Patients think their health data will be leaked and don’t trust big tech firms

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Results from a survey shows how little faith patients have in technology—and the companies that provide it—to protect their information.

Patients think their health data will be leaked and don’t trust big tech firms | Image Credit: © Rawpixel.com - © Rawpixel.com - stock.adobe.com.

Patients think their health data will be leaked and don’t trust big tech firms | Image Credit: © Rawpixel.com - © Rawpixel.com - stock.adobe.com.

Data and technology are vital in today’s health care world, but that doesn’t mean patients trust any of it.

In fact, a survey from Atlas VPN and Health Gorilla found that 95% of patients are concerned about a potential data breach or leak of medical records, with 70% having extreme (28%) or moderate (40%) concerns.

Medical data breaches can result in identity theft, financial fraud, reputational damage, and even endanger a patient's physical well-being if sensitive medical conditions are disclosed, the survey notes.

The findings also showed that 25% of patients held slight concerns about potential data breaches. These patients reflect a cautious outlook on their information and highlight the need for enhanced data protection measures and transparency within the health care industry, according to the report.

Only 5% of respondents displayed a lack of concern regarding the possibility of their medical records being leaked. The report states that this group may feel reassured by existing data protection measures or lack awareness of the potential risks.

Low trust in Big Tech

Data is a prized commodity and technology giants wield unparalleled influence, but the public's trust in Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google, is not good. Many people are skeptical about large technology companies offering services to store sensitive medical information.

A significant 38% of respondents expressed an outright lack of trust in Big Tech. Many people are hesitant to trust Big Tech with their health data. Concerns come from the knowledge of past breaches, the potential for misuse or unauthorized access, and doubts about the profit motives of these companies, according to the report.

Similarly, 27% of people slightly distrust Big Tech's ability to manage their health data securely. This group remains cautious, acknowledging the potential benefits of such services but remaining wary of the risks associated with sharing their health information with technology giants, the report states.

Only 21% of those surveyed placed slight trust in Big Tech. Despite the majority's concerns, some people are still willing to give these companies the benefit of the doubt. They recognize the companies' technological capabilities and broad influence, hoping that they will handle their health data with responsibility.

In addition, only 14% of respondents showed confidence in Big Tech's ability to manage their health data securely. This group trusts these technology giants, seemingly unbothered by past controversies and fully willing to entrust their most sensitive medical information to their care, according to the report.

“Health care providers must actively advocate for patient rights and data autonomy. Patients should be empowered with the knowledge of their data's value, ownership, and control. By offering stringent data protection measures, health care providers can create an environment where patients feel in command of their health information,” the report reads in part.

This article was initially published by our sister publication, Medical Economics®.

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