Aug 15, 2020 - Health

Patients grow more open with their health data during pandemic

An illustration of a camera with a red cross over the lens

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are more willing in the wake of the coronavirus to share their medical data in order to take advantage of the benefits of telemedicine.

Why it matters: For telemedicine to succeed, patients have to be open to sharing possibly sensitive personal health information online — and the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic seem to have helped lower that bar.

What's happening: A new survey released by Deloitte this week examined health care consumers attitudes toward virtual medicine, both before and during the pandemic.

  • Deloitte found that consumers using virtual doctors visits rose from 15% in 2019 to 28% in April 2020, mirroring a massive increase in the use of telemedicine during the early months of the pandemic lockdown.

Details: The most notable result was consumers' increased willingness to share their health data — a reversal of the skepticism that had been growing before the pandemic.

  • 71% of consumers said they would share personal heath data with a health insurer, up from 65% before the pandemic.
"There's an increasing awareness among consumers that if they share data, they can get more value and more insights from it."
— David Betts, principal in Deloitte's Life Sciences and Health Care practice

The bottom line: If virtual health care shows that it can directly benefit health care consumers — as it largely has during the pandemic — data privacy worries may recede.

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