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Hospitals Begin Data-Mining Patients

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the records-indicate-you-don't-deserve-care dept.

Medicine 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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Doesn't give warm fuzzies (5, Insightful)

robstout (2873439) | about 4 months ago | (#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."

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323815)

I doubt they know what to actually do with this data other than tell you to exercise more and eat better.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

robstout (2873439) | about 4 months ago | (#47324223)

Or alternately, they see that you do exercise and eat well, then why are your cholesterol levels bad? At the very least, it's good to have that as a baseline.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324349)

I'm not sure that HDL=Good, LDL=Bad is correct. Epidemiology is much trickier than commonly conveyed. 0/52 replications of claims:

http://www.gwern.net/docs/dnb/2011-young.pdf

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (3, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47324719)

My doctor says it is more about the ratio between the two. You want to have a 6:1 ratio of HDL to LDL. Total amount of each isn't so important.

But that was a VA doctor, so maybe I'm just lucky to be alive. ;^)

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324757)

Yes, but your doctor's advice is based primarily on observational studies. I don't know anything about the cholesterol research in particular, but something like 95% of claims based on that type of evidence turn out later to be wrong or overblown.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 months ago | (#47323841)

You're wrong, you shouldn't trust your doctor AT ALL. Your life/health and privacy are far too important to do so.

Your doctor is no better of a person than anyone at the insurance company.

You need to understand that every single person at a hospital is also a person, not some mythical creature who actually cares about you.

99.9% of the doctors created today are just as scummy as anyone else. The age where doctors cared has not existed during my life time, if it ever did. The hippocratic oath is a joke at best, nothing more than lip service.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1, Flamebait)

sribe (304414) | about 4 months ago | (#47323997)

99.9% of the doctors created today are just as scummy as anyone else. The age where doctors cared has not existed during my life time, if it ever did. The hippocratic oath is a joke at best, nothing more than lip service.

You're so full of shit it's coming out of your mouth instead of your asshole.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324045)

The third leading cause of death in the US (since at least 2000) appears to be receiving healthcare, so I don't know if you can dismiss that as a troll so easily.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324151)

Using a weighted average of the 4 studies, a lower limit of 210,000 deaths per year was associated with preventable harm in hospitals. Given limitations in the search capability of the Global Trigger Tool and the incompleteness of medical records on which the Tool depends, the true number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to patients was estimated at more than 400,000 per year. Serious harm seems to be 10- to 20-fold more common than lethal harm.

http://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/Fulltext/2013/09000/A_New,_Evidence_based_Estimate_of_Patient_Harms.2.aspx

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

Sobrique (543255) | about 4 months ago | (#47324673)

Loads of people die in hospitals. Who knew? Dangerous places those hospitals.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324813)

These are people who died for reasons assessed as "preventable harm". If you have an actual problem with the way it was done (I am sure there are some/many), please share.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (4, Interesting)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 4 months ago | (#47324109)

Nurse Joke: "You know what you call the guy who graduated last in his class at medical school? Doctor."

Angie's List was created because separating the lousy doctors from the very few good ones is almost impossible. The AMA has lobbied successfully to make it illegal for a patient to find out the malpractice history of physicians.

If you're looking for a new doctor, the best thing you can do is talk to some local nurses. They know which ones are on the ball, and which ones are flat out dangerous.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324359)

If you're looking for a new doctor, the best thing you can do is talk to some local nurses. They know which ones are on the ball, and which ones are flat out dangerous.

Good tip, but how do I find a nurse that is honest and doesn't have an axe to grind?

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324405)

Good tip, but how do I find a nurse that is honest and doesn't have an axe to grind?

You have to first find someone who is honest and doesn't have an axe to grind to tell you that.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#47324455)

I don't know, but I do know every human source has a bias, and every non-human source for reviews can be gamed. You're never going to get an absolute truth about how good or bad a doctor, or even a burrito restaurant, is. Which isn't so terrible since even the best doctor in the world could make a mistake that kills you, and even the dumbest doctors can save your life.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324861)

The AMA has lobbied successfully to make it illegal for a patient to find out the malpractice history of physicians.

Seriously? The AMA has blocked all court records, lawsuits and newspapers? That just isn't true.

