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Digital health prompts consumer distrust

Patients concerned about privacy when sharing digital health data

Accenture Health research shows that patients are increasingly using digital health technologies, but they have privacy concerns. Healthcare consumers in the United States (70 percent) are at least “somewhat” concerned about the personal privacy of their electronic health records (EHRs) this year, up from 63 percent in 2014. Yet despite concerns about privacy, most US consumers say the benefits of being able to access medical information electronically outweigh the risks (65 percent, up from 53 percent in 2014).

Selective sharing

Healthcare consumers in the United States have some reluctance to share their digital health data. They view their health records and data as tools for their doctors and themselves, and many don’t want to extend access beyond those relationships—even to other healthcare organizations. Seventy-five percent believe their primary doctor should have access to their EHR, while just 28 percent say their pharmacy should and only 3 percent say the government should.

Likewise, when it comes to wearable and app data, US consumers are reluctant to share. A majority (90 percent) is at least somewhat willing to share this data with their doctor and 87 percent would share with a nurse or healthcare provider. These numbers drop when it comes to sharing wearable or app data with their health insurance plan (63 percent) or employer (31 percent).

Under these conditions

There are certain circumstances or reassurances that would make consumers more likely to share data with their health plan. Discounts or incentives spark interest in sharing—among consumers not very willing to share their data with their health plan, 69 percent would be more willing to share under these circumstances. A monthly premium discount of $25 would entice 60 percent of US consumers to share their data.

Sixty percent of those not very willing to share would share data with their health plan if they knew it would not raise their premium or prevent them from getting long-term care. Just over half would share data with their health plan if they knew it would not be shared with their employer (56 percent), would not be used against them for employment or hiring decisions (57 percent) and would not be shared with the government (56 percent).

As consumer adoption of digital health continues to rise—and the amount of available data increases by the minute—healthcare organizations must do more to ensure security and privacy is embedded at each stage of the consumer journey. By building digital trust, health plans and healthcare providers can get access to valuable data they need to make decisions, and consumers have peace of mind knowing that information has been safeguarded.

Research shows patients in the United States want a heavy dose of digital
Healthcare consumers are initiating a digitally enabled care experience with greater use of digital tools and electronic health records.

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