Lacking trust in security, privacy reduces patient trust in health IT

Privacy and security concerns are linked to reduced patient access of health records and trust in health information technology (HIT). Findings were published April 11 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

In this study, researchers examined the effectiveness of HIT by looking at information assurance issues such as privacy concerns and trust in health information.


“Today, the healthcare industry primarily relies on HITs such as electronic medical record (EMR) systems, patient health record (PHR) systems, and technical devices to deliver patient care services,” wrote first author Victoria Kisekka, PhD, and colleagues. “Despite the continued diffusion of HITs within the health care sector, there is no theory explaining how HIT success influences perceived patient care quality.”

The study included data from 3,677 cancer patients from a public dataset. Researchers examined the data for correlations between information assurance and attitudes toward health information exchange (HIE), patient access to health records and perceived patient care quality.

Results showed increased privacy concerns of HIT reduced the frequency patients accessed their health records, positive attitudes toward the HIE and perceptions of patient care quality. However, the belief in the effectiveness of security increased patient access to health records and positive attitudes toward HIE. Trust in health information also had a positive correlation with perceptions of HIE and care quality.

“Trust in health information and belief in the effectiveness of information security safeguards increases perceptions of patient care quality,” concluded Kisekka and colleagues. “Privacy concerns reduce patients’ frequency of accessing health records, patients’ positive attitudes toward HIE exchange, and overall perceived patient care quality. Health care organizations are encouraged to implement security safeguards to increase trust, the frequency of health record use, and reduce privacy concerns, consequently increasing patient care quality.”