Project Name: ASCENT – Ambulatory Safety CEnter for INnovaTion
Funded by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Principle Investigator: Dr. Urmimala Sarkar
Duration: 09/30/2014 – 09/29/2018

The San Francisco Ambulatory Safety Center for Innovation (ASCENT) is dedicated to improving the safety of ambulatory populations and build capacity through health systems innovations at UCSF and across the SF Health Network. The long-term goal is to establish and sustain ASCENT to work across the continuum of innovation work starting from problem analysis and implementation, to evaluation and its adoption in order to improve patient safety for vulnerable populations care in the safety net. Partnered with safety net healthcare delivery systems, ASCENT will disseminate ambulatory safety solutions to safety net health care systems throughout California.
Links: ASCENT Website, AHRQ, San Francisco Health Network

Project Name: PHoENIX – Public Healthcare system Evidence Network and Innovation eXchange
Funded by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Principal Investigator: Dr. Urmimala Sarkar; Co-Investigators: Dr. Dean Schillinger, Dr. Margaret Handley, Dr. Courtney Lyles
Duration: 04/01/2013 – 01/31/2016

PHoENIX is a network of 21 public hospitals in California. The overall goal of this project is to transform care delivery in California’s public hospital systems by harnessing innovations and evidence-based practices. PHoENIX will defy commonly held beliefs about public hospital systems being slow to change, insular, and bureaucratic organizations, and demonstrate that they not only are resources for innovation, but also can demonstrate the ability to operate as flexible learning organizations that rapidly take up, adapt, and implement evidence-based practices to maximize population health. PHoENIX will be the platform for disseminating successful projects from ASCENT’s work to other public health care delivery systems in California, and gain valuable insights into implementation processes generalizable to other safety net health systems and beyond.
Links: AHRQ, CA Association of Public Hospitals, CA Healthcare Safety Net Institute

Project Name: Bridging the Digital Divide in Diabetes Among the Underserved From Populations to Patients
Funded by UCSF Diabetes Center, Family Fund
Principal Investigator: Dr. Dean Schillinger
Duration: 7/1/11 – 6/30/13

To bring health IT innovations in population and patient-level DM management to the underserved, thereby enabling safety net practices and the vulnerable populations that they disproportionately care for to affirmatively respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by health reform.
Links: UCSF

Project Name: Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Funded by NIH
Principal Investigator: Dr. Dean Schillinger
Duration: 9/30/06 – 6/30/16

To forge a transformative, novel, and integrative academic home for Clinical and Translational Science to:1) captivate, advance, and nurture a cadre of well-trained inter-disciplinary investigators and research teams; 2) create an incubator for innovative research tools and information technologies; and 3) synergize multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary clinical and translational research and researchers to catalyze the application of new knowledge and techniques to clinical practice at the front lines of patient care. Dr. Schillinger is on the steering committee of the community engagement initiative of CTSI, and is charged with helping to stimulate practice-based implementation and effectiveness research.
Links: CTSI

Project Name: Evaluating Implementation of a Health IT Intervention for Vulnerable Patients with Diabetes
Funded by AHRQ
Principal Investigator: Dr. Handley
Duration: 7/1/2010 – 12/31/2012

The purpose of this study is to examine the fidelity of the intervention’s implementation and examine adaptations made to increase adoption. This information can inform efforts underway in national health reform, to scale up health IT interventions to off-set growing chronic disease care costs.

Project Name: Health Literacy and Use of An Internet-Based Patient Portal in Diabetes
Funded by NIDDK
Principal Investigator: Dr. Sarkar; Co-Investigator: Dr. Dean Schillinger
Duration: 9/1/2012 – 8/31/2017

The long-term goal of this research is to: i) inform strategies to employ health information technology (HIT) effectively for patients with limited health literacy to reduce chronic disease disparities and ii) contribute to an expanded definition of health literacy that extends beyond verbal and written communication between the patient and health system by including ability to effectively use HIT-enabled health service access. Role: Co-investigator.

Project Name: Using Technology to Improve Hepatitis B Screening and Management among Asian Americans
Funded by NIH/NCI
Principal Investigators: Dr. Nguyen and Dr. Khalili; Co-Investigator: Dr. Urmimala Sarkar
Duration: 7/1/13 – 6/30/2018

This project will develop, implement, and test in randomized controlled trials two interventions, a patient-centered, in language interactive mobile application to promote hepatitis B screening and an electronic health record reminder delivered to physicians to improve quality of care of patients with chronic hepatitis B.

Project Name: Measuring and improving ambulatory patient safety with an electronic dashboard
Funded by AHRQ
Principal Investigator: Dr. Urmimala Sarkar
Duration: 12/01/12 – 11/30/2014

This proposal is to design a health-information technology innovation, a patient safety dashboard, defined as an interactive, visual summary of safety gaps. We have chosen 4 high-priority safety gaps to investigate, including two selected high-risk medication classes for monitoring, incomplete follow-up of abnormal colon cancer screening results, and lack of outpatient care following hospitalization for heart failure. We then plan to pilot-test the tool’s ability to efficiently identify and address selected high-priority patient safety problems within a safety-net outpatient health system.

Project Name: Health Literacy and use of an internet based patient portal in diabetes
Funded by PA-12-064
Principal Investigator: Dr. Karter; Sub-Contractor: Dr. Urmimala Sarkar
Duration: 7/1/12 – 6/30/17

We plan to study the impact of inadequate health literacy on use and adoption of a health plan internet patient portal ( by a large, diverse population of diabetes patients. Results will inform the many health systems that are developing patient portals, currently used by patients to refill medications, review lab results, make appointments and email their doctor. We will investigate whether using an internet-based patient portal leads to better medication and appointment adherence, and whether those with limited health literacy benefit from the portal to the same degree as those with adequate health literacy.

Project Name: Interactive HIT to promote ambulatory safety among vulnerable diabetes patients
Funded by AHRQ
Principal Investigator: Dr. Urmimala Sarkar
Duration: 9/30/08 – 9/29/13

This is a sub-study nested in the larger evaluation described above. The aims are to characterize adverse events among ambulatory diabetes patients, to compare safety information obtained from the telephone-technology intervention with safety information obtained by providers during a visit, and to conduct root-cause-analysis for ambulatory adverse events.

Project Name: Health Literacy and Chronic Disease Communication in an Era of Computers in the Room: Pitfalls and Promise
Funded by UCSF REAC Grant
Principal Investigator: Dr. Neda Ratanawongsa
Duration: 7/01/12-6/30/13

The purpose of this study is to understand how computer use affects chronic disease communication for persons with limited health literacy in safety net settings. This grant funds the year 2 of research assistant salary to conduct baseline and post-implementation recruitment, videotaping, and research interviews.

Project Name: Chronic Disease Communication in Primary Care and Subspecialty Care in the Era of Computers
Funded by Pfizer Medical Academic Partnership Fellowship
Principal Investigator: Dr. Dean Schillinger; Co-Investigator: Dr. Neda Ratanawongsa
Duration: 7/1/11 – 6/30/13

The purpose of this study is to support the career development and mentorship junior faculty as health communications researchers in the area of health literacy. The focus of this project is understanding how computer use affects chronic disease communication for persons with limited health literacy in safety net settings. This grant funds salary support for Drs. Ratanawongsa and Barton (the 2 fellows) and project supplies, but no research assistant salary