As children grow and develop, they use care in ways that differ from the healthcare patterns of adults, and unlike adults, they usually rely on parents and other caregivers for access to care and evaluations of the quality of care. Adolescents, in the transition to adulthood, also have their own unique healthcare needs, preferences, and patterns of use. Although the pediatric population (ages 0-21) is generally healthier than the adult population, children and adolescents are affected by a broader range of acute and chronic illnesses and injuries that require specialty care. If not identified and treated in time, these health conditions can negatively impact their physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development, and potentially may lead to long-term health problems across the life course.
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