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J Adolesc Health. 2016 Feb;58(2):134-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.10.015.

Meaningful Use of a Confidential Adolescent Patient Portal.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; Department of Health Outcomes and Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Electronic address:
Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Electronic Health Record Ambulatory Implementation Team, UF Health Physicians.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Department of Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.



To design and evaluate the usage of an adolescent patient portal specifically adapted for adolescent health care needs that also satisfied institutional meaningful use guidelines regarding electronic health records.


Key stakeholders at one academic health care center adopted an online portal and opted to designate a patient portal specifically for adolescents to maximize confidentiality in compliance with state privacy laws. This study analyzed aggregate electronic health record data of adolescents' (ages 12-17.9 years) uptake, usage, and functionality of this portal and compared it to parent portal usage for younger children (ages 0-11 years). Differences in means were calculated using paired t tests.


The portal was used similarly between parents of young children and adolescents, with almost 1,000 enrollees in each group from September 1, 2012 to March 31, 2015. There were no gender differences in enrollment. Adolescents were less likely than parents of younger children to review appointments (73% vs. 85%), laboratory tests (67% vs. 79%), problem lists (40% vs. 78%), or allergies (45% vs. 77%, all p values <.001). Parents of younger children more frequently messaged providers (3,297 messages) although adolescents sent 1,397 confidential messages.


Institutional decisions for implementing meaningful use requirements can align with goals of adolescent health. Patient portals can enhance adolescent health care quality and adolescents readily use a confidential portal. Implementation of meaningful use requirements should be checked against adolescent health care needs to maximize confidentiality and promote health communication.


Adolescent health services; Counseling/standards; Guideline Adherence/*standards/*statistics & numerical data; Health information technology; Preventive health services

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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