The pediatric office of the future

A new exhibit at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition will be the "Pediatric Office of the Future."

Sponsored by Microsoft, the program aims to help pediatricians bring new technologies into their day-to-day practice routines. Adopting these technologies can heighten pediatricians' awareness of all types technologies, including those being used by their patients and families.

One of the technologies being used by patients and families is the Internet. With nine out of ten children reportedly using computers at school and 84 percent using computers at home, the Internet can be a risky place for unguided children and teens.

Donald Shifrin, MD, FAAP, co-chair of the AAP's Council on Communications and Media, believes there are significant social issues associated with unmonitored Internet use in young children. These issues – sexuality, predators, violence, cyber bullying, and gambling – can negatively impact children's health.

“The question we have to ask ourselves is, ‘Are kids too wired, too often, for too long'?” says Dr. Shifrin. “Pediatricians need to become more familiar with technology to help patients understand the risks.”

The Office of the Future is designed to do just that: familiarize pediatricians with technology. Hardware and software solutions will be available, as well as practice management software. There also will be a demonstration of the new Family Safety Features of the Windows Vista program and its new free online service, Windows Live One Care Family Safety. Both have family safety features that use age-based Internet safety guidelines developed in partnership with the AAP.

To help pediatricians become familiar with these guidelines, there will be an Internet safety quiz at the Office of the Future. The first 750 pediatricians to pass the quiz will receive a complimentary version of Windows Vista, Microsoft's newest operating system.

“Pediatricians are key to the intersection between technology and families and we are pleased to see that the AAP and its members are striving to make Internet safety education a part of routine clinical care for children,” says Adrienne Hall, Sr. Director, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft.

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