Adolescents tapping mobile devices for healthcare concerns, sharing data

Smartphones and other mobile communication devices are spurring increased attention to personal healthcare and potential health issues among teens and millennials.

Most children, from toddler age to adolescents to college students, are adept with mobile devices and are extremely comfortable sharing information and images via a wide range of apps. To that end, an increasing number now are sharing inquiries and photos regarding potential health issues and the trend, writes Perri Klass, M.D., in a New York Times blog post.

"It's a truism in pediatrics that teenagers are often frustratingly vague about their symptoms--how long, how severe, getting better or worse," Klass writes. "Their readiness to document their lives via cellphone can be highly useful since what used to be hard-to-pin-down stories in the office are now often illustrated."

Mobile devices, as FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, are playing an increasing role in helping teens dealing with a wide variety of issues, from chronic diseases to curbing binge drinking. One recent example is an app for preventive intervention programs, aimed at adolescents dealing with a range of issues, from drug use to sexually transmitted diseases.

Klass acknowledges that sharing personal data via mobile devices to identify health issues, compared to the in-person diagnostic setting, can be a bit tricky and there are risks relating to privacy involved. But none of those should prevent either young device users or providers from embracing the opportunity, she says. What's more, she notes, the fact teens are using devices to deal with potential health issues should lead to creating a framework where adolescents can help themselves and help others.

For more information:
- read the New York Times blog post