262383 Teens and healthcare services: What factors predict their use?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Susan Elan , Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion, New York Medical College School of Health Sciences and Practice, Valhalla, NY
Penny Liberatos, PhD , School of Health Sciences & Practice, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY
Debra Gerson, MD , Director, School Based Health Centers, Open Door Family Medical Centers, Port Chester, NY
Ellette Hirschorn, RN , Director, Clinical Services and Programs, Open Door Family Medical Centers, Ossining, NY
Background: Despite professional consensus on the importance of annual checkups, adolescents see physicians less frequently than any other age group. Many teens, however, have health concerns that they would like to discuss with a health professional.

Purpose: To identify barriers–structural and perceived–that interfere with adolescents getting annual checkups especially in the context of a school-based health clinic.

Significance: Most adolescents in the US report being in good health, but many develop unhealthy habits, engage in risky behaviors and have mental and physical conditions that can jeopardize their immediate and future health. Nearly three-quarters of adolescent mortality is due to preventable causes. Behaviors learned in adolescence also contribute to leading causes of adult morbidity and mortality.

Methodology: Students attending a large (>1000) ethnically diverse high school with a school-based health clinic, were asked to complete a survey about their health care use-especially prevention, barriers/incentives to using the school health clinic, their satisfaction with services, their health status and communications with their doctor. Approximately 400 surveys are expected to be collected during February-June of 2012. Comparisons to be made include: the relationship of healthcare use and satisfaction with perceived barriers, preventive health behaviors and communication with providers.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Means to increase the rate of annual preventive checkups by adolescents are clearly needed. Large disparities exist in the rates of adolescents who get annual preventive checkups based on race/ethnicity, gender, age, socio-economic status and insurance status. Adolescent beliefs, attitudes and fears also may pose substantial barriers.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify three barriers that prevent high school students from using school-based health clinics. 2. List three main health concerns that teens report. 3. Explain the role that communication with providers plays in seeking health care.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I completed my student practicum at Open Door Family Medical Centers, during which time I compiled an adolescent health questionnaire. The survey is designed to identify barriers - structural and perceived - that interfere with adolescents getting annual checkups. The questionnaire is being administered through the school-based health clinic at Port Chester High School in New York. I am an MPH candidate scheduled to graduate in May, 2012.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.