Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Preserving Confidentiality For Adolescents Can Be Very Tricky Using EHRs.

This appeared a little while ago

EHRs Threaten Confidentiality of Adolescent Healthcare

JAN 7, 2015 7:27am ET
Although much attention has been given to the benefits of electronic health records, EHRs pose serious challenges regarding the privacy of sensitive health information for minor adolescents and parents.
That is the opinion of researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, published in a Jan. 6 viewpoint article in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.
In the piece, Ronald Bayer, Robert Klitzman, M.D., and John Santelli, M.D., discuss two threats to confidentiality created by EHRs—the possibility of disclosure to parents of health information that the adolescent may wish to keep private, and disclosure to the adolescent of information that parents may wish to keep private.
“A principled commitment to confidentiality is not to be taken as representing any antagonism to effective communication between parents and adolescents,” states the article. As the authors point out, medical societies that focus on adolescent health strongly support confidential care for minors and state laws permit minor adolescents to be treated without parental consent. But they warn that because the EHR aggregates information for all care provided within an integrated health system, parents potentially will have electronic access to information from their children’s confidential medical visits and conversations with providers.
More here:
This is an issue which has the possibility to cause all sorts of problems for those 16 and over (and even a bit younger) who may not realise that their parents can see their record unless they specifically block access to them.
That pregnancy test result could cause all sorts of issues! And now they are going to be automatically uploaded apparently.
I wonder how the powers that be plan to address the issue?
David.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I doubt that they have any plans to do things properly but will have to react ASAP when things go wrong. And quick fixes have a habit of coming back to bite.

Anonymous said...

"That pregnancy test result could cause all sorts of issues! And now they are going to be automatically uploaded apparently."

Not only auto-loaded, but the flawed access control model means that the default is that any and all health care providers can see the results. Pathology, pharmacy, physiotherapy, and all the doctors at all the hospitals…
So if you get pregnant and want privacy, the best option is to avoid the health system altogether.