Patients Confident About Privacy, but Have Data-Sharing Concerns

April 9, 2015 in News

While a majority of U.S. residents are confident in the security and privacy of their health records, most are concerned about the sharing of health data among providers, according to a study by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, FierceEMR reports.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from a National Cancer Institute 2011-2012 survey of 3,924 U.S. adults.

Findings

The study found that about 75% of respondents were somewhat or very confident of the security and privacy of their health records, regardless of whether their providers used paper records or an electronic health record system.

However, ONC found that more than 59% of respondents said that they were concerned about the sharing of health data among providers, whether the data are shared by fax or electronically. About 12% of respondents said that their privacy or security concerns had caused them to withhold information from a provider.

In addition, the study found that:

  • Adults who received high-quality care were more than twice as likely as respondents who received poor or fair care quality to say they were very confident in the security and privacy of their medical data; and
  • Respondents who were relatively more confident in their ability to discover and control their health data expressed more confidence in the security and privacy of their records and were less concerned about data sharing among providers.

The study authors wrote, “Given that positive health care experiences and higher information efficacy were associated with more favorable perceptions of privacy and security, efforts should continue to encourage providers to secure medical records, provide patients with a ‘meaningful choice’ in how their data are shared, and enable individuals to access information they need to manage their care” (Hall, FierceEMR, 4/8).

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