Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 24, 2014

Nine Out of 10 Americans Ready to Share Healthcare Data, But With a Catch

The topic of privacy in data has some far-reaching effects these days. It's been cropping up all over, from the NSA going after data it probably shouldn't to assorted hackers going after said data, and though the purposes for said data intrusions may vary, the end result always seems to be the same: our data is just not our own. Sometimes, there's a reason to share data that can be valuable not only for us, but for the rest of humanity as well. Healthcare data is one such field, and a growing number of users are ready to hand over healthcare data, but not without one very important catch.

The fourth Makovsky Health / Kelton Survey shows that around 90 percent of Americans are ready to share personal, health-related data so that researchers can get more data about diseases, specifically with an eye toward treating or even curing said diseases. But that support is somewhat contingent on one big factor: being able to contribute that data anonymously.

The survey revealed plenty of new data about users and the relationships forged with healthcare. 35 percent of Americans would now trust the information from a disease-related website sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, and the number of Americans who would never trust such information has fallen from 23 percent last year to just 16 percent this year. Additionally, while large numbers of users are prepared to share information if it's anonymous, there are still healthy numbers of users who will share regardless of anonymity. 26 percent would share healthcare data even if it weren't done on an anonymous basis, while 23 percent would share if there was control over what data remained anonymous, meaning that some of it could be distributed freely. 40 percent, meanwhile, wanted all data to remain anonymous, regardless of content.

It's not just about data sharing, either; the survey also discovered some key attitudes regarding how Americans view technology in the field of healthcare. Americans using PCs to look for health information has actually declined, going from 83 percent in 2013 to 69 percent in 2014. Much of that shortfall, meanwhile, has migrated to smartphones and tablets. Smartphone use is up from just six percent in 2013 to 19 percent this year, and tablets have climbed from four percent in 2012 to 11 percent in 2013 and 2014.

The lessons here are not much different from the lessons being required of many retailers: improving the mobile presence will likely pay long-term dividends as more users turn to the mobile Web, but maintaining the static Web presence will be necessary for some time to come. Additionally, people are willing to provide the information that can lead to substantial breakthroughs in the field of disease treatment, but in order to get that information, a cost will need to be paid, specifically a cost of higher protection and anonymity measures. Refusing to offer such protections will only get a smaller pool of data, so those who put in the protections will get the best data.

There's a lot going on in healthcare, and having data on hand is one of the best ways to manage all these new developments. But those who would supply data generally require that data to be protected, and those willing to make the necessary changes—platform, protection or otherwise—will be the ones most likely to reap the best rewards.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]


FREE eNewsletter

Click here to receive your targeted Healthcare Technology Community eNewsletter.
[Subscribe Now]