British Columbians Would Share Depersonalized Health Care Data

A large majority of British Columbians are willing to share their “depersonalized” health care data with medical professionals, and expect this move to have a positive effect on the health care system as a whole, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 800 British Columbian adults, four-in-five respondents (80%) support allowing researchers and health care professionals to have access to their “depersonalized” health care data, knowing that their privacy is guaranteed.

Most British Columbians think that providing access to “depersonalized” health care data to researchers and health care professionals will allow them to improve health care treatments (77%), find cures for diseases (70%), save the health care system money (66%) and create new jobs (58%).

In addition, 80 per cent of British Columbians say they would be “very comfortable” or “moderately comfortable” giving researchers and health care professionals more access to their health care data for research purposes, knowing that the data is “depersonalized” and cannot be linked to them as individuals.

Also, most British Columbians agree that the provincial government should allow researchers and health care professionals to have access to “depersonalized” health care data (77%) and that researchers working for private companies to seek better drugs and treatments should be given controlled access to “depersonalized” health care data (59%).

The findings of this survey are being released in advance of The Data Effect, a project by CityAge Media Inc. featuring decision makers in government, research institutions, and other leading thinkers, to unlock the opportunity of British Columbia’s comprehensive database of health and demographic information.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From May 30 to May 31, 2012, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 800 randomly selected British Columbia adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.5%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of British Columbia. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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