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Comment & Response
April 7, 2015

Electronic Health Records and Adolescent Privacy—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York

Copyright 2015 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2015;313(13):1373-1374. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.2414

In Reply We agree with Mr Kels that state minor consent laws do not automatically assure confidentiality to adolescents who provide their own consent to treatment under these laws. Minor consent laws do allow disclosure to parents under limited circumstances.

The legal landscape concerning minor adolescent consent to health care is complex and includes state minor consent laws, federal laws and regulations, US Supreme Court decisions, and concepts from common law such as “mature minor.” Designs of EHRs must be sensitive to and incorporate these varied and shifting complexities. In this complicated landscape, policy statements from professional medical organizations identify legal and ethical principles, interpret research that has been conducted on confidentiality, and enunciate standards for health care practice. Health care professionals caring for minor adolescents support efforts to help parents and young people communicate with practitioners and each other about health and health care; such professionals also understand the importance of confidentiality in adolescent health care.

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