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Children and the Health 365 Patient Portal

July 4, 2018

Children and the Health 365 Patient Portal

One of the great features of the Health 365 Patient Portal is that a parent can be granted access to their children's portals. This means either mum or dad can make appointments, order repeats, check lab results and read the consultation notes for their under 14-year-old child. Unfortunately, because of the way the system works, only one parent can have this access. Please ask at reception if you would like your child to be added to your portal access. We know this feature is much appreciated by the parents of small children – it is nice to be able to book an early morning appointment online if you are up all night with a sick child.

Teenagers, confidentiality and the Patient Portal

As teenagers mature into young adults they sometimes have medical issues that they may, on occasion, choose not to share with their parents. Many parents are understanding of this and encourage their older teenagers to come in to speak with their GP alone. Whilst we normally encourage teenagers to discuss issues with their parents, in rare instances we can understand why a certain set of circumstances would make that difficult or could cause harm. In order to protect the privacy of those teenagers, we have to ensure that we close off all parental access to portals at an age well before such issues may arise. On a teenager's 14th birthday we remove parental access to the portal and allow the teenager to access the portal in their own right. This is a Medplus practice policy and has been in place for as long as we have had the portal system operating.

We know that this policy is not always popular with parents, probably because it is misunderstood. Yes, we are aware that as a parent you still have the right to access a teenager's medical records at 14 years of age. However, it would need to be done by a formal request to the practice manager, and the GP will carefully consider the rights of the teenager and the rights of the parent and seek legal advice if there is any question of breaching the teenager's privacy. In that case access to the records would not be via the portal. Whilst we believe that the portal is a great tool and we pay for our patients to be able to use it, access to the portal is not a right, and it is only ever at the discretion of the practice.

We are also well aware teenagers are not the most proactive and often need parental support and encouragement in accessing healthcare. However, we need to have a system that automatically protects the privacy of those who are more vulnerable. We hope that most parents will understand this and forgive the slight inconvenience it may cause.

Of course, your teenager may well choose to show you everything on their portal and allow you to give them support to use it; we are very happy if this is the case. It is always fantastic when there is a free and frank communication between teenagers and their parents, but even in the most loving families it does not always occur.

Please remember, if as a parent you still wish to be able to make your teenager appointments on line, please feel free to make an appointment under your own name but make a note on the system that the appointment is for your child.