Almost two-thirds of Australians want their healthcare records to be shared more effectively across healthcare providers but only 38 per cent would consider signing up to a secure online summary of their health information, a new study has found.

As the Australian Digital Health Agency moves towards this year’s creation of a My Health Record for every Australian who doesn’t opt-out, the research into digital technology in healthcare commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline shows that 51 per cent are concerned about the privacy of their online personal information.

“Their hesitation towards embracing electronic health records is largely due to uncertainty around the privacy of data, how securely patient records are stored and even patient attitudes toward the government or EHR provider,” Director of Healthcare Environment at GSK David Herd told Healthcare IT News Australia.

“Privacy and security are, of course, non-negotiable when it comes to patient health data.”

According to the survey, despite the Federal Government committing $374.2 million over two years to the MHR opt-out roll-out, over 60 per cent of Australians would not consider opting in to a secure online health record platform. This is despite 57 per cent of respondents claiming they want improved sharing of their healthcare records between health providers.

It’s a disconnect that will take careful communicating by the government and healthcare industry to address.

“It is the responsibility of both government and healthcare providers accessing the records to ensure this roll-out is managed carefully, and in a way that gives privacy and security of data a non-negotiable first priority,” Herd said.

“Trust is very important in this process, and one way the Australian government and healthcare providers can achieve this trust is by being transparent, ensuring at every step that Australians are aware of where their data is being held and who is accessing it.

“Both government and healthcare providers can help build trust with Australians through placing value on ethical conduct and transparency. It is also important for Australians to understand the benefits of shared health records. This will be achieved through increased education around EHRs.”

The research also found that almost a third of Australians are concerned about the increasing role of artificial intelligence in healthcare decision-making, while 31 per cent worry that technology will reduce personal contact with practitioners.

Regardless of concerns around data security and diminishing clinician contact, almost three quarters of Australians reported using technologies such as apps and wearables in the management of their health.

 

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