Survey: Only 44% of Patients Trust Healthcare Providers to Safeguard PII

Transparency in how patient information is stored is one way healthcare providers can maintain patient trust, the new report says.

Survey: Only 44% of Patients Trust Healthcare Providers to Safeguard PII

(Photo: Piscine26, Adobe Stock)

Most patients (56%) don’t trust healthcare providers at private practices to protect payment and personally identifiable information (PII), according to a recent survey.

The survey, commissioned by Semafone and conducted by Dynata, also found rates were even lower for large hospital networks, with only 33% of surveyed patients saying they believe their information is safeguarded. Additionally, 66% said they would leave their healthcare provider if their payment information or PII was compromised in a data breach caused by poor security measures, and 90% believe healthcare providers should face financial penalties for not having proper protections in place.

Another recent survey from Armis found 49% of potential patients said they would change hospitals if their healthcare organization was hit by a ransomware attack, and 37% are concerned about hospitals using online portals for patient information.  

A third 2021 survey from Accenture found more than 80% of healthcare executives said the pace of digital transformation in their organization is accelerating, and 93% said they are innovating with a sense of urgency. The report also found that rather than implementing these changes over the course of a decade, more organizations are compressing digital transformation initiatives into two or three-year processes, leaving more room for error.

The Armis survey also found 85% of healthcare IT professionals agree they have seen an increase in cyber risk over the past 12 months, and 52% are most concerned about data breaches resulting in loss of confidential patient information.

Due to these findings, Semafone’s report stresses the need for security and privacy assurances for patients in order to improve the patient experience as healthcare facilities continue to adopt digital technologies at a rapid rate.

Semafone’s survey also found the pandemic has shifted how consumers pay medical bills, determining there has been a 28% decrease in in-person payments and a 17% decrease in mail payments. There was also a 15% increase in payments through online provider systems, a 23% increase in payment via mobile apps, and an 8% increase in paying via phone.  

“When discussing patient protection, payment security must be viewed as an equally important element alongside HIPPA and HITRUST to meet and exceed patients’ expectations,” the report says. “As billing becomes increasingly digital, having solutions in place that support payment compliance regulations, like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), in accordance with privacy measures put in place to protect other sensitive data, is imperative to implementing secure frameworks.”

To maintain patient trust, the survey results determined transparency is crucial. More than 75% of respondents said they feel confident that healthcare providers do a good job of disclosing how they keep payment information secure, but more than 50% admit they did not know where that data was stored.

“As a patient, understanding where and how personal and payment information is stored is important to protect against potential fraud and breaches, in addition to building trust that providers comply with HIPPA and other compliance regulations,” states the report. “Given the large number unaware of where their data is stored, providers have an opportunity to increase education and communication with patients to, in turn, improve the experience and overall sentiment toward the providers for the future.”

About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law, and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her 2 children and her dog.

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