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Survey: Patients Skeptical of Health IT Due to Privacy, Security Concerns

January 3, 2017
by Heather Landi
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More than half of consumers, 57 percent, with contact experience to hospital, physician or ancillary provider's technology this past year report being skeptical of the overall benefits of health information technologies such as patient portals, mobile apps, and electronic health records mainly because of recently reported data hacking and a perceived lack of privacy protection by providers, according to a Black Book survey.

For the survey, Black Book surveyed 12,090 consumers with the aim of judging patient adoption and acceptance of technology.

The survey results found that the amount of available health data is increasing so is the hesitancy for consumers to share that information due to industry privacy and security issues. The unwillingness of patients to comprehensively divulge all their medical information rose to 87 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.  

“Fewer consumers at this point in time do not want their digital health histories to extend beyond their physician and hospital, previously measured in 2013 at 66 percent who were willing to divulge all personal health data to achieve enhanced care,” the study authors wrote. “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 acknowledgement.”

Due to these concerns, the survey found that 89 percent of consumers with 2016 provider visits report withholding health information during visits. Ninety-three percent expressed concerns over the security of their financial information. Sixty-nine percent of patients confirm their belief that their current primary care physician does not demonstrate enough technology prowess for them to trust divulging all their personal information.

At the same time, the survey respondents related that more technology the physician is perceived as using to manage the patient's healthcare, the higher the trust level patients had in their provider. Eighty-four percent of patients said their trust in their provider is influenced by how the provider uses the technology, rather than only 5 percent of consumers had any issue in trusting in the actual technology.

Among the insights from the survey:

  • Patient from hospitals under 200 beds are the most challenged by the patient portals, engagement tools and monitoring systems provided at discharge. Ninety-two percent of patients express difficulty understanding the instructions or use of the technological applications.
  • Hospitals over 400 beds have the most success with patient technology satisfaction and usability.
  • 91 percent of people with wearables believe their physician practice's medical record system should store that health related data as requested.
  • Ninety-six percent of physician office patients said they left their visit with poorly communicated or miscommunicated instructions on patient portal use.
  • 94 percent of patients with health or activity trackers said their physician, when asked, informed them the practice had no capability or interest in coordinating their outcomes currently via their EHR.
  • 72 percent of patients that have used patient portals and healthcare information sites in 2016 state they believe their primary care doctor has less technology acumen then they do.
  • Four in ten patients attempted to use the portal provided by their physician, but 83 percent found it difficult to navigate when at home.
  • 91 percent of patients who find their apps and devices relevant to their health improvement felt slighted by their primary care physician and staff. 24 percent of those respondents are considering changing to a physician more experienced in newer technologies.

"In this age of healthcare consumerism people want to receive care through technologically enabled alternatives like telemedicine visits, secure email communications with their practitioner, and access to records and scheduling," the survey report authors wrote.


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