Corinna Schultz is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and an attending physician in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Nemours/AI duPont Hospital for Children. She is interested in how caregivers of children with chronic illness interpret information they receive and make decisions, especially in the context of their child’s life-threatening medical condition. With the initiation of electronic patient portals, caregivers who are already in highly stressful situations and who come from varied backgrounds and levels of health and computer literacy have access to result reporting via online portals without immediate access to physician discussion and interpretation. As electronic portals become more ubiquitous, researchers have a duty to caregivers and pediatric patients to integrate this technology in a responsible way with the goal of improving outcomes.
Dr. Schultz's PEDSnet Scholars project will build on prior research by combining electronically captured portal use data, quantitative measures, and qualitative interviews with caregivers of children with cancer. The aims of the project are to:
- Examine whether portal use is associated with intended benefits, determine whether patterns of portal use “signal” anxiety or confusion, and
- Identify and characterize material within the portal that is anxiety-provoking or confusing.
This will allow researchers to redesign the delivery of that content to reduce the unintended consequences and promote benefits of portal use. In partnership with key stakeholders, we can inform the use of health information technologies (IT) to engage caregivers while mitigating ill effects.