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Lee Pachter, DO, Senior Physician Scientist, Director of Mentorship & Professional Development at Value Institute at ChristianaCare, Co-Director of DE -CTR Community Engagement & Outreach

Dr. Pachter is a pediatrician and researcher at the Value Institute of ChristianaCare. He is interested in health disparities and social determinants of health. Currently, Dr. Pachter’s work involves the analysis of health care visits via telemedicine (virtually with video or audio only) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. What is the importance of this research?

It’s become necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide healthcare through “on-line” or virtual means. It’s likely that some types of healthcare will continue to be offered virtually even after the pandemic is over, so we need to understand the advantages and barriers of this approach to healthcare in Delaware.

2. Why did you want to conduct this research?

The use of Telemedicine (TM) has the potential to make it easier for patients who have had challenges in getting to in-person healthcare visits. On the other hand, since TM requires available technology such as broadband, computers or smart phones with good data plans, as well as knowledge of how to use them to “get to the doctor,” it’s possible that increasing the use of TM may create other barriers and actually increase health care inequities. 

3. How does this research relate to your other work?

Researching Telemedicine is a new area for me. However, we’re taking an approach that looks at TM within the context of health disparities, so I see this as studying a new topic from a different lens — that of equity and disparity. Also, we’re applying an innovative methodology —geospatial analysis — which is really exciting.

4. What aspect of the DE-CTR was most helpful to you for this research?

ACCEL has allowed us to do this research through its rapid COVID funding mechanism, which provided support in a very quick timeframe, which was essential! The ACCEL emphasis on community engagement influenced us to include community voice in our work by establishing a community advisory panel from the beginning of the project. And finally, the CTR’s support of “team science” allowed us to create a team with many different perspectives and expertise. A true example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

5. What advice would you give to a junior researcher?

Find mentors and consider working with a multi-disciplinary team. Mentors “ground” you, and the team opens you up to perspectives, methods, and frameworks you might never know existed.