Demographic Comparison of Information Security Behavior Toward Health Information System Protection: Survey Study

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Background: The health information system (HIS) functions are getting wider with more diverse users. Information security in the health industry is crucial because it involves comprehensive and strategic information that might harm human life. The human factor is one of the biggest security threats to HIS. Objective: This study aims to investigate the information security behavior (ISB) of HIS users using a comprehensive assessment scale suited to the information security concerns in health care. Patients are increasingly being asked to submit their own data into HIS systems. As a result, this study examines the security behavior of health workers and patients, as well as their demographic variables. Methods: We used a quantitative approach using surveys of health workers and patients. We created a research instrument from 4 existing measurement scales to measure prosecurity and antisecurity behavior. We analyzed statistical differences to test the hypotheses, that is, the Kruskal-Wallis test and the Mann-Whitney test. The descriptive analysis was used to determine whether the group exhibited exemplary behavior when processing the survey results. A correlational test using the Spearman correlation coefficient was performed to establish the significance of the relationship between ISB and age as well as level of education. Results: We analyzed 421 responses from the survey. According to demographic factors, the hypotheses tested for full and partial security behavior reveal substantial differences. Education levels most significantly affect security behavior differences, followed by user type, gender, and age. The health workers’ ISB is higher than that of the patients. Women are more likely than men to engage in prosecurity actions while avoiding antisecurity behaviors. The older the HIS user, the more likely it is that they will participate in prosecurity behavior and the less probable it is that they will engage in antisecurity behavior. According to this study, differences in prosecurity behavior are mostly impacted by education level. Higher education, on the other hand, does not guarantee improved ISB for HIS users. All demographic characteristics, particularly concerning user type, show discrepancies that are caused mainly by antisecurity behavior rather than prosecurity behavior. Conclusions: Since patients engage in antisecurity behavior more frequently than health workers and may pose security risks, health care facilities should start to consider information security education for patients. More comprehensive research on ISB in health care facilities is required to better understand the patient’s perspective, which is currently understudied.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere49439
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • behavioral research
  • health information system
  • human activities
  • information security
  • mobile security


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