Framingham, Mass. - A recent survey of 802 consumers carrying health insurance, conducted by IDC's Health Industry Insights, reveals one in three respondents (33%) cite medical information being made accessible on the Internet as a primary reason for feeling less comfortable about sharing information with primary care physicians (PCPs).Nearly half of respondents (47%) who are uncomfortable sharing information with PCPs also indicated "wanting control over who accesses their personal health information" as a reason, while 14% do not trust the health plan to adequately protect personal health information.

"Increasingly, consumer health information is being shared between payers and providers as they join forces to create regional health information networks," says Lynne Dunbrack, program director of Health Industry Insights and author of the report. "The opportunity to increase the quality of care and consumer health through widespread data access is tremendous. However, consumers are raising legitimate privacy and security concerns as more of their medical information is made available online. Health plans need to be proactive in allaying these concerns."

The survey also covered other important health-related topics, including the following:

· With regard to accessing medical information over the Internet, privacy and security issues are still a concern for consumers. Although 82% of respondents are online daily, only 3% go online to record their health information compared to 89% who use the Internet to research information on a specific condition.

· Of those who are online looking for health information, WebMD is the most popular online resource for consumers. The majority of respondents (71%) visit WebMD, followed by 59% who go to consumers' health plan site for health information.

· 72% of respondents value the privacy and confidentiality of their medical information as much as their financial information.

These findings are part of a reported published by Health Industry Insights, titled "U.S. Healthcare Consumer Survey 2005: Consumer Attitudes Toward Sharing Health Information."

Source: Health Industry Insights, an IDC company

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