Public supportive of medical informatics systems despite privacy concerns

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According to a new report commissioned by the National Partnership for Women & Families, despite widespread support for medical informatics technology, many patients remain concerned about the security of their health data, reports Information Week.

Almost 2,000 adults were polled as part of the survey. Of that figure, 59 percent said their physicians maintained their medical records in a clinical informatics system. The security of their medical histories remained a concern for many patients, despite generally positive perceptions of the benefits of healthcare IT such as clinical informatics solutions.

Of the participants whose physicians used medical informatics systems, only 26 percent had access to their own patient health information via the internet. However, within this group, trust in the security of medical informatics technology was more favorable. Additionally, 82 percent of individuals who had online access to their medical records said that clinical informatics systems had a measurable impact on the quality of care they had received.

Other key findings of the report indicated that 75 percent of individuals whose doctors still used paper-based records wanted them to transition to medical informatics technology. Somewhat surprising was the perceived benefits of doing so. Of the individuals who wanted their physician to digitize their medical records, 41 percent said that migrating to clinical informatics technology would have no discernible impact on their quality of care. An additional 10 percent thought that doing so would have a negative impact on patient care.

According to The New York Times, as the adoption of medical informatics systems becomes more widespread, so too could the danger of data breaches. However, the risk of illegal access to patient health information is not solely restricted to clinical informatics networks. The news source reports that many instances of unauthorized access to sensitive medical data is the result of theft of hardware such as mobile devices and laptops.