Table 2

Consumers’ Preferences for Storing and Sharing Health Information

PreferenceNo. (%)a
Methods for storing and sharing health information with which respondents were comfortableb
 On an editable and readable portable device (n = 169)140 (83)
 At different locations and shared over a secure connection (n = 165)131 (79)
 On a single, central database and shared over a secure connection with the use of a password (n = 162)110 (68)
Interest in automatic storage of medical information in a database (n=165)c
 Yes111 (67)
 No54 (33)
If not interested in automatic storage, preferences for restricting electronic storage of health information in a database (n = 54)b,c
 Determine which clinicians send information that will be included45 (83)
 Determine what types of medical information are included (test results, medication information, etc)49 (91)
 Determine which health care visits will be included (outpatient visit, emergency department visit, hospital stays, etc)46 (85)
 Approve every piece of information42 (78)
Parties most trusted to regulate the privacy and security of the database (n=152)c
 Office practice or physicians organization76 (50)
 Other31 (18)
 Health plan24 (16)
 Hospitals11 (7)
 Government10 (7)
Length of time physician should be able to access health information through HIE after permission has been given by the patient (n = 167)c:
 One week after patient’s visit with physician39 (23)
 One year after permission is given27 (16)
 Continuous access until permission is taken away94 (56)
 Indefinite access7 (4)
Parties that should be able to view health information in the case of a medical emergency when permission cannot be obtained (n = 168)b,c
 Designated family member or friends156 (93)
 Primary care doctor158 (93)
 Other doctors or clinicians (in emergency department or hospital, etc)138 (82)
 No one should access my health information without my permission even in a medical emergency21 (13)
  • a Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding and numbers may not sum to 170 because of missing responses. Actual denominators indicated in parentheses after row entries.

  • b Respondents were to asked to select all options that applied.

  • c Respondents were asked to consider a system where their medical information from different health care visits and clinicians is stored on a central electronic database that their doctors can access (health information exchange, HIE) with their permission.