|The Health Record Review
by Jeff Rowe, Editor
Posted on Thu, Nov 08, 2012 - 09:13 am
When it comes to health IT, privacy concerns remain consistently at the top of nearly everyone’s list.
But according to an association of pediatricians, privacy rights as they relate specifically to adolescents seem to have been largely overlooked.
According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Privacy control of protected information specific to adolescent health has not been adequately addressed in the development of electronic health records (EHRs). Current federal rules related to the (HITECH) Act limit the discussion of privacy as it relates to (HIPAA) and, thus, related criteria for certification of EHRs. Such criteria have no specific references to issues of adolescent privacy.”
Given that oversight, the group contends, and “because electronic systems currently are unable to filter or compartmentalize health information consistent with current laws, states have been left to identify individual barriers to appropriate exchange of adolescent health information and to identify interim solutions.”
To cite just a couple of their concerns, the group points to a “lack of standards for electronic medical technology regarding privacy issues and care for the adolescent patient where rights of minors are protected by state law or precedent court cases,” as well as a “lack of standards for electronic medical technology when states remain silent on the issue of care around sensitive area issues for the adolescent, and care is routinely provided to teenagers as mature minors.”
Among the recommendations made by the group is “the creation and implementation of criteria for EHR systems that meet privacy standards for adolescents, particularly in areas of care that are protected by federal and state laws,” and “the creation and implementation of criteria for EHR systems that allow determination of who has access to, or who has the ability to control access to, the medical record either in total or in part. The ‘who’ would need to accommodate any legally authorized physician, health care provider, guardian, or patient, including an adolescent or minor, and must be adaptable to change on the basis of the age and health care activity of the patient.”
While the report doesn’t wade into the impact of their recommendations on current programs such as the HITECH incentives, it does call for “Certified EHR systems that meet privacy standards that are consistent with state laws.”
The entire report can be accessed here.
Photo courtesy of libertygrace0 via Creative Commons