Bassett studies e-health service delivery | Local News


The Bassett Research Institute has launched a survey of healthcare access and use of telemedicine within the Bassett Healthcare Network. The project, funded by a $50,000 grant from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, is an extension of BRI digital health research launched in 2021, according to a press release from Bassett.

“When COVID hit, Bassett had to bring all of our Living Well programs online,” said Kristin Pullyblank, nurse scientist at Bassett’s Center for Rural Community Health, which is part of BRI. “Then we saw a sudden change in the demographics of the participants – they tended to be younger and more educated. This is ringing the alarm bells for us. Are we leaving these other people behind? »

Last year, Pullyblank and Wendy Brunner, director of the Center for Rural Community Health, interviewed hundreds of patients to learn more, the statement said. They asked about telehealth experiences, as well as related issues like home internet access and challenges faced during the pandemic.

The results gave them insight into what they hope to learn, but also raised other questions for investigation, according to the statement.

For example, their survey data found that more than 40% of participants said it was difficult to pay for essentials like food, housing or medicine during the pandemic.

“How are these financial difficulties related to telehealth? Brunner asked. “Is it a question of not being able to afford the technology? Or maybe people emotionally drained from financial stress don’t have the energy to figure out how to arrange a telehealth visit to their home. Or maybe they are unrelated.

According to the release, “The NIHCM grant allows them to dig deeper to hopefully unravel some of these whys.”

“With the grant, we’re following up the investigation with key informant interviews,” Brunner said.

“We track patients who gave surprising answers and said, ‘Tell us more about that answer. What does this really mean?

According to the release, telemedicine has become commonplace in many healthcare systems during the pandemic, and researchers across the country are keen to ensure patients don’t “fall through the cracks.”

“The NIHCM is interested in policy and practical implications,” Pullyblank said. “We hope, for the sake of our patients, that our work has a null conclusion – that these differences in the use of telehealth are just preferences and that no one is underserved. But if we find that age, or broadband access, or finances, or data security concerns, or any number of other factors impact access, that could great implications for us and for rural health care as a whole.

“We are truly honored to be selected and to be awarded this grant,” Brunner said. “That’s what’s really satisfying about research. You observe a pattern and begin to wonder what caused it. This turns into an idea on how to find out more. Then you find other people at a funding agency who are just as interested. Ultimately, you satisfy your curiosity, associate with others, and solve problems.

To learn more about ongoing studies at the Bassett Research Institute, visit


Comments are closed.