Health IT

Believe it! Patients will share info on the toilet to get healthier

More than three-quarters of some 12,000 people from eight countries said in a new survey that they’d be willing to share health information anonymously to reduce healthcare costs and improve treatments. Market research firm Penn Schoen Berland  conducted online surveys in Brazil, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and the U.S. this summer on behalf […]

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More than three-quarters of some 12,000 people from eight countries said in a new survey that they’d be willing to share health information anonymously to reduce healthcare costs and improve treatments.

Market research firm Penn Schoen Berland  conducted online surveys in Brazil, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and the U.S. this summer on behalf of Intel to gauge attitudes on healthcare technology and innovation.

The results are, frankly, a little surprising.

According to Intel, a whopping 84 percent of respondents said they would anonymously share blood pressure readings, basic lab tests or other vitals. Seven in 10 apparently would even share information collected from a “smart toilet” or from a swallowable sensor to track internal organ health.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, as similar surveys from other industries have suggested that people are warming up to sharing their information in exchange for better-tailored services. But given the controversy surrounding data privacy that’s come into focus in recent months and the fact that health is so personal, I wonder how representative those numbers are.

One of the most interesting findings from the survey is that more than half of respondents agreed that “traditional hospitals will be obsolete in the future.” A majority also said that technology innovation – more than increasing the number of physicians or devoting more funding to research – holds the promise for curing fatal diseases. That’s interesting because I’ve heard several industry leaders mention the over-emphasis on technology innovation in healthcare at the price of spending less effort addressing other barriers.

Some more interesting findings:

  • 66 percent would prefer a personalized healthcare regimen based on their genetic profile or biology
  • A majority would trust a test they administered themself as much or more than one administered by a doctor
  • More people said they would anonymously share health records than banking or phone records.

As a note, keep in mind that all of the respondents were at least tech-savvy enough to log online and take the survey.

[Infographic: Intel]

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