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Patients want access to online medical data: Survey

More than three-quarters of Singapore's patients with chronic health conditions believe they have the right to access their medical records, but many do not know how to, according to Accenture.

SINGAPORE: Patients with chronic conditions here want access to their online healthcare information, and this outweighs any privacy risks they may face, according to Accenture.

The consultancy organisation released the findings on Wednesday (June 11), and found that 76 per cent of Singaporeans polled with chronic health conditions believe they should have the right to access their medical data. About half, or 51 per cent, stated that access to the information online outweighed privacy risks, it said.

In fact, chronic patients were slightly less concerned about the privacy of their electronic medical records (74 percent) than they were about other personal information that is stored digitally, such as online banking (78 percent), in-store credit card use (76 percent) and online shopping (76 percent), the survey said.

The Accenture report surveyed 300 Singaporeans with chronic conditions ranging from cancer and heart disease to asthma and arthritis, and it was conducted online between Feb 21 and March 16 of this year. The local data is part of a wider Patient Engagement Survey which polled 10,730 individuals from 10 countries.

The top barrier for these patients to access their online medical records, however, is knowing how to do it. More than two-thirds, or 69 per cent, of the patients polled indicated the lack of know-how to get to their health data, Accenture noted.

Accenture's ASEAN health business lead, Ms Corissa Leung, said the findings noted the healthcare industry would eventually need to "adapt to a new generation of individuals who are taking a more proactive role in managing their health and expect to have transparency".

Said Ms Leung: "As consumers continue to demand more access to their personal data online, we expect that patients will gain more power to manage some aspects of their own care. This will not only make healthcare more effective but also more sustainable, as consumers doing more for themselves will free up the system to be more productive.”

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