Privacy issues drive health IT consumer skepticism: 10 Black Book survey findings

A majority of consumers are skeptical of health IT, partly due to an increasing doubt in data privacy, according to a national Black Book survey.

The patient survey, conducted from September through December 2016, included 12,090 adult consumers. Survey participants were asked to evaluate the technology they were exposed to, knew of or interacted with as an active patient in the last 12 months, according to a news release on the survey.

Here are 10 survey findings.

  1. More than half (57 percent) of consumers who experienced interactions with technology via a hospital, physician or ancillary provider last year reported skepticism regarding the overall benefits of health IT technologies such as patient portals, mobile apps and EHRs, the survey found. Researchers suggested this skepticism can be attributed to recently reported data hacking, as well as a perceived lack of privacy protection by providers, the release states.
  2. The survey found 87 percent of patients were unwilling to reveal all their medical information in detail in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 66 percent of patients willing to divulge all personal health data in 2013.
  3. Specifically, survey respondents reported concerns that their pharmacy prescriptions (90 percent), mental health notes (99 percent) and chronic condition (81 percent) data was being shared beyond their chosen provider and payer to retailers, employers and or the government without them knowing, according to the release.
  4. The survey found that 89 percent of consumers who visited a provider in 2016 reported withholding health information during visits, while 93 percent were concerned about the security of their financial information.

  5. A majority (69 percent) of patients said their existing primary care physician does not display sufficient prowess with health IT technology for them to trust them with all their personal information, according to the release.

  6. The survey found 84 percent of patients said their trust in their provider was influenced by how the provider used the health IT technology. Only 5 percent of consumers reported an issue with trusting in the actual technology, the release states.

  7. Patients from hospitals with under 200 beds are the most challenged by the patient portals, engagement tools and monitoring systems provided at discharge, according to the release. Hospitals with more than 400 beds have the most success with patient technology satisfaction and usability, the survey found. The difference between large and small hospitals was attributed to “the role of technological education to patients that falls on nurses in large facilities.”

  8. Most (94 percent) of physicians find the surplus of health related data overwhelming, redundant and unlikely to make a clinical difference, the survey found.

  9. Ninety-six percent of physician office patients reported they received poorly communicated or miscommunicated instructions on patient portal use during their visit, according to the release.

  10. Eighty-eight percent of consumers in 2016 said they were frustrated their healthcare provider refused to accommodate their technology requests.

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