-Time Telephonic Support (SMARTSteps) in a Medicaid managed care plan: study protocol. BMC Health Serv Res. 2012 Jan 26; 12:22.
Plantinga L, Grubbs V, Sarkar U, Hsu CY, Hedgeman E, Robinson B, Saran R, Geiss L, Burrows NR, Eberhardt M, Powe N. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use among persons with chronic kidney disease in the United States. Ann Fam Med. 2011 Sep-Oct; 9(5):423-30.
Moffet HH, Parker MM, Sarkar U, Schillinger D, Fernandez A, Adler NE, Adams AS, Karter AJ. Adherence to laboratory test requests by patients with diabetes: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). Am J Manag Care. 2011 May; 17(5):339-44.
Sarkar U, Karter AJ, Liu JY, Adler NE, Nguyen R, López A, Schillinger D. Social disparities in internet patient portal use in diabetes: evidence that the digital divide extends beyond access. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2011 May 01; 18(3):318-21.
Sarkar U, Schillinger D, Bibbins-Domingo K, Nápoles A, Karliner L, Pérez-Stable EJ. Patient-physicians' information exchange in outpatient cardiac care: time for a heart to heart? Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Nov; 85(2):173-9.
Sarkar U, Karter AJ, Liu JY, Moffet HH, Adler NE, Schillinger D. Hypoglycemia is more common among type 2 diabetes patients with limited health literacy: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). J Gen Intern Med. 2010 Sep; 25(9):962-8.
Sarkar U, Handley MA, Gupta R, Tang A, Murphy E, Seligman HK, Shojania KG, Schillinger D. What happens between visits? Adverse and potential adverse events among a low-income, urban, ambulatory population with diabetes. Qual Saf Health Care. 2010 Jun; 19(3):223-8.
Sarkar U, Karter AJ, Liu JY, Adler NE, Nguyen R, Lopez A, Schillinger D. The literacy divide: health literacy and the use of an internet-based patient portal in an integrated health system-results from the diabetes study of northern California (DISTANCE). J Health Commun. 2010; 15 Suppl 2:183-96.
Casalino LP, Dunham D, Chin MH, Bielang R, Kistner EO, Karrison TG, Ong MK, Sarkar U, McLaughlin MA, Meltzer DO. Frequency of failure to inform patients of clinically significant outpatient test results. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Jun 22; 169(12):1123-9.
Sarkar U, Ali S, Whooley MA. Self-efficacy as a marker of cardiac function and predictor of heart failure hospitalization and mortality in patients with stable coronary heart disease: findings from the Heart and Soul Study. Health Psychol. 2009 Mar; 28(2):166-73.
Sarkar U, Handley MA, Gupta R, Tang A, Murphy E, Seligman HK, Shojania KG, Schillinger D. Use of an interactive, telephone-based self-management support program to identify adverse events among ambulatory diabetes patients. J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Apr; 23(4):459-65.
Sarkar U, Piette JD, Gonzales R, Lessler D, Chew LD, Reilly B, Johnson J, Brunt M, Huang J, Regenstein M, Schillinger D. Preferences for self-management support: findings from a survey of diabetes patients in safety-net health systems. Patient Educ Couns. 2008 Jan; 70(1):102-10.
Sarkar U, Nascimento SF, Barbosa R, Martins R, Nuevo H, Kalofonos I, Kalafanos I, Grunstein I, Flannery B, Dias J, Riley LW, Reis MG, Ko AI. Population-based case-control investigation of risk factors for leptospirosis during an urban epidemic. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2002 May; 66(5):605-10.