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A majority of patients would share their data for healthcare research

Healthcare organizations searching for ways to improve the business aspect of their daily operations would be wise to keep an eye on future studies from healthcare researchers. Slightly more than half (53%) of patients said they would be willing to anonymously share their health data with researchers. Of those 53%, 96% would approve of their data being used to reduce healthcare costs.

The costs of treating diseases, identifying safety issues and how to spend national dollars were other prime reasons that respondents approved of sharing their data. The figures derive from the responses of 3,010 survey participants who took party in a Truven Health Analytics — NPR health poll on data privacy.

More than 60% of those younger than age 35 responded positively to sharing their health data, compared to 43.1% of subjects 65 or older. Of those that fell in between those two age groups, 52.6% said they’d be comfortable with their anonymized data being used for research purposes.

The Truven Health – NPR poll asked positive respondents to share which research groups they would likely share information with. Government researchers topped the list at 92%, while consultants, university professors and drug researchers all came in at just below 90%.

In the first half of their data privacy poll released last November, the two groups asked patients a similar question about anonymously sharing their data — and received a markedly different result. More than two-thirds (67.6%) of all respondents said they would be willing to share their health data, with more than 60% of people in all three age groups sharing that sentiment. Enthusiasm for researchers having access to their anonymous health data was highest among those under age 35, with 74.7% of that group giving their approval. The November survey was given to approximately the same number of people as the more recent edition and it’s not immediately apparent why there’s a sizable gap between the two polls.