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Lisa Duffy

Associate Professor

Current Research

Young adults with chronic illness are developing autonomy, social, emotional and cognitive skills, which are important as they become responsible for their own healthcare. These emerging developmental stages can make interactions with healthcare providers challenging. Young adults often have a desire to be in control of their own healthcare, yet demonstrate decreased self-care and adherence. Virtual visits provide an opportunity for NPs to foster therapeutic relational connection (TRC) and improve health literacy in a young adult population that has reported greater than 90% satisfaction with virtual visits. What is not known are best practices for training NPs on the intentional use of TRC during virtual visits.

Many studies of remote healthcare delivery have focused on acute or low complexity issues. Little is known about the effect upon patients with chronic illness. Further, what is not known are the specific characteristics of verbal and non-verbal communication in the virtual clinical setting that result in positive rapport between patient and provider. The purpose of this current program of research is to determine the feasibility and acceptability among clinicians of an online video-based intervention to demonstrate best practices for establishing TRC in the virtual environment. Online video-based vignettes were chosen as the medium for the intervention as they have been shown to be an effective platform for delivering health related education to clinicians. Virtual visits as a means of healthcare delivery has significant implications for the relationships that are formed and maintained between providers and patients. Informed understanding of ways to foster relationships via virtual visits has the potential to improve health literacy and self-management for young adults with chronic illness.

Improved communication and patient-provider connection enhance understanding of health-related information, or health literacy. Health literacy improves patient outcomes in young adults with chronic conditions by increasing knowledge, which helps patients achieve their personal goals by gaining decision making autonomy and ability to manage chronic illness. Therapeutic relational connection (TRC) and health literacy enhance adherence, self-management, and satisfaction with care. However, little is known about TRC, with its potential to enhance health literacy and patient-centered outcomes in young adults with chronic illness. The evidence suggests that patient-provider relationships are essential to health literacy, which may be improved through TRC.

Learn more at https://duffydigitalhealthlab.org/about-us/

Academic Background

  • 2023 MIT Sloan Artificial Intelligence in Health Care Online Program, MIT Sloan School of Management
  • 2020 Fellow, Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators

  • 2017, MPH, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA Major: Clinical Effectiveness

  • 2014, K12 Scholar, Program in Pediatric Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, Boston, MA

  • 2013, PhD, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA Major: Nursing

  • 2002, MSN, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA Major: Ambulatory Pediatrics

  • 1996, BSN, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT Major: Nursing

Duffy, L. V., Evans, R., Bennett, V., Hady, J. M., & Palaniappan, P. (2023). Therapeutic Relational Connection in Telehealth: Concept Analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 25, e43303.
Kendrick, J., Duffy, L., Ye, L., & Burke, P. (2022). College students’ motivations for using fitness related technology. Journal of American College Health, 1-9.
Duffy, L. V., Sarill, K., Forbes, P., Camposano, S., & McCabe, M. (2021). Shared decision making and disease modifying therapy in families of children and adolescents with pediatric onset multiple sclerosis. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 61, 404-409.
Cross, T. P., Shanks, A. K., Duffy, L. V., & Rintell, D. J. (2019). Families’ Experience of Pediatric Onset Multiple Sclerosis. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 1-11.
Contact Info

Elaine Marieb College of Nursing
S513 Life Science Laboratories
240 Thatcher Road
Amherst, MA 01003-9292

Email:  lvduffy@umass.edu