Acceptable or unacceptable, that is the question!

July 13, 2014

July 3, 2014,  BloombergBusinessWeek: Hospitals Are Mining Credit Card Data to Predict Who Will Get Sick.

The article is accompanied by a photo of a doctor telling a patient, “Don’t lie to me, Susan, I heard about the 2 a.m. Papa John’s deliveries.”

According to the article, Carolinas Healthcare (CH), which operates 900 care centers and provides care to 2 million people, is purchasing information from data brokers to help CH’s healthcare team practice “proactive care.”

From data brokers, CH will have access to public records, store loyalty transactions, and credit card purchases; e.g., CH will know whether a patient filled his prescription or bought cigarettes.  Its health care team will then be able to use that information to identify and reach out to high risk patients in order to intervene and, ideally, to achieve better outcomes.

The goal, to achieve better outcomes, is laudable, but is this practice acceptable or unacceptable?  What do you think?