News Feature | April 27, 2015

Data Sharing Between Providers Concerns Patients

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Your Healthcare IT Clients Are Facing EHR Integration Issues After Healthcare Consolidation

Although most patients believe providers protect their data, many are concerned data sharing puts their information at risk.

Research published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research Medical Informatics shows some patients have concerns when it comes to data sharing between providers. “Providers’ adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) is increasing and consumers have expressed concerns about the potential effects of EHRs on privacy and security. Yet, we lack a comprehensive understanding regarding factors that affect individuals’ perceptions regarding the privacy and security of their medical information,” write the study’s authors.

Fierce EMR reports the results are based on a 2011-2012 nationally representative survey of 3,924 adults conducted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Three in four of those surveyed indicated they were very or somewhat confident in the security and privacy of their medical records. Researchers note that this number was unrelated to whether or not their providers used an electronic record system.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents “expressed concerns about the sharing of information between healthcare providers, whether electronically or by fax.” Another 12 percent said they had withheld information from a healthcare provider due to privacy or security concerns.

iHealth Beat reports that other key findings showed:

  • adults who received high-quality care were more than twice as likely as respondents who received poor or fair care quality to say they were very confident in the security and privacy of their medical data
  • respondents who were relatively more confident in their ability to discover and control their health data expressed more confidence in the security and privacy of their records and were less concerned about data sharing among providers

“Whether individuals thought their provider was using an EHR was not associated with negative privacy/security perceptions or withholding, suggesting the transition to EHRs is not associated with negative perceptions regarding the privacy and security of medical information,” study authors wrote. “Given that positive health care experiences and higher information efficacy were associated with more favorable perceptions of privacy and security, efforts should continue to encourage providers to secure medical records, provide patients with a ‘meaningful choice’ in how their data are shared, and enable individuals to access information they need to manage their care.”