Your Doctor Knows You're Killing Yourself. The Data Brokers Told Her


From Bloomberg News:

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.

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. 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 entire Bloomberg report at the link above is very, very well worth reading.

I cannot stress enough how important this issue is. Your privacy and freedom are directly threatened as a result of this. If you let your gym membership lapse, if this is accurate, you may expect a phone call from your doctor’s office. If you eat lunch at McDonald’s more than once a month, you may end up hearing about it from your doctor at your next visit.

Big Brother.

To those of you who support Obamacare, all I have to say is "thank you very, very much "


Just don’t pay with plastic!! :smiley:



The Health teacher in me says anything that helps people stay healthy might be worth it, but then the sensible, citizen in me says Good Grief. It is frightening what technology can do in terms of invading our privacy and it’s only just begun.


We would be kidding ourselves to suppose that ONLY our doctors know this information. Remember the requirement that all medical records be electronic by 2016? And, of course, they will all be open to the government. Right now, today, medical providers are paid extra to gather a lot of information about you that doesn’t have anything necessarily to do with the reason you are there. And you get “classified” because of it; “noncompliant”, “chronic” and so on. In 2016, providers will be penalized if they don’t do that.

Do we really think the gathering of all this information will not lead to any kind of action? As medical resources become tighter and tighter, and as the government rewards provider compliance and punishes noncompliance, do we really think it won’t lead to unavailability of treatment for some?

Right now, providers are dumping “noncompliant” and “chronic” patients in favor of “well care” patients because of reimbursement differentials. It will only get worse.


Seriously? I have seen non-compliant on my records as of late. Due to being so ill and tired I have missed appointments.
Hmmm… was wondering about that.


Read “The Giver”.

God bless.


Much of that information is gathered due to the demands of profit-driven insurance companies who are constantly on the lookout of any way to maximize their profits. This is also collected for the review of life insurers too.

Do you feel it is OK for businesses to collect this information?


This was a real :rotfl: moment. Our family doctor (who is very good at her job and takes all the time she needs at our appointments) is much to busy to be concerned with where I eat lunch or how often I’m going to the gym.


There ya go! Cash helps keep us off the grid, so to speak.


Until we are forced to go to a cashless society.:shrug:

God bless.


That is true. Strange how all the “diet police” have not figured out how to help us lose weight and keep it off. But then they would have to empty the store shelves of at least 75% of the processed garbage they supply as food to buy.


I seem to recall that the Third Reich stressed the importance of fitness to a radical degree, after all, one can’t build an Aryan race if there are ‘sick’ and ‘disabled’ people.
The whole idea is to have a very fit race of ‘super’ humans. Even to the denial of care for those considered less than healthy.
Why can’t people see the correlation?
This will come back to bite those who voted for Obamacare too.

God bless.


And when they take the processed garbage away, only the wealthy will be able to afford the foods.
I recall pointing out to someone years ago when they said poor people had more of a tendency to be obese (and thus weren’t doing without), that the reason behind a lot of that obesity was the affordability of high fat/processed foods.
It is a worrisome time we are living in.

God bless you.


Am I crazy, or does it seem like people think the only thing that makes a person unhealthy is being fat? I’m fat and do you know how many times I’ve been into the doctor in the past five years for something that wasn’t for a pregnancy? 3 times and they were all ear or throat infections. As far as I know, neither strep nor pregnancy is caused by being fat. My insurance company must love having me on the books because they keep raking in the dough and don’t ever have to pay out!

I don’t think it’s good for society to have the data collectors get into fat shaming anyway. Last I heard, we’re supposed to be entitled to something called “pursuit of happiness”. Well, eating ice cream every now and then makes me happy and if doctors start calling me to tell me that I got caught at Dairy Queen twice in a month, that’s a good way to get hung up on. Besides, without fat people, who would the lifelong-calorie-counters and nearly-naked-street-runners have around to look down on and provide motivation for their efforts?


:thumbsup: If my doc called me about my eating stuff I shouldn’t, I would likely show up at my next appointment with a DQ Blizzard in hand. (I don’t get them often, but dang the banana cream pie is yummy.)


This sort of thing isn’t exactly new. Why do you think stores are so eager to give you a discount for swiping your loyalty cards? It helps them track your purchases. I find it interesting that my local grocery store will send me coupons for cat food but never for dog food. I once bought hearing aid batteries for my mother and started getting coupons to buy more even though my hearing is fine.

The New York Times ran a story two years ago about Target. See

Target researchers figured out that when a woman is pregnant she tends to buy certain products like unscented lotion and vitamins. They used that information to send coupons for baby-related items to customers. And then this…

About a year after Pole created his pregnancy-prediction model, a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry, according to an employee who participated in the conversation.

“My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?”

The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.

On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”

I found out that my health insurance company tracks my expenses. I occasionally get reminders from them that it’s time for a mammogram or some other test. When my doctor switched me from one prescription to another they apparently noticed that I stopped refilling the first one but didn’t notice that I was taking something else for the same condition. I got a letter asking if I was having trouble remembering to take my XYZ pills and reminding me that it’s important to my health to take them daily.

Big Brother is alive and well in many parts of our lives.


Interesting article. I’m married to a doctor and have three children who are also doctors. My husband is a CMO of a large hospital system and was formerly Chief Quality Officer of a large system in another city. I forwarded the link to him to get his input. As for my kids, they’re excellent physicians but seriously too busy to bother with a patient’s donut intake. While they no doubt do some patient education in the office or hospital, I’m pretty confident that they don’t stalk! :rotfl:


Relax, just keep your gym membership current and stay away from sweets.

You should be fine:cool:



I agree except for the fat issue. Fat is not what makes us fat. It is the sugar, carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread) and steroids used in feed lots that are the problem. Fat cannot enter the blood stream in the absence of carbohydrates. It is a large molecule that needs a transport system to get past the intestinal wall. (Very simplified explanation.) Of course I am not recommending people eat fat till they drop.

It has been proven that diets without enough fat cause aggressive behavior, especially the “good fats” from fish and nuts. In all of this we have to realize that the amount of sugar, salt and other “non-food” garbage that is added to processed foods is a major problem and these are often the foods the poor can afford. They simply can’t buy the foods needed for a well balanced and healthy diet.

I am pushing for all my friends, neighbors and who ever can, to grow their own gardens. If we can all do this, and even grow two things and share with others we can be the best source of healthy food to each other. Even if you live in an apartment you can grow radishes, or lettuce, all kinds of herbs, chives. Anything helps and we should all try it in my opinion. If all you have is 9 sq feet of space in some corner of your yard plant some squash or some beans. But plant and share all you can.

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