Adolescent Access to Clinicians' Notes: Adolescent, Parent, and Clinician Perspectives

J Adolesc Health. 2024 Jan;74(1):155-160. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2023.08.008. Epub 2023 Oct 11.


Purpose: In 2021, federal guidelines mandated that health-care organizations share clinicians' notes with patients to increase information transparency. While findings indicate advantages for adult patients, less is known about note-sharing from the viewpoint of adolescents. This study aims to identify adolescent, parent, and clinician perspectives on the anticipated benefits and concerns of giving adolescents access to clinicians' notes and strategies to support note-sharing in this population.

Methods: We conducted six focus groups with adolescents, parents, and clinicians at a children's hospital from May to October 2021. A semistructured facilitator guide captured participant perspectives of note-sharing benefits, concerns, and strategies. Two researchers independently coded and analyzed transcript data using thematic analysis; a third researcher reconciled discrepancies.

Results: 38 stakeholders (17 adolescents, 10 parents, and 11 clinicians) described four benefits, three concerns, and four implementation strategies regarding adolescent note-sharing. Potential benefits included adolescents using notes to remember and reinforce the visit, gaining knowledge about their health, strengthening the adolescent-clinician relationship, and increasing agency in health care decisions. Concerns included notes leading to a breach in confidentiality, causing negative emotions, and becoming less useful for clinicians. Strategies included making note-sharing more secure, optimizing note layout and content, setting clear expectations, and having a portion of the note for clinician use only.

Discussion: Stakeholders suggest multiple strategies to optimize the implementation of note-sharing to support adolescent patients, parents, and clinicians as hospitals work to comply with federal regulations. These strategies may reinforce the potential benefits and mitigate the challenges of sharing notes with adolescent patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Communication
  • Confidentiality
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Parents*