UK Citizens Want Greater Control Over Their Digital Health Data
A Digital Health Survey has revealed that UK citizens are increasingly more receptive towards digital healthcare, but want greater transparency over how their data is used.
Patients in Scotland want greater transparency in healthcare, a more positive perception of digital health, and increased levels of trust in healthcare professionals who handle their data.
These are the findings of an annual report by digital transformation consultancy Storm ID, which examined consumer attitudes toward digital health.
Storm ID’s survey, which questioned 500 people, highlighted that individuals with long-term conditions, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and diabetes, are more willing and able to track their own health using new technology, a trend that is expected to grow in the coming year.
The findings also revealed a distinct correlation between those that own a wearable and have long-term conditions. 35- to 54-year-olds are the most likely group to own a wearable, such as a smartwatch, and have more long-term conditions than any other age group.
Tracking health metrics such as weight, heart rate, blood pressure, activity and consumption is also set to increase over the coming 12 months.
Tracking of blood pressure is set to rise the most by 73%, while monitoring of weight is due to increase by 46%. Tracking of heart rate via a wearable device is also predicted to rise over the next year by 18%.
Public More Willing to Share Data for Improved Care
According to the results, trust in healthcare professionals has improved significantly over the past year. Those who would share their health data with a professional to improve quality of care has increased by 98%.
However, despite this growth people still want more control over their data in terms of who is accessing it and how it is used. 35- to 44-year-olds are a little more hesitant, but 22% would still agree to share their data.
There has also been a marked increase in the number of people who want to be told what health data has been collected about them.
The number that agrees strongly that they should be informed increased 74% over the past year. Nobody strongly disagreed – an 11% drop from last year.
A Call for Greater Control Over Data Use
Along with this improvement in trust has come an increase in the number of people who believe they should be in control of who can access their health data, with those who agree increasing by 52% and those who disagree falling by 94%.
GPs remain the most trusted physician with almost all respondents comfortable with sharing their health data with them, but surgeons have shown the greatest improvement year-on-year of 103%.
This is closely followed by nurses and researchers, who have both increased by 100%. Trust in researchers remains the lowest overall, though.
Similarly, people are more willing to embrace machine learning in healthcare, as nearly half of all respondents would be comfortable sharing their health data with AI to improve the quality of their care. The younger generation is more open to this with 77% of 18- to 34-year-olds agreeing to share their data with AI.