News Feature | September 17, 2013

Patient Security Concerns Hindering Providers

Source: Health IT Outcomes
Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer


Patients are concerned about how their private information will be used and are withholding information from their healthcare providers

A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) examined the perceptions and behaviors of U.S. adults concerning the safety of their protected health information (PHI). It found patients were keeping information from their physicians because they lacked trust their PHI would be handled properly. JAMIA says that this study “underscores the need for enhanced measures to secure patients’ PHI to avoid undermining their trust.”

According to Modern Healthcare, one in eight patients has withheld information about themselves from their provider because of doubts in the security and privacy of that information. More than 12 percent of respondents to the survey reported having withheld information, and the likelihood of that response increased when those surveyed had little knowledge of what was done with their information.

Sixty-seven percent were concerned their information would be faxed between offices and 64.5 percent were concerned it would be shared electronically. A Washington privacy lawyer, James Pyles, says the results are similar to that of a 2005 survey, where 13 percent of respondents said they had withheld information.

“It is likely that the public concern reflected in the study would be even greater if the public appreciated that the HIPAA privacy rule and the HITECH law provide the individual with few rights to control the use and disclosure of their health information and provide federal permission to disclose health information in a manner that is inconsistent with professional ethics,” said Pyle.

The HIPAA Privacy rule was revised in 2002 to grant permission to HHS granted providers, insurance companies, claims clearinghouses, and other covered entities to disclose patient information without their consent. Because of this sharing of information, patients are suspicious of where their information is headed after they disclose it at the doctor’s office.