There are many unique requirements that set pediatric and adult EHR systems apart. These differences arise because children are not simply small adults, and children have specific health care concerns that are not addressed in EHR systems designed for adults. While a few of these health care concerns may not be unique to children ages 0 to 21, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that they are critically important in pediatrics and are also referred to as "pediatric functions." In a Clinical Report from the journal Pediatrics, the AAP identifies the most critical pediatric functions. These functions focus on:
While these represent broad functions, in the Clinical Report the AAP details more specific functions falling into each of these larger categories. This additional detail provides lists of actual functionalities of a pediatric electronic health record. Furthermore, this Clinical Report from the AAP sets standards that EHR vendors should follow when developing EHR systems for use in pediatrics, according to a 2007 report from Pediatrics in Review.
An additional useful EHR functionality may include mechanisms for informing a provider about the child's family situation and the possibility for early exposures that could pose a behavioral or health risk to the child. This functionality would be particularly useful in pediatrics, and would allow the provider to understand better the greater context of a child's overall health. More information on behavioral health and the EHR can be found in the section of this module entitled, "Creating Comprehensive Medical Records."
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