Sutter Health Launches New Online Health Tool for Teens
Sutter Health has launched My Health Online for Teens, an innovative electronic health service. More than 2,500 teenage patients have already signed up for the service, which provides teens secure, online access to their health records and their doctors. My Health Online for Teens also provides an easy way for parents to stay connected with the doctor of their teens, as their children learn how to manage their own health care.
My Health Online for Teens lets kids ages 12 to 17 email their doctors, review test results, renew prescriptions, track immunizations and schedule appointments—all from a cell phone or laptop.
“We know that nine out of 10 teens go to the Internet to find health information, and the information isn’t always reliable,” said Albert Chan, M.D., M.S., FAAFP, medical director of Sutter Health’s personal health record system, My Health Online. “We want to provide a trusted resource for parents and kids, as teens navigate adolescence.”
California law requires that some aspects of a teen’s medical care, particularly reproductive and substance abuse services, be kept confidential once the child turns 12. Many health care organizations address this complexity by blocking parent access to their child’s entire health record. “This barrier frustrates many parents. They find the approach makes it more difficult to support the health of their teens,” added Dr. Chan.
Sutter Health’s My Health Online for Teens provides a solution. When they turn 12, teens get full access to their personal health records. They can send confidential questions or concerns directly to their doctors and view their health data online. Parents maintain access to common tasks in their teen’s health record such as communicating with their child’s doctor about non-sensitive health information. Parents also can make appointments for their teenager and pay bills.
Parent Jagan Athreya helped his teen sign up for the service. “I’m thankful that My Health Online now offers teens direct access to their health record while also permitting parents access to services such as appointments and bill payments. I appreciate the health care innovation that Sutter continues to provide and look forward to my family’s use of these new online services.”
“The teen years are very exciting but also potentially challenging. Teenagers’ bodies are changing and their health care needs evolve,” Dr. Chan said. “Ensuring that a caring medical resource is available for families helps support teens during their transition to adulthood.”
Since launching My Health Online for Teens in September, more than 2,500 teens and close to 4,000 parents have enrolled in the service.
“My Health Online for Teens helps parents and teens become even stronger partners in their health,” said Dr. Nancy Brown, a developmental psychologist and leader of the Adolescent Interest Group at the Sutter Health affiliate the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “In the future, we hope to offer new services to help teens stay healthy such as sending screening questionnaires to catch conditions early, and sharing important reminders that will benefit teens’ health.”
Sutter Health, a not-for-profit network of 5,000 doctors, 24 hospitals, home health and hospice, and other health care service providers throughout Northern California, is a pioneer in online health records. My Health Online launched 13 years ago. Today more than 1 million adult patients are connected to the service, which is more than 60 percent of the adult patient population across the network. At the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, where My Health Online was first developed, more than 80 percent of the adult patients take advantage of this system. These numbers are far higher than the national average, with less than 30 percent of Americans reporting online access to their medical records, according to a national study conducted by the California HealthCare Foundation.
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