Survey: People trust their smartphones more than hospitals with their personal data

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Photo: HP Samsung Terbaru via Flickr

Nearly half of consumers believe their personal health information is more secure on their personal electronic devices – smartphones, laptops and tablets – than it is on their health care providers’ computer systems.

This high level of mistrust in health entities’ handling of personal data is among the findings of a recent survey of 1,000 consumers by the cybersecurity firm Morphisec. Benjamin Harris of HealthcareITNews reported on the survey.

Additionally, more than half (54%) of consumers surveyed said they don’t know if their health care provider has been the target of a cyberattack – despite a HIPAA rule requiring hospitals, insurance companies and providers to notify patients when their information has been compromised.

The survey indicates that health care institutions can do more to safeguard patient information and assure the public at a time when the threat level of cyberattacks is rising.

Among the other findings in the report:

  • Patient portal use jumped to 42% in 2019 from 28% in 2018.
  • Over half of consumers said they play a role alongside their provider in protecting shared health information. Nearly 80% of consumers said they are not prepared to handle threats to health data on their own.
  • Consumers are more fearful of a health data breach (59%) than hackers gaining access to an internet-connected medical device (41%).
  • Consumers believe the web (24%) and endpoint defenses (21%) are providers’ weakest links in protecting their data.

For more on covering health care cybersecurity, see our tip sheet.

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