Students present e-commerce solutions to Niagara Falls health care leaders

Release Date: June 2, 2015

“The e-commerce seminar taught us unbelievable practical and theoretical topics in a short span of time.”
Heena Phaterfod, MS '15

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Five months ago, 18 graduate students in a School of Management seminar were given a difficult task: Develop an innovative e-commerce venture for Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) to help its new program succeed.

After analyzing the problem and potential solutions, four student teams stood before NFMMC leaders, mentors from HP Enterprise Services and their professor, H. Raghav Rao, to present their ideas. One team had devised an electronic check-in system to improve patient participation in the screening process. Another proposed using telemedicine to help doctors communicate with and treat housebound patients via mobile devices. A mobile app and a robust, community-focused marketing plan rounded out the presentations.

“The e-commerce seminar taught us unbelievable practical and theoretical topics in a short span of time,” says Heena Phaterfod, of India, who earned a master’s degree in management information systems in May. “We learned technical aspects including front-end website development, and business aspects, like developing e-store and strategy reports and determining financial and infrastructure risks for implementation.”

Every year, students in Rao’s e-commerce course develop technology-based solutions to a pressing problem a local company is facing. The student teams can ask questions or discuss ideas with company leaders, and work closely with an HP mentor to hone their proposals.

This spring, Sanjay Chadha, vice president, service line operations, NFMMC, met with the class at the beginning of the semester, looking for ways to improve participation in the hospital’s Get Well, Stay Well program, which integrates primary care with mental health counseling and support services for senior patients.

During the final presentations, he and Jeffrey Perry, electronic health record administrator at NFMMC, praised the students’ work and pushed them to consider issues like feasibility, confidentiality and stakeholder approvals.

“The need for technology has exploded much faster than technology can keep up,” Perry told the students. “You’re in a prime position to find solutions for existing problems across the global health care market.”

Since being initiated in 2001, students in the course have worked with such companies as Fisher-Price, Delaware North Cos., Independent Health and Tops Markets. The resulting projects included solutions for security authentication, supply-management price matrices and managing and tracking product recalls.

“Having this real-world experience will certainly help in my future career,” says Tara Phillips, of Rochester, an MBA student with a marketing concentration. “There is a worldwide trend in advertising toward e-commerce, so having this foundation will undoubtedly be useful. In addition, the class introduced me to issues of security, encryption and fraud; a basic knowledge of these topics is crucial for anyone in business.”

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB’s nearly 30,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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