Updated: Apr 4
Although we’re making strides in healthcare, millions of people still struggle to access quality healthcare services. Inadequate health insurance, transportation issues, mental and physical health barriers, and family obligations prevent millions from getting the care they need.
Children just as well as adults are faced with healthcare accessibility issues. Top-tier healthcare services should be available to every child, considering how much growing they’ll do until they reach adulthood.
Thankfully with the introduction of other digital solutions, children-focused healthcare tech has improved access to quality care for kids. Let’s dive into the specifics of children-focused healthcare tech, why it’s helpful, and a few examples of tech advancements helping kids along their health journeys.
What is Children-Focused Healthcare Tech?
IBM defines healthcare technology as, “any technology, including medical devices, IT systems, algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and blockchain, designed to support healthcare organizations.”
With this base definition in mind, we can conclude that children-focused healthcare tech is any technology designed to support children’s healthcare organizations and kids getting quality care services.
Why This Tech is Helpful
Children-focused healthcare tech helps increase healthcare accessibility in the digital age for children. For example, although wearable tech was first created for adults, recent advances have made it popular among children as well. Wearable tech helps children take control of their health.
These devices also make physical fitness fun, further convincing kids to partake in activities that keep them physically and mentally healthy. This is especially pertinent as the childhood obesity rate continues to rise with 14.7 million children and adolescents suffering from its associated symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
In addition, when parents can’t get their children to in-person doctor, therapist, or dentist appointments, they can take advantage of telehealth or teledentistry services.
Let’s look at these examples in greater detail.
Teledentistry uses communications technology to provide patients with dental care remotely. Parents and children don’t have to visit a physical office to partake in this service. Instead, they need a laptop, desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone and a solid internet connection to be seen by a dentist.
Children can easily connect with their dentists to receive dental solutions in online spaces that don’t require hands-on treatment.
For example, a child can talk about a toothache or other symptoms they’ve been having over a video call. From here, a dentist can determine whether the patient’s symptoms are severe enough to warrant in-person treatment, or whether they can be treated at home with prescribed medication.
Dentists and dental assistants can also go over lab results, do follow-up appointments, and share resources via teledentistry appointments.
Top-tier cybersecurity protections are critical for teledentistry use too. Children and parents are sharing personal medical information during these appointments. So, there must be cybersecurity barriers in place that protect patients and the personal data they’re sharing.
For example, phishing is a cybersecurity attack that fools people into giving up personal information because the request, whether through email or phone, seems legitimate. We’ve seen attacks where cybercriminals send Zoom links for meeting requests that look legit.
It’s easy to mistake one of these for the Zoom link to your child’s teledentistry appointment. To prevent this, it’s important to first understand what a phishing email looks like. You can also use DNS filtering and a good email spam filter for an extra layer of protection.
Teledentistry makes dentist services easily accessible to children who can’t take advantage of in-person appointments.
Like teledentistry, telehealth services use communications technology to offer remote medical care. Kids and parents can use video conferencing to meet with their pediatricians. They can also see mental health providers like counselors and therapists remotely with telehealth technology — all from the comfort of their homes.
In addition, telehealth services can be helpful for kids who have a fear of going to the doctor's office. Having the option to bounce from in-person to telehealth care can help ease that fear.
Also like teledentistry, simple interfaces, and top-tier cybersecurity tools are critical for a smooth telehealth experience.
Wearable health tech
Wearable health tech refers to technology people wear on their bodies to track, analyze, and transmit health-related data.
When we think about wearable tech, we think about devices primarily used by adults. Biosensors, blood pressure monitors, ECG monitors, and smart health watches are common wearable tech devices adults use.
Surprisingly, there are fitness trackers and smartwatches designed specifically for children.
For example, the Fitbit Ace 3 is a kid's fitness tracker that can track a child’s sleep patterns and activity. There are also gamified fitness features on this tracker that motivate kids to take on fun physical challenges. Biggerfive Kids fitness tracker, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2, and the Spacetalk Adventurer are great wearable tech choices as well.
Ultimately, kid-friendly wearable tech encourages children to be proactive about their health. They can track what’s going on internally while having a personal trainer almost on their wrists that inspire a healthy lifestyle.
Children-focused healthcare tech is still in its infancy. But what’s available so far has made healthcare services a bit more accessible. Let’s hope these tech advances only evolve in the future.