Electronic Communication of the Health Record and Information With Pediatric Patients and Their Guardians
Communication of health data has evolved rapidly with the widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and communication technology. What used to be sent to patients via paper mail, fax, or e-mail may now be accessed by patients via their EHRs, and patients may also communicate securely with their medical team via certified technology. Although EHR technologies have great potential, their most effective applications and uses for communication between pediatric and adolescent patients, guardians, and medical teams has not been realized. There are wide variations in available technologies, guiding policies, and practices; some physicians and patients are successful in using certified tools but others are forced to limit their patients’ access to e-health data and associated communication altogether. In general, pediatric and adolescent patients are less likely than adult patients to have electronic access and the ability to exchange health data. There are several reasons for these limitations, including inconsistent standards and recommendations regarding the recommended age for independent access, lack of routine EHR support for the ability to filter or proxy such access, and conflicting laws about patients’ and physicians’ rights to access EHRs and ability to communicate electronically. Effective, safe electronic exchange of health data requires active collaboration between physicians, patients, policy makers, and health information technology vendors. This policy statement addresses current best practices for these stakeholders and delineates the continued gaps and how to address them.
- Copyright © 2019 by the American Academy of Pediatrics