Surveying Consumers on EHR Privacy

Five Annual Polls Will Measure Attitudes
Surveying Consumers on EHR Privacy
Federal officials plan five annual consumer surveys about attitudes toward the privacy and security of electronic health records and electronic health information exchange that they'll use to support policy decisions.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT plans to survey 2,000 Americans annually starting in 2012. ONC, a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services, coordinates the HITECH Act's electronic health record incentive program and also oversees HITECH funding for statewide HIEs.

The computer-assisted telephone surveys will look at "the percentage of individuals who are concerned about the privacy and security of electronic health records, who report having kept any part of their medical history from their doctor due to privacy concerns and who are concerned that an unauthorized person would see their medical information if it is sent electronically, among other key issues," according to a Federal Register announcement. Results will be analyzed to track changes in consumer attitudes over time as EHRs and HIEs become more pervasive.

The surveys will help support ONC's ongoing efforts to "inspire confidence and trust in health IT," according to the announcement.

"The proposed information collection will permit us to better understand individuals' attitudes toward the privacy and security aspects of the use of electronic health records and electronic information exchange as well as inform policy and programmatic objectives," the announcement states.

ONC also has announced plans to launch a public relations campaign to educate consumers about the privacy and security of electronically exchanged healthcare information. Plus it plans to conduct consumer research on the public's attitudes on the use of mobile devices to exchange healthcare data (see: Privacy PR Campaign to Address Mobility).


About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

News Editor, ISMG

Anderson is news editor of Information Security Media Group and was founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.




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