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Survey shows privacy concerns are high
Most Americans are unwilling to store or transmit personal health information over the Internet, according to a Gallup survey commissioned by MedicAlert Foundation, an emergency medical information service located in Turlock, CA.
This survey of the general public underscores the growing concerns about personal privacy in America, finding that the public at large is even more wary than Internet users of on-line privacy violations of personal health information.
In the national Gallup survey, 77% of all respondents said the privacy of their personal health information was very important, and 84% of all respondents said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned that personal health information might be made available to others without their consent.
As a result of privacy concerns, only 7% of respondents said they were very willing to store or transmit personal health information on the Internet, and only 8% felt a Web site could be trusted with such information. In contrast, 90% said they would trust their doctor to keep their personal health information private and secure, and 66% said they would trust a hospital to do the same. Forty-two percent said they would trust an insurance company and 35% would trust a managed care company.
"It appears that the further medical information gets from health professionals, the less confidence individuals have in its security," says Tanya Glazebrook, president and chief executive officer of MedicAlert Foundation. "Beyond the many legitimate concerns about its privacy, the Internet also may be perceived as impersonal. Without a real person to connect to, it’s hard to trust a Web site with appropriate use of personal information."
The survey results were based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 1,000 adult men and women, age 18 and over.