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A hundred years ago, the typical doctor did everything from psychology to surgery. Times have changed. While doctors like your family pediatrician still need a broad scope of expertise, for complex and severe conditions they usually refer their patients to specialists. Chances are, that's why you're here.
Specialists go through years of additional training in their chosen discipline. Nephrologists focus on kidneys, cardiologists on the heart, and so on. Specialists with an additional focus on pediatrics — like the ones at Children's Hospital Colorado — train even longer. They spend their entire careers honing their expertise in their specific area of the body.
But many conditions affect more than one area of the body.
Let's say your child has asthma. It affects the lungs, but it's also an inflammatory condition, meaning the immune system is involved: That's pulmonology and immunology to start with. You'll also need a respiratory therapist to assist with diagnostic testing and long-term management, an asthma counselor to help determine what's triggering the asthma and, because asthma is often related to food allergies, maybe even a dietitian.
Our Asthma Program puts them all in one place: Kids see all the specialists they need at one appointment, and specialists collaborate to address each patient's needs. It's cost- and time-efficient. It's safer and more effective. And it leads to better communication and happier parents and kids.
That's the multidisciplinary approach, and we apply it to hundreds of conditions. Our Multidisciplinary Clinic is designed specifically for it. With super-sized exam rooms that accommodate multiple specialists, conference rooms where they can discuss cases and playrooms for keeping antsy kids occupied, this 24,000 square-foot hub hosts dozens of medical teams.
But multidisciplinary care extends beyond that space. It reaches out to our communities. It involves educators, counselors, school nurses, referring pediatricians, community health workers and anyone in contact with that child. It connects our outreach clinics and our regional partners, from Montana to New Mexico, because its goal is to keep kids where they belong: at home.
Most importantly, multidisciplinary treatment plans put families at the center of everything we do. Our specialists may be experts in their area of the body, but the expert on your child is always you.
Maddox was born with tracheal esophageal fistula, an abnormal connection of her airway and esophagus. She had surgery to fix it when she was just a week old, but until she was 6 years old, she still had trouble keeping her airways clear. Her mom, Kim, made emergency runs with Maddox to an adult hospital on average every three weeks.
The Aerodigestive Program at Children's Colorado helped Maddox get her swallowing issues under control. With help from a multidisciplinary team, Maddox now only needs to go to the hospital for appointments every six months. "That's huge," says Kim.