If you want to have an intelligent discussion about malpractice, at least stick to the facts.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324207)

Wait, how is he wrong? How are Doctors not just "as scummy as anyone else"? Of course they are. It would be very strange to see a study proving that "doctors are 20% less scummy than everyone else". Not going to happen. If your insurance company is populated by dicks, your boss is a dick, people at your HMO are dicks, the police are dicks, then your doctor is probably a dick too. Guess what? You are probably a dick as well - as am I. The GP is just pointing out that there is no magical person who cares a lot about you other than maybe your parents.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

robstout (2873439) | about 4 months ago | (#47324211)

If you don't trust your doctor, why do you go to him or her? They need access to sensitive information about you to properly diagnose issues, and to spot trends. Do you refuse to answer the questions they ask prior to every visit? Do you hold back family history of illness? Well then, good luck on catching something before it kills you.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 4 months ago | (#47324611)

Thank you for that medically astute observation Dr sribe.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (3, Funny)

ichthus (72442) | about 4 months ago | (#47324675)

You're so full of shit it's coming out of your mouth...

No, you're full of shit. And, to prove it, I'll now provide exactly twice as much evidence as you did to the contrary:


...

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (4, Interesting)

digitalchinky (650880) | about 4 months ago | (#47324073)

I write medical imaging software, surounded by dozens of doctors every day that are not just out of earshot of the patients but sometimes not even in the same country. My sample size is obviously not representative of much at all, though at least in my tiny corner of the world the situation is the total opposite of what you describe. These people sigh and get upset when they see terminal disease, they cry when children are dying, they don't enjoy seeing people hurt and don't waste a second if it means life or death. They are often detached but they still care.

Don't mistake the human factor for doctors that are worried about getting sued because someone broke their pinky finger and had to wait for the guy having a heart attack to be treated first.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324521)

I work IT at a large practice for a specific uncommon specialty. It employs 30+ doctors. There's quite a range of different types... I don't know if it's representative of doctors as a whole but it is humanizing indeed.

There's the ancient high-brow jerk who disdains to speak with a "computer nerd with no degree" but the guy knows his medicine, despite the attitude. There's the cute lady who muddles through just barely, but has great "people skills". There's the hot-shot european-educated surgeon with a list of demands three pages long before he even does an evaluation. There's a totally chill unassuming doctor with funny posters that the other doctors make jokes about, but whom I know reads through medical journals like some of them read tumblr. And so on.

Computer skills and inclinations vary wildly too, despite my expectations there would be a higher overall competency.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 4 months ago | (#47324867)

I do not trust my doctor because they are a doctor. I trust my doctor for the same reason I trust my mechanic, because they have proven themselves to be trustworthy. The primary reason I do not trust my insurance company is because I do not actually know any of the individuals who work there, let alone the ones who might be making decisions about what to do with my personal infor.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (5, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (5, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | about 4 months ago | (#47323953)

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

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 4 months ago | (#47324025)

You buy something as mundane as a coffee and a donut with a smart card? and how come the history is shared with everyone, not just your bank and the NSA?

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (5, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 months ago | (#47324061)

One step further; You're with a friend and stop at a convenience store, he asks you to get a pack of smokes. Your insurance states you're a non-smoker. They use this data to refuse a claim in the future.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47324267)

Oops. One step too far. You fell over the believable cliff.

Come on. While I'm not happy about the rampant data mining going on everywhere and the premise of TFA is faintly ridiculous (we know where all the really sick people are - they're in and out of the ER all the time - we don't need no stinkin' data mining) you just might imagine that somebody is going to do a few checks internally.

Even in this Evil Pantopicon, one pack of cigs isn't going to flag anything. One pack of cigs every day, OTOH, just might.

I really don't see this being much of an issue. The insurance companies have all the data they need to screen for potential expensive, er, ill, patients. They don't need to look for Twinkie ingestion. This whole thing is a bunch of junior executives getting a hold of too much cocaine and hookers. Or cocaine anyway.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324373)

Oh how naive. These companies do anything to make sure they don't have to pay up.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

Altus (1034) | about 4 months ago | (#47324851)

They didn't get rich by writing checks

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 months ago | (#47324507)

Hmmmm... I'm not so sure it's so unbelieveable. If you can be labelled an enemy combatant for wearing a Casio wristwatch [wikipedia.org] I'm pretty sure you can be labeled a smoker for buying some cigarettes.

