Calls for Stories

Pediatric Access to Electronic Health Information: Stories from Adolescents and Parents

Symposium Editor: Bryan A. Sisk, MD

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish a collection of personal stories from parents and their children about their experience accessing their electronic health information (EHI) online.

The 21st Century Cures Act requires healthcare systems to give adolescents and parents access to their EHI, which includes clinical notes, imaging and laboratory results, and appointment info. The goal of EHI access is to support transparency and openness. But this access could result in harmful consequences, like disclosing an adolescent’s confidential information to their parents. Adolescents could also see upsetting results, like a cancer diagnosis, online before their doctor or parents can talk to them. Parents might feel frustrated because some hospitals block them from accessing the adolescent’s EHI.  

We want true, personal stories in a form that is interesting and easy to read. You can write your story with your parent or adolescent or by yourself. In your story, please consider some of these questions:

  • For children, adolescents or young adult patients:
    • What was good about seeing your EHI? What problems did it cause?
    • What things in your EHI would you want to hide from your parents? What other concerns did you have about your parents seeing your EHI?
    • If your parents lost access to your EHI, could you manage your medical care without their help? Did your parents use your password to log into your portal account?
    • If you didn’t want your parents to look at your EHI, did you have a conversation with them about it? Did you tell them ‘no’? If so, how did they respond?
  • For parents:
    • What concerns did you have about your child being able to access their EHI?
    • Do you think adolescents should be able to restrict parental access? Do you think your child would be comfortable telling you if they didn’t want you to access their EHI?
    • Do you feel that if you lost access to your child’s EHI it would negatively affect their healthcare? If you had your access restricted, how did it affect the way you manage your child’s care?
    • Have you ever received bills for sending portal messages to your adolescent’s clinicians? If so, how did this affect you?

You do not need to address each question—write about the issues you think are most important. If you are not a writer, tell your story in your own words and our editorial staff will help you. Stories should be 800 – 2000 words. We plan to publish 12 stories. Some additional stories may be published as online-only supplemental material. Along with the stories, we will publish 2 – 4 commentary articles that discuss the stories that are published in the journal.

Interested in sharing a story? First send a summary to We will give preference to stories that are received by June 17, 2024. To see a finished symposium, you may access the free issue of Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics on Project MUSE. For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies, visit our webpage at