Telemedicine in Life Stages: Adolescents and Young Adults

Jul 24, 2019 / The telemedicine advantage /
Continuing the blog series: Telemedicine in Life Stages: Part 2 focuses on adolescents and young adults and what type of role telehealth plays in the care continuum.

With so many key advantages that come with utilizing telemedicine, it's no surprise why physicians and medical professionals are interested in providing telehealth services to patients throughout the life cycle. Telehealth is a complex solution that's beneficial from the moment a woman gets pregnant until end-of-life care concerns arise. In terms of caring for children and adults alike, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement advocating for its members to take advantage of telemedicine, as this technology can provide more family-centered care options, improve practice efficiency, enhance the overall quality of care and reduce clinical workforce shortages.

As a part of the Telemedicine in Life Stages series, we first covered pregnancy and pediatrics, however this edition will dive into the next stage of life in regard to adolescents and young adults and what role telehealth plays in the care continuum. Let's take a closer look at how children transition out of pediatric care and how telemedicine can help mitigate the physical, mental and social development of children as they become young adults.

Providing care for kids in the school nurse's office

According to the National Association of School Nurses, nurse-to-student ratios have always been overwhelming. Dozens of children rely on one school nurse to provide the care they need to get back to class, or students are sent home to a parent or guardian who then may have to arrange a hospital or physician visit. Telemedicine in schools allows nurses to provide adequate care for students in a timely and efficient manner. It also encourages kids to stay in school and parents to avoid taking time off of work to retrieve and take them to a medical facility. In rural areas, this is even more beneficial when those care facilities are a significant distance from the school.

School nurses can utilize telemedicine to keep kids in school.School nurses can utilize telemedicine to keep kids in school.

Bridging the gap between pediatric and general practitioner visits

Typically, teens are expected to transition from a pediatrician to a general doctor by the age of 18. That's when they're considered adults and can advocate for their health and well-being. This transition can be a bit complex, however, as the American Academy of Pediatrics reported the need to find a new physician - and care facility that accepts their insurance - transfer medical records and communicate medical history and concerns isn't always so easy. Telemedicine enables quick and convenient e-visits and puts the ownership of health information, back into the patient's hands. This helps facilitate the transfer of necessary medical information digitally. These features can make the transition more seamless and less intimidating for teens stepping into the medical world on their own for the first time.

Improving access to behavioral health services

Emotional uncertainties and social pressure have a major impact on mental health in teens. According to the Mental Health America, levels of severe stress and depression in adolescents are rising at alarming rates with no signs of slowing down. In fact, one in five teens is diagnosed with clinical depression. This statistic alone should prompt more parents to understand the severity of mental and behavioral changes in their teens and seek treatment options at the first potential signs of the condition. Telebehavioral health is a solution that offers assistance and remote consulting to those with mental health and substance disorders by eliminating travel times reducing expenses for patients and providers. This is an option that can be very valuable to growing teens who need the help but face common barriers to gaining assistance.

Telemedicine can provide teenagers the assistance needed during the physical, mental and social changes that come with puberty. The commitment to make health care easier and more convenient for your adolescent patients is the first step in moving towards telemedicine. AMD Global Telemedicine can help you find your way and figure out what telehealth solutions are the right fit for your application needs.

Check back next time for the third edition in the Telemedicine in Life Stages series about how telehealth solutions impact middle-aged adults.

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