The Second Century Initiative (2CI) brought more than 80 leading scholars and researchers across a diverse array of disciplines; its successor program, the Next Generation Program, continues to do so. Each faculty member has provided the university with their unique perspectives and leadership in their fields. Their work moves forward important and innovative research and scholarship, while lifting the reputation of Georgia State University and its colleges/schools for work addressing the challenges of the 21st century.
This article is part of a series highlighting individual faculty members and their perspectives through a question-and-answer format. Dr.Aaron Baird is a professor in the Robinson College of Business.
Q:Can you tell me briefly about your research and scholarship?
A: I am fascinated by the roles that health IT and health information play in our health care system. I conduct research at the intersection of health care (provisioning and consumption), business, and technology and specifically focus on how health care organizations and consumers (patients) adopt, assimilate, and are impacted by health IT and health information. My research primarily seeks to explain: 1) how health care organizations—including hospitals and medical practices—adopt, assimilate, and govern health IT, such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs), patient portals, and telestroke, and 2) how consumers (and patients) adopt, use, and are impacted by health IT, such as patient portals, mHealth apps, and online health communities. As an extension of these themes, I have also recently started to focus on: 3) how to effectively impact individuals’ health behaviors and goals through digital health interventions and patient decision aids, and 4) evaluation of the progression and thematic advances of health IT research in scholarly journals.
Q:What first interested you in your field of expertise?
A: I have always had an interest in health care, due to a variety of personal experiences. After spending some time in industry as a software developer and IT project manager, I searched for a Ph.D. program that would allow me to combine my personal desire to contribute to the health care field with my professional experiences. I ended up being selected to join the Ph.D. program at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and spent much of my time there evaluating the determinants and impacts of health IT adoption decisions by hospitals and clinics. This was an amazing opportunity and I learned more about health IT than I had ever expected to. After I graduated with my Ph.D. in Information Systems, with a focus on health IT, I was grateful and excited to be hired by Georgia State University as a health IT researcher under the 2CI program.
Q:What did you find attractive about Georgia State?
A: Georgia State is a remarkable place to be a faculty member. First, the university as a whole is committed to providing quality education to a diverse array of students and provides a variety of support services to help students succeed. I enjoy being a part of an organization that no only wants to help students, but also provides the resources to back up such strategic initiatives. Second, the Robinson College of Business (RCB), which is the college I was hired into, is an amazing place to conduct research and to teach. From the day I started, I have felt like a valuable member of a team doing great things, rather than just an outsider looking in. I enjoy going to class, interacting with students, and I look forward to the variety of research opportunities that have been (and will be) available.
Q: How have your research and scholarship grown since you first arrived at Georgia State?
A: This is my first academic job, so it goes without saying that I had, and continue to have, a lot of growing to do. I have progressed from working through dissertation-based projects, to partnering with other professors on their projects, to leading my own projects. The remarkable thing about Georgia State and about this type of job is that there are so many opportunities that the hard part is selecting which ones to pursue. Therefore, I have grown a lot since starting here, am grateful for these learning and growth opportunities, and look forward to what the future holds.
Q: What sorts of collaborations have you been able to build at Georgia State, both within the university and outside of the institution?
A: Reaching beyond the borders of RCB and Georgia State and working to bring insights and new partnerships back to this university and college are opportunities and activities that excite and motivate me. During the time that I have been at Georgia State, I have had the opportunity to interact and work with most of the major health systems here in Atlanta, including Grady and WellStar, and I have also had the opportunity to participate with industry organizations including HIMSS, TAG Health, and the Atlanta Tech Village. Georgia and Atlanta have a lot to offer when it comes to health IT and the ability to make these connections makes my job even more interesting and fulfilling.
Q: What new developments do you foresee with your research/scholarly development in the future?
A: I think that cost pressures on the U.S. health care system will continue to motivate policy makers, industry, and, frankly, all health care stakeholders to look for ways to provide safe and effective care at lower rates. Health IT can play a big role in improving quality and reducing costs by providing access to information that has traditionally been difficult to obtain and analyze. What we don’t want to happen, though, is for health IT to become part of the problem, such as can happen when interoperability and information sharing are not prioritized. Therefore, I see researchers and educators as playing a vital role in helping policy makers, managers, employees, and potential employees alike understand how to best apply health IT and information to health care problems and opportunities, particularly related to understanding how to best obtain value from health information.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
A: I would just like to mention that health IT and health information are great fields to work and research in, that Georgia State is an excellent place to learn more about health IT and to conduct health IT research, and I look forward to meeting and collaborating with others who share the same excitement for this field that I do.
–Kiana Colquitt, Graduate Administrative Assistant, Office of the Provost