A new survey has revealed that the mass majority of NHS staff are not comfortable with the idea of “big tech” companies such as Facebook and Apple analysing their patient data.
The YouGov poll discovered that just 12% of healthcare professionals felt comfortable with the companies analysing their anonymised patient data, despite 81% thinking that general analysis of such data would help enable quicker diagnosis and more effective treatment.
Specifically, the survey participants mentioned that they were not comfortable with “big tech” companies that pay little tax, with just 17% saying that they would trust the companies to handle the data in a “confidential manner.”
Despite the majority of the 1,027 staff surveyed having “a good grasp of the benefits that can be achieved for patients by the effective use of patient data”, Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association said that “It is important that full information should be available to patients both about the benefits of sharing their data and the methods used to store it, share it and keep it secure.”
She went on to confirm that “Patients and the public must feel confident that their data will be used appropriately and kept secure.”
Despite showing the scepticism within the industry, the poll results also demonstrate the scale of opportunity - with 73% saying they would recommend that their patients use data-driven technology if it could help them better manager their condition. The technology is evidently harder to put in to practice, as just 36% say their patients are currently making use of such digital products, including diabetes management systems and health-tracking wearable devices.
Further statistics from the poll found that more than half of healthcare professionals (53%) believe that analysis of patient data could help reduce the workload of doctors and nurses, and a further 58% say greater use of data-driven technology could lead to reduced cost for the NHS.