In my post on gun control and schools, I asserted that “I worry that reducing privacy around mental health care is going to deter people who need health care from getting it.”
However, I didn’t offer up any evidence for that claim. So I’d like to follow up with some details from a report that talks about this in great detail, “The Case for Informed Consent” by Patient Privacy Rights.
So let me quote two related numbers from that report.
First, between 13 and 17% of Americans admit in surveys to hiding health information in the current system. That’s probably a lower-bound, as we can expect some of the privacy sensitive population will decline to be surveyed, and some fraction of those who are surveyed may hide their information hiding. (It’s information-hiding all the way down.)
Secondly, 1 in 8 Americans (12.5%) put their health at risk because of privacy concerns, including avoiding their regular doctor, asking their doctor to record a different diagnosis, or avoiding tests.
I’ll also note that these numbers relate to general health care, and the numbers may be higher for often-stigmatized mental health issues.