Adolescents with chronic conditions are expected to assume greater responsibility for disease management due to their growing independence and autonomy. However, adolescents’ acceptance of and ability to implement this increasing responsibility is not always optimal, thereby often reducing the potential benefits of treatment and adversely impacting health-related quality of life (HRQL). Therefore, improving HRQL and successful transition to adult health care through better disease self-management becomes critical. However, the vast majority of adolescents with chronic conditions do not receive comprehensive self-management and transitional care training. Internet interventions provide an innovative approach to improve the accessibility and acceptability of psycho-educational programs for youth with chronic or life threatening illnesses.
The “Teens Taking Charge” online disease self-management program provides: (a) focus on helping youth gain skills for independence and transitioning to adulthood and after/adult health care; (b) include interactive comprehensive cognitive-behavioural methods to promote self-management skills; and (c) provide opportunities for meaningful social support or interaction with health care providers (health coaches, “Ask An Expert” feature). The program features 12 modules on different disease topics and is combined with support from a health coach. It is innovative because it has the potential to improve the accessibility and acceptability of psycho-educational treatments adolescents with chronic conditions, thereby reducing unnecessary burden and costs on the health care system and improving health outcomes.