Behavioral Health Professionals' Perceptions on Patient-Controlled Granular Information Sharing (Part 2): Focus Group Study

Julia Ivanova, Tianyu Tang, Nassim Idouraine, Anita Murcko, Mary Jo Whitfield, Christy Dye, Darwyn Chern, Adela Grando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Patient-directed selection and sharing of health information “granules” is known as granular information sharing. In a previous study, patients with behavioral health conditions categorized their own health information into sensitive categories (eg, mental health) and chose the health professionals (eg, pharmacists) who should have access to those records. Little is known about behavioral health professionals' perspectives of patient-controlled granular information sharing (PC-GIS). Objective: This study aimed to assess behavioral health professionals' (1) understanding of and opinions about PC-GIS; (2) accuracy in assessing redacted medical information; (3) reactions to patient rationale for health data categorization, assignment of sensitivity, and sharing choices; and (4) recommendations to improve PC-GIS. Methods: Four 2-hour focus groups and pre- and postsurveys were conducted at 2 facilities. During the focus groups, outcomes from a previous study on patients' choices for medical record sharing were discussed. Thematic analysis was applied to focus group transcripts to address study objectives. Results: A total of 28 health professionals were recruited. Over half (14/25, 56%) were unaware or provided incorrect definitions of granular information sharing. After PC-GIS was explained, all professionals demonstrated understanding of the terminology and process. Most (26/32 codes, 81%) recognized that key medical data had been redacted from the study case. A majority (41/62 codes, 66%) found the patient rationale for categorization and data sharing choices to be unclear. Finally, education and other approaches to inform and engage patients in granular information sharing were recommended. Conclusions: This study provides detailed insights from behavioral health professionals on granular information sharing. Outcomes will inform the development, deployment, and evaluation of an electronic consent tool for granular health data sharing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere18792
JournalJMIR Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • behavioral health
  • electronic consent tool
  • electronic health record
  • granular information
  • integrated health care
  • patient information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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