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Most UK patients with chronic conditions believe accessing medical records online outweighs privacy risks

Half of UK patients (50 per cent) believe that accessing their medical records online outweighs the privacy risks, according to a new UK survey by Accenture.

Overview

LONDON; June 19, 2014 – More than half (55 per cent) of UK patients with chronic health conditions believe they should have the right to access all their healthcare information. Half of UK patients (50 per cent) believe that accessing their medical records online outweighs the privacy risks, according to a new UK survey by Accenture (NYSE:ACN).

Accenture surveyed 1,019 people in the UK, of which 519 were healthy and 500 had at least one of 11 chronic conditions – asthma, arthritis, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, clinically diagnosed obesity, osteoporosis and stroke. The survey found that patients with chronic conditions were slightly less concerned about the privacy of their electronic medical record (56 per cent) than they were about other personal information that is stored digitally, such as online banking (61 per cent), in-store credit card use (57 per cent) and online shopping (59 per cent).

Even though they are eager to have access to their online medical records, roughly half (55 per cent) of those with chronic conditions said the top barrier to accessing their records was not knowing how to do so.

Beyond accessing medical data, the vast majority (73 per cent) of individuals in the UK want to control their health data, but roughly a third (32 per cent) believe they currently do not have very much control – or any control – over their medical information. 

The survey also showed that, depending on the type of chronic illness they have, there are differences in a person’s ability to exercise some level of control over his or her healthcare data. For example, 40 per cent of asthma patients reported having some level of control compared to only 27 per cent of individuals with hypertension.

The rising population of chronic patients remains an area of growing concern for the UK. Accenture’s findings show, however, that these individuals are actively engaged at most stages of patient care, including during medical diagnosis (91 per cent), managing treatment (91 per cent) and maintaining general health on a day-to-day basis (84 per cent).

“Healthcare providers need to adapt as patients take a more proactive role in managing their own health,” said Aimie Chapple, who leads Accenture’s health business in the United Kingdom. “Consumers across all walks of life are demanding more access to their personal data online. Allowing patients to manage some aspects of their own health will make healthcare more effective and more affordable as clinicians’ time is freed up.”

Methodology

Accenture’s Patient Engagement Survey polled consumers in 10 countries, including the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Spain, Norway, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Researchers surveyed 10,730 individuals, 5,481 healthy and 5,249 with 11 chronic conditions (asthma, arthritis, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, clinically diagnosed obesity, osteoporosis and stroke). The survey was conducted between February 21 and March 16, 2014, by Penn Schoen Berland (PSB).

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 289,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is www.accenture.com.