obamacare pushes healthcare over the “creepiness line”

Headlined on today’s Drudge Report, the Bloomberg article, Hospitals Soon See Donuts-to-Cigarette Charges for Health [sic]:

Information compiled by data brokers from public records and credit card transactions can reveal where a person shops, the food they buy, and whether they smoke…

Carolinas HealthCare System operates the largest group of medical centers in North Carolina and South Carolina, with more than 900 care centers, including hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices and surgical centers. 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 [director of research and evidence-based medicine at Carolinas HealthCare System] 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.

For a patient with asthma, the hospital would be able to score how likely they are to arrive at the emergency room by looking at whether they’ve refilled their asthma medication at the pharmacy, been buying cigarettes at the grocery store and live in an area with a high pollen count, Dulin said.

The system may also score the probability of someone having a heart attack by considering factors such as the type of foods they buy and if they have a gym membership, he said…

“The data is [sic] already used to market to people to get them to do things that might not always be in the best interest of the consumer, we are looking to apply this for something good,” Dulin said.

Of course, the bottom line is always money, the root of all evil, the bait Satan uses to get humans to carry out his dirty work:

While the patients may gain from the strategy, hospitals also have a growing financial stake in knowing more about the people they care for.

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.

As a result, the U.S. has begun levying fines against hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within a month, and rewarding hospitals that do well on a benchmark of clinical outcomes and patient surveys…

Being able to predict which patients are likely to get sick or end up at the emergency room has become particularly valuable for hospitals that also insure their patients, a new phenomenon that’s growing in popularity. UPMC, which offers this option, would be able to save money by keeping patients out of the emergency room…

“The traditional rating and underwriting has gone away with health-care reform,” said Robert Booz, an analyst at the technology research and consulting firm Gartner Inc. (IT) “What they are trying to do is proactive care management where we know you are a patient at risk for diabetes so even before the symptoms show up we are going to try to intervene.”

This is from Bloomberg, not some conspiracy theorist like myself who, in a post on ubiquitous surveillance, asked, If government is going to control healthcare, will they charge higher rates or deny care because they have data to prove you eat too much fast food?

The Bloomberg article addresses data mined from credit card transactions, but how about security camera footage from McDonald’s or CVS or Stop and Shop? Even if we pay in cash, the cameras see us and facial recognition software can identify us.

It isn’t only healthcare that’s becoming creepy, but every aspect of our lives. Where can we go to be safe from potential spying? Again, see my above-mentioned post, Is someone watching our every move? Is this how we want to live?

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