Poll: Consumers Split Over Sharing Health Data With Researchers

January 12, 2015 in News

A slight majority of U.S. residents reported that they would be willing to share health information anonymously with researchers, according to a recently released Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll, NPR’s “Shots” reports (Hensley, “Shots,” NPR, 1/9).

Poll Details                                                                                 

The researchers surveyed 3,010 individuals between Dec. 1, 2014, and Dec. 17, 2014, about their willingness to share health care data with researchers. Participants were contacted via phone and the Internet (Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll, January 2015).

Poll Findings

According to the poll, 53% of respondents said they were willing to share health data anonymously with health care researchers, while 47% said they would not be willing to do so (“Shots,” NPR, 1/9).

The poll found a negative correlation between age and willingness to share. Specifically:

  • 60.7% of respondents under age 35 said they were willing to share their health information;
  • 52.6% of respondents ages 35 to 64 said they were willing to share their health information; and
  • 43.1% of respondents ages 65 and older said they were willing to share health information.

By contrast, researchers found a positive correlation between education level and willingness to share. Specifically, the poll showed:

  • 46.5% of respondents with a high school degree or less said they were willing to share their health information;
  • 52.9% of respondents with some college or an associate’s degree said they were willing to share their health information; and
  • 58.2% of respondents who had at least a college degree said they were willing to share their health information.

The poll also found that respondents’ willingness to share such data varied based on who received the data. It found that of those willing to share their health data anonymously with health care researchers:

  • 86.5% of respondents said they would share their health data with pharmaceutical researchers;
  • 88.1% said they would share the data with university professors;
  • 88.7% said they would share the data with health care research consultants; and
  • 91.6% said they would share the data with government researchers at CDC and NIH (Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll, January 2015).
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