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Teens & Telehealth Can Be a Smart Combination

Teens & Telehealth Teens & Telehealth

Is it time for your teen's health checkup? Your teen's pediatrician may offer telehealth visits through video calls and other remote options that may save you a trip into the office. Many teens and young adults prefer telehealth visits to office visits. They can visit the doctor they know and trust using a phone or laptop.

Starting telehealth visits now is one way you can support your teen's growing independence. With your help, they can learn how to talk with their doctor on their own in the comfort of home. Through telehealth, pediatricians find they get to know teens even more at a time when many changes are happening. Young people are often more relaxed and ready to talk.

Benefits of telehealth

Telehealth can create the right place and time to connect with your teen's pediatrician. There are so many changes during this stage of their lives. Setting up a telehealth visit is a great way to get healthy guidance for the road ahead. It's best not to wait until something is wrong to seek care. This way, you'll be ahead if your teen hits a bump or two.

  • Flexibility: No travel time means appointments can fit into busy schedules without having to drive or use public transportation.

  • Comfort: If your teen is nervous at the doctor's office, visiting with them by video or phone might help break the tension.

  • Support: The doctor could talk with your teen about issues they struggle with such as healthy eating, staying focused, changes in their mood, or more private concerns like sexual health, relationships, and potential substance use.

  • Confidentiality: The telehealth visit is secure. It's not recorded and not shared with anyone.

  • Independence: Teens and young adults can have important one-on-one time with the doctor in as quiet a space as possible at home or school. You can help by creating a quiet, private space within your home where your teen can talk with their doctor.

The Comfort of Home

“I used telehealth during appointments for occupational therapy (OT), which was prescribed to me by my pediatrician to help me improve my fine motor skills. I really liked using telehealth for OT because it allowed me to perform tasks at home, where I was most comfortable.

During the sessions, I was able to do things that would help me reach my goals. For example, in one session, my job was to independently make a simple snack. When I would go to therapy in person, these tasks were a bit challenging because I was not completely comfortable. Because I was at home, completing the task was fairly easy."

Ayanda Nnachi 
    AAP Telehealth Young Adult Advisory Panel

A voice for teens

During the visit, private one-on-one time between your teen or young adult and their pediatrician helps strengthen their relationship. It promotes lifelong health and growing independence. Your teen can also call their doctor on their own to schedule a visit if they need to talk about a private concern. Pediatricians are experts at these private, one-on-one talks!

While not being in the room may feel strange to some parents and caregivers, this gives teens and young adults a voice. Research has shown that this part of the visit can help your teen feel comfortable talking about important health issues. Watch this video for more information about one-on-one time and talk to your teen's pediatrician about the best time to step out of the room.

Partner with your teen's pediatrician

Teens and young adults have unique health care needs. These could be emotional needs like dealing with anxiety, depression, or grief. Or it might be care for an illness they've had for a long time. They may want to talk about their sexual health and relationships and get guidance from a trusted source. As a parent or caregiver, you guide them through every step of their teen years. Your teen's pediatrician is here to help during both in-person and telehealth visits.

Many insurance plans cover pediatric telehealth appointments, but always check with your individual insurance plan and the doctor's office before scheduling an appointment.

More information

This resource is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $6,000,000 with no percentage financed with nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

Last Updated
2/22/2021
Source
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2021)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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