Majority of Americans want personal control of health information

It's hard to get Americans to agree on much these days, but overwhelming majorities seem to want control over their own electronic health information.

A poll from Dr. Deborah Peel's Patient Privacy Rights Foundation and Zogby International found that 97 percent of the more than 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed believe that hospitals, physicians, laboratories and IT vendors should not be allowed to sell or share "sensitive health information" without consent. Ninety-eight percent are opposed to health insurance companies marketing personal health information, according to the survey.

If their information is held in electronic health records, 93 percent said they want to be able to decide which private companies and government agencies may access their data, and 91 percent would like to have the final say in which individuals may view their records. The latter finding suggests that people are concerned about employers, researchers, ex-spouses and abusive partners getting a peek at sensitive information, Healthcare IT News reports.

"No matter how you look at it, Americans want to control their own private health information," Peel said in a press release.

The Austin, Texas-based Patient Privacy Rights Foundation is advocating for a "Do Not Disclose" list, similar to the popular "Do Not Call" list that telemarketers must abide by, as a foundation of a patient-centered healthcare system. The survey showed that 78 percent of Americans would likely visit a website that gives them the power to decide who can and cannot see their health information.

"Americans overwhelmingly believe that they are the only people in the right position to make decisions about how their information can be used," Peel said. "Researchers do not get a free pass."

To learn more:
- check out this Healthcare IT News story
- view the poll results from Patient Privacy Rights
- see this Patient Privacy Rights press release (.pdf)