Facial recognition, EHR privacy among patients' top healthcare technology concerns

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The privacy of EHRs and the use of facial recognition top the list of patients' technology concerns in healthcare, according to an Oct. 14 study published in PLOS ONE

The study included researchers from Durham, N.C.-based Duke University School of Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh. For the study, researchers surveyed 4,048 U.S. adults from Nov. 24 to Dec. 14, 2020.

Four study insights:

  1. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they were equally concerned about the privacy of their medical records, DNA and facial recognition technology collected for precision health research. Twenty percent said they were most concerned about the privacy of their EHRs, 17 percent were  most concerned about facial recognition and 6 percent were most concerned about DNA.

  2. When respondents were asked if they would participate in a hypothetical precision health study that used facial recognition, 39 percent said they were willing, 30 percent said they were unwilling and 30 percent said they were unsure.

  3. Twenty-four percent of study respondents said they would prefer to opt out of a DNA component of a study and 22 percent said they would want to opt out of both DNA and facial recognition.

  4. When respondents were asked about using facial recognition technology identification to avoid medical errors, 65 percent said it was acceptable. For using facial recognition in monitoring patients' emotion or symptoms, 48 percent of respondents said it was acceptable, and 46 percent of respondents said linking diverse data sources to conduct health research is acceptable.

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