According to a study printed in the  Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, patients are not forthcoming when it comes to revealing information to the doctor.  This stems from a fear of computer hacking and breaches of data security.


Health Information National Trends Survey

Thirteen percent of patients were found to keep information from doctors for privacy issues and this was usually when the medical facility/practice had implemented an electronic health record system. (EHR)

Celeste Campos-Castillo, PhD, one of the study’s lead authors points out that:

“When patients hold back information from their doctors, they may receive poorer care,”   An illustration of this is when “complete health records are necessary to identify appropriate treatment and help doctors and researchers identify patterns in the patients who have certain health conditions. We need to address anything that increases the likelihood that patients hold back information to improve the care people receive. Our research suggests that the perceived privacy and security risks of EHRs may be one such thing.”

Campos-Castillo recommends that providers address patient privacy concerns during the examination.

“Patients should discuss their concerns with clinicians, and clinicians should address privacy issues directly with patients, assuring them about the confidentiality of health information in EHRs,” she said. “It is important to recognize that what appear to be merely problems associated with EHRs can directly affect the relationship patients have with their doctors and the quality of care they receive.”


A recent RAND Health report found that many hospitals and clinics are not prepared for the health IT risks associated with EHRs.

Are you leery about having your health secrets divulged with your physicians?  Certainly by not doing so may alter your care.

What are your thoughts about this issue?  Share them in the comment box below.