Using tech to improve youth health services

In today’s rapidly advancing digital age, leveraging technology to improve health outcomes for young people is essential for the healthcare industry. Engaging young patients effectively can lead to better outcomes for everyone, from improved health results to more efficient service delivery.  

In our recent webinar, we explored innovative tech-driven strategies and youth-centred approaches that healthcare professionals can employ to boost appointment compliance, enhance communication, and empower young people to take an active role in their health journeys.

The Data: understanding the youth health crisis

During the webinar, we highlighted that young people make up 30% of the population. So it’s only logical to involve them in at least 30% of all health service decisions. There is compelling data to underline this necessity. 

In 2017, one in nine children aged five to 16 in England had a mental health problem. By 2020, this number had increased to one in six, demonstrating a growing mental health crisis among young people. This puts enormous pressure on the NHS with one in three children in the UK  receiving NHS treatment for mental health issues. 

Currently, one in a hundred children in the UK are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Many will need support into adulthood and the challenge for services now is to engage them in their healthcare journey across a range of services. In October 2022 there were 64,000 children and young people on the waiting list for speech and language therapy alone.

Tech tools for youth engagement

For us, tech is a big part of the solution to this growing youth health crisis. There are various tech tools and innovations for engaging young people in their healthcare. From mobile health apps for appointment scheduling and reminders to digital and virtual channels for education and treatment planning, a broad spectrum of technological solutions are available. 

During our webinar, we also discussed the benefits of ‘wearables’ and fitness trackers for encouraging self-management of health, and the use of social media and gaming strategies for youth health services promotion and education. With 23.4% of 10-11-year-olds in England being obese in 2021-22, leveraging technology to promote healthier lifestyles and manage health conditions is more important than ever.

Youth-friendly health spaces

Designing youth-friendly health spaces is another critical topic. Technology in healthcare can enhance these spaces to foster better youth engagement. With 96% of young people reporting that their mental health affected their schoolwork at some point, it’s crucial to create supportive environments. We understand the principles of youth-friendly services and environments, visit our case studies to read about successful implementations and outcomes.

Watch your lingo!

Effective communication tailored to younger patients is vital. We explored techniques such as utilising chatbots and AI for consistent health communication personalised to the young person. Creating engaging content with videos, infographics, and interactive tools is the key to developing successful educational content strategies. More pictures, less text!

Policy

All these points extend to healthcare policies too. There is a need for policy changes to better engage young patients. Our webinar explored how we can involve young people to develop innovative tech-driven strategies and youth-centred approaches to boost appointment compliance, enhance communication, and empower young people to take an active role in their health journeys. 

This could be done by developing youth-centric mobile health apps, innovative social media and gamification. But often small changes can be identified and implemented quickly. Read how we found 15 Young Inspectors to help improve their local NHS diabetes service here.

Case Study

This Xyla Digital case study highlighted Young Consultants’ health-related stories, identifying pain points and gaining points in leveraging digital technology in their healthcare journeys. Lessons learned, measurable outcomes, and feedback from young patients were shared to provide practical insights. To read the full case study, please click here.

Things you can do to improve youth health services

  1. Youth engagement is everyone’s business

    Involve young people in designing healthcare pathways, systems, and services to ensure their needs and perspectives are met.

  2. Prioritise personalisation

    Address young people by their preferred names and pronouns to build trust and improve the overall healthcare experience.

  3. Embrace user experience as business as usual

    Improve mobile health apps, digital channels, and ‘wearables’ by integrating insights from young users who are the primary users of these technologies.

  4. Leverage social media and gaming strategies

    Use engaging platforms that young people already use to educate them about their health in ways that resonate with them.

  5. Integrate digital and in-person care seamlessly

    Ensure consistency in language, branding, and user experience across all healthcare spaces to maintain trust and accessibility for young patients.

All the feels

We asked our delegates to sum up in just three words, how this webinar left them feeling. Here’s what they shared:

A  healthier future together

Overall, we aimed to highlight the transformative power of leveraging technology in youth health services to empower young people in their health journeys. By involving them in youth health service decisions, using innovative tech tools, and designing youth-friendly spaces, we can significantly improve health outcomes. Effective communication and necessary policy changes are also crucial. The insights and case studies shared offer a practical roadmap for healthcare professionals. Plus get the webinar slides here

Together, let’s co-create a healthier future where young people are active partners in their healthcare. To learn more about how we can help get in touch with us today.