You're still thinking rationaly. You can't do that around these people.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47324743)

You're still thinking rationaly. You can't do that around these people.

Sorry. You're correct. My bad.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324533)

That's why you carry cash.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324459)

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.

Five donuts isn't statistically significant anyway, so don't sweat it. Now if you were at the grocery buying a dozen every sunday on your weekly shopping trip, along with some sugary drinks and no vegetables, then yes they might take notice. Healthy people buy the occasional donut, drink the occasional caramel latte, etc.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#47324555)

Look on the bright side: if health insurance companies get between Americans and junk food and/or alchohol, within minutes congressmen will have to barricade their doors from angry citizens pounding it down demanding national medical healthcare.

Insurance companies start dinging us for doughnuts? Cops like doughnuts and have guns and pepper spray. Just sayin.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (2)

pepty (1976012) | about 4 months ago | (#47323981)

If the data brokers/hospitals want to prove my consumer information is actually health information and thus HIPAA rules should bar the data brokers from selling it to most of their other clients ... sign me up.

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/consumers/index.html

Who must follow these [HIPAA] laws:

Health Care Clearinghouses—entities that process nonstandard health information they receive from another entity into a standard (i.e., standard electronic format or data content), or vice versa.

In addition, Business Associates of Covered Entities must follow parts of the HIPAA regulations.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 4 months ago | (#47324119)

THAT would be a wonderful application of the HIPAA laws that so far seem to only generate a ream of papers (not for me to fill out or sign, just informational) when I visit the doctor's office...

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 4 months ago | (#47324381)

Now that would be great! Kind of like the way that RMS turned copyright against itself with the GPL

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324117)

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."

Wait until the government gets it.

Have you paid any attention to what the one single-payer system in the US is doing lately?

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324437)

Have you paid any attention to what the one single-payer system in the US is doing lately?

Of course not, seeing as how it doesn't exist.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

ehynes (617617) | about 4 months ago | (#47324181)

That's illegal under the Affordable Care Act which requires that insurers use an adjusted community rating [uhc.com] .

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324515)

Count yourself lucky that you still have insurance at all.

Yep, happening.

Re:Doesn't give warm fuzzies (1)

Sobrique (543255) | about 4 months ago | (#47324665)

If only you had healthcare free at the point of need.

Time to Legislate Data Mining (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323727)

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

Re:Time to Legislate Data Mining (3, Insightful)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 4 months ago | (#47323861)

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...

Re:Time to Legislate Data Mining (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47323999)

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.

Re:Time to Legislate Data Mining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324169)

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

Unless you work for the IRS and are discriminating against political undesirables. In cases like this, evidence of illegal activity will magically disappear when it threatens to expose wrongdoing by the Democrats.

Re:Time to Legislate Data Mining (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Time to Legislate Data Mining (2)

fropenn (1116699) | about 4 months ago | (#47324133)

There are plenty of benefits that can be found from data mining. Lots of research, for example, uses data mining to identify trends, patterns, relationships, etc. that are then used to develop and test hypotheses.

So it's not data mining that's the problem, rather, it's the way some corporations and institutions use data mining for their best interest and not in the best interest of those whose data they have.

Re:Time to Legislate Data Mining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324183)

Yes. Rarely is a single issue completely one-sided. It isn't like slavery wasn't good for a lot of people (the plantation owners and their customers). Some have even argued that slavery put meals on the table and a roof over the heads of slaves.

But none of that was enough to justify it.

Re:Time to Legislate Data Mining (1)

eth1 (94901) | about 4 months ago | (#47324215)

I agree that what you describe makes "consent" useless, but you don't necessarily need to outlaw it.

Just require that:
- any commercial entity that stores information on individuals (with NO exceptions whatsoever) has to provide said individuals a full dump of the data once per some time period upon request, with no conditions or cost attached, along with a list of everyone they've given it to.
- the entity must correct any incorrect information, and can't distribute any information regarding an individual until the errors are corrected.

Not perfect, but it would be a start.

