Rochester, N.Y. – Many Americans are satisfied with how their personal health information is used, but a substantial number express reservations about the confidentiality and security of their health data, a new survey shows.

Thirty-eight million Americans, about one in six adults or 17% of the adult population, say they withhold information from health providers because of concern over how the medical data might be disclosed, according to a nationwide Harris Interactive poll of 2,337 adults.

That news could concern insurance companies because they’re stakeholders in the Nationwide Health Information Network, a system under development to allow patients to manage their own health care records, move the records when they change jobs and share the records with insurers when they buy a policy.

Meanwhile, the Harris poll shows that 70% of Americans agree they are generally satisfied with the way doctors and hospitals handle personal health information in terms of protecting confidentiality and security. One in five strongly agree with that proposition, while 50% says they agree somewhat. Nearly 20% disagree, and about 11% are not sure.

Some 63% agree that increased use of computers to record and share patient medical records does not necessarily  jeopardize patient privacy rights. About 23% strongly agree with that idea, the survey shows.

A majority (60%) feels that state and federal health privacy protection laws provide reasonable  protection. A similar 63% agree they would consent to have medical records used for medical research as long as they receive guarantees that researchers would not release information that could identify them.

Source: Harris Interactive

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Digital Insurance content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access