Patient perceptions of data privacy, security: 5 key findings

Although EHR adoption rate increased slightly from 2012 to 2013, patient perceptions of data privacy and security remain mostly unchanged. However, data privacy and security still is a leading cause of concern for patients.

Here are five key findings on patient perceptions of data privacy and security from the latest ONC data brief.

  • Sixty-nine percent of patients indicated they were very or somewhat concerned about the privacy of their medical record, slightly down from 72 percent in 2012.
  • Additionally, 75 percent of patients said they were very or somewhat concerned about the security of their medical record, slightly down from 77 percent in 2012.
  • Despite security concerns, just 8 percent of patients said they withheld information from healthcare providers in 2013 due to their concerns, a minimal increase from 7 percent in 2012.
  • Patients whose providers use paper medical records reported slightly higher levels of concerns regarding privacy of records (75 percent) than patients whose providers use EHRs (69 percent), according to the data brief. The same holds true for security of medical records, with 83 percent of individuals whose providers use paper records indicating concern and 74 percent of individuals whose providers use EHRs indicating concern. The ONC indicates the differences, though, are not statistically significant.
  • However, patients whose providers use EHRs were more likely to report withholding information from providers due to these concerns (10 percent) than patients whose providers use paper records (6 percent), though the ONC says the difference is not statistically significant.

"In summary, we found that the concerns individuals may have about the privacy and security of their medical records are not unique or limited to EHRs," reads the data brief. "More importantly, in spite of potential concerns, a majority of individuals want their providers to use an EHR and to share appropriate medical information electronically with the individual's other healthcare providers."

More articles on data security:

Medical records found in Kentucky dumpster: 5 things to know
Dear hacker: Here is your invitation to attack our network
Healthcare now spending billions to defend the IT systems it spent billions to install

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