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Medicine Privacy

Hospitals Begin Data-Mining Patients 162

schwit1 (797399) sends word of a new and exciting use for all of the data various entities are collecting about you. From the article: You may soon get a call from your doctor if you've let your gym membership lapse, made a habit of ordering out for pizza or begin shopping at plus-sized stores. That's because some hospitals are starting to use detailed consumer data to create profiles on current and potential patients to identify those most likely to get sick, so the hospitals can intervene before they do. Acxiom Corp. (ACXM) and LexisNexis are two of the largest data brokers who collect such information on individuals. They say their data are supposed to be used only for marketing, not for medical purposes or to be included in medical records. While both sell to health insurers, they said it's to help those companies offer better services to members.
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Hospitals Begin Data-Mining Patients

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  • by robstout ( 2873439 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:35AM (#47323725)
    I'm alright with my doctor having this information, in theory, but I really don't trust the insurance companies with this. "So, I see that you like taco bell. We're raising your rates."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:35AM (#47323727)

    If we criminalized collection of data without specific field level consent, we could end this invasion of privacy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:36AM (#47323735)

    ...and so I can tell that by "better services", they mean "withdraw coverage or raise the insurance premium the millisecond your risk increases".

  • Re:HIPAA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:41AM (#47323799)

    You have it backwards.

    The hospital is taking marketing data and using it for pseudo healthcare related reasons.

    They aren't giving Taco Bell your health data from the hospital, they are giving the hospital your Taco Bell receipts.

    The hospital then uses this to figure out new ways to rip you off for their already ridiculously over priced health services.

    (My wife is a doctor, I'm more than qualified to comment on how ridiculously over priced their rip off services are)

  • by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:48AM (#47323861) Homepage

    We could start by requiring mandatory reporting to a central agency and then a way for that central agency to send a
    unsubscribe back to the data collector.

    A government website where you can log in and see any place your name, social, phone number, etc.. is being used
    and a way to opt-out would be great. I'm still getting mail from people who haven't lived in my house for 5+ years.

    I think the 2 big problems with this plan is:
    1) Do we really want another giant government program/website.
    2) Sometimes the information collected is incomplete. Sometimes they only have a phone number, sometimes only an
    address, maybe just an email, sometimes less than that. So you would need a secure way to verify a phone number,
    an address, and a social at a bare minimum.

    It does seem crazy that stuff gets out and there is no way to recall your information. I have facebook friends
    who are now dead and yet their page is still active, people can still post to them, etc...

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:50AM (#47323885)

    You can't allow for consent at all, if you do, every contract will simply require your consent in order for service to be rendered.

    The only way you stop data mining is to make it illegal, no exceptions. Its really no different than outlawing slavery. You can't allow someone to sign away their privacy or bodies to slavery otherwise they'll be duped, tricked or forced into a situation where they have to sign away those rights even if they don't want to.

    Want a bank loan? All banks will require you to allow them to mine your data or no loan, so you don't actually have a choice if you want a loan. But it'll just be extended to everything. Cell phone companies already do it. Power companies will start, and they'll add that you have to allow ANY and ALL of their affiliates to mine you as well ... and then everyone will become an affiliate of the power company.

    Nope, the only solution is to 100% outlaw data mining, which just isn't going to happen because the general public is basically too ignorant of the issue to care.

  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:52AM (#47323895)

    What frightens me is the idea that they could get the wrong information and give that to my doctor or insurance company. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, my car broke down. While it was in the shop, I was getting a ride to work with a co-worker. They stopped at Dunkin' Donuts every morning and got a coffee and a donut, and I would usually pay for it (along with their gas) in exchange for giving me a ride. This means my purchase history would show me buying a coffee and a donut every morning for around five days, even though I didn't actually consume either of them.

    With a system like this in place, I'm sure my insurance company would see that and go "He's buying donuts, raise the premiums!" even though the donut I'm not consuming doesn't really effect me in any way.

  • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:58AM (#47323953) Journal

    Couple that with "eventually consistent" databases and you have a recipe for disaster.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:05AM (#47323999) Homepage

    We could start by requiring mandatory reporting to a central agency

    We can call it Big Brother. That's a nice name which implies someone looking out for your welfare, right?

    a way for that central agency to send a
    unsubscribe back to the data collector.

    Sorry, citizen, all information once collected can and will be used against you.

    In order to maximize corporate profits and governmental control, this information is vital to national interests.

  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @12:58PM (#47325695)
    Actually it has done pretty well. Experts are involved at all stages, it is not just blind pattern recognition, and the predictive power has been significantly better then random chance.

    So far the largest factor for readmission has been if their house as more then one floor and if they live alone.

BLISS is ignorance.