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Microsoft Asia senior director of health and social services Gabe Rijpma. Photo/Supplied

Understanding Consumer Trust in Digital Services in Asia Pacific, conducted by IDC for Microsoft, revealed that 68 per cent of New Zealanders trust their healthcare organisations to keep their data secure online and use it ethically.

Healthcare organisations ranked second in the study behind financial institutions (71 per cent).

However, Microsoft Asia senior director of health and social services Gabe Rijpma said this trust comes with a big responsibility.

“I think the study highlights the incredible trust New Zealanders place on their doctors and their medical professionals as a whole.

“This bodes very, very well for the healthcare sector.”

The study found that in an era where the healthcare sector is rapidly digitising and investing in AI, building trust is important.

More than half of respondents would replace the provider they are using and switch to another organisation if they experienced issues such as a lack of reliability or breach of privacy or security.

Almost a quarter would actively dissuade others from using the service.

Rijpma said to maintain this trust the government, DHBs and other healthcare providers need to invest in systems that ensure data and personal information is protected in an industry that is increasingly relying on online communication and digital record keeping.

“We are on a journey for digital health and it requires the whole system to both understand the importance of this to consumers while at the same time reducing and managing risk.”

People expect to be able to open up to healthcare providers and for their information to be confidential and remain private.

“When you look at the amount of trust that patients have as a whole in health care it is important to invest in those tools.”

Digitisation of the industry is beneficial because correct information can be stored privately and shared between relevant institutions, however, funding needs to go into ensuring this, he said.

“The industry has to pay close attention to building and designing systems that meet those trust obligations…in a deficit world that’s often hard for the DHBs to do.”

They need to realise the importance of it, have a strong focus in risk and invest in it.

The industry seems to be receptive of this and healthcare professionals have been meeting in a number of conferences and workshops with the aim of moving health forward, he said.

The study was conducted to understand consumers’ expectations of trust, uncover their experiences with digital services and provide tangible insights to organisations to help them earn and sustain the trust of consumers in the digital world.

Only six per cent of consumers would favour an organisation that offers a cheaper but less trusted digital platform above a more reliable one.

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