Confidentiality concerns are heightened during adolescence, and these concerns can be a critical barrier to adolescents in receiving appropriate health care. Health care providers caring for minors should be aware of federal and state laws that affect confidentiality. State statutes on the rights of minors to consent to health care services vary by state, and health care providers should be familiar with the regulations that apply to their practice. Parents and adolescents should be informed, both separately and together, that the information each of them shares with the health care provider will be treated as confidential, and of any restrictions to the confidential nature of the relationship. Health care providers and institutions establishing an electronic health record (EHR) system should consider systems with adolescent-specific modules that can be customized to accommodate the confidentiality needs related to minor adolescents and comply with the requirements of state and federal laws. If the EHR system does not allow for procedures to maintain adolescent confidentiality, the health care provider or staff should inform the patient that parents will have access to the records, and the patient should be given the option for referral to a health care provider who is required to provide confidential care, such as one who participates in the Title X family planning program.
(C) 2014 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.