At-risk teenagers are very interested in accessing their health records online and are open to sharing their records with physicians, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, FierceHealthIT reports (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 10/22).
Study Details, Findings
For the study, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center conducted in-person interviews with 79 incarcerated teenagers who received treatment at the medical center.
The study found that at-risk teenagers had similar rates of Internet use as the general adolescent population, with 87% reporting that they used the Internet at least once per week when they were not in juvenile detention (Digitale, Stanford release, 10/21).
In addition, 90% of the at-risk teenagers said they would be interested in having online access to their health records.
A significant majority of the teenagers said they would be willing to share their electronic health records with physicians, but only half said they would be willing to share their health records with their parents.
Arash Anoshiravani, lead author of the study, noted that such teenagers generally are not included in discussions about how to better engage patients in their health (FierceHealthIT, 10/22).
Anoshiravani -- an adolescent medicine specialist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, a clinical assistant professor of adolescent medicine at Stanford and the medical director of the Santa Clara County Juvenile Custody Institutions -- said, "I didn't expect this level of interest because [such teenagers] don't typically think of health as something that's part of their daily lives."
However, the researchers noted that at-risk teenagers are uniquely positioned to benefit from online health records because they generally have worse health than other adolescents and often do not have family members tracking the health care they receive.
According to researchers, the biggest challenge will be addressing the issue of health information sharing. The at-risk teenagers expressed reluctance to share their health information with their parents, but minors' parents are permitted to view certain parts of their health records. However, minors must provide consent for other health information to be shared with their parents.
Anoshiravani said the next step is to implement and evaluate online health records for at-risk teenagers (Stanford release, 10/22).