Re:Time to Legislate Data Mining (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47324677)

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

No you wouldn't. I deal with marketing software all the time. They get around it very easily. They don't log your name or any "directly" identifying information. Keep in mind, they don't care who you are... They just want to sell you stuff. So to remain in compliance with the law, you log all the data in an "anonymized" database. You log identifiable information like name, phone, email in a different database and make it "secure" Then you wait... at some point they will click a link or request some info that, by the legal definition, puts them in the status of "a person asking to be marketed to" or whatever... Usually something like "click her for more info!" it asks for their email, they provide it... you use all that "anonymized" data to generate a marketing attempt, you link that marketing attempt to their account data using the email address they just provide you and create an "opportunity" to make a sale. Then either something as simply as your general spam email gets sent out, or maybe they'll even get a phone call or site visit. Because the email address is the real link and is transient you can claim all the traffic data is kept to "better maintain the site" or whatever.

Then you destroy the link between their web activity, and the customer record. The web activity can be linked to THEM very easily. Via cookies is the simplest, but you can also do it via hundreds of other data points. It's all very easy and there are prepackaged marketing platforms out there that do it all for you. Because the customer record is not linked directly to this data, you can keep as much detail as you want about the persons browsing activity without violating any privacy laws or regulations. This is the metadata everyone talks about...

You can keep all their identification data in a separate database. Because it's separate, its just considered "Contact info" and in there you can store previous purchases, things like that.

As awful as all that sounds, there is a bright side. If the data were to get stolen, it would be a lot hard to exploit.

Donut want (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323733)

Thanks a lot autocorrect. Now my insurance premiums are going up.

I am a professional translator, me (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#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:I am a professional translator, me (2)

plopez (54068) | about 4 months ago | (#47323961)

More along the lines of "increase CEO bonuses". The only goal corporations really pursue.

Re:I am a professional translator, me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324289)

Right; and they will ignore the data they can get from FitBit that shows the 19,030 steps I took yesterday or the 101 flights of stairs I did between 3:15 and 4:30 AM this morning (while putting in 11,115 more steps). Real numbers BTW. But they won't bother to look at that and let it partially offset the beer I might have tonight. They won't bother trying to collect my Treadmill's data showing that I ran 5 miles after work. But if I get a burger that will certainly count against me.

HIPAA? (2)

Primate Pete (2773471) | about 4 months ago | (#47323755)

How is not a HIPAA violation to share my health data (which is necessary for the marketing to be profitable) with advertisers? Under most circumstances, just identifying people as patients is not allowed, let alone saying that John Doe, who has hypertension, has been ordering pizza.

Re:HIPAA? (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 months ago | (#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)

Re:HIPAA? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323879)

Yes, heath insurance /= heathcare /= health. Finally people are starting to understand this.

Re:HIPAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324279)

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.

If the data Taco Bell (and others) collect can be used for medical purposes, maybe they should be subject to the HIPAA rules?

Re:HIPAA? (1)

dogbowl (75870) | about 4 months ago | (#47324331)

My wife is a doctor as well and I can assure you, physicians have no clue how to properly price medical services.

Thank You Hospitals (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323761)

They are making the world a better place by telling all the fat people to stop doing fat things.

only a paranoid nutjob would think (1)

0xdeaddead (797696) | about 4 months ago | (#47323765)

that corporations and governments are watching your every move, putting it into databases to penalize you over it's content later. As to if it's accurate, well forget that! You are always guilty before the corporate overlords.

think of it as a new 'convenience charge'.

Re:only a paranoid nutjob would think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323949)

Says the guy with planters nuts and job site advertisements across all his devices and accidently just clicked on one and is commended by the hospital doctor for eating nuts but shunned for being or soon to be unemployed. Come on, the question isn't if it's being collected or used but how accurate are the assumptions made from the data or lack their off. What happens if you have a nut allergy but unfortunately the marketing data that says you like nuts is in bigger bolder type or more prominent somehow?

Re:only a paranoid nutjob would think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324755)

If assumptions once were sane or non-existent, new insane ones can always be installed.
This data is not going away soon.

Not likely (1)

jamesl (106902) | about 4 months ago | (#47323775)

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.

When was the last time any doctor anywhere made an outgoing call to a patient? I get better customer service from my dog's veterinarian.

Re:Not likely (2)

bmorency (1221186) | about 4 months ago | (#47323909)

It might not happen very often but when I call my son's doctor and leave a message he will call me back at the end of the day every time. It is always him and not his secretary. That is one of the thing I really like about him.

