Patients don't trust health information technology

More than 50% of consumers are skeptical about the benefits of healthcare information technologies, including patient portals, mobile apps and electronic health records. And fully 70% of Americans distrust health technology, up sharply from just 10% in 2014.

High-profile cybersecurity incidents were part of the reason patient respondents don’t think providers are keeping their information private and secure, the Black Book research survey of more than 12,000 adults found.

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Respondents fear that their pharmacy prescriptions (90%), mental health notes (99%) and chronic condition (81%) data are shared beyond their chosen provider and payer to retailers, employers or the government without their consent.

Other findings include:

  • 89% of consumers with 2016 provider visits report withholding health information during visits.  
  • 93% are worried about the security of their personal financial information and say high-deductible health plans and copays mean more banking and credit card data passing from providers to payers.
  • 69% of patients say their primary care physician does not demonstrate enough technology prowess for them to trust divulging all their personal information.

That's bad news for data analytics and population health efforts.

“Incomplete medical histories and undisclosed conditions, treatment or medications raises obvious concerns on the reliability and usefulness of patient health data in application of risk based analytics, care plans, modeling, payment reforms and population health programming,” said Black Book's Managing Partner Doug Brown in a statement emailed to FierceHealthIT.

“This revelation should force cybersecurity solutions to the top of the technology priorities in 2017 to achieve tangible trust in big data dependability.”

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Hospital size, nurse workload play a role

Meanwhile, technology that could better engage patients in their own health data, including patient portals, are undermined when nurses and other staff don't have dedicated time to train patients to use them.

Larger hospitals have better success engaging patients with health information technology such as portals, engagement tools and monitoring systems, according to Black Book. But at smaller hospitals, 92% of patients had trouble understanding the tools. At the same time, 92% of nurse leaders in hospitals under 200 beds said there is “no staffing time factored into the discharge process to improve patient tech literacy,” including patient portal orientations. At larger hospitals just 55% of nurses said the same.

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