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WHEN IS PRIVACY NOT THE PRIMARY CONCERN?

Chronically ill have a special need for electronic medical records

Overview

The Accenture 2014 Patient Engagement Survey of more than 2,000 United States consumers reveals that more than half (51 percent) of consumers with chronic conditions believe the benefits of being able to access medical information through electronic medical records outweigh the perceived risk of privacy invasion. Overall, chronically ill consumers surveyed said they are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about privacy invasion with EMR (65 percent), online banking (70 percent), online shopping (68 percent) and credit card use in stores (69 percent).

Consumers with chronic conditions also share interesting views on what they believe to be their “human right” to access their health data. In addition, they share reasons why they had not accessed their electronic medical records.

 

Read the surprising findings in this short paper. [PDF, 123KB]

Background

Accenture conducted a survey of 10,730 individuals across 10 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. The survey included chronically ill consumers (defined as those who self-reported they have been diagnosed with any of the following conditions: asthma, arthritis, cancer, COPD or related respiratory condition, depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, clinically diagnosed obesity, osteoporosis, stroke) and healthy consumers (defined as those not suffering from any of the chronic illnesses listed previously).

Analysis
Interestingly, the survey findings show that a majority of consumers with chronic conditions want control over their health information, but say they don’t have it. Eighty-seven percent believe it is “somewhat” or “very” important to have control over their health information, roughly half believe they do not have very much control—or any control at all.

Consumers with chronic conditions access their electronic medical records more than healthy consumers, according to the Accenture Patient Engagement Survey. When asked, “Have you ever accessed your electronic medical records?” 30 percent of those with chronic conditions said they have accessed their EMR versus 24 percent of healthy respondents.

Recommendations

The Accenture Patient Engagement Survey shows differences among consumers with chronic conditions. For example, 65 percent of those surveyed who have heart disease say they have “complete” or “some” control over their medical information versus 49 percent of those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who say they have the same level of control.

The survey also reveals that significantly more chronically ill than healthy consumers are active in managing their health in the following stages: at the time of medical diagnosis (87 percent vs. 81 percent), once they have been diagnosed (91 percent vs. 83 percent), managing treatment prescribed for diagnosis (91 percent vs. 81 percent) and day-to-day in managing general health (84 percent vs. 80 percent).

Consumer Health Management—Chart

The Accenture Patient Engagement Survey shows differences among consumers with chronic conditions. The survey also reveals that significantly more chronically ill than healthy consumers are active in managing their health in the following stages.

Personal Privacy—Chart

Level of concern about EMR data privacy varies by chronic condition. Those with heart disease showed the highest level of concern, with 72 percent identifying themselves as “very” or “somewhat” concerned, and diabetics showed the lowest level of concern, with 61 percent “very” or “somewhat” concerned.

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