Best Practices for Designing Confidential EHRs
Deerfield, IL — Use of electronic health records (EHRs) may improve healthcare accessibility, effectiveness and safety for all patients, but it can be a challenge to protect patient confidentiality and privacy. The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) issued a new position paper to illustrate best practices for designing and using EHRs to provide the best possible care for adolescent patients while addressing these privacy concerns. Overall, SAHM affirms that protecting adolescent confidentiality is a shared responsibility and requires ongoing vigilance.
“Young people trust their healthcare providers with very sensitive information, such as family issues, substance use, mental health, and sexuality. Many currently available EHR systems are not designed to keep this private information private,” states Dr. Susan Hayden Gray, the lead author of the position statement. “Protection of adolescent confidentiality is a responsibility shared by EHR vendors, hospital and clinic administrators, clinicians, patients, and families.”
The desire for increased transparency and electronic access to health information should be counter-balanced by privacy protections to ensure access to appropriate confidential care for all patients, especially vulnerable adolescents. “Adolescents may forgo seeking health care or discussing health concerns if they do not believe their providers will keep private information confidential,” says Dr. Ryan H. Pasternak, an adolescent medicine specialist in New Orleans, LA, and chairperson of the committee that developed the paper. “SAHM is providing a framework for how to best design, use, and regulate EHR systems to ensure the best possible care and information is provided, while also protecting adolescent privacy and confidentiality. As the leading organization dedicated to the health of adolescents, SAHM has taken a strong stand on the unique issues affecting adolescent patients with ever-growing reliance upon electronic health records and related data sharing systems.” Continue>
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