By Lauren Ranalli, MPH | August 2, 2023
Director of Marketing & Communications, ETR
Virtual visits and telemedicine have become more readily available since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The flexibility and accessibility of virtual health care can be particularly appealing to adolescent patients.1 As with in-person health care visits, the key elements of adolescent-centered care should be implemented when seeing patients remotely.
By doing this successfully, we can empower young people to actively participate in their health care. Ensuring that young people have positive interactions with their healthcare providers can lead to more preventive visits and lifelong engagement in their health and well-being.1
“Ensuring privacy is key to providing adolescent-centered care. It’s important to keep in mind that privacy is even more critical during virtual care, as the provider often cannot tell who is within earshot of the young person.”- Azzia Thompson, Project Coordinator, ETR
With in-person visits, health center staff have the ability to make their exam rooms and check-in processes private, but that control is minimized during virtual visits. Here are some things you can do to keep the virtual visit as private as possible:
“Confidentiality is still a top priority for adolescents accessing care virtually.” – Lauren Vasquez, Senior Program Specialist, Adolescent Health Initiative
Discussing the confidentiality limitations of virtual visits with patients is critical to providing adolescent-centered care. Some things to consider:
Many health centers create parent-proxy accounts so that parents or caregivers can be informed partners in their child’s health and well-being. With parent-proxy accounts, healthcare providers can still ensure that any confidential information in the electronic medical record system, such as minor-consented visits, provider notes, or test results, is limited by marking it as confidential or using discreet coding for confidential services when possible. Be sure to consult with your health center team on what confidentiality practices are available in your online records.
Looking for additional ways to support young people during their healthcare visits? You can view this free webinar, 3 in 30: Providing Adolescent-Centered Virtual Care, to learn 3 tips in 30 minutes for use in your clinic or organization.
And also, check out this Starter Guide from the Adolescent Health Initiative, which includes operating procedures and workflows for best practices in pediatric telehealth recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Lauren Ranalli, MPH (she/her/hers) is a public health professional and the Director of Marketing and Communications at ETR. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.