September 21, 2021
POTSDAM, NY – The St. Lawrence Health (SLH) Clinical and Rural Health Research Department, in partnership with the PATIENTS Program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has successfully completed a two-year project that has provided North Country residents with information on COVID-19 and the importance of patient-centered research.
The PATIENTS (PATient-centered Involvement in Evaluating the effectiveNess of TreatmentS) Program is designed to invite patients with any multitude of conditions to get more involved in their health care. They are provided with the means to make informed, empowered decisions while connecting with the research and clinical trials that are of interest to them, fostering partnerships between patients and researchers.
As part of the project, Developing InfraStructure for Research to Utilize Patient-centered Techniques at St. Lawrence Health (16375-SLHS), the PATIENTS Program worked with St. Lawrence Health providers, clinical staff, patients, and community members on how to successfully engage the community in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). Together, their engagement efforts led to the development and delivery of webinars on both PCOR and COVID-19.
Through PCOR, researchers work with patients and stakeholders to identify and address questions and outcome measures that are important to patients and the community.
“Input from our Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which consisted of patients, past research participants, community members, and clinical and non-clinical health care workers, drove the content of these webinars,” noted SLH Clinical Research Director Carly Lovelett, CCRP. “The patient-centered outcomes research webinars had a 112% attendance rate, meaning more people attended the sessions than originally registered.
“The Developing InfraStructure team was proud to provide information about how the North Country community could get involved in research, as well as critical information about COVID-19, allowing the community members to take charge of their health. Through a feedback questionnaire, we were happy to learn the webinars were all well-received and viewed with marks of high satisfaction,” Ms. Lovelett added.
“By working with St. Lawrence Health to help create a patient-centered research infrastructure, our focus was to improve the health of New York’s North Country residents,” said PATIENTS Program Director of Research Michelle Medeiros, CCRP. “We involved the community in creating webinars to provide critical information about COVID-19 and getting involved in research. We at the PATIENTS Program were proud to work with the community on the project.”
Clinical Research spear-headed the development of a three-part webinar series on Learning Together, Leading Together: Shaping Patient-Centered Research in the North Country, along with several COVID-19 public information webinars. Topics included Vax Versus Fiction: Answering Questions and Presenting the Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines, which compared the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, vaccination safety, the phased approach to vaccine distribution, herd immunity, and how to prepare to get the vaccine and what to expect; COVID-19: Fact Versus Fiction, discussed how COVID-19 compared to the flu, the effectiveness of masks and social distancing, and COVID-19 testing; and COVID-19 in Rural America explained how COVID-19 can be treated, and how the pandemic is different here than in urban America.
A series of recorded videos on COVID-19 and Mental Health/Substance Use were also created. The five topics revolved around The Impact of COVID-19 on Substance Use, Navigating COVID-19 and the Impact on Children and Families, COVID-19 and School, COVID-19 and Mental Health, and St. Lawrence County COVID-19 Response: A Year in Review.
“Patient-centered research is important to the health and wellness of our community,” explained SLH Nurse Educator Jolene Carotenuto, RN, who attended the PCOR series. “By focusing on the unique needs of our rural population, patient-centered research brings local health care needs to the national stage, and delivers national research efforts to our small community.”
This two-year initiative was partially funded through a Eugene Washington Engagement Award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI); a non-profit organization that funds studies to assist patients and those who care for them make better-informed health care choices.
The Clinical And Rural Health Research Department was established in 2015 to provide the North Country community access to clinical trials, and to conduct research that will help address rural health and healthcare disparities both regionally and across the US. The research team has since worked with over 20 different healthcare providers to conduct more than 30 clinical trials and research projects, investigating new potential treatments for diseases (including rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and COVID-19), and aiming to better understand its patient populations.