Creepy? Hospitals Using Data Brokers to Collect Info About Patients
A startling Kelly File investigation found that some hospitals are using data collection services to spy on patients’ bad habits. Companies called data brokers gather information about people through public records, credit card transactions and even grocery store loyalty cards.
Hospitals can tell things like if you’re eating junk food, if you’re a smoker, if you are a gym member. That information is then put into a predictive model that scores how likely it is you’ll get sick.
The score is passed to doctors, who can decide whether to intervene and advise a patient on living a healthier lifestyle.
The largest hospital chain in the Carolinas is currently in the process of plugging in data for two million patients.
Fox News spoke to a doctor in the system who says the hope is to keep patients out of the hospital.
Dr. Michael Dulin said, “We’re in a time where health care is under a lot of scrutiny. We have to be efficient. We have to be careful with the resources that are provided to us, and this is a way to […] provide the best care to the communities that we serve.”
He also admitted that because this is uncharted territory, doctors have to be careful because what’s meant to help you could easily be used against you.
Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, called it creepy.
“We may be moving into a great new world, if you will, where everybody’s watching everybody else, […] but we all ought to be doing it eyes open and with our consent.”
Trace Gallagher reported that for now, patients cannot opt out. “So when you buy the Twinkies, pay cash not credit,” he advised.