Where does someone get medical advice before they visit a health care provider? What sources of information influence a person's decision to seek medical advice?
These are questions Kelly Brittain, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, looks to answer with her research on colorectal cancer risk reduction and prevention.
"I approach it from the aspect of informed decision making, which involves all the information a person gets from their friends, family, the internet and social media prior to them seeing a health care provider," Brittain said.
Brittain said that technology such as social media and WebMD are huge influences on a person's choice of whether or not to see a health care provider.
"What I'm working on now is actually two projects: one that involves creating a mobile application for colorectal cancer adherence among women, and the second one is actually a Facebook group," Brittain said.
She hopes her projects show technology can be used to improve health, and allow health care providers to critically evaluate how patients are using the information available to them.
"There's really not a lot of research out there in terms of colorectal cancer, or cancer in general, and how we use that information to make better decisions," she said.
In addition to her research, Brittain said she enjoys teaching because of the students she gets to work with. She has classes with both undergraduates and graduates and said she appreciates the dedication the students show.
"The students here are amazing," Brittain said. "They are very interested in learning and becoming excellent nurses."