Americans have multiple numbers at their fingertips, but some of the numbers that could be most important to their health are not among them. New research by Quest Diagnostics shows that a majority of adults don’t know vital health information for them or their family members, but nearly all would like to be able to access their health information online.
Results from the “Know Your Numbers” survey show that more people remember their social media log-ins, current bank balances, Wi-Fi-passwords and even the security code on the back of their credit card than they do important personal health data, including their blood type and cholesterol and blood sugar levels. And, while 82% of adults say that they or a family member had a lab test in the past year, about one in three don’t keep their or their child’s lab results or don’t know where they are. Among the Key Findings:
- Nearly all (94%) Americans know their Social Security number, while around three in four know their social media passwords (80%), the current balance in their financial accounts (75%) or Wi-Fi passwords (74%).
- A substantial gap emerges in the knowledge of key medical information. Fewer than three in five (57%) Americans know their blood type – something they are just as likely to recall as their childhood phone number (55%).
- And fewer than two in five know their cholesterol (38%) or blood sugar (A1C) (33%) levels.
- The percent of African Americans who don’t know these numbers is even higher (71% and 77% respectively). This is particularly concerning given that this population is at high risk for heart disease and diabetes.
- 40% say that they either don’t have or are not sure if they have access to their lab test results online, and nearly 20% admit that in the past year a health professional has requested their lab results, but they didn’t have them available.
- The vast majority of respondents (87%) recognize there are good reasons to have access to health information online, especially in case of emergencies.
- Despite that fact, nearly one in three keep their lab results in a file cabinet at home. Surprisingly, that is also the case for millennials (aged 20-37) who are known for their highly web-connected lives.
- In addition to emergencies, nearly half (47%) of adults would like access to their health information online to make better decisions for themselves and their loved ones.