A team of established researchers have investigated people’s willingness to share data in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and found that people with diabetes are more comfortable with sharing anonymised data rather than personally identifiable data.
Researchers launched a web-based survey to assess people’s attitudes towards sharing COVID-19 data. A total of 4,764 individuals responded to the survey, most of whom have at least one health condition, including type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
According to the results, more than 60 per cent of the respondents were comfortable sharing data that would benefit the health outcomes of others.
The findings also show that almost two-thirds of the participants would consent to sharing personal, sensitive health data with the government or a health authority organisation.
Conversely, more than a quarter of the respondents reported that they did not trust any organisation to protect their data.
In addition, the results show that 65 per cent of the participants had concerns around appropriate legislation that seeks to prevent data misuse and hold organisations accountable in the case of data misuse.
The authors stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic increased the availability and use of population and individual health data to optimise tracking and analysis of the spread of the virus.
“Many health care services have had to rapidly digitalise in order to maintain the continuity of care provision.”
They added: “Data collection and dissemination have provided critical support for defending against the spread of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic; however, little is known about public perceptions of and attitudes toward the use, privacy, and security of data.”
Charlotte Summers, lead author of the study said: “COVID-19 expedited the use of data to improve surveillance and monitoring across the world. In some cases, the use of data was unprecedented.
“We are delighted to have conducted a large-scale study of people with diabetes to understand their attitudes and concerns towards data sharing and data use.”
She concluded: “The results will help us ensure the use of data within our digital tools fits the exact needs, requirements and expectations of the users we seek to serve.”
To access the study, click here.
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