Re:Not likely (1)

spiritgreywolf (683532) | about 4 months ago | (#47324371)

Boutique (read that "private, self-pay") physicians will do that as part of their service. But if you are part of the rank-and-file hitting an outpatient arm of a hospital? I totally agree with you. I work as a interface programmer for all sort of medical systems and can say they are at least _trying_ with the EMR's to give something resembling personal service by sending automated reminders and correspondence to you. But it's still just another form-letter in the end. I mean really - if you knew the reality of the caseload of the average physician and physician's assistant in even a medium-size outpatient care center it makes your average vet seem like a lazy freeloader. Don't get me wrong - I love my vet - but the differences are staggering.

Who knows. Maybe the integration of health devices tied together via smartphones and the like where the data gets funneled to your physicians ASSISTANT, then when certain things start going out of whack you might get a call... Maybe. Then again, who knows if the high reading from your glucometer won't just be yet another e-agent protocol that bubbles your status to the top of the heap of 10K other patients where you get the automated page "Yo! Take your insulin!". Methinks I want to develop these kind of things for vets to monitor their clients animals. Probably good money to be made there. I can envision e-collars that have a sensor suite to monitor the health and well being of pets. But I digress...

I still am a firm believer in doing everything you can to take care of your own health monitoring - and be educated about things that affect you. We are ALL numbers and items on actuarial tables as far as providers and payors are concerned right up until you sit in the chair and actually _speak_ to your physician. I try not to wait until the last minute during that "oh-shit" moment and have to read up on a lot of things so I can be yet another armchair QB for my doctor :-)

Re:Not likely (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47324407)

When was the last time any doctor anywhere made an outgoing call to a patient?

When your bill is in arrears.

Since they will check NSA 'passive kill' list (1)

MonsterMasher (518641) | about 4 months ago | (#47323777)

Since they will check the NSA 'passive kill' list anyway, they might as well do the rest, in case you are not the standard auto-die list .. the single man. Even then, they might want to torture you first at NSA so perhaps you'll get health care anyway. Or saved to fill a private jail cell, perhaps.

Re:Since they will check NSA 'passive kill' list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324019)

You make yourself look like a candidate for their 'active kill' list...

Anyone up for HIPAA? (3, Interesting)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 4 months ago | (#47323783)

Law firms recently received instructions regarding "secondary" violations of HIPAA. For instance, a firm might store X-ray images and depositions, expert affidavits, diagnoses, etc. that are strictly controlled at the source, but not necessarily at law firms, be the form of retention paper or digital. It would seem logical that all parties who have access to, or store, HIPAA-covered information should be regulated the same.

Re:Anyone up for HIPAA? (2)

sribe (304414) | about 4 months ago | (#47324023)

Law firms recently received instructions regarding "secondary" violations of HIPAA. For instance, a firm might store X-ray images and depositions, expert affidavits, diagnoses, etc. that are strictly controlled at the source, but not necessarily at law firms, be the form of retention paper or digital. It would seem logical that all parties who have access to, or store, HIPAA-covered information should be regulated the same.

No, it really does not make sense. Take the law firms for example, if you provide your information to a law firm with the intent of suing a hospital or doctor, you are providing it with the intent that it (might) eventually be used in PUBLIC court proceedings. Why should a morass of privacy regulations apply in that situation?

Re:Anyone up for HIPAA? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 4 months ago | (#47324053)

Data becomes public if and only if it's introduced into evidence by the Law Firm. Is it really so onerous to say, if you have health data that is confidential, take steps so it will not be disclosed until such time as it becomes part of the public record? Otherwise you open the door to all kinds of corner cases where a law firm can effectively disclose this information.

Anathetic? (4, Funny)

khr (708262) | about 4 months ago | (#47323801)

Is data mining patients done under local or general anesthetic?

Re:Anathetic? (1)

RobSwider (669148) | about 4 months ago | (#47324825)

Oddly enough, the process is similar to a colonoscopy, they just leave the camera there when they're done. So... a mild sedative.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323821)

While both sell to health insurers, they said it's to help those companies offer better services to members.

Oh, Plah-ease!

What a load of bullshit!

Do people really believe this shit?

"For your convenience." ....

