New Technology Bridges Gap for Doctors and Teens - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/8/08

New Technology Bridges Gap for Doctors and Teens

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When doctors come face to face with teen patients, young people may not open up about sensitive issues. Now, doctors at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, have found that teen friendly technology can help kids be more open and honest about their concerns. They are using a wireless device to help young patients get the answers to any sensitive medical questions on a touch screen before they go into the exam room.

Dr. Kelly Kelleher, of Nationwide Children's Hospital, says, "That might be drug use, sexual behavior, it might be suicidal thoughts. Those are things that are uncomfortable to talk about." Teenager Kinzie Davis adds, "I don't want my parents to hear some of those things, so in order not to hurt their feelings or try to upset them or anything, it's easier to just answer truthfully without worrying about their reactions to it."

If a patient answers yes to a question about drug or alcohol use, an e-touch device then prompts them to answer more in depth questions, and only their doctor will see what they say.

So far, doctors say that this computerized screening has helped them to identify adolescents and young adults at risk of depression, suicidal behavior, and alcohol & drug use.

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