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How tech is transitioning pediatrics to a ‘new norm’

Contemporary PEDS Journal, September 2022,

Throughout human history, technology has shaped every aspect of how we live and has allowed us to live longer, healthier lives. Read how technological advances in pediatrics are transitioning the specialty into a new normal.

Dr. Schuman provides insights for pediatric practices to transition to the ‘New Norm’

Thank you, Dr. Andrew Schuman, for 2 informative articles in the September issue of Contemporary Pediatrics® that provide valuable insights for pediatric practices to thrive within the "new norm" in an era emerging from post-COVID-19 practice strategies to include combinations of in-person and virtual visits using sophisticated technological advances. While COVID-19 has been extraordinarily disruptive to the day-to-day acquisition of health care for our pediatric patients and their families, the emergence of new technologies to inform diagnostic reasoning is a welcome change. Schuman’s articles, Best tech for pediatrics in 2022 and Portals for screening patients for mental health and behaviors: update 2022 are a must-read for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) and all health care providers.

Preventing diagnostic errors for plagiocephaly and brachycephaly

Schuman’s first article Best tech for pediatrics in 2022 clearly explains the new app to accurately identify plagiocephaly and brachycephaly. The back-to-sleep recommendations, while so beneficial in the reduction of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), has a side effect of an increased incidence of infants with a diagnosis of plagiocephaly. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, PNPs would assess the head circumference and the degree of asymmetry of the facial bones and facial features during in-person visits and, if needed, refer infants for a comprehensive evaluation for plagiocephaly. Schuman provides detailed information about the SoftSpot app that is available for use in both in-person office visits and telehealth visits. Of significance to clinical practice to reduce the incidence of the “600,000 babies with plagiocephaly or brachycephaly who go undiagnosed and untreated” (Schuman, page 31) for these conditions. For practitioners who strive to reduce medical diagnostic errors, (and missing 600,000 babies is most certainly a significant number of diagnostic errors), this SoftSpot app has the potential to not only improve practice performance but even more important to reduce harm to infants with these diagnoses.

Screening tools for in-person and telehealth visits

chuman’s second article in the September issue, Portals for screening patients for mental health and behaviors: update 2022 also provides important information for practitioners who are now seeing so many more preschool children, school-age children, and adolescents who are experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression that are a direct result of growing up within the confines and conflicts directly related to the uncertainty of COVID-19 pandemic. This article is a must-read as it provides valuable information and identifies some free resources for screening tools for the most commonly presenting mental health and behavioral health disorders practitioners encounter in clinical practice.

Can you answer these questions correctly? Match the list of tools to the names of the tools listed below:

  1. Which of these tools, listed below, is a comprehensive web-based system for screening children for behavioral and developmental problems?
  2. Which of these tools provides a free service for the assessment of ADHD?
  3. Which of these tools screens for suicide ideation, violent behavior, psychosis, depression, conduct disorders, and other problems by having adults and adolescents respond to 58 questions and 48 questions for children, is completed in 10 minutes with results available in 15 minutes?
  4. Which of these tools is used as a fast-tracking autism diagnosis for autism?

Select one of these answers for each of the above questions:

Did you answer the questions correctly? The answers to these questions can be found in Dr. Schuman’s article, Portals for screening patients for mental health and behaviors: update 2022.

Improving practice performance

Will your practice performance improve by incorporating these technological advancements in your daily pediatric practices? Conduct a Quality Improvement (QI) project to determine the effectiveness of the implementation of these tools in your practice and the benefit to the patients and families you provide healthcare services every day.

Answers to the above questions:

  1. CHADIS online portal
  2. Mehealth for ADHD
  3. Treatment Outcome Package (TOP)
  4. Canvas DX