Interest in Health Avatar, survey says

'Health Avatar' to enable access to health data
By Dillan Yogendra
09:56 AM

The EU-funded MyHealthAvatar project is currently trialing a digital representation of personal health status, designed as a lifetime companion (Avatar). Your Health Avatar will facilitate the collection of, and access to, long-term health information. The aim being to empower patients, and this should be valuable for healthcare decisions and promising for health research overall.

To move their work forward, the project experts needed to know whether there was public interest and so they launched a survey. The survey was presented online for just two months during 2013. Nevertheless, the project experts managed to collect 270 responses in total.

Most (71%) survey respondents said they were aware of electronic health records (EHRs). But more than 85% was not using any personal health records. Of those, two out of three reported their interest in a new, secure, advanced and personal health platform that lets you gather, store, analyze, and visualize health information online – as is the ultimate goal of the MyHealthAvatar project.

Approximately 80% were interested in the possibility to ‘enter, import, store, and export personal medical data', 'schedule and coordinate medical appointments', and 'find personalized information about the diseases, drugs, vitamins, food, etc.'

However not many respondents were prepared to share their personal Avatar with others. Although 77% would share with their doctor, three out of four were 'very uninterested' and/or 'unsure' about the function of sharing information with other Avatars or researchers (e.g. for clinical trials).

A vast majority of respondents (nearly 80%), however, were interested in 'entering, importing, storing and exporting' their Avatar medication list and their Avatar laboratory results.

Privacy was certainly a big worry for the respondents, with more than 80% seeing moderate or high risks in the security and privacy of the MyHealthAvatar platform. Most respondents (about 90%) wanted to know who would have access to their Avatar and would want to track who accessed it. Sixty-nine percent reported that they would access their Avatar via smart phone.

"One of the top conclusions of the survey is the high interest of all respondents in the MyHealthAvatar platform", said project coordinator Professor Feng Dong. "We are very proud to conclude that almost all received comments were positive and related to good wishes for our further project activities."


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