Dr. Agarwal’s research is aimed at improving maternal and newborn health in low-income settings through strengthening community health systems and leveraging innovative technological solutions. Over the last decade, she has developed methods for evaluating programs that employ digital tools such as mobile phones for health service delivery. She has also led a series of systematic Cochrane reviews that have been leveraged by the WHO to develop global guidelines on the use of digital tools to strengthen health services. She continues to work with bilateral and multilateral agencies to support development and implementation of routine health information systems.

Specifically, her research is focused on- 1. The effectiveness of the use of digital devices by community health workers as decision-aids to improve delivery of primary health care services, especially for mothers and infants; 2. Using predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms based on routine monitoring data to enhance our understanding of quality of care, create safety nets to care for high-risk populations and improve effectiveness of reproductive health services; 3. Use of social media websites and data to understand health patterns and behaviors.

Currently, she is working in collaboration with the Population Council, and colleagues at Pathfinder International (Uganda) and Zanmi Lasante (Haiti) to conduct a multi-country study using discrete choice experiments to understand incentive preferences of community health workers in Kenya, Bangladesh, Uganda and Haiti.