- Adolescents are a group likely to seek and, perhaps, most likely to benefit from electronic access to health information. Despite significant advances in technical capabilities over the past decade, to date neither electronic medical record vendors nor many health care systems have adequately addressed the functionality and process design considerations needed to protect the confidentiality of adolescent patients in an electronic world. We propose a shared responsibility for creating the necessary tools and processes to maintain the adolescent confidentiality required by most states: (1) system vendors must provide key functionality in their products (adolescent privacy default settings, customizable privacy controls, proxy access, and health information exchange compatibility), and (2) health care institutions must systematically address relevant adolescent confidentiality policies and process design issues.
- Youth bear a significant proportion of the sexually transmitted infection (STI)/HIV burden in the United States, CDC, 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats09/default.htm , with rates of some STIs increasing among youth of color and young men who have sex with men. Technology use among youth also continues to increase. The ubiquitous nature of technology use among youth offers a multitude of opportunities to promote youth sexual health and to prevent disease transmission and unplanned pregnancies.
- As part of Healthy People 2010, a national consensus panel identified 21 Healthy People 2010 objectives as critical to adolescent and young adult health. These objectives span six areas: mortality, unintentional injury, violence, mental health and substance use, reproductive health, and the prevention of chronic disease during adulthood. Progress on these objectives was reviewed as part of the Healthy People 2010 Midcourse Review. The review found little or no improvement on most objectives. Expert recommendations call for broad, population-based efforts to improve adolescent health.