Posted in Privacy

Patients fear data sharing threatens privacy, survey shows

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Patients fear data sharing threatens privacy, survey shows

Recent reports of data hacking and growing concerns that providers aren’t doing enough to protect patient privacy are making most U.S. consumers “skeptical of the overall benefits of health information technologies such as patient portals, mobile apps, and electronic health records,” according to a new survey.
Conducted from September through December 2016, the Black Book Research survey asked more than 12,000 adults in the U.S. to evaluate the technology they were exposed to, know of, or interacted with as a patient over the past 12 months.
“As the amount of available health data increases so does the hesitancy for consumers to share that information due to industry privacy and security issues,” Black Book said, noting that the “unwillingness of patients to comprehensively divulge all their medical information rose to 87 percent in Q4 2016,” up from 66 percent in 2013.
“Especially alarming to respondents were the concerns that their pharmacy prescriptions (90 percent), mental health notes (99 percent) and chronic condition (81 percent) data is being shared beyond their chosen provider and payer to retailers, employers, and or the government without their acknowledgment,” the report said.
Other report highlights include:

  • 70 percent of respondents said they distrust health technology, up sharply from 10 percent in 2014
  • 89 percent of consumers who visited providers in 2016 reported withholding health information during visits
  • 93 percent expressed concerns over the security of their personal financial information, “as high-deductible Obamacare plans and co-pays have more banking and credit card data passing from providers”
  • 69 percent of patients do not believe their current primary care physician demonstrates enough technology prowess for them to trust sharing all their personal information

Unfortunately, patient reticence to share medical and personal data with providers does more than make it harder for providers to treat those individuals.
“Incomplete medical histories and undisclosed conditions, treatment or medications raises obvious concerns on the reliability and usefulness of patient health data in application of risk based analytics, care plans, modeling, payment reforms, and population health programming,” Doug Brown, president of Black Book Research, said in a statement. “This revelation should force cybersecurity solutions to the top of the technology priorities in 2017 to achieve tangible trust in big data dependability.”