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Moravian College

Gregory Cahill '17

How the Implementation of Health Information Technology Can Reduce the Burden of Chronic Diseases in Developing Countries
 

Major: Economics Minor: Computer Science
Hometown: Easton, PA
Adviser: Dr. Terrizzi
 

Briefly describe your SOAR project.

The goal of this project was to see if there is potential to reduce the burden of chronic diseases in developing countries by incorporating new medical and communication technologies. My research included reading about the current state of diseases and why they are causing higher mortality in developing countries than in industrialized countries. After all this information was gathered, I wrote my own report where I talked about my findings and what conclusion I came to regarding this topic.

Why did you decide to turn your idea into a SOAR project?

During the school year, Dr. Coleman discussed with me the possibility of participating in the SOAR program. I told him I was interested in doing a project in the field of economics, so he talked to Dr. Terrizzi about being a potential adviser for me. I pitched a few different topics with her, and since she is a health economist, I chose a topic that had to do with health. We threw ideas back and forth until we finally decided on a specific topic of interest to research.

How did your faculty advisor guide you through your research?

The best part about working with Dr. Terrizzi is that she was always excited to hear about my findings whenever we would meet to discuss the project. She would give me great feedback on the research I was doing and she gave me helpful tips that guided me through the research process. Since Dr. Terrizzi is a health economist, she does a lot of similar research herself. Because of this, she is able to give me useful methods for conducting research and how to put it all together into an informative report.

What has been your biggest obstacle so far?

The biggest obstacle I faced during this project was definitely sifting through all the information I obtained from my research. It is probably the most tedious process because I had to go through all of my notes and pick out the facts and points that are the most essential to the topic. This is a long process when you have several pages of notes and information and you need to pick out what you think is the most important.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

My biggest takeaway from this project was that it taught me appropriate ways to go through the research process. This was one of my first times actually doing economic research, so I wasn’t too familiar with the exact process when I first started. With the help of my adviser, I was able to learn
more efficient ways to conduct research and how exactly to write an
economic report.

What was the result of your project?

After doing research and comparing relative case studies, the conclusion that
I have drawn from this is that there is great potential to better the health of populations and reduce the burden of chronic diseases by implementing appropriate forms of health information technology within developing countries. Originally, I thought that this would have a positive effect on health, so the result of this project was congruent with my hypothesis.

Will you expand on your research after this summer is over? If so, where would you like to see it go?

 I am taking a research methods class this fall, so I plan to continue work on this topic during the semester. I have developed my own theory, next I plan to conduct an empirical analysis where I use actual experiments and data to see the effects that this implementation will have on these populations and report on my findings.