Patients less willing to share sensitive health data via mobile devices

When it comes to sharing information with clinicians, most mHealth users are willing to share data that includes appointment alerts, medication reminders and lab results, but are more protective of sensitive information such as diagnostic information and digital images and videos, a recent study found.

Younger users are more eager than those older than 50 to receive and send digital data through smartphones. In addition, patients with higher education, higher income and high trust levels in healthcare providers are more likely to share data, according to the study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Yet, while data exchange willingness is extremely high, less than 6 percent of the study's respondents said they had actually exchanged health-related data via a mobile device.

"Respondents were less willing to exchange via mobile devices information that may be considered sensitive or complex. Age, socioeconomic factors, and trust in professional information were associated with willingness to engage in mobile health information exchange," writes the study's corresponding author, Katrina J. Serrano, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

The insight comes as more consumers than ever are eager to use mobile devices and apps for both fitness and health needs. A recent Apigee study reveals more than one third of adult smartphone owners claim they are healthier due to their devices and use of subsequent apps. In addition, consumer interest is expected to drive an 18 percent growth rate in the health and fitness device market.

In the study, Serrano notes future research should investigate the mobile device users' ages as it relates to perception of such mHealth technology use and mobile healthcare information exchange in general.

For more information:
- read the study

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