Dr. Carissa Baker-Smith, MD, MPH

Children with chronic health conditions are the most vulnerable to poor outcomes without appropriate outpatient care. Delivery of pediatric cardiac care via the traditional in-person method through which care is typically delivered was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Carissa Baker-Smith, MD, MPH of Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, is a pediatric cardiologist and recipient of a Quick Step Science Grant. Her research has two aims, the first of which is to examine the impact of sociodemographic factors, cardiac disease severity and chronicity on acceptance of telehealth visits for pediatric cardiology patients during the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as patient outcomes and resource utilization.The second aim is to evaluate patient/guardian perceptions of telehealth technology usability during the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between the dates of March 30 and May 8, Dr. Baker-Smith and her team observed two groups: one was those who kept their pre-existing appointments and moved to telehealth care and the other were those who cancelled their appointments completely or rescheduled. Both groups were sent out a TECHI survey to assess parent/guardian comfort with technology. Families who started a telehealth visit will be surveyed regarding parent/guardian perceived usability of telehealth using the TUQ survey. The relationship between disease severity, chronicity and telehealth usability will be assessed. The data collection is near completion and will be analyzing a person’s acceptance of telehealth and also looking at who is not choosing that option and what alternative ways can that person be reached.

Dr. Baker-Smith is the Nemours representative for the Junior Investigators Network and leads the Nemours initiative to facilitate partnerships between Nemours researchers and academic and community partners external to Nemours via the  Community Engagement Outreach for the Delaware ACCEL Program. Says Dr. Baker-Smith, “ Having the experience of obtaining the funding through ACCEL and then also  being the person who can be a voice for other investigators is a really nice balance. Being a part of JIN and the CEO helps give me a bigger picture of what can be done in the community, which is very exciting.”

If you would like more information about this research or have questions, please contact Dr. Baker-Smith at Carissa.Baker-smith@nemours.org.

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