The biggest changes in pediatric and adolescent medicine are subspecialization and improved access to services geared toward age-specific health needs. As the US population of Generation Z youngsters increases, so does the need for personalized medical care, which meets a range of acute and chronic health needs and delivers prevention strategies.
Let’s explore the future of pediatrics and adolescent medicine and what to watch for.
Kids and Teens Are Very Different
Healthcare providers recognize that babies and children are different from teens and young adults. So, their medical care and how it is delivered is different.
For instance, adolescent healthcare providers understand that young people ages 15 to 21 have changes in growth and development just as children do. They need routine examinations and immunizations as foundational to preventive care, Also, management of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, and treatment of acute illnesses and injuries remain at the forefront of medical care.
However, as years advance into the teens, young patients have radically different health and safety needs. Additionally, teens need guidance in developing their own health-related values, opinions, and goals. Doctor-to-patient is a must-have as discussions begin regarding topics such as:
- Mental health (especially anxiety, depression, and eating disorders)
- Sexual wellness, contraception, and decision-making
- Substance and alcohol use
- Social media usage and Safety
- Peers and dating relationships
- Schooling, careers, and personal life goals
What Innovations and Trends to Watch
The world’s impact on children, adolescents, and young adults is changing rapidly–so much so that it feels overwhelming to parents, kids, and adolescents. However, your physicians are acutely aware of the impacts and wish to partner with parents in safeguarding adolescents and in giving patients access to and confidence in health care and its providers.
Here are the innovations and trends in pediatric and adolescent healthcare:
Use of Technology
Advances in telehealth options, personal symptom monitoring, and even artificial intelligence open access to medical care and also empower young people to take charge of their physical and mental health needs. In other words, the right use of digital media can be leveraged to deliver the information they need to develop and maintain health and healthy lifestyles.
The Prevalence of Mental Health Issues
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies increased by 40 percent in teens before the COVID-19 pandemic. Post-pandemic, the effects of academic disruption, isolation, economic downturns for families, and more have likely increased that number.
So, adolescent healthcare providers must screen for mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, beginning as early as age eight. This assessment must be part of every in-office pediatric and adolescent medicine wellness examination.
Plus, physicians provide adolescents the opportunity and the safe space to express their feelings and concerns openly. Treatment can begin right in the office and continue with referral to skilled mental health professionals as needed. The development of coping strategies and resilience are important goals for adolescents.
Adolescents need real information to achieve and maintain sexual wellness throughout their teen years and into young adulthood. Our adolescent medical practice is at the forefront of education regarding the risks and responsibilities of sexual activity in teens and regarding the skills necessary to develop healthy body image and interpersonal relationships.
Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in Purchase, NY
At BridgeSpan Medicine, our healthcare providers stress the importance of cutting-edge medical care, which centers on treating the adolescent as a whole person with physical, emotional, and mental health needs and goals. We focus on patients ages 15 to 21 and help guide them safely through a time of decision-making and transition to adult life.