Study: Patients don’t think payers, providers can protect their data
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Providers and payers: Patients don’t think you’re able to keep their personal data healthy and safe, even though you’re charged with doing the same for their health. That blunt assessment is from a skeptical public who is growing increasingly weary of seemingly daily news about breaches and hacks.
According to a new study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and POLITICO, patient consumers don’t have much faith in healthcare industry players’ ability to protect their data. In fact, unfortunately for payers, consumers believe health insurers may actually be the worst at keeping their data safe compared to any other, the survey shows.
Per those surveyed, which included 1,009 adults from earlier in the year (mid-July), only 17% have a “great deal” of faith that their health plan will protect their data. Hospitals are not much further ahead, as less than one-quarter (24%) of these same individuals said they had a “great deal” of trust in their hospital to protect data.
Physicians, don’t start patting yourself on the back quite yet. Only 34% of the individuals interviewed said their physician’s office could safely handle and protect their personal information.
Individuals are more likely to think of healthcare’s major players as incompetent in regard to data protection. In fact, when asked about payers’ ability, the survey found that as many as 22% of respondents said they had “not very much” trust in their insurer to protect their data; 17% said they had no trust at all — a total of 39%.
Healthcare firms edge out social media firms and internet browsers, but that’s not a difficult feat. Only 7% said they have a “great deal” of trust in search engines, including Google, to protect their data, and only 3% said the same about social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
As mentioned, the problem for healthcare is that breaches are common, and people are growing increasingly divested of emotional investment in the constant news of cyber risk. Large breaches are commonplace — breaches impacting thousands or even millions of patients are common, unfortunately.
While it’s hard to imagine why or the importance of collecting such information (except for reasons perhaps only POLITICO understands), 22% of Democrats had a “great deal” of trust in insurers to protect their data, while 17% of Republicans and 13% of independents said the same.
28% of Democrats also said they had a “great deal” of trust in hospitals to protect their data; 26% of Republicans and 19% of independents said the same. Each of these three groups seem to have the most faith in in their doctor’s abilities.
No matter our individual political views, we seem to come together regarding how we feel about the possibility of healthcare payers’ ability to protect our data.
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