It's like when I had to create a Roku account and the webpage said payment information was required for my "convenience". Bullshit. They want your payment information in the hopes that you'll make impulse buys (with a 30% commission going to Roku). After bitching to customer service and having them give me the horseshit about it being for my convenience, they waved the requirement for payment information. If they didn't, I would have returned the unit as defective and let Roku eat the fucking cost.

I really hate it when companies bullshit like that. It's insulting.

And what's the deal with Apple? Getting an Apple ID online gives you an option to skip the payment information, but when signing up with an iOS device, there is no such option. WTF?!

Whatever. Apple has about a dozen bogus accounts from me because it took a while for me to figure it out.

Make stupid policies and stupid things happen.

Ordering Pizza in the Future (4, Informative)

HarryTk (1739402) | about 4 months ago | (#47323827)

This youtube video attributed to ACLU has been around at least 8 years, and explains it all. "Ordering Pizza in the Future" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re:Ordering Pizza in the Future (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324129)

1984 (the novel).
When it was written, it was incredible, such an imaginative mind as that man had.
*In* 1984, it was impossible to believe any government (and especially anyone *not* in government) would ever get to know everything about you in such detail. Even in Russia, or Eastern Germany.
In 2014, people laugh "huh, and without even needing Google or Facebook :)"
In 2034 it will have been long overtaken by reality, and all except the old won't even remember that people once used to enjoy something called "privacy" (and had a legal right to it, instead of the exact opposite).

call from your doctor - heh (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 4 months ago | (#47323863)

More like a computer- generated robocall.

Besides, your doctor or hospital would probably prefer that you acquire an expensive long-term health condition that requires a lot of billable and reimbursable outpatient labor. They just don't want to see you walk in the door without private health insurance.

Marketing overload (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323893)

Bought size 36 pants instead of the usual 34's began to get offers from both Ben&Jerry's and NutriSystem.

PreMed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47323921)

Isn't this from a Dick story?

Something I'd like to see (4, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | about 4 months ago | (#47323929)

I live in a country with full healthcare. One thing I'd like to see is a (somewhat) obligation to give results on your treatment. Each time you go to the doctor to get some treatment, some time later you'd receive a mail with a link to a webform with a few _simple_ questions such as: did the treatment help ? Did you feel any adverse effect ? For how long were you sick ? For how long did you take your treatment ? Did you take any extra drugs, etc. And if you fail to respond to too many emails, your 'free' health care starts being dinged in you pocket. Of course, with exemption for some people and/or disease.

It wouldn't cost much to implement, and would be a trove of info. Have a public structure derived from the national healthcare in charge of it which enforces strong anonymity, and provide anonymity data to big data analysts. It wouldn't take long to figure out scandals such as the Mediator. I mean, if you can't take ONE minute to answer some questions that WILL help others, why should you get free health care ?

Re:Something I'd like to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324101)

Haha, I can't wait until the news stories about the 1/1000000 case where a botched surgery results in death and the family is sent a survey asking 'On a scale of Least Satisfied to Most Satisfied, how would you rate the care you received?'

Re:Something I'd like to see (2)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 4 months ago | (#47324153)

Haha, I can't wait until the news stories about the 1/1000000 case where a botched surgery results in death and the family is sent a survey asking 'On a scale of Least Satisfied to Most Satisfied, how would you rate the care you received?'

Depends on whether your relatives like or hate you...

Re:Something I'd like to see (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 4 months ago | (#47324421)

Despite living in an advanced country, you have fallen into the right-wing trap of believing that people must possess virtue to gain the benefits of society. "Free" doesn't mean they owe you or anyone else anything. It's a right.

Cash Cash Baby (2)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 4 months ago | (#47324063)

All the more incentive to go back to paper money.

Use debit / credit cards and open yourself to fraud and tracking, use cash and open yourself to robbery.

Either way, we lost the war. The corporations won.

The Public didn't even know there was a war on.

No, no, no.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324087)

Quote: "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...."

What utter idiot wrote that article. Unless your last name is Rockefeller, you're not going to get a call from your doctor over such things. They've got far better things to do with their time. If you get a call, it'd be from some unfortunate person who's being paid little more than minimum wage for the work.

