Online healthcare for kids being studied

Filed under: Just For Moms, Just For Dads, Places To Go, Health & Safety: Babies, Gadgets

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service reports that in 2004, 28% of all children under the age of six used the emergency room and over half of those visits weren't for actual emergencies. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a health insurer, is hoping to reduce those numbers by educating parents through an online health guide.

The Child Health Guide (CHG) was developed by MultiMedicus and pediatricians from Harvard and Dartmouth Schools and is the only online health guide that features live-action video of real children with real illnesses. Currently, several hundred families in the Boston area are testing the program to see if such a service can benefit children's health while reducing health care costs.

Prior studies have shown that even the availability of printed information results in health benefits and savings. One study found that parents who were well-informed used the emergency room 48% fewer times than those who were not.

Dr. Lars Petter Skranes, co-creator of the CHG, says that 80% of all American adults use the Internet to find health-related information. The Child Health Guide gives parents access to more than 100 video clips, dozens of animations and hundreds of still photos and text covering all the common childhood illnesses. It's not intended to be a substitute for a physician's care, but a resource tool for parents dealing with common childhood illnesses.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.