Telehealth as a Promising Strategy in the Future of Adolescent Health

By PolicyLab, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Radha Pennotti, Lisa A Schwartz, John Chuo, | April 26, 2024

Former Stoneleigh Fellow Nadia Dowshen and her PolicyLab, CHOP colleagues have published a new issue brief illustrating the demand for and benefits of telehealth care for adolescents.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth was essential for delivering outpatient health care services, including for adolescents and young adults. PolicyLab and CHOP research expands on previously limited data on adolescents’ telehealth care and demonstrates a clear desire of adolescents, caregivers, and providers for continued telehealth services and related benefits. The research is relevant input for current telehealth policy discussions, including those about coverage and reimbursement, health system practices, and research on quality and effectiveness.

There are many partners involved in adolescent and young adults’ health care—adolescents themselves, caregivers (adolescents’ parents and/or guardians), and providers. They all report that telehealth is acceptable and feasible for adolescent health care, and that there are overall advantages related to efficiency, cost savings and accessibility. While there are also disadvantages, there is opportunity to further understand when and how telehealth works best for adolescents and to ensure that telehealth policy supports adolescents’ access to health care specifically. This issue brief summarizes our findings on telehealth usage and views of different actors in adolescent health care on acceptability. It also offers recommendations for creating a policy, payer and provider landscape that supports adolescents’ use of telehealth.