How Technology Leaders Can Turn Children’s Health Conditions Into Superpowers

This post was originally posted on Forbes.

Consider these facts: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2016, around 9% of U.S. children had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And according to one study from 2012 on the economic impact of childhood and adult ADHD in the U.S., the "overall national annual incremental costs of ADHD ranged from $143 to $266 billion." A Time article also pointed out that between 2003 and 2007, there was a 60% rise in ADHD diagnoses in children from families living in poverty.
The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines recommends treating ADHD with behavioral therapy first, before trying ADHD medication. ADHD medications work in 70% of the cases, but they can cause a number of side effects, such as sleep problems and loss of appetite. Medication helps reduce ADHD symptoms, but it's not a cure; symptoms will resurface as soon as a child stops taking the medicine. On the other hand, behavior therapies teach and develop executive functioning skills that will continue to benefit them as they grow up, but they require a lot of work and dedication from the parents. To sum up, you typically have two options: to prescribe medication or seek expensive behavioral therapy.
I believe technology can help children with ADHD by simplifying the whole process and by leveraging data to provide evidence-based treatments. The technology could expand access to ADHD treatments, improve their efficiency and reduce the overall cost.
My company created a smartwatch for children that helps them establish routines, so I've seen the potential impact technology can have firsthand. For example, imagine if a wearable device, equipped with several sensors to monitor one's physical and emotional state, could help a child with ADHD. The device could monitor their daily routine and incorporate observations from the child's support system (e.g., their parents, teachers, etc.), and that data could be analyzed by artificial intelligence to help make evidence-based treatment recommendations (with the approval and regular follow-up of a board-certified behavior analyst, of course). This is just one example of how I believe tech could tailor treatments for children remotely.
And from my perspective, it's not impossible. In 2019, the American Medical Association created three new current procedural terminology codes to encourage remote patient monitoring (codes 99453, 99454, 99457). I have no doubt that it’s a matter of months now for startups to start leveraging these new billing codes.

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