Wednesday, March 05, 2014

What could *possibly* go wrong?

"Hospital records are being used by private firms advising companies how to target their marketing"

No, this isn't a result of The ObamaTax (yet), but it's clearly where we're heading.

Now, if this was "aggregated" information (that is, information on groups or demographics) then perhaps this could be a good thing: if, for example, it turned out that 40-year-old diabetics were routinely misdiagnosed or treated, then that could help the MVNHS© hone in on specific providers and, perhaps, resolve that problem.

In this case, however, it appears that the (heretofore private) health information of specific patients is being divulged (sold?). On the one hand, "marketing firm Beacon Dodsworth said it had not been able to access raw data, but analysis of the hospital trends, integrated with other information;" on the other, "documents suggest the sensitive data would be used to target people on social media websites such as Facebook."

Fortunately, we have HIPAA and other privacy regulations in place, so that could never happen here.

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