Americans unconcerned about health data privacy, poll shows

Americans are more comfortable sharing their health information than social media or credit card purchase information, according to a poll from Truven Health Analytics and NPR Health.

In a survey of 3,000 adults, few people expressed concern with the privacy of their health information. Only 11.4 percent of respondents expressed privacy concerns about health records held by their physicians. Slightly over 14 percent of respondents had privacy concerns with hospitals and about 16 percent had concerns with health insurance companies.

People were least worried about their health information in the hands of their employers — just 10 percent expressed concern. People were even willing to share their health information to those not involved in their care, if it was kept anonymous. About 68 percent of respondents said they would be willing to anonymously share their information with researchers.

However, almost 78 percent of respondents said they would not be willing to share their credit card purchase history and social media activity with physicians, hospitals and insurers, even if it helped improve their healthcare.

Research from the Ponemon Institute found people are worried about security and privacy in general, according to the NPR report on the survey. However, medical record privacy ranks near the bottom of their concerns, Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute told NPR.

The Truven-NPR survey suggests healthcare information is fairly secure. Only 5 percent of respondents said they'd ever been told their medical records had been compromised or accessed without permission.

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