More cyber news: Records’ privacy concerns patients

Where are you on the information superhighway?

There’s little doubt that Americans are commuting daily on the information superhighway. For case managers, the commute presents both opportunities and threats for themselves and their patients.

For example, a recent survey conducted for the California HealthCare Foundation in Oakland found that Americans trust their doctors and hospitals with confidential medical information, but they fear disclosure when that information is handled and stored by private health insurance plans. Computerization and electronic transfer of medical records were seen as the most serious threats to medical privacy by the 2,100 consumers surveyed.

Other findings include the following:

    • 54% of respondents said they believe the shift from paper record keeping to computer-based systems makes it more difficult to keep medical information confidential.
    • 55% said they worry more about computer hackers breaking into electronic medical records.
    • 30% said they worry about authorized users leaking private medical information.

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An unrelated survey on Internet use by health care managers conducted recently by Cut to the Chase, a health care management information firm in Watertown, MA, found that when it comes to racing down the superhighway, managers in acute care settings are way out in front.

Asked about their Internet access at work, only 37% of managers in long-term or subacute care reported having access, compared with 76% of their colleagues in acute care settings. Other findings include:

    • 73% of managers in medical practice groups reported having Internet access at work, compared with 57% of managers in home health.

    • 43% of home health managers and 60% of long-term and subacute care managers report having Internet access at home only.

For more details on the Internet study, visit the company’s Web site at www.cuttothechase.com. Or call (617) 926-3177.