Annual Watch List Identifies Technologies and Issues Influencing Care for Children and Youth with Medical Complexity

The field of complex care for children and youth is evolving, bringing forth new technologies and ways of providing care. A new CADTH report sheds light on the top technologies and issues that could shape the future of health care for children and youth with medical complexity.


Children and youth with medical complexity are an increasingly visible and equity-deserving group within pediatrics. A new Watch List examines the top 5 health technologies and interventions that could enhance care for children and youth with medical complexity. The report also identifies the top 5 issues that crosscut the broader scope of this specialized care and, if not addressed, could limit health systems from realizing the full potential of these advancements.

The top 5 technologies are:

  • new models of care
  • technologies and systems that improve communication
  • genetic testing
  • monitoring devices to improve patient experience
  • mental health support for caregivers.

The top 5 issues to watch for are:

  • increased interoperability between health systems
  • disparities in access to, implementation, and diffusion of new technologies
  • evolving practice for health care providers
  • need for strategies to improve sustainability
  • need for additional caregiver support.

Children and youth with medical complexity are a diverse group of people who often live with chronic conditions and functional limitations that result in substantial health care needs across different providers and settings. These individuals also receive a significant amount of informal care from friends and family members, who often express profound challenges with navigating a sometimes fragmented health care system.

The health technologies CADTH has identified may offer the hope of better patient and caregiver experiences. They may also improve patient outcomes, coordination and delivery of services, and communication between providers and families. The report also highlights key issues that warrant more attention, like the need for increased interoperability between health systems and additional resources to prepare health care providers for evolving scopes of practice.

Cocreation With Caregivers, Clinicians, and Other Experts

Input from a diverse range of stakeholders was central to the development of the Watch List. An advisory group of external experts guided the overall direction of our work, and the final 10 items were selected using a modified James Lind Alliance approach to facilitate a consensus-based decision-making process involving caregivers, health care providers, researchers, policy-makers, and industry representatives.

We extend special thanks to all the contributors who participated for sharing their time and often personal experiences. A full list of contributors is outlined in the final report.

Quick Facts

  • Our Watch List is an annual must-read forecast of emerging technologies and issues that have the potential to transform the delivery of health care. This work delivers on our ambition to support health system readiness for rapid advances in technology.
  • The items in the Watch List are not ranked in order of importance, potential impact, or timing of that impact; however, some technologies are further along in their development than others.