Few U.S. Residents Concerned About Privacy of EHR Data, Poll Finds

November 21, 2014 in News

U.S. residents generally are not very concerned about the privacy of their health data within electronic health records, according to an NPR-Truven Health Analytics poll, NPR’s “Shots” reports.

Details of Poll

The phone survey polled more than 3,000 U.S. residents in August. It asked about respondents’ privacy concerns regarding EHRs and the sharing of their personal health information.


Nearly 75% of respondents said their physicians use EHRs (Hensley, “Shots,” NPR, 11/20). In addition, about 44% said they had viewed their health data recorded in those EHRs.

The poll found that the majority of respondents were willing to share de-identified health data with researchers. However, fewer than 25% said they would share non-health data with their health care providers.

The poll also found that people were most likely to be concerned about the privacy of health data held by their insurers (NPR-Truven Health poll, November 2014). Specifically:

  • 16% of respondents said they were concerned about health data held by insurers;
  • 14% were concerned about health data held by hospitals;
  • 11% were concerned about health data held by their physicians; and
  • 10% were concerned about health data held by their employers.

Meanwhile, the poll found that about 5% of respondents had been affected by a health data breach or had been told that their records were accessed without their permission (“Shots,” NPR, 11/20).

Among respondents who said their health data had been accessed without their permission:

  • About 15% said the incident occurred less than a year ago;
  • About 37% said the incident happened between one and two years ago;
  • About 27% said the incident occurred between two and five years ago; and
  • About 21% said the incident occurred more than five years ago (NPR-Truven Health poll, November 2014).
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