This touches on one of my primary gripes with journalism, in this case Bloomberg. Journalism is filled with people who seemed to have no life experience in anything but journalism. They're clueless about how the world works and get their mistaken impressions of it from other equally clueless journalists.

Re:No, no, no.... (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 4 months ago | (#47324171)

No, it's just that a real journalist would have so much to put in a story that corporations that run all the major news outlets don't want the public to know, so they only allow the stories they want told, with the spin they want on it.

Pfffft, preventative care doesn't pay (1)

bhv (178640) | about 4 months ago | (#47324135)

While the theory of preventative care is great for marketing and selling the privacy intrusion to legislators, it has a negative impact on the bottom line. Ultimately the data is far more valuable to an insurance company than a healthcare provider.

Don't expect a call from your doctor, only an insurance rate increase notice in the mail.

HIPPA? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#47324137)

It certainly would seem to be a violation of HIPPA for a hospital to be giving your information out to others without your consent. Now, if the hospital is using the data collection services and doing their own comparison, cross-referencing your medical history with your collected behaviors, that might be different. It is likely, that is not what is being done, or proposed, however.

In reality, it is also unlikely that the hospital will have enough data about you. Your insurance company would be a different story, but the same HIPPA concerns would exist.

Finally, as others have pointed out, it is unlikely that this information would result in a call from your doctor. It is much more likely you would receive targeted advertising from it, once again bringing into question HIPPA.

This sounds like another candidate for the adage: Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do it.

But... that data was for advertisers only! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324143)

Hey, that data was meant for predatory capitalists to discover my purchasing weaknesses, not for well-meaning medical practitioners who want to individualize my medical treatment!

Oath (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324177)

Finally correcting a thousands of years old typo.
Hypocrite oath.

Cash! (1)

kf4lhp (461232) | about 4 months ago | (#47324227)

"...made a habit of ordering out for pizza..."

Pay cash. Stop at Little Caesars. Done!

I'm just waiting.. (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 4 months ago | (#47324307)

I'll be over here, waiting patiently for the tipping-point to occur, when all you 'I have nothing to hide!' and 'I don't care who knows what I buy/where I go/what I do so long as I get a discount' people who have deprecated the whole concept of privacy have finally had enough of companies (and in this case, doctors and maybe insurance companies) poking their noses into your business. Those 'loyalty club' cards you've been using for years? Because you never cared about your own privacy, you never thought to ask for the contract you agreed to by accepting the card and the discount, which gave them the right to collect all sorts of personally-identifiable data on your purchasing habits, did you? Did you really think they were giving you a discount on everything you bought there out of the goodness of their hearts? Because they're such nice people? Because 'insuring your continued business' was enough of a reason for them? HA! Enjoy having your doctor up your ass constantly, after all you got a whole $0.10 off that box of cereal you bought so it's worth it, right?

Another benefit is using cash... (2)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 4 months ago | (#47324399)

I started using cash for most of my "discretionary" purchases lately.
Things like grocery shopping, clothing, Home Depot, going to the bar, etc...

I initially started doing it because of how porous and UN-trustworthy the whole paradigm of card transactions is.

This article hits home on how using cash helps me in another way, being that my purchases can't be tracked.

You know it really is interesting seeing how (for lack of a better phrase) Orwellian the whole system is getting.
Interesting, as in Hindenburg appointing Hitler Chancellor in 1933...

Re:Another benefit is using cash... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324457)

^ One thousand times this.

Yes, sir! You've nailed it in one. I, too, am starting to do this now for discretionary things. My pecadillos are the business of no one but myself and those who share them with me. If I want to eat a large 10-topping pizza every week, that's my business alone.

Moving to a single-payer socialized medicine standard where there is no proft involved is still the goal. We will get there, it's just a matter of getting rid of the elements that stand in the way. If Hillary gets elected, we'll be one step closer.

Cash for everything now, it seems.

And you thought the NSA was bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324539)

If you thought the NSA was bad, wait till the medical and insurance providers get going.

Re:And you thought the NSA was bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47324679)

So very true. Anything to deny coverage. I've dealt with these companies before and they are a nightmare. I'd almost rather have no health insurance than deal with these people. They make everything so difficult. I, for one, look forward to the days when all of the insurance companies are gone because of universal healthcare not tied to profit. I welcome our socialist overlords.

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