Safeguarding your child’s health is one of your most important duties as a parent. From the minute she enters this world, there are immunizations to track, well visits to schedule, milestones to monitor and illnesses to pamper.
But as she grows up and enters adolescence, the way you and your child manage her health will change. Teens may feel uncomfortable talking to their parents about some issues, such as mental health concerns, puberty or other body changes, or becoming sexually active.
“How teens think and behave changes as they become adolescents,” said Dr. Jessica Castonguay, an adolescent medicine specialist at Akron Children’s Hospital. “They want to be more independent and seek information from other people than just their parents, and there may be times they wish to seek private medical advice.”
That’s where MyChart’s teen access can help.
Patients 12 and older can sign up for their own password-protected MyChart account at Akron Children’s. The online account allows patients to:
- Schedule appointments
- View test results
- Send a message to the doctor’s office
- View and print immunization records
- Search and view personal health information
For parents who already have access to their child’s MyChart account, their access will automatically change upon the child’s 12th birthday. Certain information related to appointments, test results and medications will be suppressed to protect a teen’s privacy.
With limited access, parents will still be able to:
- Message a teen’s care team about certain subjects
- Request an appointment for a teen
- Review the teen’s allergies and immunizations
“It’s not about keeping secrets,” said Dr. Castonguay. “We’re part of the team, and we’re trying to help your child be as healthy as she can be. It’s about providing care they need. We hope they share it with their family. Whether they do or don’t, we will include parents when the need arises, if we are worried about a child’s well-being or safety.”
Dr. Castonguay encourages teens to talk with a parent or guardian about health care decisions. But for some teens, open communication is not possible because of problems in the home.
The bottom line is minors are more likely to seek care, especially reproductive health care, if they are assured privacy.
Under Ohio law:
- Minors don’t need parental consent for birth control or to be diagnosed and treated for sexually transmitted diseases. They also have a right to privacy with regard to HIV testing, pregnancy and abortion.
- Teens 14 and older can receive outpatient mental health care without parental consent for up to 6 sessions or 30 days, after which parental consent is necessary.
- Kids 12 and older have a right to confidential diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse.
It’s important for parents to encourage their teens to take part in their own health care, and using MyChart is a great way to get started. It’s their health, and eventually teens are going to have to do it on their own.
“I see it as a great tool to help teens become more independent with their health care as they continue to grow and develop,” said Dr. Castonguay, who plans to sign up her own adolescent with MyChart’s teen access this summer. “This helps transition them from a child to a functioning adult in the medical world. If we help kids when they’re 14, 15, 16, when they’re 18, 19 they’ll be ready to manage their own health.”
For questions about MyChart’s teen access or MyChart in general, call 330-543-4400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.