Continued help of telehealth providers urged to handle disparities: AAP

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The updated interim AAP guideline strongly encourages the continued use of telemedicine and personal services so that all children and adolescents have access to health care during and after the pandemic. The preliminary guide is in line with the recommendations of a new AAP policy statement on the continued use and maintenance of the integration of telemedicine into future models of pediatric care. The guideline will be published in September Pediatrics.

According to the AAP, care by paediatricians, pediatric subspecialists and pediatric surgeons should not be delayed due to difficulties in personal access. However, many communities have not been given access to medical care via telemedicine due to a lack of infrastructure such as high-speed broadband and culturally appropriate information, support and resources.

“These inequalities can make existing health inequalities worse rather than decrease,” according to the AAP. “This critical form of access to health care continues in post-pandemic settings.”

The AAP said that continued use of telemedicine visits is part of the matrix of care options, providing “the right care in the right place at the right time”.

The updated preliminary guide comes as COVID-19 cases have increased dramatically. From August 12 to August 26, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in children rose 9% (384,137 cases were added), according to a report from the AAP and Children’s Hospitals Association. Children make up 14.8% of all cases in the United States

The preliminary guide also recommends the following:

  • All pediatric health services, including telemedicine, should be coordinated through the medical center.
  • Childcare should be in accordance with Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children and Adolescents, Fourth Edition, and the relevant AAP / Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule.
  • Inequalities in access to telemedicine by underserved populations should be monitored and addressed.
  • Measures for the collection and analysis of quality metric data should be supported across institutes so that inequalities in access to telemedicine can be monitored, assessed and quickly responded to.
  • A payment should be made for pure voice services (telephone services) if the infrastructure does not support full telehealth services.
  • The medical school curriculum should be designed to teach trainees how to provide high quality telehealth services.

In addition, the guidelines on early care and education / childcare during COVID-19 and the guidelines on pediatric health care during COVID-19 have been updated. Visit

Copyright © 2021 American Academy of Pediatrics

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