This will need to be fixed

Privacy laws are preventing parents from accessing the electronic medical records (EMRs) of their teenage children. But other laws prohibit teens from having the authority to enter into security arrangements that would allow them access to their own records. As a result only providers have access to the records.

This is a real problem. The laws that block parents’ access to records are designed to allow teens to access mental health and family planning services without interference. Electronic medical records are relatively new and haven’t addressed the issue of how to segregate the protected information from the rest of the record.

I suggest revising the laws to allow teens to gain access to their records. EMR vendors should also address this issue in their software development programs.

Teens are computer savvy and will help push the health care system into the electronic age. It’s a shame that they are being thwarted today.

See Parents Barred from Teen Health Files in today’s Wall Street Journal.

August 24, 2005

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