Americans willing to trade personal data for better health, retail and banking services


Health insurers have made the maze of health benefits so confusing, new research shows that Americans are willing to give up a surprising amount of personal data in an effort to get a clear picture on what their health insurance actually covers, they are also willing to extend data sharing to doctors, retailers and bankers as long as the trade offs are clear. Many of these consumers are digitally savvy too, but health care companies themselves may be missing an opportunity when it comes to getting them covered.

A new survey from Infosys polled 5,000 digitally savvy consumers in five countries (including 1,000 in United States) asking about how they trade private data in the retail, banking, and healthcare sectors. The study shows the key challenge facing business is to navigate the complex behaviors consumers display when sharing their personal information.

Findings in the survey show that 77% of consumers are willing to offer personal medical data online, especially if it can be done inside an application. And most (98%) of them want to see doctors armed with electronic medical records.

Online methods for collecting and transmitting health data still lag behind retail and banking sectors, despite the high percentage (77%) of consumers who say they would be comfortable with providing medical data online. This could be a missed opportunity for health care providers still managing primarily paper based and in-person business processes.

As with retail and banking, the critical factors for consumers are security and privacy of their data. Respondents said they would be comfortable with practices like data mining, if it leads to better security. They also said that many online marketing plans miss the mark in terms of targeting, which could point to further support for more and better data mining of consumer information.

“This study is a wake-up call to companies about the enormous untapped opportunity to gain greater access to data by clearly communicating ‘what’s in it for me’ to the customer. Our research shows that people will certainly share though they’re very savvy about how they give up their personal information. Companies need to crack the code in mining data effectively to gain consumer trust and clearly articulate the benefit to their customers,” said Stephen Pratt , Managing Partner, Worldwide Consulting and Systems Integration and Executive Council Member at Infosys.