Support for Electronic Health Information Varies with Use

Support for Electronic Health Information
Support for Electronic Health Information

(HealthDay News) — Consent and purpose are important for public support of secondary uses of electronic health information, according to a study published in the December 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

David Grande, MD, MPA, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a nationally representative survey involving 3,064 African-American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic whites to examine public support for secondary uses of electronic health information under different consent arrangements. The perceptions of uses of electronic health information were assessed according to patient consent, use (research vs. marketing), and framing of the findings (abstract description vs. specific results).

The researchers found that the mean ratings of appropriateness of health information use varied from a low of 3.81 for marketing use when consent was not obtained and specific results were presented to a high of 7.06 for research use when consent was obtained and specific results were presented. Scenarios in which consent was obtained were rated as more appropriate than those in which consent was not obtained (difference, 1.01; P<0.001). Scenarios in which the use was marketing were rated as less appropriate than those in which the use was research (difference, −2.03; P<0.001). The respondents rated unconsented research as more appropriate than consented marketing (difference, 1.13).

"Although approaches to health information sharing emphasize consent, public opinion also emphasizes purpose, which suggests a need to focus more attention on the social value of information use," the authors write.

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