Exploring the Complexity of Telehealth Privacy Through a Lens of Adolescent Development

Samantha Rea, Lisa Mikesell, Catherine Cuddihy, Martha Perry, Bianca Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many challenges exist related to ensuring adolescent privacy with health care providers (HCPs), and the rapid integration of telehealth visits has created additional complexities in organizing privacy for adolescents. Through interviews with adolescent patients and their parents (n = 34), this qualitative analysis aimed to explore the complicated relationship and balance of adolescent alone time with HCPs, parental presence and support, and organization of privacy in order to consider how privacy during telehealth visits may contribute to adolescents’ healthy development. A framework by Blum et al. (2014) proposed four central goals of adolescent development: emotional security, engagement with learning, self-efficacy, and decision-making skills. This conceptual framework was used to outline the ways in which adolescent privacy during telehealth impacts adolescent development. Some adolescents reported that having their parents present during their telehealth visit afforded reassurance and comfort, and many parents explained that they served as a role-model during their adolescent’s telehealth visit. However, other adolescents felt higher emotional security when they could establish an independent relationship with their HCP, with many describing how privacy during their telehealth visit enabled them to have more sensitive discussions with their HCP. Adolescents and parents also reported that telehealth allowed increased experiential learning for adolescents, given their proficiency with technology and ability to access their health care visits autonomously. Furthermore, the organization of privacy was complicated by a lack of understanding whose responsibility it was to facilitate alone time between the adolescent and HCP, as well as external factors such as location and quality of technology and the proximity of family members in the home. By ensuring opportunities for private healthcare encounters, both in telehealth and in-person visits, HCPs and parents can help support adolescents in achieving successful and healthy development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-235
Number of pages16
JournalQualitative Health Research
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Keywords

  • adolescent
  • adolescent development
  • autonomy
  • independence
  • parent
  • privacy
  • telehealth
  • video visit

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