Trust is the backbone of heath data exchange. Offering valuable perspectives on patient privacy with healthcare data, Health Gorilla has released its latest survey report finding that clinical outcomes and the quality of patient care services are impacted by ensuring the rightful access to patient health records. Sensitive patient information if it gets into the wrong hands can lead to wrong diagnoses, misdirected patient care and deteriorating trust.

The previous report which was published in January demonstrated that more than half (55%) of healthcare professionals were in favour of broadening inclusitiity to patient healthcare information whilst investing 5-20% more expenditure in interoperable health systems. The data-sharing model could be utilised more between relevant healthcare professionals to enhance patient care outcomes. 1,213 patients agreed that to fulfil the benefits of collaboration within the ecosystem, trust is a foundational pilar of data exchange. In particular the report emphasises the under-voiced view of patients around health data exchange and the security and privacy of their medical information.

The main takeaways from the report are that patients feel concerned about the security of their health data, based on trust which is stalling further cohesion of data exchange in healthcare.

Health systems and privacy concerns are the main reasons for a majority of patients (95%) admitting to feeling concerned about a potential data breach or leak of their records, the report reveals.

In an age of unstoppable technological change – with digital identity being integrated in healthcare settings – the industry has experienced a surge in data breaches leaving patients’ data vulnerable to harm. Coupled with this, there is distrust of big tech companies properly handling and safeguarding patient information that heavily adopt a business model based on monetisation and commercialisation.

66% of patients said they would feel more confident in their data being shared by government-approved entities, but still care about an open exchange of their important medical data and tests with  professionals, leading to more effective treatment and earlier diagnosis. Other operational uses of patient data were massively out of flavour with the survey’s participants.

Overall the results showed a much improved level of patient satisfaction with medical records being easily retrievable and informative to patients on what care was needed.

Steven Lane, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer
 at Health Gorilla explained what conclusion was reached by the findings:

“In this broadly representative sample of the U.S. population, most people feel that it is easy to access their medical records, that they find the information they receive to be understandable, and they believe that accessing this data is important to them for many reasons.
At the same time, there is a significant degree of concern regarding the sharing of medical information without explicit consent, even with providers and payers involved in their care. While most feel that their health data is safe and secure, there are significant concerns regarding the possibility of future data breaches, with general agreement that government certification of health data exchange raises the level of confidence in data exchange.” 

“Confidentiality is at the core of effective healthcare. Without the assurance of privacy, patients cannot feel safe in sharing their most personal and sensitive information” – Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General, Department of Health and Human Services