Benefits of EMR Access Outweigh Privacy Risks Say Chronic Disease Patients

Posted in Medical Data by Arundhati Parmar on May 5, 2014

Patients with chronic disease believe benefits of electronic medical records outweigh any privacy concerns, a new report finds.

When it comes to health data, chronic patients are less concerned about privacy.

The Accenture 2014 Patient Engagement Survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers, found that 51% with chronic conditions said that the benefits of accessing data through an electronic medical record outweighs any privacy concerns. Accenture’s survey of 2,011 U.S. consumers is part of a larger global survey and compares perceptions between chronic patients and healthy people across 11 conditions: asthma, arthritis, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, clinically diagnosed obesity, osteoporosis and stroke.

Privacy concerns amongst the group of chronic patients also varied. The patient group that most believed that the benefits of accessing EMR outweighed the risks was cancer patients (57%) while the group with only 48% of asthma and arthritis patients responded similarly.

Ironically, while 69% responded that having access to their EMR is a “right” and not a privilege and 87% said it was “very” or “somewhat important” to have control over their health data, a majority (55%) believe they have little or any control all over their EMRs.

Still, heart disease patients appear to have more control over their data, defined in the survey as being able to access EMRs and being able to make decisions about their personal care. A full 65% of them reported having “full” or “some” control compared with only 49% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) patients who responded similarly.

"Healthcare will need to adapt to a new generation of individuals who are taking a more proactive role in managing their health and expect to have transparency," said Kaveh Safavi M.D. J.D., who leads Accenture's global health business. "As consumers continue to demand more access to their personal data online, we expect that patients will gain more power to manage some aspects of their own care. This will not only make healthcare more effective but also more affordable, as consumers doing more for themselves will free up the system to be more productive."

[Photo Credit: user mkurtbas]

-- By Arundhati Parmar, Senior Editor, MD+DI


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