Survey: 3 out of 5 Americans want stronger privacy protections

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Most Americans want personalized, actionable healthcare information, but not if it puts their personal health data in peril.

In fact, more than three out of every five Americans want stronger protections for privacy, saying it’s more important than easier access to health data, according to results of a recently completed survey by Morning Consult, conducted on behalf of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

The survey found that 62 percent of patients want their data and privacy protected at higher levels than now, even if that means that it will make it more difficult to access their health information.

In addition, three in four adults responding to the survey said they would not support a new federal regulation that makes it easier to find the cost of medical procedures if it also raises insurance premiums.

The survey also has implications for information technology and the ease with which consumers can access health information.

Some 82 percent of responding adults said that, when they’re looking for healthcare information on a medical procedure, a website or app should be able to deliver it in a way that is concise and simple to understand, which is more preferable than information that is comprehensive but confusing.

In addition, an overwhelming majority—90 percent—said they want technology companies held to the same standard and scrutiny as health insurance providers in protecting their health information.

The study reviewed other issues related to transparency, privacy and affordability, including value of services, protection of privacy, and ways to access health information.

For example, different ages of respondents reported variances in how they prefer to receive information on medical procedures. A plurality of older adults (37 percent of those older than 65) would prefer to obtain research information about a healthcare service by calling their insurance company, while 37 percent of those 35 to 44 years old would prefer looking up the information on their insurance company’s website or app.

In addition, three out of every four adults say they would be likely to research how much they would be responsible for paying for a procedure after their insurance companies paid their portion.

Some 26 percent of adults have used a mobile app or online resource to look up the cost of a medical procedure or services before they saw a physician. However, younger adults are more likely than older adults to have used a mobile app or online resource to research costs of medical procedures or services.

“These findings from patients and consumers are significant,” says Matt Eyles, AHIP’s president and CEO. “When it comes to transparency in healthcare, patients overwhelmingly want two things—for the information to be clear, concise and customized, and for their privacy to be protected. Any new rules must ensure we protect patient privacy, reduce healthcare costs and get personalized information into the hands of patients."

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