You may soon get a call from your doctor if you’ve let your gym membership lapse, made a habit of picking up candy bars at the check-out counter 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. The largest hospital chain in the Carolinas is plugging data for 2 million people into algorithms designed to identify high-risk patients, while Pennsylvania’s biggest system uses household and demographic data. Patients and their advocates, meanwhile, say they’re concerned that big data’s expansion into medical care will hurt the doctor-patient relationship and threaten privacy. The health system is placing its data, which include purchases a patient has made using a credit card or store loyalty card, into predictive models that give a risk score to patients. Within the next two years, Dulin plans for that score to be regularly passed to doctors and nurses who can reach out to high-risk patients to suggest interventions before patients fall ill.

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. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, hospital pay is becoming increasingly linked to quality metrics rather than the traditional fee-for-service model where hospitals were paid based on their numbers of tests or procedures.

It’s pretty obvious where this is heading. This is a final wake-up call to you cashless society idiots.

  1. RE@DER says:

    Big Education took a big hit in Chicago. The big data project seems doomed. US funding Syrian fighters?

    The school system, custodian of print culture, has no place for the rugged individual. It is, indeed, the homogenizing hopper into which we toss our integral tots for processing.
    Marshall McLuhan (1911-80), Canadian communications theorist. The Gutenberg Galaxy, “Cervantes Confronted Typographic Man in the Figure of Don Quixote” (1962).

    All the rugged indivduals are armed and uneducated. They are going to be processing bodies. That will require big data. No books.

    • Tim says:

      It’s hard to argue with that.

      …And we’d gather in the octagonal, windowless, walls of painted cinderblock, room deep within the bowels of the new addition, and eagerly await the reading of A Wrinkle In Time. I particularly liked the part about the kids and the balls in the big windowless room…

    • Tim says:

      a tintsy weentsy part of my problem is what is this stupid arbitrary number for ‘inebriation’. Umm. Don’t drive even a little bit happy, citizen… Should not *impairment* be obvious?

  2. RE@DER says:

    “In fact, HP’s news is so groundbreaking, it takes me straight back to the mid-’90s, when I sat through a similar announcement by NetWare executives somewhere in the badlands — maybe Provo?”
    Welcome to The Machine! Just roll prices back to 90′s levels and it’s problem solved, no problem. http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiswoodhill/2014/03/03/its-time-to-drive-russia-bankrupt-again/2/ “If we fully stabilized the dollar today, we could expect gold prices to fall toward $550/oz, and oil prices to fall toward $40.00/bbl.” Strong dollar is the result of a strong economy. We need a big dollar economy, big data be damned.